13 May, 2013 - 13:22

Europa League final preview: Chelsea vs Benfica

Europa League final preview: Chelsea vs Benfica

Europa League final represents a special importance for Chelsea’s interim Rafa Benitez, whose appointment was met with anger and frustration among the Blues’ fans. And yet the Spaniard has clearly shown he is capable to handle the fiery pressure as his side finished third in Premier League table and is on course of claiming the second European trophy in two seasons.

However this will surely be no walk in the park for Rafa Benitez, as the Portuguese side is on unbeaten 28-match run in the Portuguese League, having scored 74 goals and conceded just 17. Despite their disappointing 2-1 injury-time defeat to Porto, they still have the chance of clinching the domestic title. They are currently sitting in the second place and need a win in the remaining game and hope that leaders Porto slip to a defeat.

Chelsea team news:

Benitez rested Torres, Ivanovic, Luiz and Oscar for the Premier League game against Aston Villa and is expected to field them in the upcoming Europa League final.

Demba Ba is ineligible due to being cup-tied, while Chelsea sweat on Terry’s fitness after he was stretchered off during Chelsea’s 2-1 away win over Aston Villa. He is set to be reassessed before the game to determine whether he is fit enough to take part. Terry faces the threat of missing his second European final in two seasons.

Hazard has suffered a hamstring injury and remains a major doubt, while Bertrant will surely miss the final because of long-term injury.

Benfica team news:

Benfica boss Jorge Jesus has no serious injury concerns for the upcoming final with his main stars Cardozo and Gaitan being fit and healthy.

Veteran midfielder Pablo Aimar rallied the troops ahead of the game claiming Chelsea are currently the weakest side in the Abramovich era.

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Author: Basil Naumov

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