Thursday evening will see the reigning European Champions Chelsea enter Switzerland to take on FC Basel in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final.
Although this not be the season the Blues were looking for they have managed to reach the final four of the Champions League’s less attractive sister competition.
On the back of a strong showing from Fernando Torres in the quarter-finals against Rubin Kazan the Londoners will be looking to score quickly against the Swiss giants. But they will have to be wary of the firepower possessed by Basel as Marco Streller has been in fine form in the competition netting a total of four times, equaling the tally held by Torres.
The London squad will have to put the recent Luis Suarez fiasco behind them and focus on the job in hand and defend more thoroughly than they have been in the last number of matches, particularly against late goals.
Ashley Cole and Gary Cahill have returned to training which is good news for Rafael Benitez but it seems unlikely either of the Englishmen will be ready for the defensive test ahead of them which will leave Ryan Bertrand to deputise as left back yet again and he has looked somewhat of a liability in the Chelsea defence.
Nathan Ake might yet again be deployed in the centre of midfield to add fresh legs as well as additional defensive mind to counteract the potent Basel attack. Demba Ba could find himself in front of goal ahead of Torres as the Spaniard might have a case of tired legs following the trip to Liverpool at weekend.
One thing remains certain in that the boys in blue have their work cut out for them as they look to give themselves an advantage heading into the second leg at the Bridge.
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