As Chelsea prepare for yet another European final, this time against Benfica in the Europa League, we take a look at some of the key battles that could help decide the outcome in tomorrow nights match.
Nicholas Gaitan vs David Luiz
It seems increasingly likely that David Luiz will start in a defensive midfield role against Benfica with either John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic or Gary Cahill starting in the centre-back positions.
Although prone to the odd attacking venture, Luiz will have to produce a disciplined performance if he is to keep 25-year-old Argentinian attacking-midfielder Nicholas Gaitan quiet. The Argentine is blessed with nimble feet and has the ability to be the difference between the two sides.
It's likely that Gaitan will play to the right of Benfica's midfield three and David Luiz will be sure to have one eye on the Argentinian throughout the final.
Ezequiel Garay vs Fernando Torres
Due to his goal return in the Europa League it would be a surprise if Torres didn't start, especially as Demba Ba is cup-tied.
Benfica have three centre backs in the shape of Jardel, Luisao and Garay but its likely that the latter two will start in Amsterdam. Although Torres has lost a yard of pace in the last couple of years, its seems that Garay will be primarily responsible for Torres as he has the pace and agility to deal with the Spaniards darting runs.
Torres has been scoring regularly in the Europa League this season and thus this will perhaps be one of the most important battles on the pitch come tomorrow night.
Oscar Cardozo vs Gary Cahill
The powerful Paraguayan, like Gaitan caused the Chelsea back-line a fair few problems in last years Champions League quarter-final and its clear that Chelsea will have to watch Cardozo carefully if they want to ensure victory.
With 31 goals in 44 matches this season Cardozo has been in great form and is without question of one the most underrated strikers in European football. With The Daily Mail claiming that John Terry is set to miss the final due to injury, responsibility could fall on the shoulders of Gary Cahill.
The English centre-back has still looked a little short of match fitness in recent games, but will have to be on the top of his game if he is to keep Cardozo quiet for the whole of the final.
Nemanja Matic vs Juan Mata
Since transferring from Chelsea, Matic has thrived, taking over from Javi Garcia after his move to Manchester City. Despite being an attacking outlet for Benfica, most obvious in the volley he scored against fierce rivals Porto, Matic will have to be wary of Juan Mata, one of the Premier League's top performers this year.
The Spaniard will look to get between the midfield and attack and feed fellow Spaniard, Torres.
Mata has often been the difference for Chelsea this year and will have to be watched if Benfica want to lift the trophy come the end of the match.
To add to this it's important to point out the threat of Lima and Salvio. The two wingers have contributed 28 goals for Benfica in the Portuguese League this season and will unquestionably pose a real problem for Ashley Cole and Cesar Azpilicueta.
For Chelsea, if Hazard is fit for the match, bearing in mind his recent form, he will also be an incredibly useful outlet for the Blues, but as stated before his presence in the match still remains to be seen.
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