Champions League revenge in store when Chelsea visit Basel
Defender David Luiz and long-term injury loss Marco van Ginkel were the only players in Chelsea’s Champions League squad who didn’t make the plane to Switzerland for the Blues’ vital Group E clash with Basel.
Jose Mourinho ended up on the losing side at home for just the second time as Chelsea boss against the Swiss outfit back in September, but his men have won their three Champions League games since with style and can take a giant leap towards qualification for the last 16 with an away win.
Chelsea to win @ 5/6
It could all have been so different for Basel after their shock 2-1 triumph in west London, but the Super League champions have taken just two points in Group E since, from draws home and away against winless Steaua Bucharest.
Their performance in the 1-0 loss against Schalke – who Chelsea beat by a 6-0 aggregate scoreline over two games – at St Jakob-Park saw the home side muster up just one shot on target and Basel have failed to win four of their seven matches since that reverse.
Mourinho’s side have not been at their best of late, dropping points against Newcastle and West Brom in the Premier League, but they went some way to putting those disappointments to right with the 3-0 thumping of West Ham last time out and have won 10 of their last 13 games in all competitions.
Chelsea waltzed past Schalke and Steaua on their travels, winning 3-0 and 4-0 respectively and are taken to match those efforts in Switzerland.
Fernando Torres to score the first goal @ 5/1
The Spanish striker looks set to be passed fit for the clash with Murat Yakin’s men, after missing Chelsea’s last three fixtures through injury.
Fellow Blues forward Samuel Eto’o failed to make a discernable contribution once again at Upton Park and Torres is expected to be picked for the lone striker role against Basel, as he was in Chelsea’s two Champions League away games so far this term.
Torres has only scored once in the Premier League in 2013/14, but the former Liverpool hitman’s form in cup competitions has been markedly better and the 29-year-old bagged an impressive brace in Gelsenkirchen last month.
The last time Torres faced Basel – in the 2012/13 Europa League semi-final – he scored his side’s first goal of the match on the way to a 3-1 victory and he is the pick to break the deadlock here if played from the start.
Over 2.5 goals @ evens
Despite their widely publicised centre-forward shortage, only two of Chelsea’s last ten matches have produced less than three goals.
Considering Basel won their last game at St Jakob-Park 4-1 against Thun and four of their last six home ties have produced more than two strikes, even money about a similar outcome here smacks of good value.