Chelsea 4/7 to win Europa League after 5-2 aggregate Basel bashing
After coming back from a goal down to beat Basel 3-1 at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea are now 4/7 to lift the Europa League. David Luiz, who scored the third goal in that win, will come face-to-face with his former employers in the final after an Oscar Cardozo brace helped Benfica – 5/4 underdogs in Coral’s Europa League outright betting – see off Fenerbahce at Estadio Da Luz.
Chelsea will bid to become the first side in history to win the Champions League and the Europa League in consecutive seasons, although Porto achieved the same double in reverse under a mutual friend named Jose Mourinho. If they do so it will be the fourth time in the 10 seasons of the Europa League’s existence that it’s victors were a team that’d been dumped out of the Champions League group stage.
Chelsea have already beaten the conquerors of the competition’s holders, knocking out Rubin Kazan on aggregate after the Russians had beaten Athletico Madrid in the round of 32.
The sides will have more than a little knowledge of each other’s style of play having met in the quarter finals of last year’s Champions League. Chelsea won the tie with a fair amount of comfort adding to a 2-1 Stamford Bridge success with a 1-0 win in Lisbon – in doing so they joined Barcelona and Porto as one of just three teams to beat Benfica at Estadio Da Luz in the last two seasons.
Chelsea’s form in neutral venues this season has been poor, with losses incurred in four of their five games across the Community Shield, European Super Cup, World Club Championship and FA Cup and they’ll need to on their mettle to beat a side that have lost just three times all season.
However Benfica scraped through 3-2 on aggregate against Fenerbahce, having lost the first leg and were not nearly as impressive as the Blues were in seeing off the previously dangerous Basel in their semi.
At the end of a long season freshness of key players will be key in the winner takes all showpiece and Chelsea – managed by arch squad-rotator Rafael Benitez – may well strip the fitter of the two sides thanks to a plentiful supply of quality squad players astutely rotated by the Spaniard.