Stamford Bridge, London
18th September, 2013
Chelsea host Basel at Stamford Bridge tonight as Jose Mourinho starts his European campaign during his second stint at the club. The two clubs faced each other few months back in the semi-final of the Europa League, where Chelsea cruised to a fairly comfortable victory in aggregate, before lifting the trophy in the final.
Chelsea have lost their last two matches in all competition, including the defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich in the Super Cup. They are coming into this game on the back of a disappointing 1-0 defeat at the hands of Everton. In fact their last victory came against Aston Villa in the League. Jose Mourinho and his men will be eager to get back to winning ways and they will be confident about doing so against Basel at home.
Mourinho doesn’t have any major injury concern ahead of this fixture, but Ramires will miss this game with suspension. Michael Essien was left out of the 23-man squad for the Champions League, hence he will be absent as well. Mourinho is likely to rotate his squad and is expected to make a few changes to the starting line-up that faced Everton at Goodison Park.
Torres will lead the line once again as Samuel Eto’o drops to the bench. Oscar, who was a substitute in the last game, is expected to start in this game. Hazard will retain his place, but there is a possibility of Mata being dropped to the bench and new recruit Willian making his debut. Marco van Ginkel and Frank Lampard are expected to be deployed in the center of the park in the double pivot ahead of the defence. Garry Cahill is also expected to be back in the starting line-up alongside John Terry in defence as David Luiz drops to the bench.
Starting Line-Up (4-2-3-1) – Cech (GK); Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Cole; Lampard, van Ginkel; Willian, Oscar, Hazard; Torres
Basel have made a good start to the season and are currently third in the Super League. The Swiss side have won five of their last six matches in all competition and will travel to Stamford Bridge with lot of confidence. Murat Yakin will be hoping for a better performance than what his team achieved on their last visit to this ground.
Yakin has a fully fit squad to choose from ahead of this fixture. He fielded a completely changed line-up during the 1-0 victory over Munsingen in the Switzerland Cup match, in order to rest his key players ahead of this big game. Ivan Ivanov will partner Fabian Schar in the center of the defence as Arlind Atelji drops to the bench. Upfront experienced striker Marco Strellar will lead the line with Valentin Stocker supporting him. Delgado will start from the bench and will come on as an impact sub if Basel are in need of goals. Strellar has been fantastic form this season and will provide the main threat in attack.
Other than him, Basel have some fine young talents in the ranks. It will be a huge learning curve for most of them.
Starting Line (4-4-1-1) – Sommer (GK); Degen, Ivanov, Schar, Safari; Salah, Elneny, Frei, Andrist; Stocker; Strellar
Prediction: Chelsea 2-0 Basel
Players to watch out for: Oscar (Chelsea); Mohamed Salah (Basel)
Blast from the past