Chelsea interim manager Rafa Benitez has said that his team got the deserved result in the form of a late winner from defender David Luiz in the Europa league semi-final match against FC Basel. Chelsea have moved into a commanding position as a result of the 2-1 victory over the Swiss club, but it could have been easily a draw had it not been for the injury time goal from Luiz. Chelsea dominated the proceedings in the match by creating several chances, while also close to scoring with many of them.
However, lacklustre finishing from the likes of Eden Hazard and Fernando Torres proved like a major catastrophe after Basel equalised with a penalty with just a few minutes remaining in the match. Chelsea were awarded a freekick just inside the box in the dying minutes of the match. David Luiz converted this freekick to hand Chelsea are huge advantage in the tie. As a result of the two away goals coupled with the victory, Chelsea are now the favourites to qualify for the Europa league final where they could face Fenerbahce. The Turkish club managed a victory from the encounter against Portuguese club Benfica.
Victor Moses had given Chelsea the lead early in the match. Benitez said that this victory was fully deserved.
“I think it’s true that we had this feeling that we didn’t deserve to concede this goal, which was an extra motivation. Sometimes you know David Luiz is really good taking free-kicks, even if the keeper could have saved it, but he scored the goal in the end and everyone would say it was fair. All around me nobody felt that it was a penalty because the ball was in the air, it was a very strange decision,” said Benitez after the match. Chelsea will face Swansea during the weekend.
Bottom of the table Queens Park Rangers host league leaders Manchester United in Saturday afternoons fixture at Loftus Road.
QPR’s 4-1 defeat to Swansea City last time out stretched their winless run to five league games, and left the seven points from safety going in to the final twelve games of the season.
Loic Remy looks set to miss the game with a groin problem, while Bobby Zamora, who is yet to return to full fitness may play some part. Junior Hoilett and Samba Diakite are both available for selection having recovered from their respective injuries.
Adel Taarabt is 13.0 (12/1) with Ladbrokes to get the first goal of the game, while Jamie Mackie is widely available at 15.0 (14/1).
The home win is 6.5 (11/2) with most firms, with Bet 365 offering the best price of 1.62 (8/13) for the visitors to take the points. The draw is 4.3 (33/10).
Sir Alex Ferguson’s men go in to the game on the back of a sixteen game unbeaten run in all competitions, and victory here will open up a fifteen point lead at the top of the Premier League ahead of Manchester City’s game with Chelsea on Sunday.
Wayne Rooney looks set to miss out with a sinus problem, and Phil Jones and Paul Scholes are both injured.
Top scorer Robin Van Perise is favourite to open the scoring at 3.75 (11/4) with most bookmakers, while Javier Hernandez is a 6.5 (11/2) shot with Bet Victor.
The Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech has said that he is extremely happy to see the old Chelsea back after the team managed to keep the number of clean sheets in recent matches. The goalkeeper has also saluted the influence of the Spaniard Rafa Benitez, who replaced the former manager Roberto di Matteo a few weeks back. Immediately after taking over at the club, Benitez was given a hostile reception that the Chelsea fans. The team also did not do well in the first matches against Fulham and Manchester city, but they did two clean sheets in these encounters.
Under Roberto di Matteo, the team conceded 21 goals in just 10 matches as they slipped out of the title run-in and also the opportunity to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League. Since the arrival of Benitez, Chelsea have let in only eight goals in the last 10 matches. They also kept a clean sheet in an away match after a long time in the 1-0 win over Norwich. The 30-year-old goalkeeper made a number of crucial saves during the match, but was largely untroubled due to the excellent performance by the defence. The team is also scoring plenty of goals, which delights the goalkeeper.
“It is great to win a 1-0 game because it shows we were resilient and well organised. And, as well, we were patient enough to score one goal and control the game until the end. This is a very good sign. It is never easy when you win 8-0 and suddenly everybody thinks, ‘Ah, easy, another game’. But it didn’t go as well. Norwich played really well,” said Petr Cech. Chelsea are currently 11 points behind the leaders Manchester United in the table, but they do have a game in hand. They sit third in the Premier league table.
The Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has said that he is under no illusion that the Chelsea team will certainly miss the presence of John Terry in defence when the two sides met each other at Stamford bridge during the weekends. Chelsea will be taking on Manchester United looking to extend their unbeaten run in the Premier league. They have currently played seven matches and have dropped points in only one of them. As a result, they currently have a four point advantage over Manchester United at the top of the table. Sir Alex Ferguson will be looking to reduce it to just one point with a victory.
Even though Chelsea have been praised the lot for their attacking ability this season, Manchester United will certainly find it easy to be facing a Chelsea team without John Terry according to Ferguson. He has said that the Chelsea defender has been a rock and part of the spine of the team along with the likes of Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba over the years. Interestingly, Frank Lampard will be unavailable through injury, while Didier Drogba is currently playing in China. Hence, Manchester United will be facing a Chelsea team without this trio for the first time after nearly a decade.
“Players who have been at the club for a number of years like Terry, [Ashley] Cole, [Frank] Lampard and [Petr] Cech give them stability. Continuity with their kind of experience must help the dressing room. Terry will be a loss for them because he has been such a dominating figure. He is their captain, he has experience and he can be a ruthless defender. His presence a lot of the time was the most important thing for them,” said Sir Alex Ferguson ahead of the huge match with Chelsea on Sunday.
There was once a time when an injury to John Terry would spark a huge crisis at Stamford Bridge. However, with the England international set for a spell on the treatment table, Frank Lampard doesn’t seem concerned in the slightest and has lavished praise on fellow defender Gary Cahill, describing him as a “top centre half”.
Cahill joined the Blues from Bolton for a cut-price fee of £7m, with the Trotters keen to offload the defender due to his precarious contract situation. The 26-year-old was at the centre of umpteen transfer rumours through that time, although it was eventually the Blues who landed the former Aston Villa man. It would be fair to say that Cahill’s impact was incredible and he played a huge part as the Blues went on to lift the FA Cup and Champions League.
As well as making a massive impact at Stamford Bridge, Cahill has also established himself in the England squad. Unfortunately, injury meant that he couldn’t participate in Euro 2012, but he looks set to grab his next chance with both hands as he is heavily tipped to replace the injured Terry in the nation’s next game against Ukraine this week.
Following on from the above, club and country teammate Lampard has been quick to praise the defender. He told the Evening Standard, “Gary has grown completely as a player. I have nothing but massive things to say for Gary. To come to Chelsea after the season we had last year, fit in and play the games he did against Barcelona and then the final, he has proven he is a top, top centre-half in world football. Internationally he can go on and play for a long time.”
Unfortunately, John Terry is joined by another Blues player on the treatment table, with Ashley Cole set to miss out on his 99th cap as he struggles with injury.