For the next ten days, Chelsea will officially be the reigning holders of both the Champions League and the Europa League trophies after a stunning 2-1 win over the impressive Benfica. Fittingly, it was one of the heroes of last year’s Champions League campaign that scored the dramatic 93rd minute winner – Branislav Ivanovic.
Archive for the ‘Europa League News’
Chelsea go into a vitally important two weeks standing on the verge of having either a very good season, or a pretty disastrous one. Having already reached the semi-final stage of both domestic cup competitions, the Blues went one step further this week by reaching the final of the Europa League.
A victory against Benfica in Amsterdam on May 15th will give Chelsea a second successive European trophy in two seasons, but that must be seen as a bonus, according to the man probably most responsible for Chelsea’s recent success, Juan Mata. The Spaniard has been nothing short of brilliant again this season and has helped the new Chelsea players like Oscar and Hazard to settle quickly.
The fantastic and versatile Brazilian international David Luiz is a popular choice to become the next captain od Chelsea, and the change could happen sooner than expected, apparently. The 26-year old has been putting in captains’ performances for the Blues lately and more than once his drive, skill and determination have rescued Chelsea, most recently with a last gasp winner at Basel.
According to the Daily Star, the Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich wants Luiz to replace Terry as club captain this summer, although it is unclear whether this would mean an end to Terry’s career at the club or simply a demotion. This could be speculation on the paper’s part, but Luiz has been receiving lots of plaudits from everyone at the club recently.
Chelsea have a massive game against Swansea City at Stamford Bridge today. It is a game that the Blues must win as we fight Arsenal and Tottenham for a top four finish, and it is one that we are expected to win. The Welsh club are sitting safely in mid-table and seem to have taken their foot off the gas since winning the Capital One cup against Bradford City in February.
Michael Laudrup’s team have won just once since that Wembley final, but the Danish manager will surely be trying to get his players to shake off the cobwebs and finish the season strongly. Remember also that Swansea knocked Chelsea out of that competition at the semi-final stage, so we should be ready for a tough game.
Chelsea have still got eight games to play this season. That includes the Europa League final at the Amsterdam Arena in Holland on May 15th. To get there, the Blues have got to get past the Swiss side Basel that knocked Tottenham Hotspur out in the last round. They are a good side, but Chelsea are better and have got the added bonus of Gary Cahill and Ashley Cole returning from injury.
Petr Cech was very disappointed to concede the equalising goal to Liverpool on Sunday, especially as we were leading until the 97th minute, but he says that now the Chelsea players need to relieve the ongoing pressure ahead of every game by taking a relaxing break in between matches.
Cech said: “‘We are in a position where we are fighting for everything,”
“There’s a lot of pressure in the Europa League because we want to win it and we are in the semi-finals.
The 27-year old central defender Gary Cahill seems to have been out of the Chelsea team for ages following a minor knee operation, but he is on the verge of returning. That is great news for Chelsea, as there could still be nine games to play if we reach the Europa League final by beating Basel in the semi.
There is an outside chance of Cahill making the match at Liverpool on Sunday, but if not then he will ready for the first leg against the team from Switzerland. He has already won the FA cup and the Champions League in his short career at Stamford Bridge and does not hide the fact that the group stage exit as holders of the European cup, along with exits from the English cup competitions were disappointing.
The Chelsea players have got to pick themselves up quick. There is no time to feel sorry about missing out on another FA cup final, because there is still the important matters of the Europa League and the race for a top four spot in the Premier League. The fact that there is no time to sit around and mope about the disappointing defeat to Man City on Sunday is probably a good thing, and the team must just focus on the remaining games.
With a mammoth and congested fixture list stretching out in front of them, Chelsea and Rafa Benitez will be glad of the opportunity to rest a few key players if necessary in the second leg against Rubin Kazan. Chelsea were easily the better side against Rubin Kazan at Stamford Bridge last night as they cruised to a 3-1 victory.
The Russians only got on the scoresheet because of a poor decision by the referee to award a penalty for a handball by John Terry. The Chelsea captain had his hands by his side and did not move towards the ball, in fact he would hardly have been able to given the speed it was struck at him. Apparently, Terry has less than a quarter of a second to react so it was a very harsh call.
Chelsea are still on course for a Europa League and FA cup double, after an absolutely outstanding piece of magic from Demba Ba produced the only goal of the game against Manchester United. The Blues will now fave Manchester City on Sunday April 14th at Wembley for a place in the final.