Ahead of this week’s Europa League final clash, Benfica star Pablo Aimar has been talking a good game. The 33 year old Argentinian midfielder has been quite outspoken in his belief that his Benfica have the beating of the Blues. Speaking to The Daily Mirror, Aimar said: “Of course, Chelsea are a big club, but this is not the same team that won the Champions League a year ago,” he said. “This team got knocked out at the group stages. They have not been convincing in Europe or in the Premier League.
“Since they have inherited a wealthy owner, this is probably the weakest Chelsea team there has been.
“And it is a team that is not behind the coach. We can take advantage of the fact they are not at their best and not playing as a team.”
While Aimar has a point about early season performances in Europe and in the league, few would argue that Chelsea have looked a completely revitalised team in recent weeks. Despite a truly gruelling fixture schedule that placed huge demands on the squad, we have managed to beat the new champions along the road to securing our top 4 spot while cruising through to the Europa League final.
Benfica are a strong team with some exception players; of that there is no doubt. In Oscar Cardozo they have a prolific striker who can cause trouble against any defence. With 16 league goals in 20 games this season and 6 Europa League goals to his name, Cardozo is definitely the danger man in this Benfica squad. None the less, Benfica have far more reason to be concerned about us than we do of them. Although Benitez leaves at the end of the season, he has always been a strong cup manager. Rafa aside, this is still a team that can beat any other on their day.
Aimar can certainly talk the talk, but it remains to be seen whether his team can walk the walk against this Chelsea team. Benfica deserve our respect, but we absolutely need not fear them. Roll on Wednesday…..