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.
One man who will be very happy with the game is the Spanish striker Fernando Torres. He scored two goals and looked dangerous all night, which is a huge boost for him and his team mates. With Demba Ba doing the business in the Premier League, Benitez can rotate his strike force nicely, so that is one less area to worry about.
Ryan Bertrand showed some great skill filling in for Ashley Cole at left back, while Victor Moses scored a fantastic goal and, with Benayoun, gave Oscar and Hazard a well deserved break. With Sunderland visiting the Bridge on Sunday, Chelsea can play a strong side to avoid any new manager shocks from Paolo Di Canio’s first game.
The next big test will be against Manchester City in the FA cup semi-final next weekend, and the option to rest some key players on the Thursday could be vitally important.