Jose Mourinho was well satisfied with his side’s 3-0 victory at West Ham on Saturday in a match in which they dominated and were rarely troubled. He will hope for more of the same as the Blues travel to Basel on Tuesday looking to avenge the home defeat they suffered at the hands of the Swiss side back in September.
On that day Basel came back from a goal down (scored just before half time by Oscar) to win the match 2-1 thanks to late goals from Mohamed Salah and Marco Streller. But – despite a few hiccoughs – Chelsea have come on since then and should have more than enough to get the result that will ensure they finish at the top of Group E and hopefully secure an easier tie in the next phase of the competition.
Basel are currently top of the Swiss Super League, having lost just once in their 15 matches. They were beaten at home by Schalke in the Champions League in October, however, and given Chelsea made short work of the Germans both home and away (winning 3-0 on each occasion) we certainly think Mourinho’s men will win this one comfortably. With a potentially tough home match against Southampton on Sunday the manager would probably like to have this one sewn up early in order to have the luxury of withdrawing key players in the second half. As such we expect the Blues to start fast and build on the confidence gained from the win at West Ham.
Frank Lampard scored twice against his former club at the weekend, and the club’s leading all-time scorer could be given another chance to shine on Tuesday. Whether Juan Mata is given another chance to prove his worth to the Special One remains to be seen of course, but either way the Blues will have more than enough creativity and attacking prowess to get the better of their Swiss opposition.
Fernando Torres is unlikely to be fit for this one, but Samuel Eto’o appears to be finding his feet and – despite not being exactly prolific having scored just four goals this term – he should be given the nod ahead of Demba Ba.
When Chelsea visited Basel last season in the Europa League they won the match 2-1, with goals from Victor Mosses and David Luiz. We envisage at least as good a result this time around given Chelsea have been imperious in the Champions League since fluffing their lines against Basel, winning three, scoring 10 and conceding none. But we have a sneaking suspicion the home side might catch the visitors on the break once or twice and so wouldn’t be surprised to see them grab a consolation goal. Overall though this match should be an easy three points for the Blues as they march on to the Champions League knockout stages once again.
LCN Verdict: Chelsea to win 3-1