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PRE-MATCH BRIEFING: CHELSEA V BASEL

TACTICAL BRIEF
A place in the 2013 Europa League final is at stake tonight. What are the factors that might define whether it's Chelsea or Basel who make it to Amsterdam in May?

Key battles
Murat Yakin bemoaned Basel's heavy schedule after their 0-3 home defeat against Lucerne, the first in the league at St Jakob-Park this season. However, the manager was also critical of the handful of players he'd drafted in who had not been involved in Chelsea's 2-1 win on Thursday.

The team looked jaded and reporters suggested the loss shattered Yakin's shield of invincibility. However, Chelsea's win - after their 13 games without defeat at home - had already ended their long and proud unbeaten run in Europe.

The hosts lapsed into several unforced errors to ease Lucerne's victory, as well as a lack of cutting edge upfront. Former Liverpool right-back Philipp Degen was left for dead on Lucerne's first, while centre-back Aleksandar Dragovic missed a hasty halfway line challenge on the second and allowed a pass to bounce through his legs leading to the third. Mohamed Elneny was rested on Sunday; Salah came off the bench on 63 minutes.

To compound matters the visitors brought back their recent recruit, former Basel striker Alex Frei, a reminder of the experience and dynamism that was clearly missed during our Europa League meeting.

Argentinean centre-forward Raúl Bobadilla - ineligible for this competition - stood in (though six inches shorter) for injured skipper Marco Streller and looked less at ease with Basel's pass-and-move style.

Dragovic, who scored against Spurs in the previous round, was one of three Basel players who had previously featured in all 13 games for the Swiss. The other two are pacy forward Mohamed Salah and goalkeeper Yann Sommer, who was criticised for mishandling Luíz's winner but also made several decent saves.

Much of that is heartening news for the Blues, who followed up the impressive win in Switzerland by pulling two points away from rivals Arsenal and Spurs by beating Swansea. Chelsea should be less distracted by domestic issues than the Swiss.

An important aspect of the first-leg win was the balance and defensive solidity of the Blues. Rafael Benitez expects Ramires to recover from a dead leg but in any case David Luiz has excelled there.

He is one of the reasons Chelsea have been cutting supply lines of opponents between midfield and wide areas, and swiftly converting to attack. First-leg goalscorer Victor Moses may well have another Europa League run out tonight.

Branislav Ivanovic was given a break at the weekend and could return at right- or centre-back, especially for set-plays, where the Blues clearly had the edge over Basel. Mikel has not been involved since the draw at Liverpool.

Fernando Torres will step back in for the ineligible Demba Ba and Ashley Cole's suspension should ensure a recall for Ryan Bertrand. The left-back will have to be at his best to handle Salah's nippy mischief.

Streller has been nursing a hamstring injury and was rested in the weekend defeat. The 6ft 6in target man, whose touch surprisingly let him down at times under pressure from John Terry, expects to be fit this evening, as does knee victim Fabian Schär.

Stocker and Ivanovic

When holding the ball better he links very well with Mohamed Elneny and the bustling Valentin Stocker (pictured above), who hit the post during our initial encounter and won the penalty - however fortuitously - that centre-back Schär converted. That is the goal that should keep Chelsea on our toes tonight.


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PRE-MATCH BRIEFING: CHELSEA V BASEL

CHELSEA STATS
The Blues are unbeaten in 12 home European games (10 wins, two draws) since losing to Manchester United in the 2010/11 Champions League quarter-finals.

We have failed to keep a clean sheet in our six Champions League and Europa League matches at Stamford Bridge this term.

The Blues are looking to become the only English club to win all three major UEFA competitions having won the Champions League last season and the Cup Winners' Cup in 1971 and 1998.

Three clubs that have achieved it are Juventus, Ajax and Bayern Munich. (The Inter-Cities Fairs Cup was not organised by UEFA.)

If the Super Cup is included, only two sides currently have the set: Juventus and Ajax. Chelsea are aiming to become the third.

Chelsea have reached a European semi-final for the seventh time in 10 seasons. Overall it is our 12th semi-final in 22 European campaigns. We have progressed from four and lost in seven.

Chelsea's 11 previous European semi-finals
1965/66 Fairs Cup Barcelona lost 0-5 in the play-off
1970/71 Cup Winners' Cup Man City won 2-0 on agg
1994/95 Cup Winners' Cup Real Zaragoza lost 3-4 on agg
1997/98 Cup Winners' Cup Vicenza won 3-2 on agg
1998/99 Cup Winners' Cup Real Mallorca lost 1-2 on agg
2003/04 Champions League Monaco lost 3-5 on agg
2004/05 Champions League Liverpool lost 0-1 on agg
2006/07 Champions League Liverpool drew 1-1, lost on penalties
2007/08 Champions League Liverpool won 4-3 on agg
2008/09 Champions League Barcelona drew 1-1, lost on away goals
2011/12 Champions League Barcelona won 3-2 on agg


Chelsea's home record against Swiss teams
2000/01 St Gallen W 1-0 UEFA Cup first round second leg (agg 1-2)

 

Chelsea's last 10 years in Europe
2002/03 - UEFA Cup - first round
2003/04 - Champions League - semi-final
2004/05 - Champions League - semi-final
2005/06 - Champions League - round of 16
2006/07 - Champions League - semi-final
2007/08 - Champions League - runners-up
2008/09 - Champions League - semi-final
2009/10 - Champions League - round of 16
2010/11 - Champions League - quarter-final
2011/12 - Champions League - winners

 

Last six results
Apr 11 Rubin Kazan (Europa League a) L 2-3
Apr 14 Manchester City (FA Cup Wembley) L 1-2
Apr 17 Fulham (a) W 3-0
Apr 21 Liverpool (a) D 2-2
Apr 25 Basel (Europa League a) W 2-1
Apr 28 Swansea (h) W 2-0

 

European scorers
Torres 7, Oscar 6, Mata 4, Moses 4, D Luiz 3 (1 pen), Cahill 2, Hazard 1, Ramires 1, Terry 1. Total: 29


Chelsea's next three games
Sun 5 May Manchester United away 4pm
Wed 8 May Tottenham home 7.45pm
Sat 11 May Aston Villa away 12.45pm

 

MILESTONES
Frank Lampard needs one goal to equal our all-time top scorer Bobby Tambling on 202.

If selected, John Terry will make his 550th start for the Blues.


BASEL STATS
Founded
1893

Major honours
15 Swiss league titles, last in 2012
11 Swiss Cups, last in 2012
1 Swiss League Cup in 1972


Basel are making their debut in a European semi-final. Their previous best season was the European Cup quarter-final in 1973/74 when they were beaten 6-5 on aggregate by Celtic.

Basel have not won an away game in the Europa League this term (four draws and two defeats).

Seventy-one per cent of their goals in this competition have come in the second half.

Basel are the only reigning domestic champions left in the competition. They have played more European matches this term (19) than any other surviving team.

Their record in 19 games against English teams is won three, drawn seven and lost nine. Basel have never won in England.


Last ten league seasons
2002/03 - 2nd
2003/04 - 1st
2004/05 - 1st
2005/06 - 2nd
2006/07 - 2nd
2007/08 - 1st
2008/09 - 3rd
2009/10 - 1st
2010/11 - 1st
2011/12 - 1st

 

Basel's away games against English teams in Europe
2001/02 Aston Villa L 1-4 Intertoto Cup final first leg
2002/03 Liverpool D 1-1 Champions League group stage
2002/03 Manchester Utd D 1-1 Champions League second group stage
2003/04 Newcastle L 0-1 UEFA Cup second round first leg
2005/06 Middlesbrough L 1-4 UEFA Cup quarter-final first leg
2006/07 Blackburn L 0-3 UEFA Cup group stage
2009/10 Fulham L 0-1 Europa League group stage
2011/12 Manchester Utd D 3-3 Champions League group stage
2012/13 Tottenham D 2-2 (won 4-1 on pens aet) Europa League quarter-final second leg

 

Ten-year European record
2002/03 - Champions League second group stage
2003/04 - UEFA Cup second round
2004/05 - UEFA Cup round of 32 having transferred from the Champions League third qualifying round
2005/06 - UEFA Cup quarter-finals having transferred from the Champions League third qualifying round
2006/07 - UEFA Cup group stage
2007/08 - UEFA Cup round of 32
2008/09 - Champions League group stage
2009/10 - Europa League group stage
2010/11 - Europa League round of 32 having transferred from the Champions League group stage
2011/12 - Champions League round of 16

 

2012/13 European results
Champions League 2nd qual round
Jul 17 Flora (a) W 2-0
Jul 24 Flora (h) W 3-0
Champions League 3rd qual round
Aug 1 Molde (a) W 1-0
Aug 8 Molde (h) D 1-1
Champions League play-offs
Aug 21 CFR Cluj (h) L 1-2
Aug 29 CFR Cluj (a) L 0-1
Europa League Group G
Sep 20 Sporting Lisbon (a) D 0-0
Oct 4 KRC Genk (h) D 2-2
Oct 25 Videoton (a) L 1-2
Nov 8 Videoton (h) W 1-0
Nov 22 Sporting Lisbon (h) W 3-0
Dec 6 KRC Genk (a) D 0-0
Europa League round of 32
Feb 14 Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk (h) W 2-0
Feb 21 Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk (a) D 1-1
Round of 16
Mar 7 Zenit St Petersburg (h) W 2-0
Mar 14 Zenit St Petersburg (a) L 0-1
Quarter-final
Apr 4 Tottenham (a) D 2-2
Apr 11 Tottenham (h) (won 4-1 on pens) D 2-2aet
Semi-final
Apr 25 Chelsea (h) L 1-2

 

Europa League Group G final table
P W D L F A Pts
KRC Genk 6 3 3 0 9 4 12
Basel 6 2 3 1 7 4 9
Videoton 6 2 0 4 6 8 6
Sporting Lisbon 6 1 2 3 4 10 5

 

European scorers
Streller 5 (1 pen), Schär 4 (2 pens), A Frei 3 (2 pens), Stocker 3, Zoua 3, D Degen 2, Diaz 2, Dragovic 1, F Frei 1, Salah 1. Total 25.

 

Last six domestic results
Apr 1 Luzern (a) W 4-0
Apr 7 St Gallen (a) D 1-1
Apr 14 Zurich (h) W 3-1
Apr 17 Sion (Swiss Cup semi-final a) W 1-0
Apr 21 Thun (a) D 2-2
Apr 28 Luzern (h) L 0-3

 

Swiss Super League top half
Pld Gd Pts
1 Basel 29 +26 57
2 Grasshoppers 29 +10 54
3 St Gallen 29 +15 50
4 Sion 28 -1 42
5 Zurich 29 +6 39

 

THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE
Referee Jonas Eriksson, his two assistant referees and two additional assistant referees are all from Sweden. He handled our 1-0 Champions League win at Porto in 2009, as well a 2-1 home defeat for Basel at the hands of CFR Cluj in the same competition last August.


OTHERWISE ENGAGED
Ashley Cole and Basel's previously ever-present Aleksandar Dragovic are suspended.

Demba Ba is cup-tied having already played for Newcastle in this season's competition.

Europa League bookings list
Players receive a one-match suspension for collecting three, five and seven yellow cards.
Chelsea (19): D Luiz 4 (already served a suspension), Cole 3, Bertrand 2, Mikel 2, Ramires 2, Azpilicueta 1, Benayoun 1, Cahill 1, Marin 1, Oscar 1, Terry 1
Basel (30): P Degen 5 (already served two suspensions for 3 and 5), Serey Die 4 (already served a suspension), Streller 4 (already served a suspension), Dragovic 3, Park Joo Ho 3 (already served a suspension), D Degen 2, F Frei 2, Schär 2, Ajeti 1, Cabral 1, Diaz 1, Elneny 1, Stocker 1

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