Cheslea v Benfica, 19:45 (agg. 1-0)
The winner of this tie will go into the last four knowing they are not expected to make any kind of impact on the final. As good as the Benfica team is at present, they can’t honestly say that anyone is putting them on a level with Bayern, Barcelona or Real Madrid, the likely other qualifiers, and Chelsea are basically killing time before their next spending spree. The question for the Blues right now is who will still be at Stamford Bridge when that spree begins.
However, the longer this unexpected European Cup run goes on, the larger the chances become that it may be the flat faced Italian, di Matteo, who is given the next lot of cash to spend. A win in this round would make it three games further than anyone was expecting of him and his charges and the potential for a two-leg battle with the elite of the continent will have Chelsea fans drooling. Bayern and Real are solid, talented and massively experienced, but I’d fancy the Barca tie to be an absolute classic.
Right now, though, the home side have a decision to make about how defensive they will be. Benfica are not to be taken lightly, and with the likes of Gaitan and Cardozo operating in the final third for them it will be a real challenge for the home back four to stay focussed on stopping any potential counter-attack. Torres is 5’s with Victor Chandler to score first, and although I backed him to do so last week and was let down, the improvement in his form is unmissable.