Chelsea can book their place in the Champions League knockout stages this midweek if they can exact revenge on FC Basel. Jaymes Monte previews.
Chelsea to win @ 20/23
Over 2.5 goals @ 5/6
Basel welcome Chelsea to St. Jakob-Park on the back of a seven-game unbeaten stretch. However, four of those games have been draws, including home and away against Steaua in the Champions League.
Since beating Chelsea 2-1 at Stamford Bridge back in September, the Swiss champions have not won any of their three Champions League fixtures and unless they can complete the double over the Blues they look set to assume a consolation place in the Europa League in the New Year.
Chelsea travel to Switzerland on the back of a 3-0 rout at Upton Park on Saturday afternoon. Frank Lampard ended a 10-game barren run in front of goal to score his third and fourth goals of the campaign and his first in the Premier League since the opening day of the season, while Brazilian Oscar scored the other.
The Blues have now won two, lost one and drawn one of their last four fixtures in a slightly disconcerting run of form.
However, in contrast to Basel, Jose Mourinho’s side have won all three of their Champions League fixtures since the opening round meeting, scoring 10 and not conceding in the process.
Fernando Torres is back in training following an abductor injury, but wasn’t deemed fit enough to be included in the squad at the weekend. Ashely Cole had recovered sufficiently from his rib injury sustained on international duty to take up a place on the bench and could progress to the starting XI here. Marco van Ginkel is the only long-term absentee for the Blues.
Basel midfielder Marcelo Diaz is out for the remainder of the Champions League campaign with a broken rib.
Head to Head
This will be the fourth time that Chelsea and Basel have met in 2013 after they also crossed paths in the semi-finals of the Europa League last season. Both teams have scored in each of the three meetings to date, with Basel’s Egyptian international Mohamed Salah scoring in two of those games.
Chelsea can be backed at odds of 20/23 to wrap up qualification to the knockout stages with all three points, and look a very good bet to do so. As well as being professional about the job, Mourinho will be keen to gain some revenge for a result that dented his superb record at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea have scored at least three in each of their last three Champions League games, and considering that Basel have found the net in each of the last three games against the London club we have to look to back Over 2.5 goals at odds of 5/6. After his weekend brace Frank Lampard, at odds of 9/4, is a good a bet as anyone in the Chelsea side to get his name on the scoresheet.