Chelsea vs Benfica – Champions League match preview

A few weeks ago Chelsea were a club in despair. There were arguments within the ranks, they were losing in the Premiership games away at West Brom and were trounced in Naples in the Champions League. But on Wednesday night, interim manager Roberto Di Matteo has the chance to lead his side into the Champions League semi-finals. After an excellent 1-0 victory in Lisbon the Blues host Benfica at Stamford Bridge and will be hoping they can replicate the performance that saw them keep a clean sheet and grab a precious away goal.

Ahead of the tie Di Matteo is cautious and very wary of the kind of threat that the Portuguese side pose; “This tie is far from over. They have scored in every away game of their Champions League season, so it’s a difficult task.” It would be fair to say that Chelsea fans will be quietly confident of progressing having won every single home Champions League game this season. The West Londoners have scored 14 home goals and conceded just the one which was against Napoli in the previous round. However, Benfica fans will also believe they have a chance having watched their side score at lease once on every away outing in the Champions League this season.

Chelsea have six wins and a draw from eight games since Di Matteo took temporary charge following the departure of Andre Villas-Boas. It has been reported that the mood in the Chelsea dressing room has changed dramatically with Frank Lampard one of a number of players praising the Italian.

If Chelsea progress to the semi-finals then they will be in a situation that they are very familiar with. Since 2003, the Blues have reached the semi-finals of the coveted European competition no less than five times but it is a stage that has been their Achilles heel. Of those five appearances, Chelsea have only made it to the final only once where they were beaten on penalties by English rivals Manchester United.

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