We had all hoped that Eden Hazard and John Terry would be fit enough to make the Europa League final against Benfica tomorrow night but they will unfortunately miss out, according to the Mirror.
The duo were always doubtful with their respective injuries suffered during the 2-1 win over Aston Villa at Villa Park on Saturday afternoon.
Ryan Bertrand may not have shaken his injury off in time either but Nathan Ake was pulled out of yesterday’s FA Cup Youth Final against Norwich City and is available to back Ashley Cole up at left-back if necessary.
John Obi Mikel has been out with a hip problem but did travel with the squad and says that he intends to play if called upon.
As for Benfica, they’ve just had a terrible weekend. Kelvin scored an injury time goal against the Lisbon side on Saturday which has seen Benfica concede top spot in the Portuguese table to their rivals Porto with one game remaining. It leaves Benfica needing at better result than Porto, who travel to Paços de Ferreira on Sunday. Although Paços de Ferreira represent the tougher opposition they have nothing to play for as they will finish third regardless, whereas Moreirense will be fighting Benfica for league survival.
The Chelsea lads will be desperate to try make up for their dismal Champions League defence by winning the Europa League and being the first side to hold both UEFA trophies at the same time, until one of the German sides competing at Wembley 10 days later crown themselves the new champions of Europe.
My Chelsea XI:
C. Azpilicueta – B. Ivanovic – D. Luiz – A. Cole
Ramires – F. Lampard (c)
Oscar – J. Mata – V. Moses
With a few injuries to contend with it may come to a point where Rafael Benitez will have to gamble at some point but it isn’t necessary from the off which is why I’ve only put in like-for-like changes in the above XI.
If it comes to it then David Luiz could be moved into the midfield, where he has been influential at time, and bring on Gary Cahill to take his place at the back but he’s still our best defender and we cannot ignore Benfica’s threat. John Obi Mikel, who was excellent in last season’s Champions League final, is also a great option if we needed to close things out and I wouldn’t be against starting him alongside Ramires, just don’t think Frank Lampard is going to be left out.
Victor Moses has shown good form in this competition in terms of goals along with Fernando Torres and I hope he continues. It would help make up for Hazard’s absence although his unique qualities are irreplaceable as no-one else can spark quite like the Belgian.