Chelsea vs. FC Basel Tactical Preview

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Chelsea vs. Basel XIsAlready 2-1 up from their first-leg trip to Switzerland, Chelsea play hosts to FC Basel this week hoping to tie up their place in this season’s Europa League final with the aim of winning a European title for the second consecutive campaign.

David Luiz’s 90th-minute winner gives Rafa Benitez’s side a controlling gripwith of the semi-final heading into their West London encounter with the Swiss giants, which could easily play its role in the Spaniard’s tactics heading into this match.

Currently sitting third in the Premier League, the Blues still have a big chance of qualifying for next season’s Champions League based solely on their domestic form while this week’s visitors lead the Swiss Super League race.

However, while that might suggest that Chelsea can afford to field maximum resources in their coming European venture, that might not be the case with some season-defining matches coming up domestically for the club.

With two away goals already under their belt, Chelsea are likely to abandon the 4-3-3 formation that worked so well for the side in Basel, instead opting for a more possession-friendly approach.

The main aim of Thursday’s meeting will be to allow the Swiss side as little of the ball as possible, keeping a clean sheet and perhaps even extending their lead in the process.

With two holding midfielders, Chelsea have a far greater chance of restraining the three-pronged Basel attack that has done the club wonders so far this season.

Working to such great effect in the first-leg, David Luiz will likely retain the central midfield role that he enjoys so much, but will instead have a counterweight alongside him in Ramires. Operating from the engine room, the duo’s priorities will lie in breaking up play through the central channels while, due to the creative flair possessed by the two, also being responsible for a great deal of any counter distribution.

Luiz’s presence in midfield will also add another aerial dimension for the Londoners, meaning the chances of finding Marco Streller through a long ball game might be made that much more difficult for Basel.

With Luiz in an advanced role, Rafa Benitez’s defence will likely look almost identical to that which took to the field last week, Branislav Ivanovic and John Terry re-forming their centre-back partnership. Cesar Azpilicueta will once again make the right-back spot his own, but after picking up a yellow card—and a suspension—in Switzerland, Ashley Cole will be replaced by Ryan Bertrand.

Although a 4-3-3 set-up has worked effectively for the Red and Blues this season, Murat Yakin may need to deploy new tactics this week if his men are to have any hopes of asserting a more offensive presence against their hosts.

In total, the Swiss outfit had just three shots on target against Petr Cech last week, half that which Chelsea managed to rack up despite playing away from home.

As such, Marcelo Diaz, who could only settle for a second-half substitution at St. Jakob-Park, may now find his way into a starting spot as part of a morphed 4-5-1 approach, Streller leading the assault.

What would Chelsea be without their creative trifecta back at Stamford Bridge?

Back in Basel, Juan Mata and Oscar were only introduced in the second period and, vital for the next couple of weeks, it’s likely that Mata will remain rested to begin with, although Oscar could come in for a starting place.

The Brazilian has shown this season that his game perhaps suits that of European football just slightly more comfortably and will line up in the centre of Chelsea’s attacking midfield, Victor Moses and Eden Hazard either side of him.

Although still not the Premier League success the club will have wanted, Fernando Torres will retain his place as the Blues’ main striker, Demba Ba being cup-tied after featuring for Newcastle United in the competition.

 

Projected Line-Ups

Chelsea: Cech; Azpilicueta, Terry, Ivanovic, Bertrand; Ramires, Luiz; Moses, Oscar, Hazard; Torres

FC Basel: Sommer; Degen, Schär, Dragovic, Joo-Ho; Diaz, F. Frei, Die; Salah, Stocker; Streller

1 Comment on "Chelsea vs. FC Basel Tactical Preview"

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  1. Oshor says:

    Forza Chelsea ..we’re playing Bayern at UEFA supercup in August

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