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Chelsea can seal Europa League with 2-1 Benfica victory

| 15.05.2013

After 67 games Chelsea’s arduous season has arrived at their second European final in as many campaigns and in Benfica they’ll face opponents who must try to pick themselves up after a hugely demoralising weekend.

Having reached that point of their domestic season undefeated, Jorge Jesus’ men were heading for a draw at closest challengers Porto which would have handed them the title, before Kelvin’s injury time winner tore the trophy from their hands.

The mental impact of losing in such a manner – Benfica manager Jorge Jesus dropped to his very knees when the Brazilian’s volley powered home – may be hard for the Portuguese to come back from in Amsterdam.

Chelsea on the other hand are on a fine run of form that has done much to quell anti-Rafa Benitez sentiment among the Stamford Bridge rank and file, winning six and drawing the remainder two of their last eight games.

Both the Blues and their Europa League final foes have found clean sheets hard to come by amongst their recent good form, suggesting both sides should score in the final – an outcome that’s backable at 7/10.

Benfica’s backline has been breached in eight of their last 10 games, whilst Chelsea have shipped at least once in seven of their last 10.

Chelsea beat Benfica home and away in last season’s Champions League knockout stages and with interim head-coach Benitez a superior tactician to then manager Roberto Di Matteo – who masterminded those victories – they’re taken to win this encounter.

However, one of Benfica’s greatest assets is their defensive organisation – Jesus’ men are yet to concede more than twice in a game all season – so it seems likely that a brace of strikes should rate the ceiling of Chelsea’s goal-scoring ambitions in Amsterdam.

Considering Chelsea’s defensive chastity has been breached in six of their last eight Europa League matches it seems unlikely they’ll shut out their rivals and they’re taken to land the 9/1 odds available about a Blues win by a 2-1 scoreline.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.



Thomas Reynolds