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SL Benfica - Opposition Views


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Our very own Pachman40 has kindly answered some questions on tonight's crucial Champions League Quarter Final game with SL Benfica!

Benfica produced a brilliant late result against Braga at the weekend - you obviously have great team spirit; but can you overturn this aggregate deficit? Normally I would be more confident, but my honest opinion is that our defense will be too leaky at the back given our injuries to prevent Chelsea from scoring a couple when we try to push for the needed goal. I think Benfica will score today, but it probably won't be enough.

The first leg was a very tight game that ultimately Chelsea triumphed in. Do you think the result was a fair reflection of the game? Honestly I think Benfica carried the game and were really unfortunate to score 1-2 goals. Chelsea played a disciplined game on the counter and it worked to perfection but it was a dangerous strategy. For the chances Benfica produced, ball possession, and how much Chelsea sat back, I think a fair result would have been a tie.

Salomon Kalou was last week's goalscorer, and opinion is divided amongst Chelsea fans over his quality. How do you rate the Ivorian? I'm a Chelsea fan as well so I'm familiar with the Kalou saga. Personally I think he's a good squad player, doesn't have the quality to be a regular starter, but definitely has a solid role in the team. That being said, I think his position in the squad is definitely one that can easily be improved with the available players in the transfer window and that's really what its all about. For me the question shouldn't be "Is he good?", the question should be "Can we do better?" and I think the answer is yes.

Barcelona beat AC Milan yesterday, so the winner of this tie will face them in the semi-finals. If you beat Chelsea, how would you rate your chances against them? Not very good to be honest, but that's why you play the games. I can see a similar scenario to AC Milan's tie where we would keep it close for one game but then their class would take over.

Benfica have a decent away record in the Champions League and have scored in every game. However Chelsea have won four out of four at Stamford Bridge - do you think you will be able to get the result you need? Again, if our squad health was 100% I would be much more confident of our chances. You haven't seen the best of Benfica by a long shot. I'm confident we'll score at the Bridge, but I'm even more confident we'll concede. Question is, how open will Chelsea play? If they play open then it could be a matter of who scores last.

Since Roberto di Matteo became Chelsea coach, Fernando Torres has slowly started to show signs of his previous form. He also created the winner at the Cathedral; but who do you fear most - el Nino or Didier Drogba? In this game, I think Torres matches up better against our defense. His movement will cause more confusion in a back four that are not used to playing together. Drogba when on his game is a wrecking ball up front, but with his own injury issues I think it would be a mistake to play him from the start. Nice option to come off the bench.

Chelsea let in two sloppy goals against Aston Villa on Saturday - does this give you much hope at a ground where they have only conceded once in the Champions League this season? Absolutely! Chelsea's back line, let's be honest, are very inconsistent. When they play well they are very strong, but the question is which defense will show up today? Benfica's attacking options are deep and I think they'll be up for it today knowing that they have to carry the defense. By the way, Chelsea's tendency to give up dangerous free kicks around the box is something to really watch for. If there's a free kick 5-10 yards out to the right side of the box, Cardozo with that rocket left foot is like a machine popping those into the top right corner, watch for it... and Cardozo has an amazing goal history against English competition.

History dictates that every time Chelsea win the away game of a Champions League tie, they draw the return leg at Stamford Bridge. Do you think Benfica can end this trend? Yes, but do I think its likely, not really. Chelsea are still riding the emotional high coming of the sacking of AVB and have played inspired for RDM for quite a few games, but they're due for a stinker, maybe Benfica will get lucky and today will be Chelsea's stinker.

With Chelsea only needing to draw, you have to go out for the win. Benfica will need to attack, but not over-zealously. Would you go all-out, or try and be more tactical and pick your moments to find the all-important goal you need? With our lineup at the back, I think the best defense is a good offense. Chelsea can't score if they're in their own half, so my strategy is to go balls to the wall and push offense and try to make this game a high-scoring shoot-out.

Finally - what do you think tonight's score will be, and which Benfica player will be the man to look out for? I think it will be an entertaining, highly offensive game, lots of goals, final score maybe 3-3. Benfica's man to watch is Cardozo for goals, but for playmaking, we need Gaitan to step up. Like I said from the beginning, may the best team win!!!!!!! Good luck, hopefully its a fair game where the ref stays in the background and let's the players decide the game. Looking forward to it!

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