Lee Dixon: Back the Blues to bully their way past Basel and into the final

2May 2013

Europa Liga


Chelsea have a 2-1 first leg lead in the bag and few are backing against them making the final of the Europa League, including Lee Dixon...


The games come thick and fast for Chelsea but the Blues don't seem to get bothered and it looks as though the season will end with Champions League qualification and a  European final at the least.


That will not match the achievements of the previous campaign of course, but it would suit most other teams and given the turmoil that has threatened to overtake the  club at times it would represent a success of sorts.


And if that doesn't get the Stamford Bridge faithful smiling it may be that next season will begin with Jose Mourinho back at the club, a return that would delight the  Chelsea support and get the Manchester giants thinking about the threat from west London too.


Let's forget Mourinho for a minute and focus on Rafa Benitez, who has done a commendable job in spite of ferocious criticism from the fanbase at times this year.  Rafa's Chelsea are 1.73 to win the Europa League and 1.22 for a top four finish so it seems certain he'll leave with his head held high having secured one or both of those achievements.


I really don't see them struggling at home to Basel, who were hugely disappointing in the first leg. After knocking out Tottenham, the Swiss side looked a real danger  but they never got going and the late second goal that David Luiz scored was a real killer. A 1-1 draw would have given them a chance but the 2-1 deficit makes the  task distinctly unlikely as odds of 12.0 on Basel to qualify would suggest. I guess the one silver lining for the visitors is their pace - Basel are quick on the break and playing away from home suits them.


I won't be betting on them, however. The Swiss Super League leaders simply couldn't impose themselves on Chelsea as they did to Spurs. The Blues retain a few physical  characters and I think they will boss this.


Chelsea have kept a few clean sheets recently and blanked Basel in the first leg until the 87th minute when the home side were awarded an iffy penalty. A Chelsea win  to nil trades at around 2.74 and that will be my main bet. I fancy the home side will win this 2-0 or 3-0, options that can be backed at 9.0 and 13.0 if you prefer to back at bigger odds.


And it could be that a true Chelsea hero gets on the scoresheet with Frank Lampard poised to become the team's leading all-time goalscorer. Frank is always a danger  and if he plays you have to fancy him to score, especially as he takes spot kicks.


Benitez is an unsentimental manager and second guessing his team selections is never easy but with a first leg lead in the bag he might just let Frank loose from the  off. And if he does, let's take a chance on the England midfielder to open the scoring.


Recommended Bets

Back Chelsea to win to nil @ 2.74

Back Lampard to score first @ 7.5 (if he starts)



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Keywords: Lee Dixon, Blues, Basel, final

Source: Betfair

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