Chelsea 3 Basel 1: Three lessons as Blues reach Amsterdam final
Chelsea 3 Basel 1: What lessons did we learn as the Blues booked their place in the Europa League final?
Chelsea find holes in Swiss defence
It was Basel who started the brighter of the two teams at Stamford Bridge as they attempted to press Chelsea during the opening exchanges. Unfortunately for Murat Yakin’s charges, their industry and pressure proved inefficient as Chelsea ran out comfortable 3-1 winners on the night. Despite the fact that it was Basel who opened the scoring, it was Rafael Benítez’s side who would eventually take control of the last-four tie. On the stroke of half-time, Mohamed Salah stroked the ball home superbly from close range to give Basel a precious away goal, and it looked as though they might cause an upset. However, as soon as the second half kicked off, Chelsea were a rejuvenated team and began to play with added vigour and momentum. Soon, last year’s Champions League winners found themselves level through the boot of Fernando Torres and it was then that they really began to exert some dominance. A mere two minutes later and Chelsea had found the net once more, this time thanks to the in-form Victor Moses, who has now scored in each of their last four Europa League matches. By the time David Luiz’s exquisite strike had gone in, it was game over for the Swiss side, who never really looked like recovering.
Lampard fails to equal Tambling’s record
In truth, the result was a fantastic one for Chelsea and they fully deserved it too. However, it was unfortunate that Frank Lampard couldn’t put the icing on the cake by equalling Bobby Tambling’s club record of 202 Blues goals. Unfortunately for the England international, it wasn’t to be as the more inexperienced players in the squad stole the limelight and really stepped up to the plate. In fact, their performance was a true team effort that really underlined their tenacity. Aside from a poor first-half display, the London-based club rallied behind each other and showed tremendous spirit to fight back following Salah’s cruelly-timed opener. The Stamford Bridge faithful will be hopeful now that their players can bring home their second European honour in as many years when they face up to Benfica for the final in Amsterdam.
Basel Blow away by Blues
Unfortunately, Basel were unable to sustain their sprightly start to the tie and looked rather out of sorts at pivotal moments in the match. A more focused display from them at the beginning of the second half could well have limited the damage of Chelsea’s offensive forages to some extent, however, it was the home side’s offensive superiority that really proved their undoing away from home. The loss means that Valentin Stocker and company are still without a win on English soil in their club’s history. However, on the basis of their performances throughout the campaign, one senses that they aren’t too far away from setting that record straight. Although Marco Streller, Serey Die and the other Basel players weren’t good enough to win this evening, they have really injected a real vibrancy into this season’s Europa League and it probably won’t be long before they’re back in the hunt for European success.