Chelsea is set to visit FC Basel 1983 in Switzerland in the first leg of the semifinals of the UEFA Europa league competition. Through a tremulous season, this tournament offers Chelsea their final chance to bring a trophy back to Stamford Bridge.
With the alternate focus on finishing the top four of the Premier League, it will be interesting to see how Chelsea address their starting lineup. With seven games (or eight if they reach the final), the finish line is in sight for the Blues.
Here is a look at the ideal lineup to face Basel.
Goalkeeper: Petr Cech
Is there any other option for Chelsea? Cech has been remarkable for Chelsea this season, doing whatever he can to keep the squad in matches. He'll be an important piece of the puzzle in this once for Chelsea. Against an inspired team on their pitch, Chelsea will likely need a strong performance from their keeper.
Defenders: Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz, John Terry, Ryan Bertrand
The Chelsea defense has been suspect over the last four matches as they've given up 1.5 goals per match. They need to tighten up in the back in order to get a solid result against Basel. From the previous match, the only change is John Terry for Branislav Ivanovic. With Ashley Cole injured, Bertrand gets the start while Luiz and Azpilicueta remain after decent performances.
Defensive mids: Frank Lampard, Ramires
Lampard came on as a late sub against Liverpool, so he should see the pitch with Chelsea's rotation. He's played well as of late, despite a recent dip after this strong run during the end of March. Ramires should get the start in favor of Mikel in order to boost Chelsea's chances of getting an important away goal. Ramires adds more in the attack as a box-to-box midfielder.
Attacking mids: Marko Marin, Juan Mata, Eden Hazard
With Oscar leaving the pitch after an injury against Liverpool, he should be on the bench in this game. Chelsea have multiple options in this area with Hazard, Mata, Yossi Benayoun, Marin and Victor Moses. Mata, who has so often been the lifeline of this team, should definitely be in the starting XI if Chelsea hope to earn a victory.
While Benayoun has a been regular in Europa matches, Marin has more quality in attack. Hazard is the best choice for Chelsea to send a message and get a few goals to put Basel on life support heading back to the Bridge.
Striker: Fernando Torres
The only option at striker, Torres will definitely get the start. His form has been all over the place throughout this season. While it wouldn't be shocking to see Torres score a couple of goals, it also wouldn't be a surprise if he struggled.