Chelsea’s progression the knockout stages of the Champions League has been secured despite them losing to a late goal in Basel yesterday evening.
Mohamed Salah, who netted the equaliser when the sides met at Stamford Bridge in September, scored late on to secure back to back wins over the Blues for Murat Yakin’s side.
Petr Cech kept the visitors, who only mustered one attempt on goal throughout the whole match, in the game with several saves.
However, thanks to Steaua Bucharest’s goalless draw with Schalke in Group E’s other fixture means that Jose Mourinho’s men cannot drop to third place, regardless of the results on match day six.
The club will now turn their attention to Sunday afternoon’s Premier League clash with Southampton, where they will be looking to keep pressure on leaders Arsenal who they meet next month.
Meanwhile, the Daily Star have reported that both Manchester United and Liverpool have taken to Twitter to call for their respective clubs to sign Juan Mata.
The Spain international has been strongly linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge after falling down the pecking order since Jose Mourinho returned to the club.
He has completed ninety minutes just one this season – the Capital One Cup third round victory over Swindon Town in September.
Fernando Torres is available for Chelsea’s Champions League Group E clash with FC Basel.
The 29 year old Spain international has not featured since the 2-0 defeat to Newcastle United earlier this month, but could lead the line for the visitors at St Jakob Park this evening, where a point for the Blues would seal qualification for the knockout stages, and victory would see them progress as group winners.
David Luiz has not travelled with the squad due to a bruised patella, and will be out for a week.
Gary Cahill and club captain John Terry are set to continue in the centre of defence, while Ashley Cole may play despite a niggling rib problem though Cesar Azpilicueta is ready to deputise after impressing on the left recently.
The Swiss Champions ran out 2-1 winners when the sides met in September, though Jose Mourinho’s men have responded well, first with a 4-0 win over Steaua in Bucharest and then back to back 3-0 victories over Schalke.
The group’s other game sees Steaua host Schalke, where victory for the visitors will secure their place in the next round should Chelsea win, while the Romanian champions must win to have any chance of progressing.
Ashley Cole has not travelled with the Chelsea squad for this evening’s Champions League clash at Schalke.
The left back has failed to recover from a rib injury in time to feature, so Ryan Bertrand in expected to deputise, with Cole likely to return in time for Sunday’s clash with Manchester City.
Andre Schurrle has made the trip despite missing Saturday’s win over Cardiff City.
Chelsea will go top of Group E if they beat the Bundesliga side, and better Basel’s result in Bucharest.
The Blues last faced the Miners in the group stages of the 2007/08 campaign, drawing 0-0 at the Veltins Arena having won 2-0 at Stamford Bridge two weeks earlier.
The club went on to reach the final in Moscow, where they were defeated on penalties by Manchester United.
Captain John Terry is targeting another final appearance this time around having been suspended for the Blues win in Munich in 2012, and has insisted that he is not thinking about his future, according to Sky Sports.
Jose Mourinho has previously stated that the 32 year old ‘need not worry’ about his future at Stamford Bridge.
The former England captain has played every minute of the Blues league campaign so far this season.
Jose Morinho’s first Champions League tie since returning to Chlesea ended in disappointment as the Blues fell to a shock 2-1 defeat to Swiss champions FC Basel at Stamford Bridge.
The hosts took the lead towards the end of the first half as Oscar fired in an angled shot, before the visitors equalised through Mohammed Salah on 71 minutes.
The home fans were then stunned as Basel captain Marco Streller nodded in eight minutes before time to secure a famous win for Murat Yakin’s men.
With the Schalke beating Steaua Bucharest in the groups other match, Mourinho’s men sit in third place ahead of their trip to Romania a week on Tuesday.
Last night’s result came exactly six years since the Poruguese boss’s final game of his first spell in charge of the Blues – a 1-1 draw with Norweigian side Rosenborg.
The 50 year old has played Chelsea’s chances of emerging victorious from this seasons European campaign, describing his squad as “young eggs who need nurturing”, though the team he selected last night boasted a host of experience.
Nine of the starting XI, which included old heads Frank Lampard, Petr Cech, Ashley Cole and new signing Samuel Eto’o, have played in, and won at least one major European final at club level.
Posted in Chelsea News
Tagged Ashley Cole, Chelsea, FC Basel, Frank Lampard, Marco Streller, Mohammed Salah, Oscar, Petr Cech, Samuel Eto'o, Schalke, Steaua Bucharest
Midfield duo Frank Lampard and Oscar will both start this evening’s Champions League group opener against FC Basel at Stamford Bridge.
The pair came off the bench in the second half of the 1-0 defeat to Everton on Saturday afternoon – the Blues’ first loss in the league this season.
Manager Jose Mourinho has no injury concerns ahead of the game, though he is set to name four players under the age of 22 against one of the sides the club beat en route to winning the Europa League last season.
Meanwhile, Demba Ba is ready to fight for his place in Mourinho’s starting eleven, BT Sport understands.
The striker was on the verge of securing a loan move to Arsenal during the summer transfer window only for the Blues boss to pull the plug on a potential deal following the North London sides capture of Mesut Ozil.
Senegal international Ba has made just one appearance for the club this season, and has fallen further down the pecking order following the arrival of Samuel Eto’o.
He admitted that he was interested in moving to the Gunners, as he believed that was his best opportunity to play more games, but he will now look to kick start his Chelsea career.