Chelsea v Rubin Kazan
Quarterfinal, UEFA Europa League
Stamford Bridge, London, England
Thursday, 4th April, 2013
Referee: Gianluca Rocchi (Italy)
Chelsea v Rubin Kazan
Chelsea will look to continue their great form against Russian opposition as they prepare to host Rubin Kazan. The Premier League side is also unbeaten at home in the Europa League so far.
Rubin Kazan are making their debut in the quarterfinals of a majore UEFA tournament. This is only their second visit to England, having lost in the 2011/12 Europa League group stage game at Tottenham.
The heroics against Bayern Munich seems a distant memory as Chelsea laboured in their defence, edged out at the first hurdle after a three-way tussle with Juventus and Shakhtar Donetsk.
Chelsea are inching towards becoming the first British side to complete a clean sweep of the three major UEFA club competitions. And in this quarterfinal, the Blues are at an advantage over Kazan.
Chelsea have played four matches against teams from the Russian Premier League and have won all four. Chelsea are also unbeaten in 11 European games at the Bridge. Their last defeat came at the hands of Manchester United in the 2010/11 Champions League quarterfinals.
Rafael Benitez is an experienced campaigner and he has a squad at his disposal which can deliver trophies. With Eden Hazard finally rediscovering the form that brough him the sobriquet ‘Little Messi’. Frank Lampard has played more European matches than any player left in this season’s Europa league (112).
Rubin Kazan Preview
Rubin Kazan also come into this game with a good trail of not having lost the last five European away games this season (W2 D3). They defeated Inter Milan 3-0 to top their group and managed to stun defending champions Atletico Madrid in the Round of 32.
Kazan’s coach Kurban Berdyev has been at the helm since 2001. He led his team to Russian successive Premier League triumphs in 2008 and 2009 and a Russian Cup trophy in 2012. The 33 year old midfielder from Turkey, Gokdeniz Karadeniz has started all ten of Rubin’s games since the start of the group stage and he has been the centre of their attacks.
This is the first time Rubin Kazan has reached the quarterfinal stage of a major European competition. They have played 40 European games (W14 D15 L11) and 24 of those have been in the Europa League (W10 D8 L6) where they scored 32 goals and conceded only 18.
Chelsea v Rubin Kazan Preview
Chelsea are big favourite with the bookies to win both halves against Rubin Kazan, who are fourth in the Russian league right now. Fernando Torres is the most favourite player to score tonight followed Frank Lampard. While Eden Hazard, Juan Mata and Rubin striker Jose Solomon Rondon have equal odds for scoring.
Chelsea are going into this game on a high after an FA Cup quarterfinal win over Manchester United. Rubin Kazan, on the other hand, hasn’t lost a game since their 1-0 loss against Atletico Madrid in February – they’ve played five games since (W3 D2).
Chelsea v Rubin Kazan Prediction
Although Steaua Bucuresti gave Chelsea a tough time in the last round but Chelsea still should be able to see Rubin through at the Bridge.
Prediction: Chelsea 3-1 Rubin Kazan