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Why Chelsea shouldn’t underestimate Benfica

A lot of Chelsea fans appear to be very happy that they were drawn against Benfica in the Champions League, here’s why you really shouldn’t be too confident.

nicolas gaitan benfica

Gaitan - Benfica Dangerman

A lot of Chelsea fans appear to be very happy that they were drawn against S.L. Benfica in the Champions League quarter finals, but really you shouldn’t be too confident.

You can’t underestimate Benfica, they play very much like an English team; open, offensive but solid the back. Often when they pass the ball around they can become exposed and out of shape, playing 3 defenders and 6 midfielders with Javi Garcia being the defensive midfielder and Maximiliano Pereira playing as a wide midfielder as well. Despite being a defender he acts more like a winger who will defend and attack making it more a 3 man defence.

Chelsea will have to expose the weakness of the centre back Garay, who is a decent player but not top-drawer. Garay  will probably be covered by Luisao who is very good at his job though. Benfica can switch from playing box to box and going all out to sitting back and being more tactical in their approach. Cardozo is likely to be the lone man up front with one of the midfielders, Aimar or Gaitan, two brilliant players supporting, him so he doesn’t become isolated.

In their last game against SC Beira-Mar Benfica had 62% possession and 12 shots on goal and completely dominated with Cardozo scoring twice and Gaitan scoring one in a 3-1 win, conceding a goal when the back 3 were exposed. Also, the link up play between the midfielders and strikers will have to be stopped because Benfica are very fluid and could catch Chelsea’s ageing midfielders out, to stop this they must cut the supply line to Cardozo, who can hold the ball up and lay it off to midfielders like Gaitan and Aimar who could punish Chelsea.

The Blues have to break up the line between Benfica’s midfield and attack. This is key, so playing a defence minded player like Essien or Mikel is so important, not just to break up their attacks and preventing counter attacks but to protect the back four and make the team more solid, and they must stay in position!

If Benfica do not play 3-1-5-1 it will probably be 3-1-4-2 taking one of the midfielders out and replacing them with either Javier Saviola or Nelson Oliveira who are also exceptional players. The Portuguese side are second in the Primeira Liga, one point behind leaders Porto and drew twice with Premier League champions Manchester United this season in the group stage of the Champions League, so it just shows that they are not a side to be underrated.

League form

PL    W     D   L  GD   PTS

23     17    4    2    33    55

Probable Line-up


(Pereira acts like more of a winger but official position is defence)

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  1. profgbolly

    March 19, 2012 at 11:26 am

    i’ve been overwhelmed since yesterday after seeing el nino’s goal. i just wish he could continue like this. up blues

  2. Picasso

    March 19, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    Where did you get this information? OMG You have no clue.
    Better to view a couples of the last games before writing so much rubbish.

  3. Steve

    March 20, 2012 at 10:42 am


    I am a brit leavin in Lisbon. I am here to say that you analisys is poor. Your probable line up is wrong, Aimar never plays on the side, he usually plays as a nº10. Javi plays as an anchor man supported by Witsel being a box-to-box. Nolito and Gaitan play as wide midfielders, while cardozo is the Target man, but can also play as a supporting forward playing along side with Rodrigo (former Bolton) or Nelson Oliveira.

    Another thing, Benfica never plays with 3 defenders, maxi goes up the field but is always backed up by Javi or Witsel.

  4. Pedro Robalo

    March 21, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    Ehehehe, nice line-up…shut up Steve, this line up is perfect, I do hope Di Matteo is taking notes on this! lol

  5. Benfica Fan

    March 21, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    God forbide Di Matteo will read this,
    We play with 4 defenders, Emerson as a LB, Garay as CD (left side) tough he probably won’t play the first leg due to injury the likely replacement will be Jardel and he sucks, you can quote me, Luisão the captain, leading the defence as a CD (right side) very good defender, and Maxi Pereira as a WB at the right side, he attacks a lot, but we never play with 3 defenders.
    Artur the safest goalkepper in ages for the Eagles will prove to be tough to beat, especially if Torres plays (I pray for him to play).
    Javi Garcia as anchor man, and Witsel as ball winning midfilder, then Aimar as trequartista, and Gaitan and Bruno Cesar on the wings can cause plenty of damage. Cardozo is just a scoring machine, he can spend the whole game without doing absolutely nothing and in a second he lights the scoreboard.
    Don’t underestimate us or you’ll get burned, our 5th team of the Premier Division beat you 2nd seeded so be alert, cause my Benfica as what it takes to beat pretty much anyone, anywhere.

  6. Nuno Dias

    March 21, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    This is hilarious muhahaha. Di Matteo pls read this.

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