Oh Euro Vase. You know, you're nothing like your big brother. So shy and unheralded. Cute as a button.
Well, not really. Big Vase is where it's at (obviously), but since Chelsea was ousted from that competition at the first time of asking it'll have to settle for another, less alluring form of hardware. Becoming the first club to ever win Big and Euro Vases in back-to-back seasons wouldn't be so bad, though, would it?
To do that, we first have to navigate our way past a S.L. Benfica side that is not only talented but likely also simmering with Champions League of Hate levels of disdain at the moment. As if Jorge Jesus & Co. needed any more motivation for today's final in Amsterdam, Kelvin went and scored a stoppage-time winner on the weekend to hand Porto a ridiculous 2-1 win over their rivals. A win would have, barring a miracle, ensured Benfica a 33rd Primeira Liga crown. Instead, it's now Porto's league to lose. Ouch.
Chelsea, as you know, secured Champions League football for next season over the weekend with a win against Aston Villa. And we all know who to thank for that. Tonight, meanwhile, we are without the services of England's Brave and Loyal John Terry and Eden Hazard, who would have been somewhat useful. No matter - we have Sir Frank Lampard captaining the side tonight. We also have David Luiz in central midfield and Ramires unseating Victor Moses on the right of the attacking band of three. Oh, and don't forget Zorres unmasked.
I'm kind of excited for this one. Let's have it. KTBFFH
Petr Cech | Cesar Azpilicueta, Branislav Ivanovic, Gary Cahill, Ashley Cole | David Luiz, Frank Lampard (c) | Oscar, Juan Mata, Ramires | Fernando Torres.
Bench: Ross Turnbull, Paulo Ferreira, Nathan Ake, John Obi Mikel, Marko Marin, Yossi Benayoun, Victor Moses.
S.L. Benfica (4-3-3)
Artur | Andre Almeida, Luisao (c), Ezequiel Garay, Lorenzo Melgarego | Rodrigo, Nemanja Matic, Enzo Perez | Nico Gaitan, Eduardo Salvio, Oscar Cardozo.
Bench: Paulo Lopes, Pablo Aimar, Lima, Ola John, Urreta, Jardel, Andre Gomes.