Preview: Chelsea vs. Rubin Kazan

Preview: Chelsea vs. Rubin Kazan
© AP Photos
Sports Mole looks ahead to Chelsea's Europa League meeting with Russian outfit Rubin Kazan.

With only a few weeks remaining of the season, Chelsea are still competing on three fronts.

They are locked in a battle for a top-four place in the Premier League, while they also remain in this season's FA Cup, where they have a semi-final tie against Manchester City coming up.

That may have meant that Europa League took a back seat, but reports have suggested that interim manager Rafael Benitez is keen to win the competition to boost his CV.

Heading into the opening leg of this quarter-final at Stamford Bridge, it appears to be a tough one to call. Chelsea are unbeaten at home in their last 11 European matches, but Rubin Kazan have not lost away from home in the competition so far this campaign.

Benitez has been tipped to recall the experienced John Terry and Frank Lampard to his starting linuep, while Fernando Torres will lead the attack in the absence of the cup-tied Demba Ba.

Meanwhile, Rubin are likely to include midfielder Bibras Natkho, who impressed for Israel last week during their international matches against Portugal and Northern Ireland.

Recent form

Chelsea: WLWWLW

Rubin Kazan: LDWWDW

Possible starting lineups

Chelsea: Cech; Bertrand, Terry, Luiz, Ivanovic; Mikel, Ramires; Mata, Oscar, Moses; Torres

Rubin Kazan: Ryzhikov; Navas, Kuzmin, Kaleshin, Ansaldi; Sharonov, Orbaiz, Eremenko, Karadeniz, Natcho; Dyadyun

Sports Mole says: 1-0

Chelsea players congratulate Demba Ba after his goal against Man Utd on April 1, 2013
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City23202167175062
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd23155348163250
3Liverpool23138254282647
4Chelsea23145441162547
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs23135546212544
6Arsenal23116641301139
7Burnley239771920-134
8Leicester CityLeicester238783432231
9Everton2376102538-1327
10Watford2375113342-926
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham2367102941-1225
12Crystal Palace2367102133-1225
13Bournemouth2366112435-1124
14Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2366111939-2024
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2365122131-1023
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2358101729-1223
17Southampton2349102334-1121
18Stoke CityStoke2355132350-2720
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom23310101830-1219
20Swansea CitySwansea2345141435-2117
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