Fernando Torres in, David Luiz out for Chelsea’s trip to Basel
The abductor problem that has kept Fernando Torres out of action since Nov. 2 has improved enough to allow the Chelsea forward to travel ahead of Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League game at Basel. Though that’s no guarantee the 29-year-old Spaniard will play, Torres’ potential availability would be a boost to a squad that counts only Samuel Eto’o and Demba Ba among its healthy striker options.
Though he was scored only once in 411 Premier League minutes this season, Torres has two goals in Champions League, where he scored twice in Gelsenkirchen on Oct. 22 as Chelsea defeated Schalke, 3-0. On Tuesday, he’d be tasked with helping Chelsea reverse their 2-1 home loss to Basel to open group stage. The Blues need only a point to secure a spot in the knockout rounds, with a win over the Swiss champions clinching first place in their group.
Any success at Basel will have to come without David Luiz, however, with the 26-year-old defender ruled out for a week after he was diagnosed with a bruised patella tendon. Though the Brazilian international played in both of the Seleçao’s matches over the international break, Luiz wasn’t on the bench for Chelsea’s 3-0 Saturday way at West Ham United. Today, Luiz was omitted from the Blues’ traveling squad, with John Terry and Gary Cahill likely to persist in central defense on Tuesday.
If all goes as planned, Luiz’s absences won’t matter as Chelsea visits a team that hasn’t won in Champions League since their trip to Stamford Bridge. Likewise, Chelsea’s fortunes have reversed since match day one. With nine points from their last three games, the Blues sit three clear at the top of Group E.