Luiz the final selection

  • By: Nick Hext
  • Last Updated: May 15 2013, 19:02 BST

Nick Hext is backing David Luiz to strike when Chelsea face Benfica in the Europa League final.

David Luiz: Can strike for Chelsea
David Luiz: Can strike for Chelsea

Chelsea head into the game looking for silverware to end what's been a turbulent year on a high now that Champions League football for next season has been secured.

In Benfica, they face a quality outfit who saw off Newcastle on their way to the final. So, what gives? Our man fancies a bit of value with first goalscorer tip.

Benfica v Chelsea (1945 BST)

Chelsea look to lift a European trophy for the second season in a row when they take on Benfica in Wednesday night's Europa League final.

This match hasn't been given as much build-up as last term's memorable Champions League final success against Bayern Munich but there could well be an entertaining game in store.

Chelsea enter this match on a good run of form with six wins and two draws from their previous eight matches and look fair favourites to win in 90 minutes at 7/5 with Sky Bet.

Betting Zone followers though will be hoping for a surprise as our Ben Coley tipped up Benfica at 5/1 to win the competition in The Long Game back in March.

You can now get 6/5 for the Portuguese club to lift the trophy so it's clear that we are already ahead of the race in that market.

Chelsea are 4/6 to add the Europa League to their trophy cabinet but there is another way I want to be backing the Blues.

David Luiz will return to the first XI after his arrival as a half-time substitute in Saturday's 2-1 win at Aston Villa and he's clearly now one of the key men at Stamford Bridge.

The Brazilian has been inspired in his midfield role and played in the Blues' previous 12 games since the defeat at Southampton on March 30 prior to the weekend's journey to the Midlands.

Luis is also in good goalscoring form as he struck in both legs of the semi-final victory against Basel to book a trip to Amsterdam for Rafael Benitez's men.

He is a threat with both long-range stunners - as proved in the semi-final - and from set-pieces so really is one to watch when he comes up against his former club.

You can get 5/1 in the anytime goalscorer market but I will place a bit more faith in the 26-year-old and get involved with an each-way selection for him to score first.

Benfica are definitely not entering this clash in a great mood.

Jorge Jesus' outfit relinquished top spot in the Portuguese Liga when Kelvin scored an injury-time winner for Porto in the weekend's clash between the top-two.

That ended Benfica's unbeaten domestic record this season and they are now a point behind Porto ahead of the final round of fixtures after previously having their destiny in their own hands.

That is sure to have left a mark but the run in the Europa League since dropping out of the Champions League has showed their quality.

Bayer Leverkusen, Bordeaux, Newcastle and Fenerbahce have all been knocked out so the pedigree is there to provide Chelsea with a big test.

I think they will come up just short and make supporting Luiz my best way to garner a profit.

Verdict: Benfica 1 Chelsea 2


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