By DAN KARELL
Three English clubs remain as the Europa League moves into it’s quarter-final stage.
Chelsea, last season’s Champions League winners, face Rubin Kazan, who previously dethroned the defending Europa League champs Atletico Madrid in the round of 32.
Tottenham hope to stop their recent domestic slide when Gareth Bale and co. welcome Basel to White Hart Lane, while Newcastle travel to sunny Lisbon to face Benfica. Turkish side Fenerbahce takes on Lazio in the only other match not featuring an English side in the quarterfinals.
If you will be watching today’s action, please feel free to share your thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below.
Enjoy the action (and check out our preview of all four quarterfinal match-ups after the jump):
CHELSEA vs. RUBIN KAZAN
3:05pm, Fox Soccer Channel
Players to Watch: CHELSEA – Juan Mata, Oscar, Eden Hazard, David Luiz; RUBIN KAZAN – Salomon Rondon, Roman Eremenko, Bebras Natkho, Gokdeniz Karadeniz
Quick Kicks: Chelsea will be missing two of their key defenders from this season, with Ashley Cole set for an extended spell on the sidelines, and Gary Cahill likely to miss out due to a knee problem. Ryan Bertrand will likely make it into the starting lineup, with the veteran John Terry to take Cahill’s place. Kazan have a full squad to choose from, and will likely see Bebras Natkho come into the starting lineup, coming off two solid matches for Israel during the international break.
TOTTENHAM vs. BASEL
3:05pm, Fox Soccer Plus
Players to Watch: TOTTENHAM – Emmanuel Adebayor, Aaron Lennon, Gareth Bale, Gylfi Sigurdsson; BASEL – Alexander Frei, Mohamed Salah, Marco Strellar, Valentin Stocker.
Quick Kicks: Jermaine Defoe’s groin injury means he won’t be available for Tottenham, but otherwise manager Andres Villas-Boas will have a full squad to choose from. Hugo Lloris has recovered from a knee injury but he’ll likely stay on the bench, as Brad Friedel has been the preferred goalkeeper for the Europa League. Basel meanwhile will have to deal with the loss of three players to suspension; David Degan, Park-Joo Ho and Marcelo Diaz.
FENERBAHCE vs. LAZIO
3:05pm, Fox Soccer 2Go
Players to Watch: FENERBAHCE – Dirk Kuyt, Moussa Sow, Miroslav Stoch, Raul Mereiles; LAZIO – Libor Kozak, Sergio Floccari, Hernanes, Mauro Zarate.
Quick Kicks: Lazio enters the match as the only remaining unbeaten team in the competition (not including teams that transferred in from the Champions League). They are 8-0-4 in the current tournament, going back to the playoff rounds. The Roman club has enjoyed success against Turkish teams in the past, posting a 6-1-1 mark in previous meetings with Turkish teams. Fenerbahce’s record against Italian teams is far worse. They are 3-10 in 13 previous meetings with Italian sides. This match-up marks Fenerbahce’s first foray into the Europa League quarterfinals.
BENFICA vs. NEWCASTLE
3:05pm, Fox Soccer 2Go
Players to Watch: BENFICA – Oscar Cardozo, Nemanja Matic, Ola John, Nicolas Gaitan; NEWCASTLE – Papiss Cisse, Jonas Gutierrez, Moussa Sissoko, Yohan Cabaye
Quick Kicks: Benfica comes into the match winners of four matches since making the move from the UEFA Champions League group stage to the Europa League knockout rounds. Newcastle have recorded four straight shutouts and can tie the competition’s record with a shutout today. The Magpies are 1-1-4 in six road matches in the current Europa League competition. Benfica has faced English opponents in European quarterfinal match-ups five previous times, and have lost all five times. This match-up is the first meeting between the two long-standing clubs.