Chelsea sent out a clear message of intent to their title rivals by thumping Arsenal 6-0 at Stamford Bridge Saturday lunchtime.
Samuel Eto’o put the hosts in front on five minutes, and their advantage was doubled just two minutes later through Andre Schurlle – both goals coming from clinical counter-attacking from Jose Mourinho’s side.
Then, on seventeen minutes, the Blues were awarded a penalty after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain tipped an Eden Hazard shot away with his fingertips.
The incident led to a sending off, it was defender Kieran Gibbs who was dismissed after referee Andre Marriner appeared to have mistaken him as the culprit.
Hazard duly converted the penalty, before Oscar made it 4-0 three minutes before the break.
The Brazil international then scored his second and his sides fifth on sixty-six minutes before substitute Mohamed Salah completed the Gunners’ misery with his first goal for the club five minutes later.
The result sees Chelsea remain four points of clear of second place Liverpool, who beat Cardiff City 6-3 later in the day.
The Merseyside club will have the chance to reduce that gap when they host Sunderland on Wednesday evening, while Chelsea will now turn their attention to Saturday’s trip to Crystal Palace before they host Paris Saint Germain, who they were drawn against in the quarter finals of the Champions League.
Spanish giants Barcelona are closing in on the signing of Chelsea’s David Luiz, according to the Metro.
The La Liga champions have been linked with a move for the Brazil international for some time, and are now hopeful of completing a deal at the end of the season as they look for a replacement for outgoing centre-back Carlos Puyol.
The Spain international admitted that he is set to leave the Nou Camp in the summer during an emotional press conference yesterday, having spent his whole career with the club.
Luiz has made just thirteen league appearances since Jose Mourinho returned to the club, and the Blues boss is likely to sell if Barca meet his £25m valuation.
The former Benfica man is set to win his 34th international cap against South Africa in Johannesburg this evening, alongside Chelsea teammates Oscar, Ramires and Willian.
Elsewhere, Petr Cech has been named Czech Republic’s player of the year for 2013, the Daily Star understands.
The Blues’ number one, who has now won the award for the past six years, beat Arsenal’s Tomas Rosicky and Frieburg’s Vladmir Darida into second and third place respectively, with all three in line to face Norway this evening.
Chelsea will have David Luiz and Jon Obi Mikel available for this evenings Champions League last 16 first leg tie against Galatasaray.
Both players missed Saturday afternoon’s 1-0 win over Everton, but have made the trip to the Turkish capital ahead of the game.
Oscar has also made the squad despite being substituted at the weekend with an ankle injury, while Mohammed Salah and Nemanja Matic are both cup-tied having already featured in the competition with Basel and Benfica respectively.
Didier Drogba is expected to lead the line for Roberto Mancini’s men, giving him the chance to come up against the Blues for the first time since leaving Stamford Bridge at the end of the 2011/12 campaign.
He did score in a 3-2 win against Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid in the second leg of last season’s quarter finals, though Galatasaray lost the tie 5-3 on aggregate.
With the Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal all having lost the first leg of their last sixteen ties against Barcelona, Olympiakos and Barcelona respectively, the Blues are in the best position to guarantee English representation in this season’s last eight for the first time since two years ago, when they went on to lift the trophy in Munich.
Tags: Arsenal, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, David Luiz, Didier Drogba, Galatasaray, Jon Obi Mikel, Manchester City, Manchester United, Mohammed Salah, Nemanja Matic, Olympiakos, Oscar
Brazil international Oscar scored a stunning free kick as Chelsea booked their place in the fifth round of this season’s FA Cup with a 1-0 victory over Stoke City at Stamford Bridge yesterday afternoon.
The midfield’s curled effort from twenty-five years was enough to see the Blues through to this stage for the fourteenth time in fifteen seasons.
However, they could hardly have been handed a tougher challenge, being picked away at favourites for the competition Manchester City, who they will face on the weekend of February 15/16.
Meanwhile, the club have completed the signing of Egyptian winger Mohamed Salah from Basel for a fee believed to be in the region of £11m, the Mail Online understands.
The 21 year old, who will wear the number 15 shirt vacated by Kevin De Bruyne, becomes Jose Mourinho’s second signing of the month following Nemanja Matic’s return from Benfica.
Elsewhere, Michael Essien is set to complete his transfer to AC Milan, according to the Independent.
The Ghana international has been used sparingly by Mourinho this season, making just nine appearances in all competitions since returning from Real Madrid, where he spent the majority of the last campaign on loan.
Second half goals from Jon Obi Mikel and Oscar secured a 2-0 win for Chelsea in their FA Cup third round clash with Derby County at the iPro Stadium yesterday afternoon.
The Rams, who were statistically a match for their opponents in all areas bar the goals, kept the Blues at bay for the first half, before Mikel scored only his fourth Chelsea goal on his three hundredth appearance twenty minutes into the second half.
Oscar scored his eighth goal of the season just five minutes later to seal the victory, while eighteen year old Lewis Baker was introduced three minutes from time to make his professional debut.
Jose Mourinho’s men will now face Stoke City at Stamford Bridge in the fourth round of the competition later this month.
Meanwhile the Metro have reported that Kevin De Bruyne’s agent has been pictured at a Wolfsburg training session amid reports that the Belgium international is set to join the Bundesliga club.
The 22 year old has long been linked with a return to Germany having spent a successful season-long stint there with Werder Bermen before returning to Stamford Bridge in the summer.
The former Genk man has made just nine appearances under Jose Mourinho in all competitions.
Chelsea began 2014 in style by beating Southampton 3-0 at St Mary’s to keep pressure on the top two in the Premier League.
Second half goals from Fernando Torres, Willian and Oscar secured all three points for the Blues, who remain a point behind second place Manchester City, who won at Swansea City and two points behind leaders Arsenal, who beat Cardiff City.
Liverpool moved back into the top four after taking all three points from their match against Hull City, while Everton slip to fifth after drawing with Stoke City and Tottenham Hotspur leapfrogged Manchester United into sixth following their second successive win at Old Trafford.
Jose Mourinho’s men will now turn their attention to Sunday afternoon’s FA Cup third round tie against Derby County.
Frank Lampard and Branislav Ivanovic will miss the trip to the iPro Stadium after the Blues boss confirmed that the pair will both be out of action for a month, according to the Metro.
England international Lampard was substituted with a muscle injury at half time during Sunday afternoon’s 2-1 win over Liverpool, while Serbian Ivanovic injured his knee during the same game, and was replaced during the second half.
Chelsea will welcome Ashley Cole back to their starting line-up for this evening’s Champions League clash with Steaua Bucharest.
The England left-back has not played for the Blues since last month’s defeat to Newcastle United, with Cesar Azpilicueta taking his place.
Brazilian duo David Luiz and Oscar are both fit to play, so their only absentee in Marco Van Ginkel, who is out for the season.
Jose Mourinho’s men have already booked their place in the knockout stages of the competition, but need victory at Stamford Bridge this evening to guarantee top spot in Group E.
Elsewhere, the Express have reported that Barcelona are set to revive their interest in David Luiz.
The Catalan club are lining up a £30m bid for the 26 year old, who has made just five appearances in the Premier League this season.
The report also claims that Wolfsburg will move for Kevin De Bruyne, should Chelsea decide to sell the midfielder.
The 22 year old returned to West London following a season-long loan with Werder Bremen, only to make a handful of appearances in all competitions.
Dieter Hecking’s side are one of a number in the Bundesliga to register an interest In the Belgium international.
Samuel Eto’o could be set for a move to the MLS at the end of the season, according to the Mirror.
The Cameroon international moved to Stamford Bridge on a one year deal last summer after Jose Mourinho failed in his pursuit of Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney.
Eto’o has found the net just four times in his fifteen appearances for the Blues so far, but appears to lack the pace to remain at the level he has been playing for the majority of his career.
A host of clubs in the Major Soccer League are thought to have already expressed an interest in signing the 32 year old including LA Galaxy, DC United and Toronto FC.
Eto’o could open pre-contract talks next month with a view to make the switch next summer.
Elsewhere, David Luiz and Oscar have handed the club a boost ahead of tomorrow evening’s Champions League clash with Steaua Bucharest, the Express understands.
The Brazilian duo are both in contention to feature against the Romanian champions after recovering from their respective injuries.
Meanwhile, Jose Mourinho has confirmed that Ashley Cole will return to the Blues’ starting line-up for tomorrow’s match at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea remain without centre back David Luiz for tomorrow afternoon’s trip to Stoke City.
The Brazilian is still struggling with a knee problem though his international teammate Oscar has recovered from an ankle knock but may still be rested.
Cameroon international Samuel Eto’o is available after missing the Blues’ last two games with a groin problem, and may replace Fernando Torres at the top of the field.
Three points for Jose Mourinho’s men will see them move to within a point of Arsenal at the top of the table, with the league leaders not playing until Sunday afternoon when the host fifth place Everton.
Chelsea’s 4-0 victory at the Britannia Stadium back in January was their third successive victory against the Potters, and all three have come without them conceding.
Meanwhile, Mourinho is refusing to rule Manchester United of the title race, according to the Metro.
Chelsea currently sit eight points above the reigning champions, who fell to their fourth league defeat of the season on Wednesday afternoon; losing 1-0 to Everton at Old Trafford.
The Blues boss believes that even if United fail to win the division this season, they will bounce back next season to reclaim their title.
Chelsea will be without Brazilian midfielder Oscar for this evening’s trip to Sunderland.
The 22 year old injured his ankle in Sunday afternoon’s 3-1 win over Southampton, and joins international teammate David Luiz on the side-lines, though Samuel Eto’o could feature after returning to training following a hamstring problem.
The Blues have are unbeaten in their last three league games, and have lost just one in their last nine. Three points here will keep the pressure on leaders Arsenal, who host Hull City this evening.
This evening’s match begins a run of three matches against teams currently in the bottom five of the Premier League for Jose Mourinho’s side.
They travel to Stoke City on Saturday afternoon before facing Crystal Palace seven days later.
Meanwhile, Thibaut Courtois is set to hold talks with the club regarding his long term future, Sky Sports understands.
The Belgium international is currently in his third season on loan with Atletico Madrid, where he has established himself as one of the best young goalkeepers in world football.
Both Barcelona and Real Madrid have been linked with a move for the 21 year old, who is yet to play for Chelsea since signing from Genk in 2011.