Chelsea will be hoping to regain their four point lead at the top of the Premier League when they travel to Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon.
Liverpool’s victory over Sunderland on Wednesday moved them to with a point of first place, but with Brendan Rodgers’ side not playing until Sunday afternoon, and Arsenal hosting Manchester City later on Saturday, the Blues can once again create distance between themselves and the chasing back.
Ramires remains suspended, while Samuel Eto’o is doubtful after limping out of last weekend’s 6-0 win over Arsenal, and Ashely Cole is doubtful with the knee injury that kept him out of that game.
The Blues have won their past five games against the Eagles, the last of which saw goals from Fernando Torres and Ramires secure all three points for Jose Mourinho’s men at Selhurst Park back in December.
Palace themselves are desperate for the points as they look to end a run of five games without a win.
Last weekend’s last minute loss to Newcastle United – their eighteenth of the season, left them just three points of the bottom three of the top flight, having played a game more than eighteenth place Sunderland.
Chelsea are ready to make a £40m bid for Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa, according to the Mail Online.
The Blues have been regularly linked with a move for the Spain international, who has scored twenty-four goals in La Liga so far this season, a record only bettered by Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
There has been talk over a potential swap deal involving Thibaut Courtois, though it is unlikely that Mourinho will sanction such a transfer with the young Belgium international, who is in his third season on loan with Atleti, seen as a long term replacement for Petr Cech.
Fernando Torres has also been linked with a return to the Spanish capital, though with the La Liga leaders’ preference of buying young players with huge sell-on fees, Chelsea may be better suited to lodge a cash-only offer.
Meanwhile, Demba Ba has hinted at a move to Italy as he looks to heading towards the Chelsea exit door, the Mail Online understands.
The Senegal forward has managed just eleven goals since moving to Stamford Bridge from Newcastle United last January.
Ba has also suggested that there has also been interest from other clubs in England, where he would prefer to remain if given the right oppurtunity.
Eden Hazard has said that he will draw on his previous experiences playing against Paris Saint Germain when Chelsea face the French champions in the last eight of this season’s Champions League.
The Belgium international came up against PSG a number of times during his five years in Ligue 1 with Lille, most notably in the 2011 Coupe de France final, and in a 2-2 draw at the Parc de Princes, which clinched the championship for Rudi Garcia’s side.
The Blues head to the French capital for the first leg of their Champions League quarter final tie next Wednesday, before the return leg at Stamford Bridge the following Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the Express understand that PSG midfielder Yohan Cabaye has urged Hazard to join him in Laurent Blanc’s side.
The pair played together at Lille, and the former Newcastle United man is keen on a reunion with the Belgium international next season.
Elsewhere, Arsenal dropped more points in their pursuit of the Premier League title after only managing to draw 2-2 with Swansea City at the Emirates Stadium yesterday evening, while Manchester City moved to within three points of the Blues after beating champions Manchester United 3-0 at Old Trafford.
Tottenham Hotspur are keen to sign Romelu Lukaku as they look to secure a top for finish next season, the Mirror understands.
The North London club look set to miss out on qualification for the Champions League this season, as they sit six points off the place having played more games than all of the sides directly around them.
The club are on the lookout for a new forward, and have made Lukaku, who is currently on loan at Everton, their number one target.
The Belgium international, who enjoyed a superb season at West Bromwich Albion last year, has hit twelve goals in all competitions for the Toffee’s this season – more than Samuel Eto’o, Fernando Torres or Demba Ba has managed, but is still not certain of a future at Stamford Bridge.
Lukaku moved to the Premier League in August 2011 when the Blues bought him from Anderlecht, but he has made only a handful of starts for the club.
Newcastle United are also reportedly considering making a move for the 20 year old, with the North East club unlikely to be able to keep hold of Loic Remy, who has attracted interest from both Spurs and Arsenal.
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.
Premier League leaders Chelsea will hope to put some distance between themselves and the chasing pack as they welcome third place Arsenal to Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon.
Victory for Jose Mourinho’s men will see them regain a seven point advantage over their London rivals and Liverpool, who travel to Cardiff City later in the day while Manchester City in fourth face Fulham at Craven Cottage.
David Luiz may return to the Blues starting line-up after being fit enough to be named on the bench for Tuesday evening’s Champions League last sixteen second leg victory over Galatasaray, though Ashley Cole is set to remain on the side-lines with the knee problem that saw him miss out midweek.
Brazilian internationals Willian and Ramires miss out having both been sent off in last weekend’s 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa.
Should Chelsea lose to the Gunners in what is Arsene Wenger’s 1000th game in charge, it would give all of the three sides below them the chance to overtake them in midweek.
Arsenal host Swansea City and Manchester City travel to neighbours Manchester United on Tuesday evening, while Liverpool host a struggling Sunderland side twenty-four hours later.
Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard is delighted that the club are back in the title race this season, and is relishing the end of season run-in, according to Sky Sports.
The club were fourteen points adrift of champions Manchester United last season, while they were twenty-five short of Manchester City’s winning tally of eighty-nine points in the 2011-12 campaign.
However, with eight games left to play, they are in pole position, four points ahead of both Arsenal and Liverpool and six in front of Manchester City, and despite those sides having games in hand over the Blues, Lampard is up for the fight.
Meanwhile, Didier Drogba believes that his former club are on course for success, and that Jose Mourinho can build “another great team” at Stamford Bridge, the Daily Star understands.
The Ivory Coast international, who returned to his former stomping ground on Tuesday evening as his Galatasaray side crashed out of the Champions League, has been strongly linked with a return to Chelsea in some capacity in the future.
Elsewhere, the club have been linked with a move for Southampton striker Sam Gallagher, according to the Metro.
The teenage, who is the latest in a long line of young talents to break into the Saints’ first team, scored his first Premier League goal in a 4-2 win over Norwich City last weekend.
Chelsea eased into the Champions League quarter finals after beating Galatasaray 2-0 in the second leg of their last sixteen tie at Stamford Bridge yesterday evening.
With the sides having drawn 1-1 in Istanbul three weeks ago, it was the Premier League leaders who made the breakthrough through Samuel Eto’o after just four minutes.
Gary Cahill doubled the hosts’ advantage three minutes before the break, thumping in after John Terry’s initial effort was saved by Fernando Musilera.
Didier Drogba, who was given a rousing reception by the home supporters on his first return to Stamford Bridge since leaving the club at the end of the 2011/12 campaign, had a chance to pull one back for Roberto Mancini’s side late on which he failed to convert.
The Blues will discover who they will face in the last eight of the competition on Friday, twenty-four hours before they return to domestic action with their top of the table clash with Arsenal.
Manager Jose Mourinho has told Sky Sports that “it doesn’t matter who” the club are drawn against in the quarter finals.
Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Paris Saint Germain and holders Bayern Munich are already in the hat for the draw along with the Blues, and they will be joined by either Manchester United or Olympiakos and Zenit St Petersburg or Borussia Dortmund, with the final round of last sixteen ties taking place this evening.
Posted in Chelsea News
Tagged Arsenal, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Chelsea, Didier Drogba, Galatasaray, Gary Cahill, Manchester City, Manchester United, Olympiakos, Paris Saint Germain, Real Madrid, Samuel Eto'o, Zenit St Petersburg
Chelsea are expected to include both Ramires and Willian in their starting line-up for this evening’s Champions League last sixteen second leg against Galatasaray, with both midfielder suspended for Saturday’s clash with Arsenal.
Ashley Cole is doubtful having been absent from training on Monday, though David Luiz is fit and could replace the cup-tied Nemanja Matic, while Mohammed Salah is also ineligible having represented Basel earlier in the competition.
Former Blues forward Didier Drogba is expected to start for the visitors, with the tie finely poised following the 1-1 draw in the first leg in Istanbul three weeks ago.
Meanwhile, Jose Mourinho is confident that the Ivory Coast international will return to the club in some capacity in the future, according to the Metro.
This evening will see Drogba return to Stamford Bridge for the first time since leaving the club following their triumph in the final of this competition in May 2012.
The forward, who was taken to London from Marseille by Mourinho in 2004, scored 157 goals in 341 appearances, plus the winning penalty in the shoot-out victory against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena.
The Blues boss believes that the 36 year old will return at some point as either ‘a player, coach or ambassador’.
Chelsea’s hopes of winning a first league title in four years were dealt a blow at the weekend as they lost 1-0 at Aston Villa.
Fabian Delph’s back-heel eight minutes from time was enough to secure all three points for Paul Lambert’s side, who moved into the top half of the table.
However, the Blues’ lead at the top has been cut to four points, with second place Liverpool and third place Arsenal winning at Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur respectively, whilst fourth place Manchester City, who also took all three points from their game at Hull City, are a further two behind.
All three of the chasing pack have games in hand over Chelsea; one in the case of Liverpool and Arsenal and three for Manuel Pellegrini’s men who have been reinstalled as favourites by the bookmakers.
The Blues will now turn their attention to tomorrow evening’s Champions League last sixteen second leg with Galatasary, before returning to league action against Arsenal on Saturday lunchtime.
Lose to the Gunners, they could fall to as low as fourth by the time of thier game at Crystal Palace the following weekend, with the other sides in the Champions League places all playing in midweek.