With no other sides in the top four playing in the Premier League this weekend, Chelsea will be looking to increase their lead at the top as they take on fifth place Tottenham Hotspur.
The Blues, who will increase their unbeaten home league run under Jose Mourinho to seventy-five games if they avoid defeat, should have top scorer Eden Hazard available after he declared himself fit despite suffering an ankle injury in Belgium’s 2-2 draw with Ivory Coast.
Midfielder Marco van Ginkel, who is still some weeks away from returning to action, is Jose Mourinho’s only injury concern.
Chelsea can move seven points clear of both Liverpool and Arsenal, and nine clear of Manchester City if they take all three points though the latter will have three games in hand.
Meanwhile, Jose Mourinho has hinted that he may make a move for Mario Balotelli at the end of the season, according to the Metro.
The AC Milan striker, who played under the Blues boss at Inter where together they won three league titles, the Coppa Italia and the Champions League, is reportedly unhappy with life in Italy leading to speculation that he could be set for a return to the Premier League.
Didier Drogba is relishing having the opportunity to face his former club tomorrow evening, as his Galatasaray side host Chelsea in the first leg of their Champions League last sixteen clash, Sky Sports understands.
The Ivory Coast international enjoyed eight successful years with the Blues, which culminated in him scoring the winning penalty against Bayern Munich in the 2012 final of Europe’s top competition, while he also won three Premier League titles, three League Cups and four FA Cups.
However, whilst admitting the club will always have a special place in his heart, he has fired a warning to his old teammates saying that he will happy to get on the score-sheet.
Drogba also revealed that, following the draw he received a text from Jose Mourinho, the man who brought him to Stamford Bridge in 2004 saying, ‘it’s your moment, enjoy it’.
Elsewhere, AC Milan strker Mario Balotelli has refused to rule out one day returning to England amid links with a move to Stamford Bridge, according to ESPN.
The 23 year had previously stated that he would not play for another Premier League club having won the Premier League and FA Cup with Manchester City, but has now fuelled speculation that he could be set to reunite with Jose Mourinho, who he worked with in Italy with Inter Milan.
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.
2012 winners Chelsea secured their place in the knockout stages of this seasons Champions League with a narrow victory over Steaua Bucharest at Stamford Bridge yesterday evening.
Demba Ba’s goal on ten minutes was enough to secure victory for Jose Mourinho’s men, who will find out their opponents in the last sixteen – one from Bayer Leverkusen, Galatasaray, Olympiakos, Zenit St Petersburg and AC Milan – when the draw is made in Nyon on Monday.
Of the available options, the Blues’ boss has expressed his desire to be paired with the Turkish champions, in order to set up a reunion with Didier Drogba.
However, the club will first turn their attention to Saturday’s Premier League clash with Crystal Palace where they will hope to keep the pressure on league leaders Arsenal, who face a tough trip to Manchester City earlier in the day.
Chelsea then face Arsenal in a mouth-watering clash at the Emirates Stadium a week on Monday.
Elsewhere, Everton are set to offer a new contract to England international Ross Barkley, according to the Express.
The 20 year old, who has established himself as a first team regular under Roberto Martinez this season, has been linked with moves to both Chelsea and Manchester United.
Posted in Chelsea News
Tagged AC Milan, Arsenal, Bayer Leverkusen, Demba Ba, Didier Drogba, Everton, Galatasaray, Manchester United, Olympiakos, Ross Barkley, Steaua Bucharest, Zenit St Petersburg
Chelsea midfielder Ramires has admitted that he is unaware of any interest in him from other clubs aside from what is written in the media, according to Sky Sports.
The Brazil international, who has not missed a minute in the Premier League for the Blues so far this season, is reportedly a target for both Barcelona and Real Madrid, but has insisted that his sole focus is on succeeding at Stamford Bridge.
Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid have joined the race to sign Blues out of favour midfielder Kevin de Bruyne, the Mail Online understands.
The 22 year old has barely featured under Jose Mourinho, and has been linked with a host of Bundesliga clubs having impressed on loan with Werder Bremen last year.
Atletico, who are currently second in La Liga, three points behind Barcelona, already have a Chelsea player with them on loan in the shape of De Bruyne’s international teammate Thibaut Courtois.
Elsewhere, Davide Santon has insisted that he is happy at Newcastle United in the wake of speculation linking him with a move to Stamford Bridge, according to the Metro.
The right-back, who is also reportedly a target for AC Milan, has featured in all but one of the Magpies Premier League games this season.
Posted in Chelsea News
Tagged AC Milan, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea, Davide Santon, Kevin De Bruyne, Newcastle United, Ramires, Real Madrid, Thibaut Courtois, Werder Bremen
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is expected to rotate his squad ahead of this evening’s Capital One Cup fourth round tie with Arsenal.
Juan Mata, Michael Essien, Demba Ba and Mark Schwarzer are all set to be handed rare starts, with Saturday’s trip to Newcastle United and Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Schalke in mind.
The Blues will be full of confidence having won their last three ties in this competition against the Gunners, including the 2007 final victory at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
Mourinho lifted the trophy on two occasions during his first spell at the club, also beating Liverpool two years earlier while only Liverpool (eight) and Aston Villa (five) having won the competition more times than Chelsea (four).
Meanwhile, AC Milan manager Massmiliano Alegri has denied that Mario Balotelli is set to leave the club, following fresh reports linking him with a move to Stamford Bridge.
The Italy international played under Mourinho for two years at Inter Milan, where together they won two league titles, the Coppa Italia and the Champions League.
Finally, the Telegraph understands that mega-spending Ligue 1 side Paris Saint Germain are ready to reignite their interest in Juan Mata, who remains on the fringes of Mourinho’s starting XI.
Fernando Torres will miss Chelsea’s trip to Norwich City on Sunday afternoon, as the Spain striker serves a one-match suspension following his dismissal against Tottenham Hotspur a week ago, though the injury he picked up midweek would have seen him miss out regardless.
Eden Hazard is also an injury concern for the Blues, so Jose Mourinho could once again hand Juan Mata a starting berth, while Marco Van Ginkel is out for the foreseeable future with anterior cruciate damage.
The Blues are unbeaten in their last seven meetings with the Canaries, winning six of those games, and three points here will see them maintain their place in the top five.
Meanwhile, the club have beaten Bareclona and AC Milan in the race to sign Porto defender Nicolas Otamendi, the Express understands.
Reports in Spain are suggesting that the 25 year old will move to Stamford Bridge at the end of the season, despite interest from La Liga and Serie A.
It is believed that a deal has been struck after Jose Mourinho himself requested that the Argentina international be added to his squad.
The centre back has won fifteen caps for his country, and was handed his debut four years ago by then manager Diego Maradona.
Wayne Rooney is preparing to hand in a transfer request this week in a bid to force through a move to Chelsea, according to the Daily Mail.
The England international has been linked with a move away from Old Trafford all summer, though United’s manager David Moyes repeatedly stating that the forward is not for sale.
The Premier League champions rejected the Blues opening bid for the 27 year old, who is now reportedly ready to go public with his desire to leave, in order to accelerate a switch to Stamford Bridge.
Meanwhile, the Mail Online have also reported that Barcelona are readying a fresh bid for David Luiz.
The Catalan club were rebuffed in their initial attempts to sign the Brazil international, who has also been linked with a move to European Champions Bayern Munich.
Though they are not actively trying to sell the 26 year old, it is thought that the club may accept an offer of around £45m, though Barca are hoping to negotiate a deal worth closer £35m.
Finally, goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Andre Schurrle secured a 2-0 win for the Blues over AC Milan in the Guinness International Champions Cup semi-final in New Jersey.
They will now face Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid in the final in Miami.
Napoli’s official radio station have reported that Chelsea have agreed a fee of £49.3 million for striker Edinson Cavani, the Mail Online understands.
Radio Marte claimed that a ‘reliable source’ that Napoli have sealed a deal with the Blues for the sale of the Uruguayan striker, who is currently on international duty at the Confederations Cup.
Manchester United have reportedly made a last ditch attempt to hijack the deal, with the player set for face to face talks with Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentis before anything is finalised.
Cavani, and his father have indicated that they would favour a move to Real Madrid, though it seems that the Spanish giants will have to match Chelsea’s offer should it be confirmed.
Meanwhile, the club have been linked with a move for St. Etienne’s highly rated defender Kurt Zouma.
Representatives of the 18 year old spoke to Queens Park Rangers last summer regarding a potential move, though Zouma remained at St. Etienne, making eighteen league appearances last season.
Sky Sports understand that Bayern Munich and AC Milan could rival the Blues for the services of the player, who is currently representing France at the Under 20 World Cup in Turkey.