Chelsea will be without Frank Lampard and Branislav Ivanovic for this afternoon’s trip to Southampton, as the pair both picked up injuries in Sunday’s win over Liverpool.
David Luiz will also miss the game after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season at the weekend, though fellow Brazil international Ramires returns after serving a one match ban.
Chelsea ran out 3-1 winners when the sides met at Stamford Bridge a month ago, with Gary Cahill, John Terry and Demba Ba scoring the goals after Jay Rodriguez had given the Saints the lead in the first minute.
The Blues could end the day in first place if they win, and Arsenal and Manchester City fail to win against Cardiff City and Swansea City respectively.
Elsewhere, the club have completed the signing of Burkina Faso midfielder Bertrand Traore, according to BBC Sport.
A deal was agreed for the eighteen year old back in October after he had impressed as a trialist, scoring three goals in the Blues preseason tour of Asia.
Traore made his international debut at just 15, and was part of the Burkina Faso squad for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, where he made one appearance as a substitute.
Real Madrid are considering a swap deal involving Sami Khedira and Ramires, the Daily Star understands.
Khedira, who was a target of Manchester United and Arsenal in the summer, is said to be unhappy at the Bernabau despite starting nine of the eleven league games they have played under former Blues’ boss Carlo Ancelotti so far this season.
Ramires, who moved to Stamford Bridge in August 2010, has played every minute of Chelsea’s league campaign so far and insists that he is happy at the club.
Meanwhile, the club have completed the signing of Burkina Faso international Bertrand Traore, according to the Mirror.
The 18 year old attacking midfielder impressed with the club on the pre-season tours of both Indonesia and Malaysia, and had been waiting to obtain a work permit in order to put pen to paper on a deal with the club.
Traore has committed himself to the Blues until 2018.
Elsewhere, the draw for the quarter finals of the Capital One Cup has been made.
Jose Mourinho’s men will travel to either Sunderland or Southampton in the week commencing December 16th, depending who wins in the rearranged fourth round clash at the Stadium of Light next Wednesday.
Demba Ba is keen to remain at Stamford Bridge next season and prove his worth to manager Jose Mourinho, Sky Sports understands.
The Senegal international has been linked with a move away from the club this summer, with Aston Villa and West Ham United both said to be interested in securing his services.
He faces extra competition next season following Romelu Lukaku’s return from West Bromwich Albion, while the Blues remain keen on bringing in Wayne Rooney from Manchester United.
Ba scored Chelsea’s third goal in an 8-1 rout over the Indonesia All Stars yesterday; the third and final game of the Asia leg of their pre-season tour.
Eden Hazard opened the scoring with a penalty, before goals from Ramires, Ba and John Terry gave the Blues a comfortable 4-0 lead at half time.
Bertrand Traore got on the score-sheet shortly after the break, while three more goals in thirteen minutes – two from Romelu Lukaku and a second from Ramires, made it eight-nil with twenty-five minutes left on the clock. An own goal from Tomas Kalas was scant consolation for the hosts.
Elsewhere, Middlesbrough have rejected the opportunity to take midfielder Josh McEachran on loan again this season.
Jose Mourinho is keen on bringing Didier Drogba back to Chelsea as a player-coach, according to the Express.
The Ivory Coast international’s current club Galatasaray say that they won’t release him until his contract expires next summer, though talks are underway for the 35 year old to make his return.
The Blues manager believes that Drogba still has something to offer on the field, but would ultimately utilise him as a mentor for the club’s forwards.
In his eight seasons at the club, Drogba scored 157 goals, with his final kick in a Chelsea shirt the penalty that secured victory in the 2012 Champions League final against Bayern Munich.
Meanwhile, Ryan Bertrand has distanced himself from reports that he is set to leave the club, Sky Sports understands.
Brendan Rodgers is reportedly keen on signing the 23 year old for Liverpool, having worked with him whilst in charge of the Chelsea reserves, as well as taking him on loan at Reading.
However, the full back is keen to fight Ashley Cole for his place in the Blues starting XI next season.
Meanwhile, Jose Mourinho has calmed fears over the injury picked up by Kevin De Bruyne in yesterday’s 4-1 friendly win over Malaysia.
Goals from Bertrand Traore, De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Victor Moses wrapped up the victory before the hosts scored a consolation goal late on.