Jose Mourinho has stated that he is happy with Cesar Azpilicueta’s performances at left back for Chelsea and continued to cast doubt of the future of Ashley Cole, the Daily Star understands.
The England international was again left out the Blues line-up at the weekend as they were knocked out of the FA Cup by Manchester City.
He has made just four appearances so far in this calendar year, with two coming in both the Premier League and the FA Cup.
His lack of game time has also led to doubts over his position at international level; something which Mourinho has said cannot be in his thoughts.
Elsewhere, the Metro understands that the Chelsea manager has stated that Barcelona are at the weakest they have been for ‘many, many years’ ahead of their clash with Manchester City this evening.
City, who are considered to be the Blues’ main challengers for the title in the Premier League this season, will have the opportunity to show they can compete with Europe’s best as they take on the La Liga champions, and while Mourinho says that the Catalan club are favourites to win the tie, he believes they are not the force they once were.
Eden Hazard’s 29th minute strike was enough to see Chelsea beat Swansea City, and secure a fifth win in seven league games for Jose Mourinho’s men.
The Blues remain two points off the top of the Premier League after Arsenal moved back into first place following a 3-1 win over West Ham United.
Manchester City are second, a point behind the Gunners and ahead of the Blues after a 2-1 win over Liverpool, who slip to fourth while fifth place Everton stay fifth after a shock defeat to bottom of the table Sunderland.
Chelsea now turn their attention to Sunday afternoon’s match against Liverpool, a side who they have beaten just twice in their last thirteen clashes in the league.
Ramires will miss the game through suspension after picking up a fifth yellow card of the season in the Boxing Day victory over Swansea.
Mourinho is likely to continue rotating his squad, with Cesar Azpilicueta expected to be recalled in place of Ashley Cole at left-back, while Fernando Torres could also return to the starting line-up.
This will be the first meeting between the sides since the 2-2 draw at Anfield back in April – the game where Branislav Ivanovic was bitten by Luis Suarez.
Posted in Chelsea News
Tagged Arsenal, Ashley Cole, Branislav Ivanovic, Cesar Azpilicueta, Eden Hazard, Everton, Fernando Torres, Liverpool, Luis Suarez, Manchester City, Ramires, Swansea City
Branislav Ivanovic is set to return to the Chelsea line-up for this evening’s top of the table clash with Arsenal.
Cesar Azpilicueta is likely to switch to left back, with Ashley Cole dropping to the bench while Michael Essien will miss the game after collecting his fifth yellow card of the season in the League Cup quarter final defeat to Sunderland last Tuesday evening.
Victory for the Blues will see them leapfrog the Gunners, while only an unlikely win by seven or more goals will see them finish the evening in first place.
Jose Mourinho’s men follow this evening’s game with home fixtures against Swansea City and Liverpool before travelling to Southampton on New Year’s Day.
Manchester City are currently favourites to reclaim the Premier League title, with Chelsea second favourites and Arsenal third.
Meanwhile, the club have been alerted to reports that Porto striker Jackson Martinez has failed to agree a new deal.
Mourinho has been linked with a move for a new striker in recent weeks as his current front line continue to misfire, with Martinez one of a number of names linked with a switch to Stamford Bridge.
The Colombia international has 47 goals in 65 games since moving to Porto last year.
Posted in Chelsea News
Tagged Arsenal, Ashley Cole, Branislav Ivanovic, Cesar Azpilicueta, Jackson Martinez, Liverpool, Manchester City, Michael Essien, Porto, Southampton, Swansea City
Jose Mourinho has announced that Ashley Cole will be left out of the Chelsea side that will face Arsenal on Monday evening, days after he was pictured at the Gunners’ Christmas party, the Mirror understands.
The Blues boss has not publicly criticised the England defender, who attended the evening with his old club on his free day, and has stressed that he may not have been selected anyway due to the form of Cesar Azpilicueta, who has played at left-back regularly in recent weeks.
Meanwhile, Zenit St Petersburg forward Hulk has insisted that he is committed to the Russian club despite continuous links with a move to Stamford Bridge, according to Sky Sports.
The Brazil international, who is keen to cement his place in former Blues boss Luis Felipe Scolari’s squad for next summer’s World Cup finals, has been a reported target of Mourinho’s in both of his spells as Chelsea manager.
However the 27 year old, who has ten goals in sixteen appearances so far this season, has said that he is keen to remain with Zenit as they attempt to conquer both domestically and in the Champions League, in which the face last season’s runners-up Borussia Dortmund in the last sixteen.
Ashley Cole is set to be recalled to the Chelsea line up for this evening’s Capital One Cup quarter final clash with Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
Branislav Ivanovic is suspended, so Cesar Azpilicueta is expected to switch to right back allowing Cole to return on the left.
Manager Jose Mourinho is expected to further rotate his squad with Monday evening’s trip to Premier League leaders Arsenal in mind.
This will be the second time the Blues have played the Mackems on their own patch in the space of two weeks, after the edged past them in a seven goal thriller in the league on December 4th.
Elsewhere, the club have been linked with a move for Inter Milan defender Andrea Ranocchia when the transfer window reopens next month, according to the Mirror.
The Italy international has played in all but three of his side’s league games this season, but has been linked with a move away, with Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Manchester United also reportedly interested.
Chelsea are also interested in securing the services of Inter midfielder Fredy Guarin, the Metro understands.
The club reportedly made an offer for the Colombian last week in an attempt to beat Manchester United to his signature.
Chelsea will be without Gary Cahill for tomorrow afternoon’s match against Crystal Palace.
The defender has a thigh problem and will not be risked against the Eagles, who have been somewhat resurgent under new manager Tony Pulis.
Cesar Apilicueta will regain his spot at left back despite Ashley Cole making his first appearance in thirty-nine days in the 1-0 win over Steaua Bucharest in midweek.
The Blues will hope to close the gap between themselves and leaders Arsenal who travel Manchester City earlier in the day.
Jose Mourinho’s men then face Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Monday week.
Meanwhile, the Blues’ boss has refused to commit on whether he will again move for Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney when the transfer window opens next month, ESPN understands.
The England international, who was the subject of interest from Chelsea during the summer, has been one of a small number of star performers for the Champions since David Moyes became their manager.
Rooney is entering the final eighteen months of his contract with United and the situation is likely to be monitored closely by Mourinho, who recently told reporters that he has faith in his current selection of misfiring forwards.
Fernando Torres is available for Chelsea’s Champions League Group E clash with FC Basel.
The 29 year old Spain international has not featured since the 2-0 defeat to Newcastle United earlier this month, but could lead the line for the visitors at St Jakob Park this evening, where a point for the Blues would seal qualification for the knockout stages, and victory would see them progress as group winners.
David Luiz has not travelled with the squad due to a bruised patella, and will be out for a week.
Gary Cahill and club captain John Terry are set to continue in the centre of defence, while Ashley Cole may play despite a niggling rib problem though Cesar Azpilicueta is ready to deputise after impressing on the left recently.
The Swiss Champions ran out 2-1 winners when the sides met in September, though Jose Mourinho’s men have responded well, first with a 4-0 win over Steaua in Bucharest and then back to back 3-0 victories over Schalke.
The group’s other game sees Steaua host Schalke, where victory for the visitors will secure their place in the next round should Chelsea win, while the Romanian champions must win to have any chance of progressing.
Chelsea eased into the quarter finals of the Capital One Cup with a comfortable 2-0 win over Premier League leaders Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
Jose Mourinho made ten changes to the side that beat Manchester City on Sunday afternoon, with only Gary Cahill keeping his place in the Blues’ starting eleven.
Cesar Azpilicueta put the visitors in from on twenty-five minutes after breaking from an Arsenal corner, before Juan Mata put the result beyond doubt in the second half with his first goal of the season, firing in from twenty yards.
They now await to see who they face in the next round, with the draw scheduled for this evening, following the matches between Newcastle United and Manchester City, and Tottenham Hostpur and Hull City.
Meanwhile, Ashley Cole is keen on securing a new contract with the club, Sky Sports understands.
The 32 year old signed an extension to his deal in January, that is due to expire at the end of this season, and is keen to remain at the club for the rest of his playing career.
The England veteran moved to Stamford Bridge from London rivals Arsenal back in 2006, and has made over three hundred appearances for the club.
Chelsea forward Kevin De Bruyne looks likely to remain with the club next season after being given assurances from Jose Mourinho, Sky Sports understands.
The 21 year old joined the Blues from Genk eighteen months ago, before being immediately sent back to the Belgian Pro League side for the remainder of the 2011/12 campaign, while he spent the entirety of last season on loan with Bundesliga side Werder Bremen where he scored ten goals in thirty three league appearances.
He has since been linked with a move back to Germany, with Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Dortmund reportedly interested, though he know seems set to compete for a first team place at Stamford Bridge.
De Bruyne scored his third international goal in Belgium’s 2-1 world Cup Qualifier win over Serbia earlier this month.
Meanwhile, Fernando Torres scored four and missed a penalty in Spain’s 10-0 win over Tahiti in the Confederation’s Cup yesterday evening.
Juan Mata also got on the score sheet, while Cesar Azpilicueta won his first competitive international cap, playing the full ninety minutes at right-back.
In the evenings other match, Blues midfielder John Obi Mikel, who is on the verge of completing his move to Galatasaray scored Nigeria’s goal in their 2-1 defeat to Uruguay.