Chelsea return to Premier League action tomorrow afternoon with the short trip to bottom of the table Fulham.
Eden Hazard and Jon Obi Mikel should feature, though neither completed ninety minutes against Galatasaray midweek after shaking off their respective knocks, while David Luiz will be assessed ahead of the game.
Goals from Oscar and Mikel secured victory for the Blues when the sides met at Stamford Bridge back in September, and another three points for Jose Mourinho’s men will ensure that they stay in first place.
However, if they fail to win Arsenal will be able to leapfrog them into pole position with victory at Stoke City, while third place Manchester City are playing in the Capital One Cup final at Wembley on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Ashley Cole has been named in Roy Hodgon’s England squad for next Wednesday’s friendly international against Denmark at Wembley.
The 33 year old will have the chance to win his 107th cap, though he will be up against fellow left-backs Leighton Baines and reported Chelsea target Luke Shaw – the latter of which the only as yet uncapped player in the thirty-man party.
Fellow Blues defender Gary Cahill has also been included, as has midfielder Frank Lampard.
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
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 returned to winning ways with a 2-0 victory over Fulham at Stamford Bridge – a result which took them, albeit momentarily to the top of the Premier League.
They ended the weekend in fourth place following wins for Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, but can reclaim top spot with three points against Spurs next time out.
The Blues had to wait until seven minutes into the second half for the breakthrough, when Brazil international Oscar fired in from close range.
Their advantage was doubled when Jon Obi Mikel grabbed his first league goal for the club six minutes from time.
Juan Mata was again absent from proceedings, but is set to play in the club’s Capital One Cup third round tie at Swindon Town on Tuesday evening.
The Spain international has barely featured under Jose Mourinho, despite clinching the teams Player of the Year in both of his seasons with the club so far.
Meanwhile, Josh McEachran has joined Championship side Watford on loan until January 2nd, according to Sky Sports.
The 20 year old spent the majority of last season with Middlesbrough, where he made thirty-eight appearances, and has also spent time at Swansea City since his last appearance for Chelsea.
David Luiz’s injury time free kick gave Chelsea the advantage in their Europa League semi-final first leg, as the European Champions beat FC Basel 2-1.
The Blues took the lead on eleven minutes when the ball went in off Victor Moses, who unknowingly deflected in Frank Lampard’s corner kick.
The game looked to be ending in a draw when Fabian Schlar equalised from the penalty spot with three minutes left, but Luiz had the last say four minutes into added time.
The return leg will be at Stamford Bridge next Thursday, though the club will first turn their attention to Sunday’s visit of Swansea City, by which time they could well find themselves outside of the top four.
Rafael Benitez is expected to once again rotate his squad for this game; Chelsea’s ninth of this month.
Demba Ba, Jon Obi Mikel and Juan Mata are all expected to return to the starting line-up, while Gary Cahill could feature for the first time in a month following knee surgery.
Swansea are without a win in five games, however the Premier League status is all but secure, as they look ahead to a debut season in Europe following their Capital One Cup victory back in February.
Raphael Honigstein has revealed on Twitter that two separate sources have confirmed that a deal to bring Jose Mourinho back to Stamford Bridge has been finalised.
The German journalist claims that both an agent and a commercial partner of the club have insisted that the appointment will be made in the summer.
Mourinho, whose Real Madrid side go in to their Champions League Quarter Final tie this evening with a three-nil advantage from the first leg, parted company with Chelsea in 2007.
Meanwhile, the club will offer Bayer Leverkusen a player-plus-cash in a bid to sign Germany striker Andre Schurrle, according to The Sun.
Reports in Germany suggest that Leverkusen are willing to listen to offers for the forward, who has scored nine goals in twenty-eight Bundesliga appearances this season, while Kevin De Bruyne has impressed on loan at Werder Bremen.
Elsewhere, Jon Obi Mikel has told ESPN that playing in the Europa League is “frustrating” ahead of Thursday evening’s quarter final second leg with Rubin Kazan.
The Blues, who won the first leg 3-1 at Stamford Bridge last Thursday, dropped in to Europe’s second string competition after only managing to finish third behind Juventus and Shakhtar Donetsk in their Champions League group.