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 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
Chelsea fired themselves back to the top of the Premier League after thumping Newcastle United 3-0 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon, with all three goals coming from top scorer Eden Hazard.
The Belgium international put the hosts in front on twenty-seven minutes, before doubling their advantage seven minutes later.
Hazard was then given the chance to complete his hat-trick just after the hour mark, which he duly took to put the result beyond doubt.
Mohammed Salah was introduced late on to make his debut and almost added a fourth, but 3-0 is how it stayed, giving Jose Mourinho’s men a vital three points in the race for the title.
With Arsenal having been beaten 5-1 at Liverpool earlier in the day, and Manchester City only managing a goalless draw at Norwich City, the Blues leapt from third to first place ahead of tomorrow evening’s trip to West Bromwich Albion.
Bookmakers have now installed Chelsea as favourites to lift the Premier League trophy, ahead of Manchester City and Arsenal.
City, who face the Blues in the fifth round of the FA Cup next weekend, host Sunderland on Wednesday evening, while Arsenal welcome reigning champions Manchester United to the Emirates on the same evening.
Demba Ba is set to be recalled to Chelsea’s starting line-up for Sunday afternoon’s FA Cup fourth round tie against Stoke City.
The Senegal international has started just three games so far this season, but is expected to be given the nod after Fernando Torres was ruled out for some weeks with knee ligament damage.
Long-term absentee Marco Van Ginkel is the only other player unavailable to Jose Mourinho, though he is likely to rotate his squad, with three Premier League games coming up in the next fortnight.
Meanwhile, Juan Mata is set to undergo a medical on Friday afternoon ahead of his proposed move to Manchester United.
Reports say that a central Manchester hospital is waiting to carry out a physical examination on the 25 year old, who has told his teammates that a move is imminent.
The move looks to have been given the all clear by the Blues after a deal was agreed for them to bring in Egyptian winger Mohammed Salah from Basel.
United are set to pay a club record fee of £37m for the Spain international, eclipsing their previous record of £30.75, which they paid to Tottenham Hotspur for Dimitar Berbatov five-and-a-half years ago.
Jose Morinho’s first Champions League tie since returning to Chlesea ended in disappointment as the Blues fell to a shock 2-1 defeat to Swiss champions FC Basel at Stamford Bridge.
The hosts took the lead towards the end of the first half as Oscar fired in an angled shot, before the visitors equalised through Mohammed Salah on 71 minutes.
The home fans were then stunned as Basel captain Marco Streller nodded in eight minutes before time to secure a famous win for Murat Yakin’s men.
With the Schalke beating Steaua Bucharest in the groups other match, Mourinho’s men sit in third place ahead of their trip to Romania a week on Tuesday.
Last night’s result came exactly six years since the Poruguese boss’s final game of his first spell in charge of the Blues – a 1-1 draw with Norweigian side Rosenborg.
The 50 year old has played Chelsea’s chances of emerging victorious from this seasons European campaign, describing his squad as “young eggs who need nurturing”, though the team he selected last night boasted a host of experience.
Nine of the starting XI, which included old heads Frank Lampard, Petr Cech, Ashley Cole and new signing Samuel Eto’o, have played in, and won at least one major European final at club level.
Tags: Ashley Cole, Chelsea, FC Basel, Frank Lampard, Marco Streller, Mohammed Salah, Oscar, Petr Cech, Samuel Eto'o, Schalke, Steaua Bucharest