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.
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.
Samuel Eto’o netted a hat-trick as Chelsea kept up the pressure on Arsenal and Manchester City with a fine 3-1 win over Premier League champions Manchester United.
The Cameroon international gave the hosts the lead on seventeen minutes with a deflected shot from outside of the area before doubling his side’s advantage on the stroke of half time with a neat finish.
Eto’o then poked in from close range after Gary Cahill’s header was saved by David De Gea, to complete his treble on forty-nine minutes and give Jose Mourinho’s man an unassailable lead.
Javier Hernandez pulled on back for United twelve minutes from time, before their captain Nemanja Vidic was shown a straight red card in added on time for a foul on Eden Hazard.
Rafael could have also been dismissed for the visitors late on, but escaped with just a booking after a poor challenge on Cahill.
Chelsea are now on forty-nine points, one behind second place Manchester City and a further point behind leaders Arsenal.
They will now turn their attention to Sunday’s FA Cup fourth round tie with Stoke City at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon, before returning to league action with a home match against West Ham United on Wednesday week.
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 have slipped to third position in the Premier League after losing 3-2 to Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Andre Schurrle put Jose Mourinho’s men in front on nine minutes before Peter Crouch drew the hosts level three minute before the break.
The host’s then took the lead five minutes into the second half through Stephen Ireland before Schurrle got his and the Blues’ second just five minutes later.
Then, in the final minute of the game, Oussama Assaidi fired in an angled shot to secure victory for Mark Hughes’ men, and consign Chelsea to their third league defeat of the season.
The club will now turn their attention to Wednesday evening’s match with Steaua Bucharest if the final round of Champions League group games, where victory will guarantee first place ahead of either Schalke or Basel who meet in Gelsenkirchen.
Meanwhile, the club are set to swoop for Monaco’s Radamel Falcao, according to the Daily Star.
The Colombia striker only moved to the Ligue 1 sidde in the summer and has scored nine times in fourteen games though Mourinho has been linked with a £60m bid as his current selection of strikers continue to misfire.
Chelsea remain without centre back David Luiz for tomorrow afternoon’s trip to Stoke City.
The Brazilian is still struggling with a knee problem though his international teammate Oscar has recovered from an ankle knock but may still be rested.
Cameroon international Samuel Eto’o is available after missing the Blues’ last two games with a groin problem, and may replace Fernando Torres at the top of the field.
Three points for Jose Mourinho’s men will see them move to within a point of Arsenal at the top of the table, with the league leaders not playing until Sunday afternoon when the host fifth place Everton.
Chelsea’s 4-0 victory at the Britannia Stadium back in January was their third successive victory against the Potters, and all three have come without them conceding.
Meanwhile, Mourinho is refusing to rule Manchester United of the title race, according to the Metro.
Chelsea currently sit eight points above the reigning champions, who fell to their fourth league defeat of the season on Wednesday afternoon; losing 1-0 to Everton at Old Trafford.
The Blues boss believes that even if United fail to win the division this season, they will bounce back next season to reclaim their title.
Chelsea will be without Brazilian midfielder Oscar for this evening’s trip to Sunderland.
The 22 year old injured his ankle in Sunday afternoon’s 3-1 win over Southampton, and joins international teammate David Luiz on the side-lines, though Samuel Eto’o could feature after returning to training following a hamstring problem.
The Blues have are unbeaten in their last three league games, and have lost just one in their last nine. Three points here will keep the pressure on leaders Arsenal, who host Hull City this evening.
This evening’s match begins a run of three matches against teams currently in the bottom five of the Premier League for Jose Mourinho’s side.
They travel to Stoke City on Saturday afternoon before facing Crystal Palace seven days later.
Meanwhile, Thibaut Courtois is set to hold talks with the club regarding his long term future, Sky Sports understands.
The Belgium international is currently in his third season on loan with Atletico Madrid, where he has established himself as one of the best young goalkeepers in world football.
Both Barcelona and Real Madrid have been linked with a move for the 21 year old, who is yet to play for Chelsea since signing from Genk in 2011.