Chelsea will be hoping to regain their four point lead at the top of the Premier League when they travel to Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon.
Liverpool’s victory over Sunderland on Wednesday moved them to with a point of first place, but with Brendan Rodgers’ side not playing until Sunday afternoon, and Arsenal hosting Manchester City later on Saturday, the Blues can once again create distance between themselves and the chasing back.
Ramires remains suspended, while Samuel Eto’o is doubtful after limping out of last weekend’s 6-0 win over Arsenal, and Ashely Cole is doubtful with the knee injury that kept him out of that game.
The Blues have won their past five games against the Eagles, the last of which saw goals from Fernando Torres and Ramires secure all three points for Jose Mourinho’s men at Selhurst Park back in December.
Palace themselves are desperate for the points as they look to end a run of five games without a win.
Last weekend’s last minute loss to Newcastle United – their eighteenth of the season, left them just three points of the bottom three of the top flight, having played a game more than eighteenth place Sunderland.
Chelsea missed the chance to move four points clear at the top of the Premier League after being held to a 1-1 draw by relegation threatened West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns yesterday evening.
Branislav Ivanovic put the Blues in front on the stroke of half time, only for Baggies substitute Victor Anichebe to equalise three minutes from time to give Pepe Mel’s side a share of the spoils with their only attempt on target in the entire game.
Both Arsenal and Manchester City now have the opportunity to leapfrog Jose Mourinho’s men, should they win their matches against Manchester United and Sunderland respectively.
Meanwhile, Chelsea will now turn their attention their trip to Manchester City in the fifth round of the FA Cup in four days’ time, while their next league game is against Everton at Stamford Bridge the following Saturday.
Elsewhere, Eden Hazard has dismissed speculation linking him with a move to French champions Paris Saint Germain, according to Sky Sports.
The Belgium international midfielder, who scored his first hat-trick for the Blues in Saturday’s 3-0 win over Newcastle United, is a reported target for the mega-spending Ligue 1 side though he has expressed his desire to achieve success in West London.
Jose Mourinho will not be repeating the success of his first season in his first spell as Chelsea manager, as the Blues lost the League Cup quarter final with Sunderland after extra time at the Stadium of Light.
The visitors dominated the majority of the ninety minutes, and took the lead when Lee Cattermole turned into his own net just after the break.
Former Chelsea forward Fabio Borini then drew the hosts level late on to send the game into extra time, and with the tie heading towards a penalty shoot-out, Ki Sung Yueng thumped in the winner for Gus Poyet’s men.
The Blues will now turn their attention to Monday evening’s clash with Premier League leaders Arsenal, where victory will see them top the table for Christmas, should Liverpool fail to beat Cardiff City on Saturday afternoon.
Last night’s result has led to Mourinho claiming that he may rethink his attacking approach, while he may still add another striker when the transfer window reopens next month.
The Metro understands that Porto’s Jackson Martinez and Christian Benteke of Aston Villa are both options as his current front line continue to struggle.
Fernando Torres, Demba Ba, Andre Schurrle and Samuel Eto’o have just sixteen goals between them in all competitions this season.
Tags: Andre Schurrle, Arsenal, Aston Villa, Cardiff City, Christian Benteke, Demba Ba, Fabio Borini, Fernando Torres, Jackson Martinez, Porto, Samuel Eto'o, Sunderland
Chelsea moved to within two points of Premier League leaders Arsenal by edging past Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon.
Fernando Torres gave the Blues the lead with his first goal in five league games on sixteen minutes before Marouane Chamakh drew the Eagles level thirteen minutes later.
Ramires then fired in a second for the hosts ten minutes before the break which was enough to secure victory for Jose Mourinho’s men, who will now turn their attention to what will be there second trip to the Stadium of Light in the space of two weeks, as they take on Sunderland in the quarter finals of the League Cup tomorrow evening.
Meanwhile, Chelsea have been drawn against Galatasaray in the last sixteen of the Champions League.
The first leg takes place in Istanbul on February 26th, with the return leg at Stamford Bridge three weeks later.
The tie will see striker Didier Drogba face the club for the first time since he bowed out with the winning penalty in the shoot-out victory over Bayern Munich in the 2012 Champions League final.
The Ivory Coast international, who joined the Turkish club in January, has scored twice in the competition so far this season.
Chelsea edged past Sunderland to take all three points in a seven-goal thriller at the Stadium of Light yesterday evening.
The hosts took the lead through Jozy Altidore on fourteen minutes, only for Frank Lampard to draw the visitors level three minutes later with a close range header.
Eden Hazard then put Chelsea in front with a curling strike from twenty yards, with John O’Shea levelling terms five minutes after the break.
Hazard then wove through the home defence to fire in his second and the Blues third, before Phil Bardsley turned into his own net with six minutes to play to put the result beyond doubt.
Bardsley still had time to make amends by scoring at the right end, but Jose Mourinho’s men held on to chalk up a third straight league victory and keep pressure on league leaders Arsenal, who beat Hull City 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium.
The club’s hectic December continues on Saturday afternoon when they travel to Stoke City before hosting Steaua Bucharest in their final Champions League game on Wednesday evening.
They then face Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge before again travelling to the Stadium of Light to play Sunderland – this time in their Capital One Cup quarter final.
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.
Chelsea have risen to second place in the Premier League after beating Southampton 3-1 at Stamford Bridge yesterday afternoon.
The visitors took the lead inside thirteen seconds through Jay Rodriguez, who capitalised on a mistake from Michael Essien.
However, the Blues improved after the second half, and Gary Cahill levelled terms ten minutes after the restart before his central defensive partner and club captain John Terry turned the game on its head soon after.
Substitute Demba Ba then fired in his first league goal since March in stoppage time to put the result beyond doubt, and secure a second straight win for Jose Mourinho’s men who will now turn their attention to Wednesday evening’s trip to lowly Sunderland, where they have won on each of their past eight visits.
Meanwhile, West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce is set to make a fresh approach for Demba Ba when the transfer window reopens next month.
His appearance off the bench yesterday was only his fifth in the Premier League this season, while his four outings in the cup competitions this time around have all come as a substitute.
Premier League leaders Arsenal were interested in securing the Senegal international’s services in the summer.
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.
Chelsea are set to make several changes for tonight’s visit to Swindon Town in the Capital One Cup third round.
Cesar Azpilicueta, Ryan Bertrand, David Luiz, Michael Essien and Juan Mata are all likely to come into the starting line-up, while Mark Schwarzer could be handed his debut for the club.
The veteran Australian goalkeeper was part of the Middlesbrough team that won the League Cup in the 2003/04 campaign.
Meanwhile, Azpilicueta has emerged as a potential transfer target for Barcelona, the Metro understands.
The La Liga champions could be forced to recruit a defender if Arsenal and Liverpool target Martin Montoya moves away from the club.
Azpilicutea made forty-seven appearances in all competitions last season, but has barely featured for the Blues since Jose Mourinho returned to the club as manager.
Elsewhere, three former Blues players are among the favourites to become the new Sunderland manager, following Paolo Di Canio’s sacking on Sunday evening.
Roberto Di Matteo, who won the FA Cup and Champions League in a short spell as manager at Stamford Bridge is the currently leading the market, while Watford manager Gianfranco Zola and Gus Poyet, who is currently out of work, are also in the running.
Tags: Barcelona, Cesar Apilicueta, David Luiz, Gianfranco Zola, Gus Poyet, Juan Mata, Mark Schwarzer, Michael Essien, Middlesbrough, Roberto di Matteo, Ryan Bertrand, Sunderland, Swindon Town, Watford