Chelsea pre-match latest: Including Southampton preview and Aspas

A round-up of news and views relating to Chelsea ahead of the Premier League clash with Southampton this evening.

Ahead of the match tonight at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea midfielder Ramires has said he expects a stern test from Southampton as they look to avenge their recent 5-1 FA Cup loss to the Blues. Southampton are also in fine form in the league, having lost only two of their last 11 matches:

“I believe they are going to be extra motivated because they have lost the last game against us at their home, and they will want now to correct this result.

Demba Ba scored twice in his debut match at Southampton, and Nigel Adkins believes the signing of Ba could see Chelsea compete for the Premier League title. Chelsea are currently well off the pace set by Manchester United, but the Southampton manager believes their transfer activity could see them fight back in the second half of the season.

Adkins also praised Rafa Benitez, but the Chelsea manager has yet to win over the crowd at Stamford Bridge, something he believes only winning games can achieve. Chelsea’s poor home form has done nothing to dispel doubts about Benitez’s tenure, and a win tonight is vital to keeping them in the title race.

Pep Guardiola has said that he hopes to one day manage in the Premier League, as he never realised his dream of playing there. Guardiola is reportedly close to agreeing to take over at Bayern Munich in the summer, but Chelsea would be keen to lure him to Stamford Bridge.

Another big name manager who could be available this summer is Jose Mourinho, with speculation that AC Milan will rival Manchester City and Chelsea for the former Blues boss. Mourinho’s Real Madrid side are effectively out of the title race in Spain, and relations between the Portuguese manager and some of his key players have allegedly soured in recent weeks.

Thibaut Courtois has joined Romelu Lukaku in saying he would be happy to stay out on loan for another season. Courtois has been a player for Atletico Madrid in the past couple of years, and is hoping he can continue his development at the club.

Valencia look set to win the race for Celta Vigo striker Iago Aspas, who has previously been linked with a move to Chelsea. Valencia have reportedly told Celta they will pay Aspas’ 10 million Euro release clause, and could have already agreed a five year deal with the player.

image: © Crystian Cruz

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