A round-up of news and views relating to Chelsea over the past 24 hours.
Cesar Azpilicueta has said that Chelsea could end the season without winning anything if they do not improve their defending. Chelsea have only kept six clean sheets in their last 20 games, with two of those coming against Middlesbrough and Brentford.
Atletico Madrid are rumoured to be close to agreeing a deal to take Thibaut Courtois on loan for a third consecutive year, and the player himself has said that if it was up to him he would like to stay in Madrid:
“Everyone knows I like it here. The fans are very good to me and I try and give that back. I am happy, I like my life here, my team-mates. It is not just my decision, Chelsea and Atletico also have to talk. But everyone knows I like it here and, if I can, I want to stay.”
Chelsea’s comeback to draw with Manchester United at the weekend is likely to cause fixture chaos for the Blues as the FA attempts to fit the replay into their busy schedule. Chelsea could end up playing three times in five or six days due to the congestion.
John Obi Mikel has praised Rafa Benitez for his role in Chelsea’s comeback at Old Trafford, saying that the manager inspired the team with his half-time team talk:
“It wasn't anything the players had to say.
"It was the manager. The manager just said we had to go back out there and put things right.”
There has been a lot of speculation that former Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo might be in line to take over from Brian McDermott at Reading, although Sky Sports have suggested his appointment is unlikely. On HITC today, Lewis Doe wonders if Di Matteo might use the Reading job to get back at Chelsea for firing him.
Also on HITC, we ask if Liverpool fans would want Rafa Benitez back in charge of their club now, and Jack Rau suggests John Obi MIkel is Chelsea’s most under appreciated player.
Rio Ferdinand will not face any punishment for tripping up Fernando Torres off the ball during the FA Cup draw last weekend, and will be free to line up for Manchester United whenever the replay comes around.
image: © wshjackson