A round-up of news and views relating to Chelsea over the past 24 hours.
Demba Ba and Frank Lampard are both set to return to Chelsea’s starting line-up for the visit of West Ham on Sunday. Ba was ineligible for the Europa League win over Steaua Bucharest, whilst Lampard was rested.
West Ham will be without Mark Noble and Kevin Nolan for the match, and Joe Cole is also set to miss out on the chance to face his former club due to a hamstring injury. Matthew Taylor and George McCartney could both be in the squad after recovering from their injuries.
Chelsea have drawn Rubin Kazan in the quarter finals of the Europa League, with the Blues joining Newcastle and Tottenham in the last eight thanks to a 3-1 win over Steaua last night. We look at which English teams have done the best out of the draw here on HITC.
With the second leg of that tie scheduled for the 11th April, Chelsea could travel to Russia just days before an FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City should they beat Manchester United in their quarter-final replay. If they don’t qualify, Chelsea will likely play Spurs in the league that weekend.
However Eden Hazard believes their busy schedule could actually help Chelsea this weekend, when they face a West Ham team who will be playing only their second match this month:
“It might favour us at the start of the game because we should be able to set the tempo and get into our stride quicker because we've been more used to playing competitive games recently.”
Alex Ferguson’s has dismissed Rafa Benitez’s claims that he refused to shake the Spaniard’s hand after the draw at Old Trafford as nonsense:
"It is absolute nonsense.
"Why wouldn't I shake hands? Have you ever seen me not shake hands with anyone?”
West Brom manager Steve Clarke has said he is resigned to losing Romelu Lukaku in the summer as the Belgian returns to Chelsea after his loan spell at the Hawthorns. There have been suggestions that Lukaku might stay another year, but Clarke believes he will have a role to play at Chelsea next year.
Jose Mourinho has received a glowing appraisal from his former Chelsea charge Hernan Crespo, who has described the Portuguese manager as spectacular.
Blackburn have resigned Chelsea youngster Todd Kane on a one month loan. Kane will be used to cover for the injured Bradley Orr and Adam Henley.
image: © Ben Sutherland