A round-up of news and views relating to Chelsea over the past 24 hours.
Ryan Bertrand and Gary Cahill have been ruled out of Chelsea’s trip to Moscow to face Rubin Kazan tomorrow evening, with Demba Ba cup-tied for the match. Bertrand, who was expected to deputise for the injured Ashley Cole, has a virus, with Nathan Ake or Paulo Ferreira likely to come into the team, whilst Cahill has undergone surgery on his knee and will be out for at least two weeks.
Rafa Benitez has warned his team against complacency in the match despite taking a 3-1 lead to Russia, saying that unusual conditions could play a part in making the tie difficult for Chelsea:
“The difficult thing is everyone thinks it’s done — it’s not done. We will be playing on an artificial pitch and it will be -5°C or something like that.
“If they score one goal, they will have hope and we will be under pressure. It is important for us to score and for us to approach the game with the right mentality.”
Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck said the club were being open-minded in their approach to selecting a successor Rafa Benitez, and refused to rule out the return of Mourinho. Some reports have even suggested Mourinho has agreed a switch to Chelsea, and has asked for funds to sign Hulk this summer.
There have been reports in Spain that Manchester United are plotting a £45million move for striker Radamel Falcao, who has long been linked with Chelsea, with suggestions that the Premier League leaders had already held talks with the striker.
On HITC today we look at who should play at left back against Rubin with Bertrand and Cole injured, and Lewis Doe asks if Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final could be Fernando Torres’ last big game for Chelsea? We also asses Loic Remy’s suitability for the Blues, with the striker perhaps set to leave QPR if they are relegated this season, and suggest Swansea City might be the perfect destination if Romelu Lukaku goes on loan again next season.
Pablo Zabaleta has dismissed the idea that the FA Cup semi-final between Manchester City and Chelsea is a de facto final, saying that Wigan or Millwall could easily upset the odds in a final. The right back also said that City’s good results against Chelsea this season, two wins and a draw, would mean nothing in the match on Sunday.
Rubin Kazan have recorded impressive results against Atletico Madrid and Levante in the Europa League this season, but Chelsea should be able to beat the Russian side if they set up to counter attack tomorrow night.
image: © tpower1978