A round-up of news and views relating to Chelsea over the past 24 hours.
Ryan Bertrand and Demba Ba are both available for this Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final with Manchester City, but Ashely Cole and Gary Cahill both remain side-lined by their injuries. Ba has recovered from an ankle injury sustained during the win over Sunderland, whilst Bertrand has shaken off a virus.
David Silva is a doubt for Manchester City, and will face a fitness test on Sunday to see if he can make the match, whilst Sergio Aguero could return to the starting line-up after his winning goal in the Manchester derby.
Chelsea have drawn Swiss side Basel in the semi-finals of the Europa League. The Blues qualified despite losing 3-2 at Rubin Kazan last night, whilst Basel knocked out Tottenham Hotspur on penalties. The first leg will be in Switzerland on the 25th April, with the return leg week later. The other semi-final sees Fenerbahce take on Newcastle’s conquerors Benfica.
Petr Cech has backed Rafa Benitez’s rotation policy, saying that the Spanish manager was right to rest key players for the Europa league game ahead of this weekend’s match with Manchester City:
“It was more than important. We know what kind of game is coming on Sunday and that the manager rested some players could be key.”
Benitez has also been praised by club secretary David Barnard, who says that the Spaniard deserves plenty of credit for taking Chelsea to two semi-finals. Barnard also said he was happy to see the Blues draw Basel instead of either Fenerbahce or Benfica.
Benitez himself said that Chelsea could cope with their hectic fixture list, and praised squad players like Paulo Ferreira for their performance against Rubin, but stated that there should a be a reduction in the amount of fixtures in a season.. Benitez also said that Chelsea know the mistake they made against Manchester City in the league, and they wouldn’t repeat them on Sunday.
Frank Lampard has said he is eager for Chelsea to continue their recent success, and say that whoever is picked on Sunday will be ready for Manchester City despite their busy schedule:
“The players called upon on Sunday will be fit enough and do their job. We’re here to play big games. That goes for every game, not just Sunday.”
On HITC today, we look at the 18 year old striker that Chelsea and Manchester United have missed out on, and report on the Rubin Kazan player unhappy at the fans cheering on Chelsea last night.
image: © TiM BiG