A round-up of news and views relating to Chelsea over the past 24 hours.
Frank Lampard will start for Chelsea against Aston Villa as Rafa Benitez rotates his team ahead of the Europa League final next week. Lampard needs two more goals to set a new record for Chelsea. John Obi Mikel is fit again, but Victor Moses and Eden Hazard are injury doubts, and Ryan Bertrand has been ruled out.
Villa might be without full back Matthew Lowton, who has played every league game for Paul Lambert’s team so far this season, whilst Ciaran Clark and Karim El Ahmadi are definitely unavailable.
Lambert has urged his side to avenge the 8-0 defeat they suffered at the hands of Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, and in doing so secure their Premier League status for next season. A win for Villa will put them out of danger after a fine recent run.
Chelsea need the win to guarantee their place in next year’s Champions League, but Gary Cahill has said that it will be tough to beat Villa, who have improved since the 8-0 loss:
“This time around it will be a different team we face. They're playing some good football and attacking-wise they look very strong.
"It's going to be tough, but I'm looking forward to going back to my old club and looking forward to the game.”
John Obi Mikel has added his voice to the Chelsea players hoping for Jose Mourinho’s return to Stamford Bridge this summer, with the midfielder saying the Portuguese’s managers return would be a “massive, massive plus” for the Blues.
Bayer Leverkusen’s CEO has suggested that his team are in pole position to bring Chelsea’s Kevin De Bruyne back to Germany on loan next season, as the Blues do not want to sell the Belgian midfielder.
However Dortmund are reportedly keen on testing Chelsea’s resolve with a summer bid, and De Bruyne himself has indicted he would be happy to make a move to the Champions League finalists.
There were rumours that Chelsea might try and use De Bruyne in their quest to sign Robert Lewandowski, but that hope has been dealt a blow by reports that Dortmund have softened their stance on selling the Polish player to rivals Bayern Munich, who are favourites to land the striker.
On HITC today we look ahead to Chelsea’s game at Aston Villa tomorrow with Jenny Leigh suggesting the home team might upset the odds, and report on the latest record that Thibaut Courtois has set in Spain. We also suggest the rumours linking Rooney with Chelsea are utterly ridiculous, although Bayern Munich are allegedly not interested in the striker, perhaps making a move to the Blues more likely.
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