Chelsea latest: Jose implies Arsenal have it easier, Eto'o v Oscar & more

All the latest news and views from Stamford Bridge.

The winter fixture list is not the only thing piling up as the pressure too is getting heavy.

Chelsea have already played twice this month, last competed on Wednesday and have another game on Saturday. Arsenal, meanwhile, have only played once in December (albeit once on the last day of November), played Wednesday, then again on Sunday. They theoretically have had an extra days rest and will do so again this weekend.

This has not been lost on eagle-eyed Blues boss Jose Mourinho, who is quoted by London24 to have said: 'This week is a hard week because we start on a Sunday, not even on a Saturday, playing Southampton, but finish on a Saturday. For some clubs it’s Saturday-Sunday when for us it’s Sunday-Saturday.

'Once more when it comes to fixtures, we are always in trouble. It’s a big coincidence. I don’t like to give a day off to the players after a big game, but I’ll have to give them the day off on Sunday. I don’t think it’s good for their body, but it’s good for their heads.

'I like to give physiological recovery, but the mental point of view is more important. It’s important they have a free Sunday to disconnect.'

Mourinho, though, did concede that if Arsenal, or another team not named Chelsea, are top of the Premier League by the concluding game of the season then they are their on merit and not because of a particularly kind schedule of matches.

'Arsenal lead and if they lead it’s because they have more points than other people and because they are better and have made less mistakes. If they are there it’s because they deserve to be there. But the championship finishes in May. Let’s see what happens then.'

Chelsea travel to Stoke for a 3pm kick-off tomorrow, midfielder John Obi Mikel - who is now the Nigerian Sports Person of the Year - told the club's official website: 'I think Stoke have been trying to do something different with their play but I think tomorrow they are going to go back to the normal routine of playing longer balls and trying to pick up the second ball. If they try to play we've got good quality that can withstand that.

'They are definitely going to go with their strengths and we are ready for it. Hopefully tomorrow we are going to get a good result. It is difficult coming in when it's getting tough for the team. But whenever the manager calls on me to start or come off the bench I'm always ready to do my job, help the team and make sure we win.'

And finally, Cameroonian Samuel Eto'o will line up against Brazilian foursome Oscar, Ramires, David Luiz and Willian in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, while Michael Essien of Ghana will come face to face with Germany's Andre Schurrle.

Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole and Gary Cahill could all represent England in a Group of Death that features Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica, while Juan Mata, Fernando Torres and Cesar Azpilicueta could play for Spain.

John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses will hope to make the Nigeria cut who are in Group F with Argentina, Bosnia-Hercegovina and Iran.

Chelsea also have a trio of Belgians - Eden Hazard, Kevin de Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku - who could see pitch-time against Algeria, Russia and South Korea.

image: © Ben Sutherland

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