Chelsea latest: Mou - Arsenal not 'crucial', Drogba reaction, more

All the latest news and views from Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho will have many reasons to be festively cheerful over the fixture list as, thus far, it has thrown up some beneficial results for his Blues.

With Manchester City slaying (sleighing?) Arsenal, Chelsea could go top of the Premier League table by Christmas day should Cardiff do the Stamford Bridge side a favour and get a result over Liverpool, or if the Blues convincingly out-gun Arsene Wenger's selection.

Speaking to Chelsea TV, Mourinho said: 'I like the fact we will go there [on Monday, December 23] with this distance [between the teams], because it brings even more ingredients to the game, however, I don’t think in this league it will become a crucial game, if we leave Arsenal with five points difference or top of the league.'

First of all, Mourinho is tasked with motivating his team for a trip to Sunderland with a place in the League Cup semifinal available for the victory.

Having won the cup twice, it has, traditionally, been a trophy the Portuguese has valued while others in a similar position to he care for it the least out of all four of (major) competitions available to top four clubs in the Premier League.

Mourinho, though, has stressed the importance of tinkering: 'Now is an important period for all of the squad - everyone has a role to play and a contribution to give. Every player will be important when we have so many games and competitions to play.'

Showing some of his cards, he added, as quoted by London24: 'Cesar Azpilicueta can go on the right, Ashley Cole on the left, with David [Luiz] as a central defender. If Cahill recovers, I will play him if he does not recover, then I will go again with John, but I would like to John a rest for that match.'

Onto the Champions League and Chelsea were drawn against Galatasaray setting up a homecoming for club icon Didier Drogba, who said: 'What a draw. I'm the luckiest man in the Champions League. I'll play both games at home. See you in a few months!'

John Obi Mikel told the club's official website: 'I'm sure [Didier Drogba] will text very soon, it will be great to have him back. We shouldn't get carried away about him coming back; he is a player that was here for eight years, he won major trophies, he's a big player with a big personality.

'Obviously he had to move on but Chelsea continue, we have to win games, he's coming here with his new club Galatasaray who we want to beat, so we shouldn't get carried away about him coming back. We want to win the game.'

Defender David Luiz added: 'It will be hard for us. You can see how important it is for Galatasaray when they play at home – they qualified in the last game and beat a team like Juventus. It's good for us to play the second leg at home, but for sure you need to get a great result to qualify, that's why we need to get a great result in the first game.

'We have to think that we need to win that game because even if we draw 0-0 and they come here and score an away goal, it will become a very difficult game.'

And finally, as if Mourinho's records were not legendary enough, it turns out he is actually undefeated in normal time games in the League Cup, having only ever exited the competition via penalty death.

  • Jose Mourinho has never lost a League Cup game as Chelsea manager (excluding penalty shootouts), winning 12 and drawing three of 15 (as per the BBC).

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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