Rafa Benitez has opted to rest Frank Lampard and Bransilav Ivanovic for Chelsea’s match with Sparta Prague tomorrow evening. Chelsea won the first leg 1-0 in Prague, and Benitez is hoping to keep the pair fresh for the weekend’s clash away at Manchester City in the Premier League. Demba Ba will also miss the game as he is cup-tied.
Sparta will be without former Chelsea man Jiri Jarosik through injury, and Josef Husbauer also misses out due to illness, leaving the Czech side short of options in the centre of the park.
Gary Cahill has said he believes Chelsea can still over take Manchester City to claim second in the Premier League. Chelsea are currently four points behind Roberto Mancini’s side, with both teams struggling for form in the league in recent weeks. Cahill believes a good result this weekend will give Chelsea a good chance of catching City:
“If we get a positive result on Sunday then that opens it right back up. We're taking it one game at a time but we'll be looking to do that.
"It'll be tough game away from home, but if we do get a positive result then obviously second place is within touching distance."
Rafa Benitez however has said he is completely focussed on Thursday’s game with Sparta for the moment, and the Europa League is an important tournament for Chelsea. Benitez has also denied that his described Real Madrid as his sweetheart club yesterday, after several stories suggesting he might be keen to manage the side.
Meanwhile Juan Mata warmed up for the match with some ping-pong, stating his determination to beat the (currently injured) Oriol Romeu on Twitter.
Chelsea fans keen to check out the background on reported target Heung-Min Son can read a profile of him put together by the Metro. The Hamburg striker is rumoured to be on the radar of several Premier League clubs.
On HITC today Dan Coombs looks at the reasons why Chelsea should not let Marko Marin leave the club in the summer, and also examines Shaun Wright-Philips’ fall from grace.
Chelsea’s youngsters enjoyed a 2-0 win away at Barcelona in the Next Gen tournament earlier today, with goals from Islam Feruz and Jerome Boga seeing them past the Catalans despite Connor Hunte receiving a red card. Chelsea are now through to the quarter finals.
image: © manc72