Rafa Benitez has suggested he will make a number of changes to the side for Sunday’s match against Manchester City at the Eithad. Ashley Cole, Branislav Ivanovic, Frank Lampard and Demba Ba are expected to come back into the side after being rested for the game against Sparta Prague. Benitez also said that fixture congestions was a price worth paying for success, and praised Manchester City’s manager Roberto Mancini.
Vincent Kompany remains a doubt for Manchester City, with the Belgian player having missed four games for the champions. Micah Richards is also still out, but Gareth Barry could return for the fixture after missing the FA cup win over Leeds last weekend.
Demba Ba believes that Chelsea have a good chance of getting a result at the Etihad, with City currently going through a bad run of form. Recent results have seen City drop 12 points behind Manchester United at the top of the table, and Chelsea are now only four points behind the league champions.
Petr Cech has said that if Chelsea do win on Sunday, City might end up fighting to stay in the top four altogether, with Arsenal, Everton and Tottenham Hotspur also chasing a place in next year’s Champions League. It will be a big result either way, and on HITC Jenny Leigh looks at which of the two sides has more to lose at the Etihad.
Benitez has again defended Fernando Torres after the Spanish striker turned in what most would describe as another poor performance against Sparta Prague last night, saying that the player was working hard for the team:
“You can analyse a striker for the number of goals he scores. Maybe you're right. But he did a great job for the team tonight. It's not easy against a team playing deep, but he was winning the ball in the air, bringing options for those around him.”
Former Chelsea boss Ruud Gullit has said he expects Jose Mourinho to return to the club in the summer, and that Rafa Benitez’s main task is to ensure the club qualifies for the Champions League. Gullit also said he believes Mourinho might have returned last summer had Chelsea not won the Champions League.
image: © Mark Freeman