A round-up of news and views relating to Chelsea over the past 24 hours.
Chelsea should be able to call on the services of Juan Mata and David Luiz for their match with Shakhtar Donetsk tomorrow night, as both returned to training today. Both are expected to feature in the game, and with his superlative recent form, the return of Mata in particular will bring cheer to Chelsea fans.
That incredible run of form has seen Mata pick up the Player of the Month award for October in the Premier League. Mata scored twice in Chelsea’s 4-2 win at Spurs earlier in the month, as well as netting a sublime free kick against Manchester United at Old Trafford. His influence was sorely missed as Chelsea drew 1-1 away at Swansea at the weekend.
Ahead of the trip to Chelsea tomorrow Shakhtar won their 23rd consecutive league game at the weekend, their 14th of this season. The Ukrainian club have only failed to win one match in all competitions this season, the 1-1 draw away at Juventus, and after Chelsea lost 2-1 away at Shakhtar, they know well enough the threat the Ukrainian team can cause.
Along with the matches with Shakhtar and Liverpool this week, Chelsea players, coaches and staff will have to focus on visits from FA officials as well as the Police with the investigations into the allegations that Mark Clattenburg used “inappropriate language” towards Chelsea player John ObI Mikel continuing.
Chelsea are reportedly interested in signing Udinese defender Mehdi Benetia, but may face competition for the £10 million rated player from Italian champions Juventus. The centre back has been impressive even as Udinese have struggled to make an impact on Serie A this year, and could be available for a January transfer.
Chelsea loanee Tomas Kalas has criticised Fernando Torres and said that the club could do worse than looking at signing his Vitesse team mate Wilfried Bony as a replacement.The Czech defender said:
“Chelsea need a player like him [Bony] at the moment. Torres is always moving and works hard, but he is not strong enough to lead the line. I'm sorry for Torres, but that's my personal opinion,"
The Chelsea striker has also received some more indirect criticism from Steven Gerrard, who has said that Luis Suarez is the best striker he ever played with. Torres is in illustrious company behind the Uruguayan, with Fowler, Owen and Wayne Rooney also ranked behind Suarez by Gerrard.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald