Tag Archives: stamford

Fernando Torres is staying at Chelsea despite interest from Fiorentina

Torres: I’m STAYING at Chelsea and will fight for my place with Falcao, despite interest from Fiorentina

By
Neil Ashton

PUBLISHED:

16:28 GMT, 24 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

01:19 GMT, 25 April 2013

With Radamel Falcao at the top of Chelsea’s list of summer transfer targets, Fernando Torres insists he will not be the fall-guy for another big-name centre forward.

Atletico Madrid are selling Falcao, who has scored 25 goals in La Liga this season, for 50million.

Chelsea are front of the queue of clubs for the Colombian, with reports on Wednesday night claiming that he could be Jose Mourinho’s marquee signing if, as expected, the Portuguese returns to Stamford Bridge this summer.

However, Torres is determined to see out the three years left on his contract.

Staying put: Torres talks to the media on Wednesday ahead of the Europa League semi-final

Staying put: Torres talks to the media on Wednesday ahead of the Europa League semi-final

Staying put: Torres talks to the media on Wednesday ahead of the Europa League semi-final

Torres said: ‘When you play for Chelsea you’re always hoping big names come, and the big names are always related with Chelsea.

‘You cannot stop that, especially when the summer comes, and every top player is welcome at Chelsea. Since I came we have only signed top players, so it would not be a surprise if we signed Falcao.’

Torres scored seven goals in Europe this season and will lead the line in this evening’s Europa League semi-final first leg in Basle. Demba Ba is cup-tied.

On the way: Falcao is expected to arrive from Atletico Madrid in the summer

On the way: Falcao is expected to arrive from Atletico Madrid in the summer

Man in the mask: Torres trains with his team-mates in Basle on Wednesday

Man in the mask: Torres trains with his team-mates in Basle on Wednesday

The Spaniard’s last Barclays Premier League goal was in the 8-0 victory over Aston Villa on December 23, but despite his indifferent form for Chelsea since a 50m move from Liverpool in 2011, Torres claims his long-term future is in London.

The 29-year-old added: ‘I’m happy at the moment, but I’d be happier if we won the Europa League. I’ve always felt part of this club. Things change, but you can see this season I have been the main striker.

‘This season has been better for me, but it’s not been at the level I want to be. I really think this club has told me the truth. They have hopes for me and they trust me — they don’t say the opposite.

‘I know I want to stay. If they change their minds it’s a different question, but the relationship between me and the club is very straight. It’s not a problem at all.’

Torres scored against Rubin Kazan in the quarter-final second leg in Moscow and is keen to add the Europa League trophy to last season’s Champions League.

Torres added: ‘I hope there’s more to come as I’m still young. We can win the Europa League this season, but we can still win much more. The squad and players are young — we can do great things. I would like to be involved for the next few years because we can become one of the best teams in Europe, not just England.’

Forward thinking: Torres is optimistic about the future at Chelsea

Forward thinking: Torres is optimistic about the future at Chelsea

Fiorentina, however, have expressed interest in signing Torres.

The
29-year-old has grown increasingly frustrated over his form and playing
time at Stamford Bridge and is expected to be pushed further down the
pecking order this summer as Chelsea look to add another two strikers.

Highly rated: Stevan Jovetic could be heading to the Premier League

Highly rated: Stevan Jovetic could be heading to the Premier League

Fiorentina want someone to replace Stevan Jovetic who they anticipate joining either Arsenal or Manchester City.

Their chief scout Eduardo Macia played a role in taking Torres to Liverpool in 2007.

Martin Jol rules Fulham out of signing Chelsea"s Frank Lampard

Lampard will never play for Fulham! Jol rules out move for ace

By
Simon Peach, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

22:40 GMT, 16 April 2013

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UPDATED:

06:49 GMT, 17 April 2013

Martin Jol has laughed off any chance of Fulham signing Frank Lampard ahead of tomorrow's west London derby with Chelsea.

The 34-year-old midfielder might be just two goals shy of the Blues' all-time scoring record, but a Stamford Bridge exit at the end of his contract this summer looks likely.

Having stayed on the bench for Sunday's FA Cup semi-final with Manchester City, Lampard is in line to make his 600th Chelsea appearance tomorrow at Craven Cottage.

Moving on: Chelsea's Frank Lampard looks set to leave the club in the summer

Moving on: Chelsea's Frank Lampard looks set to leave the club in the summer

Fulham boss Jol was full of praise for the England international ahead of the match but dismissed suggestions he might make a summer approach.

'He is the most productive midfield player in England in the last 30 or 40 years,' the Dutchman said.

'Everyone would love to have him. He's fit and is a good character.

'He will have a smile on his face if he listens to Fulham but I would love to have him.

Heading for the exit: Lampard has scored 200 goals for Chelsea

Heading for the exit: Lampard has scored 200 goals for Chelsea

'But it's hypothetical as he will never play for Fulham. I'm not sure he will play for a top-10 team.

'He's a legend – a living legend over there. He won all the prizes over there. In the end I have a feeling they will keep him.'

Any move for Lampard would fly in the face of Jol's ambition to lower the age of the Fulham squad.

They have had the oldest in the Premier League for the past three seasons, but the Dutchman will not use young players for the sake of it.

'Necessity is the mother of invention,' he said. 'I've got a few youngsters but they have to do well.

No interest: Martin Jol says he won't move for Lampard in the summer

No interest: Martin Jol says he won't move for Lampard in the summer

'For example Matthew Briggs is a youngster and has played for a few loan teams but he has to do well.

'If you don't do well you can't expect to be in the first team.

'Kaca (Alex Kacaniklic) did okay but they have to work hard and develop themselves.

'Kerim Frei is one them. Chris David will be one of them but they have to prove they are as good as someone in the first team.

'It's not an easy one but I'm 100 per cent certain that we have one of the best academies in England. They proved that every year – champions of England and finalists before.

'How many players in England are 18 or 19 in the first team Mention one player. But Fulham will have one or two. I am always respectful for my older players.'

Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez says Blues" fans offer him support when they meet him

'Rafa, we love you really!' Benitez insists he has plenty of support on the street as Chelsea fans finally offer him backing

By
David Kent

PUBLISHED:

15:41 GMT, 8 April 2013

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UPDATED:

16:23 GMT, 8 April 2013

Unpopular Chelsea boss Rafa Benitez believes Blues supporters do love him really — at least they tell him that when they bump into him in the street.

The interim manager at Stamford Bridge has had to endure almost consistent hostility from the club’s faithful, but he says it isn’t the same in the streets.

Benitez told Spanish newspaper Marca: ‘I spend most of my time here at the Cobham training centre and almost never go into London. And I have to say this – people are very civil to me out on the streets. Many Blues fans stop me and tell me to keep on plugging away and not to listen to the critics. I have a lot more day-to-day support than is shown, and people think.’

Favourite Rafa Benitez says that Chelsea fans tell him they like him when they meet in the streets

Favourite Rafa Benitez says that Chelsea fans tell him they like him when they meet in the streets

Out: Benitez may not have met the majority of Chelsea fans who have been calling for his head

Out: Benitez may not have met the majority of Chelsea fans who have been calling for his head

Soldiering on: Chelsea are still in with a chance of winning both the FA Cup and the Europa League

Soldiering on: Chelsea are still in with a chance of winning both the FA Cup and the Europa League

He also believes this Chelsea side — who are enjoying a run of form under the Spanish manager — are in a period of transition.

He
added: ‘We do have a squad which is a bit thin in some areas. People
still think that this is the Chelsea of Drogba, Essien or Lampard at its
finest. But now it is a side in transition, with Hazard, Mata, Oscar,
Marn and Moses. They are young players who have to adapt. We are moving
away from a physical side like the old one to a team which is much more
technical.’

Meanwhile,
Benitez knows Chelsea’s Champions League fate could hinge on the
Barclays Premier League clash with Tottenham but is relaxed about the
twists and turns in the race for the top four.

Respect: Rafa Benitez embracing new Sunderland's boss Paolo Di Canio before the game on Sunday

Respect: Rafa Benitez embracing new Sunderland's boss Paolo Di Canio before the game on Sunday

Evolution: Benitez says the new era of Chelsea revolves around Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Oscar

Evolution: Benitez says the new era of Chelsea revolves around Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Oscar

A win for Arsenal on Saturday saw last season’s Champions League winners Chelsea in fifth ahead of their match with Paolo Di Canio’s Sunderland yesterday.

But the Blues returned to third with a come-from-behind 2-1 victory at Stamford Bridge, moving above Tottenham on goal difference after Spurs were held to a draw by sixth-placed Everton.

'We knew that we had to win and especially because they (Tottenham and Arsenal) will continue winning,' Benitez told Chelsea TV.

'The main thing for me is the big picture, so keep calm. We have a good team, if we perform at our level we can win against anyone.

'You have some bad games and good games but it will be the same for them.

'We have to carry on. We have one game in hand on Tottenham so if we can do well, especially against them, maybe it’s a game that can mean six points.'

A date for the Tottenham fixture is still to be determined after Chelsea’s progress to Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final with Manchester City forced the game to be rearranged.

Should Chelsea confirm their place in the Europa League semi-finals by completing an aggregate victory over Rubin Kazan on Thursday, the window of opportunity for the Spurs fixture will be small and it will likely take place in the first week of May.

Arsenal gunning for Tottenham after West Brom win at the Hawthorns

Watch out Tottenham: Arsenal are Gunning for you after West Bromwich victory

By
Laura Williamson

PUBLISHED:

21:30 GMT, 7 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

07:10 GMT, 8 April 2013

Arsenal fans sang ‘Tottenham Hotspur, we’re coming for you,’ at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday as their team moved into fourth place in the Barclays Premier League for the first time since Boxing Day.

Their glee was understandable. Arsenal's victory at the Hawthorns was their sixth win in their last seven Premier League outings and allowed Arsene Wenger's side to put their feet up on Sunday and see how Champions League qualification rivals Tottenham and Chelsea responded.

'Playing on Saturday is fantastic when you win,' said Wenger. 'When you lose, it's a disaster. But, as long as we win, it's always better for me to play, if you can, before (our rivals).

Czech mate: Tomas Rosicky scored a first-half brace in Arsenal's 2-1 victory at West Bromwich Albion

Czech mate: Tomas Rosicky scored a first-half brace in Arsenal's 2-1 victory at West Bromwich Albion

Czech mate: Tomas Rosicky scored a first-half brace in Arsenal's 2-1 victory at West Bromwich Albion

Premier League table

'Ideally, I would like to be in the Champions League as well, but – if you are on a good run – maybe it can be a little advantage because you can recover more.'

Arsenal's league run has been marred by their FA Cup and Champions League exits and defeat in the North London derby, but Tottenham and Chelsea's exploits in the knock-out competitions have provided a little window of opportunity for Wenger's side.

Early bath: Per Mertesacker was shown a red card for hauling down Shane Long in the penalty area

Early bath: Per Mertesacker was shown a red card for hauling down Shane Long in the penalty area

Early bath: Per Mertesacker was shown a red card for hauling down Shane Long in the penalty area

Chelsea's FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City means their Premier League clash with Spurs at Stamford Bridge on April 14 has been postponed.

Arsenal will therefore contest two home games – against Norwich and Everton – before their main rivals for a Champions League spot play in the league again.

Chelsea and Spurs also, of course, have Europa League quarter-finals to consider. The scorer of both Arsenal goals in Saturday’s 2-1 win, Tomas Rosicky said: 'I hope that will happen (and we will take advantage).'

Gap: Arsenal are two points behind Tottenham with a game in hand after their rivals drew 2-2 with Everton on Sunday

Gap: Arsenal are two points behind Tottenham with a game in hand after their rivals drew 2-2 with Everton on Sunday

'We've got two home games which we've got to win if we're talking about fourth or third place. Our home form has to improve.

'But when you get a good run of results the confidence returns. Every day you have to be prepared 100 per cent to come to training and fight for your club.

'Sometimes it's not easy when you see and hear what is going on around. That's what you've got to do.

'We're in a position where we just need to concentrate on ourselves. Sometimes it is tricky to be saying where are Tottenham playing and when are Chelsea playing. It's important to just concentrate on ourselves and what we're producing.'

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Ashley Cole ruled out for two weeks but Rafa Benitez insists Chelsea can cope against Rubin Kazan

Cole ruled out for two weeks but Benitez insists Chelsea can cope in Kazan crunch

By
Matt Barlow

PUBLISHED:

12:35 GMT, 3 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

13:07 GMT, 3 April 2013

Rafa Benitez has revealed that Chelsea will be without Ashley Cole and Gary Cahill for at least two weeks.

Cole was rested for the Premier League defeat by Southampton but returned to face Manchester United in Chelsea’s FA Cup quarter-final victory at Stamford Bridge.

But he injured his hamstring in the opening quarter of the match and was replaced by Ryan Bertrand – who may end up having to play four times in a week.

Look here: Chelsea boss Rafael Benitez and defender Ryan Bertrand speak to the press on Wednesday

Look here: Chelsea boss Rafael Benitez and defender Ryan Bertrand speak to the press on Wednesday

All smiles: John Terry (centre left) and Juan Mata (centre right) tussle during Chelsea training on Wednesday

All smiles: John Terry (centre left) and Juan Mata (centre right) tussle during Chelsea training on Wednesday

Ahead of Thursday night’s match
against Rubin Kazan, Benitez said: ‘I’d say at least two weeks for both
Ashley Cole and Gary Cahill. We are without Oriol Romeu as you know and
Demba Ba cannot play. That’s it.

‘You train to do little things because you do not have much time and you cannot push too hard.

‘We concentrate one game at a time so we pick a team who can win any game and concentrate on this game. They have to be ready for any game.

‘Since I came and with the fixtures we have I think we’re doing really well.’

The victory over United has proved a huge boost for the under-fire manager, at a club who have become somewhat FA Cup specialists.

‘We proved against a team at the top of the table and a manager with the most trophies in England that we can compete against anyone if we have the time and players available. One game every three days, you cannot do everything you want to do. I’m happy with what we’re doing. It was an important game for us. We did really well against United and it shows we can reach this level. We played against a very good team.’

Bertrand added: ‘Ashley’s injury means it’s a chance for me to come in and play in the next few games but it’s important to focus on the next game and make sure we get the right result.

‘As a player you want to win each game you go into and as far in every competition as you can.'

Asked about Rubin, he said: ‘They’ve done well, they’ve knocked out the holders and they will give us tough competition.’

Limped off: Ashley Cole was injured in the FA Cup replay victory over Manchester United on Monday

Limped off: Ashley Cole was injured in the FA Cup replay victory over Manchester United on Monday

Crocked: Centre-back Gary Cahill (left) also faces a spell on the sidelines due to injury

Crocked: Centre-back Gary Cahill (left) also faces a spell on the sidelines due to injury

Soldiering on: Fernando Torres is ready to face Rubin Kazan despite his facial injury

Soldiering on: Fernando Torres is ready to face Rubin Kazan despite his facial injury

Chelsea v Manchester United FA Cup live

FA CUP LIVE: Chelsea v Manchester United – the quarter-final replay as it happens from Stamford Bridge

-1907FBDC000005DC-228_634x419.jpg” width=”634″ height=”419″ alt=”One last push: Sir Alex Ferguson urges his side to press after Demba Ba's goal put Chelsea on course to Wembley” class=”blkBorder” />

One last push: Sir Alex Ferguson urges his side to press after Demba Ba's goal put Chelsea on course to Wembley

68min: It should be 2-0. That was a big, big miss from Hazard. He pounces on a sloppy Michael Carrick pass and drives towards goal. He drags a shot wide of De Gea's post from just inside the area. He has got to hit the target there and should really have beaten De Gea from that range.

65min: Ryan Giggs has replaced Nani now. The Portugal winger was pretty shoddy today. He offered so little and I'd love to see his pass completion stats. Ferguson won't be happy with his man, that's for sure.

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64min: Neil Ashton is glad to see Tom Cleverley subbed for Van Persie.

He adds from Stamford Bridge: 'Cleverley is sacrificed for RVP. Still not sure what Cleverley is supposed to do, yet to see him have a decent game for United or England.

'The latest chants around the ground are “Rio Ferdinand, **** off to Qatar”'

Wonder save: Petr Cech somehow kept Javier Hernandez's header out after Ba's opener

Wonder save: Petr Cech somehow kept Javier Hernandez's header out after Ba's opener

63min: Matt Barlow reports: 'United have reacted to the goal by loosening their formation. The full backs going forward with more adventure and it has created more space for Mata, Oscar and Hazard.'

61: What a save! Javier Hernandez heads from close range at Cech's goal. Somehow the goalkeeper, at full stretch, tips the ball over the bar. One of the saves of the season. Utterly sensational.

Van Persie replaces Cleverley.

Get in: Demba Ba hooks the ball into the net as Rio Ferdinand (left) chases

Get in: Demba Ba hooks the ball into the net as Rio Ferdinand (left) chases

59min: Ryan Bertrand receives Phil Dowd's second yellow card. Cynical from the left back there, as he chops down Javier Hernandez to prevent a break.

Robin van Persie has stripped off and is ready to try to turn this one round for United.

57min: Graham Poll has his view on the Chelsea goal: 'At last some action. Excellent work from assistant Andy Garratt on non-offside for Demba Ba’s goal.

'Absolutely indisputable yellow card for Cleverley for heavy challenge on Ramires.'

56min: The goal has lifted both sides and we can expect a more exciting match from here on in.

United look like they want this one and have upped the ante.

54min: Sami Mokbel believes Ferdinand was culpable for Ba's strike.

He adds: 'Rio won’t be happy with his contribution to Demba Ba’s opener. Got caught napping for a split second and got punished. Great finish, though.'

Neil Ashton also points out that Ferdinand has never won an FA Cup, and may never get the chance should United lose today.

Meanwhile, Tom Cleverley goes into the book for a hefty tackle on Ramires.

52min: The Chelsea fans are in full voice now.

Game on: Demba Ba (left) celebrates after opening the scoring for Chelsea

Game on: Demba Ba (left) celebrates after opening the scoring for Chelsea

Neil Ashton reports they are chanting '”Rio Rio what's the score” coming from the Matthew Harding Stand.

49min: GOAL! CHELSEA 1 Man United 0

What a strike! Juan Mata lifts the ball over the United defence and Demba Ba is onto it. It looks like it's out of his reach but the striker wraps his foot around it and hooks it into the top corner. Wonderful finish.

Sportsmail's Neil Ashton describes it as a 'really special strike'. I can't disagree with that assessment. It's a sublime finish.

48min: Excellent improvisation from Demba Ba there. Ryan Bertrand puts in a speculative ball to the striker who raises a leg to flick the ball goalwards. David de Gea is wise to it and gathers well.

There's still a fizz lacking from this match at the moment. It needs a pick-me-up before this half gets going.

46min: No changes at half-time. United press early on and Phil Jones wins a free-kick on the edge of the area.

But Nani puts the ball into the Chelsea wall.

13.32: KICK-OFF: MANCHESTER UNITED RE-START THE MATCH

13.29: Chelsea have had the better of this one. Just. United never made it out of the blocks and Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez are the only two players who look like causing Chelsea any problems.

Nani has been particularly off colour. A couple of substitutions would liven this tie up.

Meanwhile, the players are back on the pitch and ready for the second half.

13.24: Surprisingly, there haven't been too many talking points so far. These two teams normally serve up thrillers when they meet but it's been anything but that in the first half. Perhaps Robin van Persie was right when he said the players would be too tired for this one.

13.18: Here's Matt Barlow's views on the first half.

'“Handbrakes on” as Arsene Wenger would say in the first half.

'Chelsea have enjoyed the territorial edge but United will not be unduly worried about that. The visitors have looked in control, Smalling and Ferdinand have been strong, and the visitors have threatened on the break.'

On your back: Oscar tries to take the ball from United full back Patrice Evra (front)

On your back: Oscar tries to take the ball from United full back Patrice Evra (front)

13.17: HALF-TIME: CHELSEA 0 MANCHESTER UNITED 0

44min: United have a pretty tenuous penalty claim as Nani goes down unde the challenge of Ryan Bertrand. Graham Poll is having none of it.

He says: 'Nani diving for a penalty and what would have been a red card for Ryan Bertrand – can’t keep him out of the headlines.'

Rivals: John Terry (right0 warms up on the bench as Rio Ferdinand walks across the pitch

Rivals: John Terry (right0 warms up on the bench as Rio Ferdinand walks across the pitch

43min: Sportsmail's Sami Mokbel is at the match too.

He's reporting that both sets of fans have behaved pretty well so far in this one. Good to see but it's a shame the game hasn't really got going yet.

Enjoying it Frank Lampard (right) and John Terry watch from the Chelsea bench during the first half

Enjoying it Frank Lampard (right) and John Terry watch from the Chelsea bench during the first half

41min: Petr Cech gets away with some suspect goalkeeping there. Javier Hernandez pulls the trigger from range and the Czech international dives to the left but ends up saving the shot with his right foot. It almost crept in.

39min: Eden Hazard looks in the mood. He pounces onto a loose ball in the United box and smashes the ball towards goal. But he's put too much on it and it whistles past the post.

38min: Graham Poll is also disappointed with Nani's behaviour.

He says: 'Why kick the ball out There was nothing wrong with Nani and he stayed down to try and prove he’d been hit.

'Hoping for a repeat of the Champions League game; a red card for Nani should help both teams and the game.'

35min: Nani is lying on the floor after a knock from John Obi Mikel. Chelsea put the ball out but Nani is straight up.

Replays show that it was barely even a tap from Mikel and an accidental one at that. Pretty poor conduct from Nani really.

35min: Matt Barlow has spotted John Terry warming up on the touchline.

'JT out to warm up and getting relentless stick from United fans.'

33min: Ramires creates an opening for Ba this time. The Brazil international slides the ball into Ba who should hit the target. Instead, he pulls his shot into the legs of Chris Smalling.

Chelsea have injected a little more urgency into their attacks now as United look stuck in second gear.

Hitting the deck: Ramires (left) and Chris Smalling of Manchester United (right) both go to ground

Hitting the deck: Ramires (left) and Chris Smalling of Manchester United (right) both go to ground

31min: Eden Hazard creates Chelsea's first scoring opportunity. The diminutive playmake wrong-foots Chris Smalling and slips the ball into Demba Ba.

The Senegalese striker fires low and hard but David de Gea sticks a leg out to save well. Excellent work from Hazard.

28min: Javier Hernandez gets his first sight of goal but fails to shoot. The Mexican twists and turns away from David Luiz in the area but looks reluctant to shoot with his left foot.

The striker slips as he tries to work it back onto his right and Chelsea can bundle the ball away.

27min: Ashley Cole injury update from Matt Barlow.

'Cole disappears down the tunnel with a brief shake of his head. Is his injury another episode in the story of intricate pre-planned training programmes

'Cole has been handled carefully by club and country. He travelled with England, didn’t play against San Marino, played against Montenegro, rested against Southampton on Saturday and yet lasted only 20 minutes on a cold day with an early kick-off.'

26min: United have finally lurched into gear. Tom Cleverley is found in acres of space on the left and curls a ball into the area. Ivanovic spots it and boots it away. Much better from the visitors.

Best of enemies: Rafa Benitez and Sir Alex Ferguson (left) shook hands this time

Best of enemies: Rafa Benitez and Sir Alex Ferguson (left) shook hands this time

24min: Former Premier League referee Graham Poll is watching Phil Dowd's performance closely today… and the misfiring Nani.

'If Phil Dowd was performing like any number of players, in particular Nani, there would be an outrage!

'Why is it players can play like this and refs can’t put a foot wrong'

A good point well made. Nani is having a stinker so far. I'm not sure if he's found a pass yet.

21min: United waste a pretty good chance there. Ashley Cole pulls up lame when chasing Danny Welbeck, who finds Nani on the edge.

But the Portugal winger attempts an atrocious pass which is quickly cut out. Shocking.

Cole will be unable to continue, and Ryan Bertrand takes his place. Looks like a hamstring injury.

19min: You can see why Ferguson has deployed Phil Jones in the deep midfield role. He was exceptional there in the Champions League first leg against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu. The problem for United is that Eden Hazard, Juan Mata and Oscar drift in and out of the wide areas.

15min: Chris Smalling just put his body on the line! Eden Hazard is teed up by Demba Ba for the shot. The Belgian pulls the trigger and it hits the sliding Smalling straight in his private parts. Cue huge cheers from the Chelsea crowd, but it did the job.

In action: Danny Welbeck (left) tries to hold of the challenge from Chelsea midfielder Oscar

In action: Danny Welbeck (left) tries to hold of the challenge from Chelsea midfielder Oscar

14min: Nani hasn't really done much thus far. Former United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel has noticed too.

He tweeted: 'Can somebody wake up Nani….!'

13min: United almost showed their prowess in attack. Welbeck burst forward on the left and almost leaves Branislav Ivanovic in his wake. But the Serbian gathers himself and marshals the England international expertly, winning the ball back for the Blues.

9min: Chelsea are having the lion's share of possession so far. United seem happy enough to sit back and settle into this one before pouncing.

We all know how quickly they can break with Welbeck and Hernandez in attack though…

7min: Matt Barlow is keeping a close eye on the fans of each club.

He reports: 'Fans trade a few chants. “Where’s your racist centre half” from United fans. John Terry songs from Chelsea end. Boos for Rio on the ball. '

5min: Chelsea have a trio of players behind Demba Ba that have buckets of flair.

Shake on it: Rio Ferdinand and Ashley Cole get the formalities over and done with

Shake on it: Rio Ferdinand and Ashley Cole get the formalities over and done with

Oscar, Mata and Hazard are a handful for any team. Oscar just turns Patrice Evra with aplomb in the United box, but Chris Smalling reads his cross to clear well.

4min: Rio Ferdinand gets his first touch of the ball at the back. A chorus of boos from the Chelsea fans.

2min: It appears Phil Jones will be playing in his adoptive role anchoring in midfield. A potential week spot for United is that Antonio Valencia will deputise at right back in Rafael's absence.

KICK-OFF: CHELSEA GET THE GAME UNDER WAY

Warming up: Manchester United's substitutes gear up for the clash

Warming up: Manchester United's substitutes gear up for the clash

12.28: Matt Barlow's take as the teams are making their way out onto the pitch.

'Teams come out and United fans sing: “Rio, Rio, Rio”.'

And yes, Benitez and Ferguson DID shake hands before kick-off.

12.22: Last time these two sides met, Sir Alex Ferguson walked straight past Rafa Benitez before the match and neglected to shake hands with the Chelsea boss. Rafa says he'll shake on it this time. Let's wait and see.

Ferguson had this to say to ITV on Rooney's injury: 'He got a groin injury playing for England and he wasn't 100 per cent yesterday. There’s no point risking a player with a groin injury.

'Hopefully he'll be ready for next Monday's game.'

12.20: Sportsmail's Matt Barlow is also at the match.

'Sleepy feel inside Stamford Bridge. None of the High Noon electricity you might have expected.

'Kerry Dixon has just presented Frank Lampard with an award for becoming the second Chelsea player to 200 goals for the club. Sure it will warm up.'

12.18: I'm going to have to disagree with Robin van Persie's prediction for this game. The Dutchman believes the players will be too drained from the weekend's schedule to put on a show to remember.

He bemoaned the fixture pile-up ahead of the replay and said: 'These games are just too close to each other.

'People have to realise they can’t expect a great game of football because it is not possible.

'Normally on the second day your muscles are quite bad, but now we have to play at this certain time.

'It is a shame but we can’t do anything about it because there are Champions League games in midweek and Chelsea are still in the Europa League.'

12.14: Further confirmation of Rooney's injury from Neil Ashton at the stadium.

'Rooney is out with a groin injury picked up on England duty.

'United hope he will be back for Monday's game with City, or Sunday's semi-final at Wembley if they make it there.'

12.07: The crowd reaction to Ferdinand will be under the spotlight this afternoon.

Rio's brother Anton was the player Chelsea's John Terry racially abused during last season's game against QPR. Which resulted in a four-game ban for the centre half, who rigorously denied any wrongdoing and was cleared of criminal charges for the on-pitch incident.

12.06: Sportsmail's Neil Ashton is at Stamford Bridge for this one, and he's got some news from the stadium.

He says: 'Teams read out, lot of boos for Rio Ferdinand from Chelsea fans. Still 20 minutes until kick off.'

12.01: Phil Jones will deputise at right back this afternoon for United, after Rafael limped off after just half and hour against Sunderland on Saturday.

Nemanja Vidic is also out of Ferguson's side. He looked in some discomfort at the beginning of the Sunderland game when he was clutching his back. That said, Ferguson has opted for a pretty hefty overhaul of his squad.

12.00: Both of these teams will be looking to improve on their weekend performances. Although United beat a poor Sunderland side, they looked lethargic at times and only won by the most narrow margin.

Chelsea on the other hand were beaten at St Mary's by Mauricio Pochettino's Southampton side.

11.55: Rooney update: Sir Alex Ferguson has told ITV that the striker has picked up a groin injury while on international duty with England.

That would explain why he is out of today's clash, and why he wasn't in the squad for United's victory against Sunderland.

Now the good news for United fans Rooney should be okay to play against Manchester City in next week's derby.

11.52: Gary Cahill is still out with a knee injury for Chelsea, but John Terry will start on the bench today instead of Brazilian defender David Luiz.

11.50: Although there will be no Wayne Rooney this afternoon, this Chelsea back four won't be resting on their laurels.

Javier Hernandez has scored a remarkable six goals in his previous seven appearances against Chelsea.

11.44: Undoubtedly the biggest shock of the line-ups is that Wayne Rooney has not made Sir Alex Ferguson's squad. We're not sure whether he's injured or whether Sir Alex has decided to drop him for a big game like he did against Real Madrid. But watch this space for updates.

Six changes by Chelsea and seven by Manchester United from the Premier League fixtures this weekend.

11.43: Manchester United team: De Gea; Jones, Smalling, Ferdinand, Evra; Valencia, Carrick, Cleverley, Nani; Hernandez, Welbeck

Subs: Giggs, Lindegaard, Young, van Persie, Powell, Kagawa, Vermijl

11.36: Chelsea starting XI: Cech, Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Luiz, Cole; Mikel, Ramires, Hazard, Mata, Oscar, Ba

Subs: Turnbull, Terry, Benayoun, Bertrand, Moses, Lampard, Torres

11.34: The winners will book their place in the semi-finals, where Manchester City wait after beating Barnsley at the Etihad. United are hoping to keep their hopes of a League/Cup double alive, whereas interim Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez is desperate to deliver a trophy to Blues owner Roman Abramovich. The FA Cup and Europa League are the only two competitions Chelsea can hope to prevail in.

11.30: Good morning, good morning. Is there a better way to spend your Bank Holiday Monday than following coverage of two Premier League giants going head to head in the FA Cup quarter-final

Javier Hernandez and Wayne Rooney's goals were cancelled out in the corresponding fixture at Old Trafford by second-half goals from Ramires and Eden Hazard, who forced this afternoon's replay.

And Sir Alex Ferguson believes Chelsea even deserved to win the game, claiming his side were tired and emotional after their Champions League defeat by Real Madrid.

Ferguson said: '‘I thought we were lucky to be honest with you (in the first leg),’ Ferguson told United’s official website, manutd.com.

In transit: Robin van Persie and his team-mates travelled by train yesterday from Manchester Piccadilly

In transit: Robin van Persie and his team-mates travelled by train yesterday from Manchester Piccadilly

‘I thought that tiredness had got into the team and, from a comfortable position for the first 20 minutes, you could see the signs when we started to give the ball away just before half-time. That is a definite sign of tiredness.

‘The tiredness came, possibly, from the emotional intensity of the Real Madrid game and also the way we lost it. I think that affected two or three players. In the second half in particular there was no doubt that Tom Cleverley’s and our two full-backs’ [Rafael and Patrice Evra] legs had gone.

'That was [due to] emotions. The way full-backs are, they put so much energy into getting forward but they found it difficult getting back.'

Destination Wembley: Chelsea came back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 in the original tie at Manchester United

Destination Wembley: Chelsea came back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 in the original tie at Manchester United

Jose Mourinho should return to Premier League – Andre Villas Boas

Bring back the Special One! Spurs boss AVB admits he'd love to see Mourinho back in the Premier League

By
David Kent

PUBLISHED:

15:51 GMT, 28 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:15 GMT, 28 March 2013

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas would welcome back rival Jose Mourinho to the Barclays Premier League.

The Special One has been linked to a surprise return to Stamford Bridge and a reunion with owner Roman Abramovich this summer.

Mourinho’s infamous antics have seen him fall out with the hierarchy at Real Madrid and interim Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez is in no danger of having his contract renewed.

Open arms: Andre Villas-Boas (above) insists he would welcome the return of Jose Mourinho (below)

Open arms: Andre Villas-Boas (above) insists he would welcome the return of Jose Mourinho (below)

Face in the crowd: Jose Mourinho was pictured wearing a dark hoodie at Chelsea

Asked what he thought about Mourinho’s potential return to Premier League football, the Tottenham manager said: ‘I think it will be excellent, excellent for everybody.’

Villas-Boas worked under Mourinho to great success at Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan, but the pair fell out when he left the San Siro on 2009 to go it alone as a manager and the rift has never fully healed.

Last year he admitted that the pair had not spoken for quite some time.

Tottenham have suffered three defeats in the row and need to rediscover their winning form in order to stay on course for a Champions League spot.

Training day: Tottenham prepare for their trip to Swansea this weekend as the Premier League resumes

Training day: Tottenham prepare for their trip to Swansea this weekend as the Premier League resumes

Training day: Tottenham prepare for their trip to Swansea this weekend as the Premier League resumes

Asked whether the international break would benefit his side or not after such a poor run, he said: ‘I don’t know, you can’t really say if it’s good or bad. I think all three of those defeats were very, very different.

I think we assume the worst one was Fulham in terms of performance, but I think it came as a consequence of the extra-time being played in Milan.

The Liverpool one was an excellent performance and in Milan, we left it very, very late to save the leg.’

Villas-Boas thinks faltering Tottenham Hotspur need 16 more points from their last eight games to secure a top-four finish in the Premier League and earn a another crack at Europe’s premier club competition.

Third place would guarantee a place
in the group stages of next season’s Champions League while fourth would
offer a playoff – the same route Tottenham used in their only previous
foray into the competition two seasons ago.

Tough time: Tottenham suffered a setback in the race for the Champions League after defeat to Fulham

Tough time: Tottenham suffered a setback in the race for the Champions League after defeat to Fulham

Dimitar Berbatov

Last season they finished fourth but were denied a chance to play in the Champions League this term because sixth-placed Chelsea took their place having lifted the trophy in Munich.

Tottenham had looked favourites to finish above Chelsea and Arsenal in third place until a few weeks ago, since when defeats by Liverpool and Fulham have halted their momentum.

They travel to Swansea City on Saturday in fourth place, one point behind Chelsea and four points above Arsenal, with both their London rivals having played a game less.

'Normally (to finish in the top four) requires in the 70-72 point margin,' Villas-Boas said.

'70 is usually enough to be in the four spots. There are 24 points to be played for so that means we need 16 more points. You never know, but I think at this time we are within our objectives.'

Fabio Capello trains at Chelsea for Russia v Brazil while Luiz Felipe Scolari and Yuri Zhirkov also return

Capello arrives at Stamford Bridge with Blues looking for new boss… but he's here on official Russia duty

By
Rik Sharma

PUBLISHED:

13:18 GMT, 24 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

13:34 GMT, 24 March 2013

So Fabio Capello has arrived at Stamford Bridge this season after all.

But don't worry Rafa, he's not here for a secret meeting with Roman Abramovich – instead to take charge of Russia in their glamour friendly against Brazil on Monday night.

Capello took a stroll through Kensington on Sunday morning and then led a training session for his squad on Chelsea's pitch – though Yuri Zhirkov was already well acquainted with his surroundings having played there for two seasons.

At the Bridge: Fabio Capello took a training session for his squad at Chelsea's ground

At the Bridge: Fabio Capello took a training session for his squad at Chelsea's ground

Capello (right) gets his point across

All together now: Capello talks to his Russia players ahead of the glamour friendly

All together now: Capello talks to his Russia players ahead of the glamour friendly

The 18million signing failed to make an impact – with Chelsea favouring a 4-3-3 system which did not accomodate his favoured left midfield position position.

Perhaps his best spell came when Ashley Cole was injured – he slotted in at left-back and performed well.

Zhirkov departed for Anzhi Makhachkala in August 2011 for close to 13m.

Old haunt: Yuri Zhirkov played at Chelsea for two seasons but struggled to make a lasting impact

Old haunt: Yuri Zhirkov played at Chelsea for two seasons but struggled to make a lasting impact

View from the Bridge: Russia's players prepare to face the likes of Neymar, Kaka and Oscar

View from the Bridge: Russia's players prepare to face the likes of Neymar, Kaka and Oscar

Capello was focused on the job at hand and had no time to discuss speculation over a move to Chelsea.

He said: 'I know nothing about this. I am really happy with Russia and focused to qualify for the World Cup.'

Capello's counterpart, Luiz Felipe Scolari, has history at Chelsea.

The World Cup winner had an ill-fated spell with the club in 2008, taking over from Avram Grant with Jose Mourinho's shadow still looming over the club.

Scolari brought in Deco and Jose Bosingwa and although he started well, things fell apart sooner rather than later.

Struggle: Luiz Felipe Scolari (left) was booted out by Roman Abramovich

Struggle: Luiz Felipe Scolari (left) was booted out by Roman Abramovich

He was out on his ear by February 9, with Abramovich wielding the axe as Chelsea's form dropped off.

Guus Hiddink came in and salvaged the season, taking them to the infamous Champions League semi-final tie with Barcelona and an FA Cup triumph.

Brazil's squad features three current Chelsea players – Oscar, David Luiz and Ramires.

David Luiz

Oscar

Home: David Luiz, who captained Brazil against Italy, and Oscar, right, play at Stamford Bridge every other week

The latter turned 26 on Sunday and although he missed the country's 2-2 draw with Italy, thanks to a strained right adductor, will be re-assessed before Monday's clash.

Defender Luiz posted this picture montage of him and Ramires on his Instagram account to celebrate his compatriot's birthday.

History: Luiz played with Ramires at Benfica and the pair are good friends now at Chelsea

History: Luiz played with Ramires at Benfica and the pair are good friends now at Chelsea

P.S.

At Chelsea, Luiz has little competition in the 'wild hairstyle' stakes (although youngster Nathan Ake makes a good fist of it).

But with Brazil, he is in good company. He posted this picture of himself with defenders Marcelo, of Real Madrid, and Dante, from Bayern Munich.

I want curly hair too: Luiz (centre) with Marcelo (left) and Dante (right)

I want curly hair too: Luiz (centre) with Marcelo (left) and Dante (right)

John Terry and Frank Lampard pelted with coins and hot dogs during Chelsea versus West Ham match at Stamford Bridge

Coins and hot dog thrown at Terry and Lampard by West Ham fans during London derby at Stamford Bridge

By
Sami Mokbel

PUBLISHED:

20:18 GMT, 17 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

22:03 GMT, 17 March 2013

Chelsea were embroiled in yet another police probe last night after John Terry was hit by a missile in the win over West Ham.

Hammers fans launched coins and bottles at Blues players as they celebrated Frank Lampard's 200th goal for the Blues.

Metropolitan Police chiefs confirmed they have opened an investigation after receiving an official complaint regarding the incident.

Incident: Police have launched an investigation after coins were thrown at Chelsea's Frank Lampard as he celebrated in front of West Ham fans in Sunday's derby at Stamford Bridge

Incident: Police have launched an investigation after coins were thrown at Chelsea's Frank Lampard as he celebrated in front of West Ham fans in Sunday's derby at Stamford Bridge

Unsavoury: A hot dog (right of shot) was hurled from the West Ham fans at Chelsea captain John Terry as he warmed up near the corner flag

Unsavoury: A hot dog (right of shot) was hurled from the West Ham fans at Chelsea captain John Terry as he warmed up near the corner flag

The FA are will consider this morning whether to begin their own investigation into the ugly scenes.

Tensions between Terry and visiting
supporters were already boiling point as Hammers fans directed torrid
abuse towards the Blues skipper as he warmed up early in the first-half.

In response, Terry mimicked lifting a number of trophies – a reference to the three Premier League titles, five FA Cups, two League Cups and European Cup he has won at Chelsea.

Silverware: John Terry lifts an imaginary trophy in response to West Ham taunts

Silverware: John Terry lifts an imaginary trophy in response to West Ham taunts

John Terry pretends to lift a trophy in front of the West Ham fans

Take that: Terry responds to the West Ham fans while his Chelsea teammates celebrate Frank Lampard's opening goal

Take that: Terry responds to the West Ham fans while his Chelsea teammates celebrate Frank Lampard's opening goal

There were no arrests or ejections
yesterday, but Chelsea security staff will this morning study CCTV
footage to identify the culprits.

A statement from West Ham read: 'West Ham will be working with Chelsea to investigate reports of missile throwing.

'Any individual found to have acted in
an inappropriate way will have to face the consequences of their
actions, including the possibility of a ban from attending future
matches.'

Confrontation: The hot dog appears to land some way from Terry as he limbered up in front of the away end

Confrontation: The hot dog appears to land some way from Terry as he limbered up in front of the away end

Missiles: The West Ham fans also aimed coins at Terry

Missiles: The West Ham fans also aimed coins at Terry

The incident is the fourth police investigation Chelsea have been involved in this season.

Police opened an investigation into
allegations referee Mark Clattenburg racially abused Jon Obi Mikel
during the now infamous clash against Manchester United on October 28.

The same match spawned another police
probe as a steward sustained a knee injury after he was crushed in the
aftermath of Javier Hernandez's winner.

Likewise, South Wales Police
investigated Eden Hazard kick on a ball boy during the Capital One Cup
semi-final second leg clash against Swansea on January 23.

Angry words: Terry was the subject of taunts from the away fans

Angry words: Terry was the subject of taunts from the away fans

Hammers fans were clearly outraged by Lampard's decision to celebrate his milestone moment in front of them yesterday.

But Lampard said: 'I wasn't hit by anything. I went quite close to the West Ham fans but that was the natural curve of my run.'

On the incident, Blues manager Rafa Benitez said: 'When you score 200 goals, you don't think about where you go. You celebrate.

'Afterwards, he realised it would be better to be in another part (of the ground). I don't think he was hit (by a missile).'

Premier League dog football fans: Chelsea supporter Max the mongrel from Mitcham, Surrey

Hit the paws button… meet Max the mongrel from Mitcham, a barking mad Chelsea fan

By
Lee Bryan

PUBLISHED:

13:15 GMT, 11 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

14:11 GMT, 11 March 2013


Barking mad: Chelsea fan Max the mongrel

Barking mad: Chelsea fan Max the mongrel

Chelsea supporter Max the mongrel could receive a prize that most Blues fans would bite your hand off for… a season ticket at Stamford Bridge.

The barking mad Blues supporter was nominated in Britain’s first ever canine footballer supporter competition launched by sports website TVBet.co.uk to find the most devoted dog football fan.

Max is glued to the television every time Chelsea come on and he even predicts the score by barking before kick-off.

Like many other Chelsea fans, Max barks when he sees Sir Alex Ferguson or Arsene Wenger on screen but he goes crazy when celebrating a goal.

Max’s owner Terri Crockett said: 'Max loves the Blues and his favourite players are Frank Lampard and John Terry.

'He loves watching the game on the telly and even predicts the scores by barking before the kick off.

'He’s not always spot on, he does tend to be a bit optimistic before a game and usually predicts we will win six-nil.'

The competition has already received dozens of entries after promising a season ticket for the winning dog – as well as one human.

A spokesman for TVBet.co.uk said:
'This contest has lifted the lid on the phenomena of the dog football
fan. We knew there were a lot of doggie football supporters out there
but in all honesty we had no idea how many.

'But
if the response to our contest is anything to go by there must be
hundreds if not thousands of dedicated canine football fans out there.
Many of them as devoted to their teams as their owners are.'

Good to be a Gooner: Arsenal supporter Ginny

Good to be a Gooner: Arsenal supporter Ginny

Royals through and through: Reading fan Cassie

Royals through and through: Reading fan Cassie

No 1 fan: Aston Villa supporter Luna

No 1 fan: Aston Villa supporter Luna

He added: 'Our
contest is the first ever to celebrate Britain’s secret army of doggie
football fans. From now on our furry fans no longer have to cower in the
shadows. They can get right out onto the pitch where they belong.

'Everyone
has a Tintin and Snowy story, or maybe a Dorothy and Toto tale. This
contest proves that the love between one man and his dog can only be
strengthened by their shared devotion to a football team. It’s a
beautiful thing to behold.'

Aston Villa fan Luna Davies, whose owner Rob is now based in Holland, is another dog fan entered in the competition.

Luna's owner said: 'She’s got claret and blue running through her veins. It’d mean a lot to her to be able to visit Villa Park. She lives for the Villa.

'I’d love it if they made Luna their lucky mascot. Lord knows they need a bit of luck this year. She’s well trained and wouldn’t foul the hallowed Villa Park turf before a match.'

Arsenal may be enduring a tough season, but six-year-old border terrier Ginny Smith still loves to watch the Gunners play.

Ginny's owner Sharon said: 'Ginny loves her footy and is glued to the telly every time Arsenal are on.

'She has always growled when Alex Ferguson comes on the screen and she also turns her nose up at Tottenham.'

But, unlike Ginny, Arsenal fan Lenny, a five-year-old Dachshund, prefers watching international football.

Lenny's owner James said: 'Lenny loves to sit on the armchair and watch his beloved Arsenal. But when it comes to international matches he reverts back to his ancestral home and supports Germany. He gets very grumpy if they ever lose.'

Armchair fan: Arsenal supporter Lenny gets excited when watching international football

Armchair fan: Arsenal supporter Lenny gets excited when watching international football

To enter the contest send a photo of your football fan dog and their name and age along with contact details to [email protected]