Chelsea Daily – Blues raring to go as Alex and Benayoun return ignites title challenge

Chelsea are not used to being out of action for as long as they have this past week. The only match they have played in the last nine days has been last night’s Champions League 0-0 draw against FC Copenhagen. The Blues – who were eliminated from both the Carling Cup and the FA Cup in the early stages – have been granted the privilege of a long rest, while their title rivals have been put through a gruelling couple of fixtures lately.

Branislav Ivanovic recently spoke about the week in training as the Blues prepare for tougher times ahead. The Chelsea no 2 said: “It is a strange situation, unusual for us, but in a way it is good for each individual game. It means we can prepare well, be focused and spend time on the training pitch in the important part of the season.”

There is no doubt that the players have benefitted from the unexpected break in Premier League action and it seems to be reflected in the fact that two of Chelsea’s stars have returned to the squad after long injury lay-offs. Former Liverpool midfielder Yossi Benayoun and defender Alex are both back in training at the club and provide a welcome addition to Carlo Ancelotti, who now has options in front of him as he looks towards the final part of the season.

This Sunday, the Blues welcome Manchester City to Stamford Bridge. Chelsea will be looking to take advantage of the fact that they have had a long time to prepare for this game and will be keen to take all three points against the Eastlands outfit, a feat they are yet to accomplish under the management of Ancelotti.

In other news, both Ancelotti and Ivanovic have given their backing to John Terry, after the speculation that Fabio Capello is considering reinstating the Chelsea no 26 as Captain of England. Contradictory to Rio Ferdinand’s remarks, Ancelotti believes that Terry is a great leader and can do just what he has done for the club at a national level as well. The Italian said: “John Terry is our captain, he is here a lot of time, he is a Chelsea man, a Chelsea player, and he has the personality to be captain.”

Ivanovic – who has partnered Terry in defence at Chelsea – also gave his views on the defender both as a player and a leader. The Serbian said: “I can say I am lucky because everywhere I play I have great guys with me and great captains, for my national team and Chelsea, so I can just say good words. When I arrived John Terry was already captain of Chelsea and with how he is doing with everyone, all the club, he will be captain at the end of his career. He is great. You can see how he plays in his performances, everything, so I can say nothing more.”

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