Chelsea and Rafa Benitez in particular will continue their pursuit of an FA Cup and Europa League double as they prepare for what could be a testing quarter final first leg at home to Russian side Rubin Kazan.
The Blues may be in danger of slipping out of the top four in the Premier League after an iffy run of form away from but in the cups they have had no such problems, dismissing league champions-elect Manchester United to progress through to the FA Cup semi finals on Easter Monday, while also continuing to make progress in Europe, despite suffering scares against both Sparta Prague and Steaua Bucharest in the previous rounds.
Benitez will be without Ashley Cole and Gary Cahill with hamstring and knee injuries respectively while Fernando Torres will start up front due to Demba Ba’s ineligibility. John Terry should come back into central-defence while Frank Lampard may also be given a start ahead of either John Obi Mikel or Oscar.
“I have to pick a team that can win any game,” said Benitez. “You have to approach the next game like the most important game.
“Sometimes we will pick one team for one game and we will change three, four, seven players for the next one. That is the way to compete and to be capable of winning in every competition.
“Rubin can score goals away, they will try to do that. It will be tough. It’s important to score and to do well.”
The Russians are most famous for defeating Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona 2-1 at the Camp Nou in the 2009-10 Champions League season and do contain quality in their ranks, though they will be without Yann M’Villa, who was once heavily on the radar of both Arsenal and Tottenham, as well as striker Alexander Ryazantsev due to injury.
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