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Chelsea must shuffle pack at Southampton

31 December 2013, 17:41

London - Chelsea will be without David Luiz and Frank Lampard for Wednesday's Premier League trip to Southampton and are also likely to have Branislav Ivanovic and Samuel Eto'o sidelined.

Brazilian Luiz is suspended after picking up his fifth booking of the season in Sunday's 2-1 win over Liverpool and midfield partner Lampard suffered a muscle strain in the same match.

Ivanovic and Eto'o, like Lampard, also had to go off injured against Liverpool.

Fernando Torres is likely to come in for Eto'o up front with Ashley Cole replacing Ivanovic in defence.

Brazilian Ramires, suspended on Sunday, is set to return to the midfield along with John Obi Mikel.

England defender Gary Cahill said third-placed Chelsea's performance at Stamford Bridge at the weekend was one of their best of the season.

"The focus now is to play like we did against Liverpool every week because we really moved the ball around quickly," he told the club website (www.chelseafc.com) on Tuesday.

"In the big games this season we have turned up. We drew at Arsenal and Manchester United and beat Manchester City and Liverpool here," said Cahill.

"Of course we can win the league, and that's what we're aiming to do, along with some other fantastic teams. We know it's going to be tough but at the moment we've put ourselves in a good position."

Chelsea conceded a hatful of goals earlier this month but have regained their defensive meanness in recent matches.

"We've tightened it right back up again now," said Cahill. "Moving forward it's important that we're in touching distance (at the top).

"Liverpool was a massive game because some of the teams played on Saturday and then we saw Arsenal win before we went out so it put added pressure on us to get a result."

Chelsea are one point behind Manchester City and two adrift of leaders Arsenal. Southampton occupy ninth position after 19 games, the midway point of the season.

- Reuters


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