Chelsea welcome Wigan Athletic to Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon looking to get their season back on track.
The European champions are currently on a four-game win-less streak including a 3-2 loss to Newcastle United last time out, so interim boss will be hoping to ease the growing pressure on his shoulders with a welcome win this weekend.
The Blues poor recent run has seen them not only drop out of the title race but put their position in the top-four in jeopardy. Chelsea may find themselves back in fourth place come kick off if Tottenham beat Newcastle in Saturday’s early game, while Everton are only four points adrift so Benitez knows his side need to start picking up wins quickly.
But the visitors are desperate for points themselves as Wigan continue their fight against relegation. Roberto Martinez side currently sit in the relegation zone but are just two points from safety so could climb out the bottom three with a shock win on Saturday.
Chelsea have been dealt a blow with the news that captain John Terry has been ruled out with inflammation to his troublesome knee. Striker Demba Ba is in contention despite breaking his nose against Newcastle last weekend but may have to make do with a place on the bench with Fernando Torres likely to start up front.
Goalkeeper Petr Cech is also back despite breaking his little finger last weekend while David Luiz is available after proving his fitness against England on Wednesday. Eden Hazard returns to the starting line-up after completing his three-match ban.
Wigan are able to welcome back Antolin Alcaraz and Emerson Boyce from injury. Striker Aroune Kone is back in England following his exploits at the African Cup of Nations but he may start from the bench after his long-haul trip.
Ryo Miyaichi is still out with an ankle problem while Ben Watson, Albert Crusat, Fraser Fyvie, Mike Pollitt and Ivan Ramis all continue to be unavailable through injury.
Despite Chelsea’s poor recent form I can see a home win this weekend. Wigan seem to be good opposition for the Blues with the European champions coming out on top in six of the last seven games between the two sides at Stamford Bridge, and I predict this will extend to seven in eight. Chelsea 2-0 Wigan
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