English Premier League – Injury blow for City, Chelsea eye recovery | Pakistan Today

English Premier League – Injury blow for City, Chelsea eye recovery

LONDON – Chelsea head to bottom of the table Wolves on Wednesday with manager Carlo Ancelotti insisting all is not lost for his defending champions in their quest to retain the Premier League title.
The Blues, held to a 3-3 draw by Aston Villa last time out, could kick-off nine points behind Manchester United if the leaders beat Stoke at Old Trafford on Tuesday. But Italian boss Ancelotti was in defiant mood, saying: “First they (United) have to win (the game in hand). “Second I think the gap is not a wide gap. We have to beat them here (on March 1) and then we can say something about the title.
“It’s not over because we are improving and I think we can say something again in this season.”
The situation at the other end of the table is even tighter than the title race, with one win often enough to catapult a side out of the relegation zone, as happened when West Ham beat Wolves last weekend.
“There are plenty of games left and, if we play like we have and create the chances we have, we’ll get results,” said Wolves manager Mick McCarthy.
“Nobody got relegated at the weekend. I just don’t want to be bottom in May.” Third plays second when Arsenal face Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium in a match where victory for the hosts would see the Gunners go above the expensive side assembled by Roberto Mancini.
Arsenal recovered from the disappointment of drawing with Wigan to beat Birmingham 3-0 and manager Arsene Wenger said: “You can see we have the belief in our game now. That is what will make the title race really interesting.
” City manager Roberto Mancini confirmed Tuesday that David Silva and Mario Balotelli have both been ruled out of Wednesday’s crucial Premier League clash at Arsenal. The pair have both suffered knee injuries, with Silva possibly out for two weeks.
“It is a big problem,” admitted Mancini. “Neither of them will be available.” “David has been an important player for us and has been doing well recently,” said Mancini.
“Hopefully, he will be back for the Wolves game on January 15. Mario might be back for the FA Cup tie at Leicester on Sunday.” Mancini also confirmed he is confident of securing the services of Bosnian striker Edin Dzeko from Wolfsburg.
Liverpool, fresh from a last-gasp win over Bolton, will look to give under-pressure manager Roy Hodgson more breathing space away to Blackburn, even though some reports have suggested the Reds’ owners are determined to dump the former Fulham boss. Nevertheless, Joe Cole — who scored the winner against Bolton — insisted Hodgson still had the support of the dressing room.
“We are all behind the manager. We all want to put this club in the right direction and keep working hard,” said the England midfielder. Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier has also had his position called into question in recent weeks but the Frenchman, whose side are at home to Sunderland on Wednesday, believes the spirit his side showed against Chelsea was evidence that he and his squad were on the same wavelength.
“You can’t play a game like that (against Chelsea) and get a result like that without having togetherness. “This can be a turning point. We have lost so many points in the final minutes of games or after leading. This time a late goal got us a point.”
Wednesday will also see Everton, without Australia star Tim Cahill because of the Asia Cup, look to derail Tottenham’s title bid while West Ham continue their quest for survival away to Newcastle as Bolton face local rivals Wigan.
Fixtures: (1945GMT unless stated)
Wednesday: Arsenal v Manchester City, Aston Villa v Sunderland, Blackburn v Liverpool (2000GMT), Bolton v Wigan (2000GMT), Everton v Tottenham (2000GMT), Newcastle v West Ham, Wolves v Chelsea.

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