Rafael Benitez has only one new injury concern ahead of the Everton game despite the crowded Christmas fixture programme that has so far yielded six points from two games.
Speaking to Chelsea TV following Friday’s training, the interim manager confirmed Ramires is expected to be fit for the trip to Goodison Park following a minor knee injury that kept him out on Boxing Day, but another midfielder will have a fitness test before the squad head north on Saturday afternoon, as will Ryan Bertrand who has not played since coming off during the Leeds game with a groin strain.
‘Bertrand is nearly there but he is still not fully fit and now we have John Mikel Obi with a small problem with his knee, so we will check those players tomorrow,’ Benitez told the club’s channel.
John Terry will not be ready to return and with the team having kept clean sheets in the last two games, Benitez may be tempted to name an unchanged defence for a third game in a row. Wholesale rotation is not being considered.
‘I am trying to manage the squad and trying to use different players for different games. I cannot change too many but two or three can give us fresh legs,’ he said, ‘and the players they know they have to compete and that is positive too.
‘It is not easy because you have to play the games in a short time and you have a lot of distractions around the family at Christmas which is a very special, but I felt we were focused against Aston Villa and Norwich and hopefully it will be the same in the next couple of games.
‘Everton will be very tough, very dangerous because they are doing well but we are doing well at the same time so hopefully we can keep our momentum.’
A clip of Rafael Benitez talking to Chelsea TV can be viewed above with the full interview available via the channel’s online access from 9am on Sunday.