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Football: Mourinho fights to fix Chelsea's misfiring forwards

Jose Mourinho will again confront Chelsea's striker dilemma when the leaders return to Premier League action against Everton at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. With Chelsea not in action in midweek, Mourinho has had plenty of time to reflect on last weekend's FA Cup defeat at Manchester City. City eased to a 2-0 victory, gaining revenge for the Blues' recent league victory at Eastlands and for Mourinho, the game threw his limited forward options into sharp relief.

Chelsea agrees to transfer Michael Essien to AC Milan

London, Jan 25 (EFE).- England's Chelsea has reached a deal with AC Milan to sell Ghanaian midfielder Michael Essien, who has traveled to Italy to finalize the contract details, the London club said Saturday. The 31-year old Essien, who came to Chelsea in 2005 in what was the most expensive signing in soccer history, has played in nine games this season for the Blues since returning to the club after spending last year on loan at Real Madrid.

Football: German police stop 4 hooligans heading to Chelsea game

German police said they prevented four known football hooligans from flying to London for Wednesday's Champions League match between Chelsea and Schalke 04. The quartet, aged between 20 and 24, all held valid tickets for the match at Stamford Bridge, but police stepped in to stop them flying from Cologne/Bonn airport to London's Stansted. In a statement, federal police said the individuals were "well known as violent football fans and had often been linked to negative aspects at matches in the past. The identities and nationalities of the four were not given.

Football: Indonesian promoter to repay Chelsea fans

An Indonesian sports promoter will return thousands of dollars to local Chelsea fans who were charged a hefty sum to rub shoulders with the players without the Blues' consent, the organiser said Monday. The scores of fans, some of whom paid more than $2,000 to attend exclusive sideline events, will now meet the players for free before a friendly against the Indonesia All-Stars on Thursday. The promoter, Nine Sport, said it managed to sell out the nearly 150 tickets to various events within a month.

Football: Ba boost for FA Cup semi-finalists Chelsea

Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez has revealed that he expects striker Demba Ba to return to fitness in time for Sunday's FA Cup semi-final with Manchester City at Wembley Stadium. The 27-year-old Senegal international, whose goal sank Manchester United in the quarter-finals, had to go off at half-time of Chelsea's 2-1 win over Sunderland last weekend after injuring his ankle following a challenge by Craig Gardner.

Football: England falls from grace in Champions League

Arsenal's elimination at the hands of Bayern Munich in the Champions League means this is the first season since 1995-96 in which no English teams have reached the quarter-finals. After an ignominious group phase, when Manchester City finished bottom of their pool and Chelsea became the first defending champions to fall at the first hurdle, the English challenge vanished amid the first flowerings of the European spring.

Football: Chelsea, Tottenham dream of higher plane

They could both be forgiven for dreaming of more lucrative adventures in the Champions League come next season, but on Thursday Chelsea and Tottenham will have their eyes focused on a plce in Europa League semi-finals. Both must put thoughts of the Champions League aside at least for 90 minutes as they prepare to meet Steaua Bucharest and Inter Milan respectively.

UPDATE 2-Soccer-Angry Benitez fires broadside at Chelsea fans and board

* Says will leave at end of season * Berates Chelsea board for only interim appointment * Fans wasting time abusing him, Benitez says (Recasts With Benitez comments) By Justin Palmer LONDON, Feb 27 (Reuters) - In a bitter outburst at the fans who have barracked him relentlessly and an angry swipe at the club's board for only appointing him 'interim' manager, Rafael Benitez said on Wednesday he will leave Chelsea at the end of the season.

Soccer-Hazard apologises to ballboy after League Cup red card

Jan 24 (Reuters) - Chelsea's Eden Hazard has apologised for kicking a ballboy who was preventing him from retrieving the ball in the League Cup semi-final against Swansea City on Wednesday. Hazard, who was sent off, later met the 17-year-old named locally as Charlie Morgan, son of the Swansea City director Martin Morgan, in the Chelsea dressing room and apologised for the incident.
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