Chelsea striker Drogba fighting to be fit for Barcelona clash

By IndepthAfrica
In Soccer
Apr 23rd, 2012
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Chelsea's Ivory Coast footballer Didier Drogba (C) celebrates scoring his goal during the FA Cup semi-final football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium in London, England on April 15, 2012. AFP PHOTO/IAN KINGTON NOT FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING USE / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo credit should read IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images)

Roberto Di Matteo is increasingly confident Didier Drogba will win his fitness battle and face Barcelona tomorrow night.

The Chelsea striker has a knee problem and was left out of the squad that held Arsenal to a 0-0 draw at the Emirates Stadium.

But after Drogba’s match-winning goal in the Champions League semi-final first leg victory against Barcelona last week, Di Matteo is anxious to have the Ivorian back in his side for the Nou Camp return.

“We’ll have to assess the players. He has an injury on his knee, so it’s whether the progression on this injury will be quick enough,” the interim Chelsea first team coach said.

Meanwhile Gary Cahill has hailed Chelsea’s display in their bore draw at Arsenal as the ideal dress rehearsal for their Barca trip.

Cahill, John Terry and Petr Cech once again proved impassable as the Blues kept another clean sheet.

Less than three days after denying Lionel Messi and his Barca team-mates a goal, Cahill helped manage to thwart one of the world’s other great forwards in Robin van Persie.

The defender said: “It was great practice, coming up against the likes of Robin van Persie, who’s in form this season, and is one of the best forwards in the world at the minute.

“It doesn’t get any harder, does it, this week, facing the likes of Messi and then Van Persie and then back to Messi and the boys?

“So to keep two clean sheets in the two games we’ve just played is pleasing for us as a whole team.”

Keeping clean sheets is something Chelsea have been accustomed to again since Cahill and Terry finally translated the partnership forged with England to club level.

The pair have conceded just one goal in the five matches they have started together and have yet to lose in any of the eight games in which both have played a part.

However, the biggest test of that will come at the Nou Camp.

Cahill said: “I think we require similar to the home leg: a little element of luck; defensively as a whole unit everyone sticking to their task; and the concentration level.”

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