Jan 18 2013 By Yann Tear
Chelsea v Arsenal - Sunday 1.30pm
RAFAEL Benitez refuses to accept Chelsea have a problem playing at home because of antipathy towards him from the stands.
Anti-Benitez chants persist, with a large section of supporters continuing to express their disapproval of his presence in the dugout, while the 16th minute chanting of Roberto Di Matteo's name remains a feature of Blues games.
Arguably, the news that Roman Abramovich target Pep Guardiola has opted for Bayern Munich next season has added to the dissatisfaction at the Matthew Harding end.
Chelsea have failed to win any of three winnable games at the Bridge since the turn of the year, having blown a two goal lead against Southampton in midweek in their latest home game.
But the interim boss says it's just a question of tightening up as a unit, rather than the team being affected by a sometimes hostile atmosphere.
“We have had some good games at home and I think if you analyse the last game, Southampton did a good job but still we were 2-0 up at half time and if we had scored the third goal, it would have changed everything.
“If you play away or play at home and you want to win, you will have the same approach – to press high – but you have to keep the balance, and we didn't do it. We have to take our chances and have to defend as a unit, be compact and not giving the ball away.
“The main thing for us is to keep calm, keep pushing and keep trying to go forward in the right way and then we will not give any hope to the other teams. If we win and play well, our fans will be happy.”
Benitez has all his players available for the visit of Arsenal on Sunday, apart from the Africa Cup of Nations boys, John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses.
His main decision will be whether to start with Demba Ba or Fernando Torres and whether skipper John Terry is ready to start a game for the first time since mid November.
“We didn't decide yet [whether Terry can start] because the training pitch today wasn't in the best condition, so we will see tomorrow,” Benitez said after a snowy session at Cobham.
“But he was training with the team and he was fine and there was no problem, so we will decide after the training session tomorrow.”
Benitez says that although Sunday's game could have a bearing on ensuring a top four finish, there is still a long way to go and therefore it is unlikely to be decisive.
“It is important in terms of the Champions League obviously, because they are close and they need to win as we have a big points difference, but we still have a lot of games," he said.
"This one will be an important game, but I am sure that we will have other important games in the next months.”