Benayoun available for Blackpool clash

Benayoun available for Blackpool clash

Chelsea midfielder Yossi Benayoun will be available for the home game with Blackpool tomorrow despite reports suggesting he will miss the game because of the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur.

West Ham’s Israeli boss Avram Grant and defender Tal Ben Haim were set to miss today’s game against Stoke because of the Jewish Day of Atonement which ends before Chelsea’s clash with newly-promoted Blackpool tomorrow.

Benayoun is one of the players in the frame to take the place vacated by England international Frank Lampard’s absence, although no decision has yet been made.

Lampard is struggling to recover from a hernia operation and will miss the visit of Ian Holloway’s side, leaving Benayoun in prime position to deputise for him.

The Israeli produced an impressive performance against MSK Zilina in the Champions League in midweek.

The midfielder supplied a superb passes for goalscorers Nicolas Anelka and Daniel Sturridge as Chelsea opened their Group F campaign with a 4-1 victory against the Slovakia side.

“Benayoun played very well in the first half against Zilina, taking the right positions and making two assists,” said Ancelotti.

“It is a new position for him but he can play that position because he is intelligent and we need to have intelligent players in midfield because then we can rotate places there. Yossi will take up the right positions.

“But Ramires played a good game against West Ham last week and he is fresh.

“Lampard will be fit next week, for the Carling Cup against Newcastle I think. He is training but we don’t want to take a risk against Blackpool.”

Meanwhile Ancelotti reacted to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger’s comments concerning bad tackling in the Barclays Premier League.

Ancelotti sent good wishes to Manchester United’s Antonio Valencia who broke his ankle on Champions League duty.

“Valencia was unlucky because the defender didn’t make a bad tackle,” said the Italian coach.

“I want to wish him a quick recovery. The tempo of the game here is different from other countries but I don’t think that here there are more bad tackles.

“There is fair play here and I have trust in the referees. If there is a bad tackle then the referee can judge.”

Meanwhile, Chelsea’s assistant boss Ray Wilkins has hailed Ian Holloway’s achievement at getting Blackpool into the top flight.

Wilkins shared five years with Holloway when they were at QPR in the early 1990s, firstly as a team-mate in midfield and then with Wilkins as player/manager.

“When I had the pleasure of playing with Ian at Queens Park Rangers he had such a fantastic work ethic,” said Wilkins.

“That is something you see coming through in his teams and the way they play.

“First and foremost they work extremely hard and then the quality comes out afterwards. I am very pleased for him.

“Blackpool must be playing good football because they are creating chances and scoring goals and coupled with the work ethic that Holly will demand then you are going to get some results.

“But our record shows we approach these games in the right fashion so that is how we have to approach this one.

“It is up to us to work as hard as Blackpool and to play our football. We have been playing some very good football and everyone who has taken part in the team has contributed very well, so we have to think about our play, do what we want to do, and hope that our run will continue.”

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