Ancelotti will join dugout after father's funeral

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The Independent Online

Chelsea's preparations for tomorrow's encounter with Arsenal have been overshadowed by the death of Carlo Ancelotti's father on Wednesday.

The manager left assistant Ray Wilkins in charge of team affairs so he could be at 87-year-old Giuseppe's side for his final hours. The funeral is today, but Ancelotti is expected to take his place in the Stamford Bridge dugout.

Wilkins is prepared to continue filling in for Ancelotti should he not feel up to it. "But please God that's not the situation," Wilkins said. "He's football daft, so he'll want to be on that touchline on Sunday.

"I've been on the phone to him continuously. The training has been left up to us and then he will take charge on Sunday and select the side."

Chelsea will look to get last week's 1-0 defeat to Manchester City out of their system. Wilkins admitted the club felt "fortunate" to still boast a three-point lead, as Arsenal and Manchester United both dropped points last weekend. Wilkins said mistakes have been learnt. "We didn't compete in a physical sense. They took us by surprise and they shouldn't have done. It won't happen again."

It is rare indeed that Chelsea are out-muscled. The visit of Arsenal presents them with an opportunity for atonement. Chelsea beat Arsenal convincingly home and away in the Premier League last season, when much was made of Chelsea's physical superiority, particularly the power of Didier Drogba, who scored four times in the two games.

Drogba said this week "I think we still have the strength to fight against Arsenal, but football is not only a physical battle. It's about playing, winning games and scoring goals. If the game has to go physical we are ready to do it, but we want to play it and make it a good game."

Wilkins, though, tried to divert talk away from Chelsea's physical advantage. "We use all the attributes among our players to maximise our chances of winning," he said. "If it means we have to play power and strength then that's the way we play but I think you've seen this season we've played exceptionally well."

Chelsea will again be without Frank Lampard, who picked up a groin injury following hernia surgery in August. Wilkins said: "He should be back after the international break. It's important he gets himself ready to play at the top level."

Arsenal Dread Drogba

Didier Drogba has scored 12 goals in 10 starts for Chelsea against Arsenal since joining the club in 2004, averaging one goal every 68 minutes.

7/08/05 Community Shield:Chelsea 2-1 Arsenal (Drogba scored 2)

21/08/05 Prem: Chelsea 1-0 Arsenal: (1)

18/12/05 Prem: Arsenal 0-2 Chelsea: (0)

10/12/06 Prem: Chelsea 1-1 Arsenal: (0)

25/02/07 Lge Cup: Chels' 2-1 Arsenal: (2)

23/03/08 Prem: Chelsea 2-1 Arsenal: (2)

18/04/09 FA Cup: Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea: (1)

10/05/09 Prem: Arsenal 1-4 Chelsea: (0)

29/11/09 Prem: Arsenal 0-3 Chelsea: (2)

7/02/10 Prem: Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal: (2)

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