Andre Villas-Boas, the Chelsea manager, has renewed his attack on Alan Hansen after the television pundit criticised the performances of David Luiz and Jose Bosingwa in Chelsea's recent match at Wolves. Meanwhile Gary Cahill's protracted transfer from Bolton is expected to go through before today's home game with Sunderland.
Hansen said Luiz "wouldn't know a good position if it stared at him" and added: "Bosingwa makes Luiz look a world-beater– so bad it's embarrassing." Referring to the goal celebration for Chelsea's winner, when most of the players ran to embrace Villas-Boas and his staff, Hansen said: "It's just papering over the cracks."
Villas-Boas has already been involved in a public dispute with Hansen after the latter described Cheslea as "naive and stupid" in their defeat at Old Trafford in September. Yesterday the Chelsea manager said of Hansen: "He doesn't have the privilege that I have, to work with these players every day. If everybody had perfect games media pundits would have no jobs because there'd be no one to criticise. They'd have to find jobs in professional football, which is a little bit harder."
Villas-Boas went on to defend Luiz saying: "I think he's played fantastically since the start of the season. He's going to be one of the greatest central defenders in the world. He has technical ability, anticipation and speed."
Luiz will play against Sunderland today, though Cahill should complete his £7m move today after personal terms on his five-year contract were ironed out last night.
The last time Martin O'Neill took a team to Stamford Bridge, Aston Villa in March 2010, he lost 7-1. The last time Sunderland went to Chelsea, in November 2010, they won 3-0. Villas-Boas expects today's match to be closer than either encounter. Sunderland have won 13 points from 18 under O'Neill and Villas-Boas said: "Sunderland were low in motivation and self-belief but they beat the leaders [Manchester City] and feel they can play anyone."
Chelsea are 11 points off the Premier League summit but Villas-Boas insisted they were still in the title race.