Roberto di Matteo has given us some good news on the injury front. According to the manager, Serbian right back Branislav Ivanovic has come through training 'without a hitch' and is available for selection against Aston Villa on Saturday, marking a faster return from a thigh injury than expected. There's more good news, if you're feeling slightly snarky, in that Raul Meireles is expected to miss the game after picking up a minor knee injury - the Portuguese midfielder's been struggling badly of late and really could do with a break so he can get back to his early-season form.
The big story leading up to the game, of course, is the recent diagnosis of Villa captain Stiliyan Petrov with acute leukemia, a cancer of the white blood cells. Villa had believed that Petrov was simply playing through a virus last weekend, and everyone was stunned to hear that the midfielder was instead battling the early stages of cancer. That news will cast a long shadow over the upcoming match. Here's hoping that Petrov can make a full recovery - he's a guy that everyone only seems to have kind words for.