Aston Villa Vs. Chelsea: Team News: Ivanovic Fit, Meireles A Doubt

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 08: Raul Meireles of Chelsea reacts during the FA Cup sponsored by Budweiser Third Round match between Chelsea and Portsmouth at Stamford Bridge on January 8, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

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.

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