Leadership (Abuja)

Nigeria: Premiership - Mikel, Moses for Crucial Villa Clash

With Chelsea just returning home from Japan on a disappointing mission following the shocked defeat to South American champions, Corinthians in the FIFA Club World Cup final, the duo of John Mikel Obi and Victor Moses will hope to quickly put that sad memory behind when they take on Aston Villa tomorrow. Moses was in action for 90 minutes when the European champions slumped to the firepower of the Brazilian side.

Super Eagles inform striker, who moved Wigan Athletic to Stamford Bridge before the start of the season has gradually become an integral part of Chelsea's set up under interim coach, Rafael Banitez. But the Club World Cup defeat to Corinthians has abruptly halted any momentum the Spaniard may have tried to build since the takeover leaving him and his squad under severe pressure in this festive period.

The Club World Cup was his first chance to secure silverware, but the disappointing defeat has left him with an uphill struggle to salvage the Blues' campaign. With the European champions still having the Premier League, Europa League, FA Cup and Capital One Cup to play for, there is hope that the former Liverpool boss can still give the London side something to cheer.

The unsuccessful trip to Japan also mean that Benitez will now have little time to continue his adaptation to the Blues' hot-seat, nor is there an opportunity for his key players to be eased back into trophy-winning form following their return to England.

The pressure is on already and results during the upcoming festive period especially today's clash with Aston Villa at home are more likely to make-or-mar any hopes of achieving any kind of notable success in the premiership. The tie against Aston Villa and subsequent matches against Norwich, Everton and QPR may look winnable for the Blues on paper, but they can as well be banana pills that may end Benitez's interim assignment at Stamford Bridge.

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