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Arsenal can lay down a marker

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Benitez focused on catching top two

Rafa Benitez has still refused to rule his Chelsea team out of the title race, despite the seemingly relentless form of the two Manchester clubs.

• Blog: Chelsea roadshow strikes

The Stamford Bridge side are 14 points behind Manchester United and seven behind City, but having played a game less. That match will finally arrive on Wednesday night at home to Southampton, and a win would improve Benitez's outlook further.

"I don't like to see the table every weekend," he said. "We have to keep winning games, doing well and scoring goals. We are scoring a lot of goals and conceding not too many. That's the balance we were looking for. Let's see where we are in a few weeks."

Benitez, meanwhile, confirmed that John Terry is back to full fitness and had no problem with his recent knee injury after coming on in Saturday's 4-0 win over Stoke City, but stated he may not have enough match-fitness to start against Southampton.

"He is fine," Benitez said. "He was training yesterday and today, normal sessions. Still the fitness is not the same. For match fitness you have to play games, but every session will help."

Benitez did confirm, though, that Demba Ba may be fit to play. The striker was rested in last Wednesday's Capital One Cup defeat to Swansea having started on the previous Saturday.

And, despite Benitez attempting to manage Ba's infamously troublesome knee, the manager denied that the fact he started in their most recent Saturday game, too, would see him left out for the Southampton game.

He said: "He's fine. We know we have to manage him, but the medical staff are doing their job. He trained yesterday and is fine."

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