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Jan 19, 2013

Rafa considers pairing Ba and Torres

Chelsea boss Rafael Benitez has revealed pairing Demba Ba with Fernando Torres is an "option" as he prepares for Sunday's London derby with Arsenal.

• Chelsea v Arsenal preview

The Blues will be desperate to secure victory when the Gunners visit Stamford Bridge, with Benitez having claimed only one home win - the 8-0 demolition of Aston Villa - since succeeding Roberto Di Matteo in November.

After letting a two-goal lead slip in the 2-2 draw with Southampton in midweek, Benitez acknowledged the team must "manage this advantage in a better way", but he says he is now relishing the chance to take on one of the league's top sides.

"It's always important when you have a draw at home to have a big challenge ahead of you," he said. "To have Arsenal is a very good thing for me and the players. They are a rival who are close to us. We have to use that as a positive. They are close (in the league) and if we win there'll be a big difference."

The Blues may well look to Ba to score the goals to win the match.

The Senegal international has scored three in four appearances in all competitions since leaving Newcastle, while the club's record signing, Torres, continues to struggle in front of goal.

Benitez has suggested he will consider switching things around so that he can play the duo in partnership.

"If you play two strikers, you have to change the shape of the team," he said. "It depends on the movement of the strikers, the understanding of the game. Ba has played as a winger and a second striker, as has Torres.

"If Demba Ba is clever enough playing behind Torres, it's another option. We have these options."

Benitez may risk calling on John Terry in a bid to shore up things at the back on Sunday, but Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has said he expects plenty of goalmouth action.

"Both teams have attacking styles," Wenger said. "Chelsea is today a team who has many good attacking players so it should be a game with goal chances. We will not change our style too much, so we will try to attack and try to create chances."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report

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