Ranieri lays down title warning
By Peter ORourke
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Ranieri knows his expensively assembled side cannot afford to lose the live Sky showdown at Stamford Bridge if they want to stay in the championship hunt.
Chelsea are currently six points behind leaders Arsenal, but a win at Stamford Bridge could throw the title race wide open again.
"If we win, the gap is very close. If Arsenal win, for us, it will be maybe impossible because nine points are too many," Ranieri told Chelsea TV.
Chelsea go into the game seeking revenge for their narrow FA Cup defeat to The Gunners last weekend, but they have a terrible recent record against the North Londoners.
Meanwhile, Arsenal midfielder Gilberto Silva is hopeful of facing Chelsea, despite being stretchered off for Brazil against Republic of Ireland.
The midfield ace was forced off early after a tackle from Graham Kavanagh and it was feared he could face a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
Gilberto revealed the injury is not as serious as feared and he could be fit for the lunchtime trip to West London.
"I got hit twice on the right ankle but I think it felt worse than it actually was," said Gilberto.
"Once I got off the pitch it felt a little bit better and I've got to think I will be all right."