With aspirations for the Uefa Champions League once again filed away (in a somewhat burgeoning file our sources tell us) under ‘how could that not be a penalty’, Carlo Ancelotti now focusses efforts on a domestic Premier League and FA Cup double, the like of which has never been seen at Stamford Bridge. That’s what you need to think about when you ponder how doable that little gem is, before you even consider our recent form. It’s a tall order, though not nearly as tall as a ref blowing up for a fair penalty shout in the Champions League.
Blackburn away at Ewood Park on Sunday is the first of three games in a week for Chelsea, and although the expression ‘must win game’ is ridiculously overused these days, with this game coming at the start of the business end of the season and our grasp on the top of the table looking all the more tenuous, it would be fair to say we have to win, and again away to Pompey on Wednesday, and again at home to Villa on Saturday. All winnable, but the pressure is on Ancelotti and the team to deliver, and deliver emphatically.
We should, though, be happy just to see the team get the job done. We don’t need to batter anyone at this stage, we need to protect the players we have because it’s clear now that some of them aren’t ready to play every week and cover for the walking wounded.
It’s likely there will be very few changes for the this game from the team who lost to Inter on Tuesday as the players need the confidence and a good result under their belt. With Avram Grant allegedly threatening to field a weakened side for the trip to Pompey midweek, we can worry about rotation then, but not this weekend.
Let’s not bother with the injury list, it’s just too depressing, frankly. Deco’s fit though, but he was fit on Tuesday, so you’re more likely to see him organising the removal men ahead of a return to Brazil than making plays at Ewood Park.
Whilst Blackburn aren’t the bruisers they were under Mark Hughes, they’re still a fairly predictable side under Sam Allardyce and we can expect plenty of long balls over what is not the fastest midfield in the league, so we can expect Mikel and Alex to continue with Carvalho rested until Wednesday. In return, expect Florent Malouda to target the truly woeful Michel Salgado at right back.
In the reverse of this fixture we did indeed batter them at the Bridge with a five nil win, this time round, once again, we’re going to need a measured performance with plenty of rotation once the job is done. We live in hope. Three nil to Chelsea.
Finally, on a positive note, TheChels would like to extend hearty congratulations to Joe Cole and his wife Carly who became the proud parents of a healthy baby girl weighing in at 6lb 3oz early on Thursday evening.