Saturday, April 05, 2008

Chelsea preview

Whilst Chelsea will be battling and scrapping to keep their title hopes alive, battling and scrapping will be exactly what we need to avoid doing to give our best hopes of European qualification a boost given that an absence of names in the referee's notebook will be equally as important as points gained.

Slightly tongue in cheek of course given that the elusive sixth position is still up for grabs despite our best efforts since the turn of the year but with Portsmouth absent from Premier League duty to fly the flag for the top flight in the FA Cup we have a chance to close the gap somewhat.

It will be difficult of course. Chelsea are not a side we have fared well against in recent times and of memories of the 6-0 reverse at Stamford Bridge have not quite faded from memory. A less free flowing and attacking Chlesea is what I expect tomorrow though and should they go home with a comfortable 1-0 win ahead of Tuesday's crucial Champions League tie at home to Fenerbahce, I'm sure they would be more than pleased.

Crucially for ourselves, Petrov and Johnson should slot straight into the side that fared so poorly at Birmingham last week, and our less than threatening strike force should at least take heart from the fact that Colin Kazim-Richards managed to get on the scoresheet in midweek against Chelsea.

Sven put the squad through a video nasty this week (no, not the one with Paul Jewell) and the players needed a kick up the arse the way things have drifted in recent weeks so a reaction of some sort should be expected.

Cech and Lampard may well return for the visitors, whilst a late decision will determine whether Anelka gets booed from the pitch or warming up from the bench. A less than steady home defence should see Drogba fancy his chances of notching a goal.

It is difficult to put a case forward for us taking the points tomorrow, but it could be our day especially if Chelsea are not 100% focused - but given they are still in the hunt for the title they should be professional enough.

There should be improvement from last weekends game, but I cannot see it being enough as I'd take the visitors to head back down to London with a predictable 1-0 victory, leaving home fans hoping for some comfort in the Grand National result.

Opposition previews:, The Shed End, Chelsea Blog, Chelsea Pies,

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