Dec 132014
 

After showing vulnerability against Newcastle last weekend against Newcastle, Chelsea would try to redeem their image as they welcome Hull City to Stamford Bridge. The midweek European tie against Sporting saw Chelsea not only return to winning ways but also rest a number of key players in regards to the league game. Chelsea would hope there would be no European hangovers as they face the Tigers.

Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois is reported to have suffered a minor muscular injury meaning Petr Cech could be ready to start a second game in a row. Cesc Fabregas is the latest Chelsea player to miss a league game due to suspension as Nemanja Matic returns to the fold.

Hull City’s Nikica Jelavic is available for selection after returning from illness and Uruguayan Gaston Ramirez is back from a three game suspension after his challenge on Tottenham’s Jan Verthogen.

The Tigers have never won at Stamford Bridge and it looks like an unlikely time to have that historic victory. Hull City has just won two league games since their FA Cup semi-final win earlier this year. The latest additions to the pack haven’t made Hull better than last season according to Steve Bruce.

Hull are 18th on the league table while Chelsea are top of the table with a three point lead over Man. City, Hull can hope to spoil the party but in addition get a valuable point from the Bridge while Chelsea would want to return to winning ways and not loose anymore points.

Key Players

Nemanja Matic was a huge miss for Chelsea when they played against Newcastle; the towering Serbian returns to the line-up to prevent causalities as Chelsea are yet to lose a game this season with Matic in the line-up. Top scorer Diego Costa has been on a goal drought for four games and would be looking to put an end to that abnormality.

Hull’s goalkeeper, Allan McGregor would be a very busy man for the Tigers as they face Chelsea, it’s a tough ask but we’ve seen goalkeepers single handedly win points for clubs this season. In addition to that there’s also the threat of the pace of Sone Aluko upfront and the talent of Abel Hernandez to deal with.

The Stats

Chelsea has only suffered one defeat since the start of this season, and their first in 18 Premier League games.

Chelsea has won all their League games at Stamford Bridge this season, seven in seven.

The Blues have kept 12 clean sheets in their last 15.

Hull City has won just once in their last 14 league games.

The Tigers have scored just two goals in their seven Premier League games.

Should Allan McGregor save another penalty against Chelsea, it would be the first time a goalkeeper has ever saved four consecutive penalties in the league.

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 Posted by at 10:22 am
Dec 062014
 

Newcastle was once on a fiery streak but that came to an end when they visited fellow Londoners, West Ham. A draw against the Burnley after the West Ham game shows Newcastle might now be back from that short sprint in wonderland, when they collected all 15 points from five consecutive league matches, four clean sheets and knocking out Manchester City from the league Cup in the process as well. After collecting just a point in their last two games, December does looks like a good time for Jose Mourinho and Chelsea to step in considering Newcastle’s previous month.

Unlike Newcastle who had a spark in form just last month, Chelsea has looked in form all season long. The Blues are undefeated in all league games this season and pundits and bookmakers are already labelling them potential invincibles, although Jose Mourinho has played down that fact by stating that his side will still lose games because they play to win, Chelsea would be hoping not to drop any more points on the road at the moment like they did at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland, as Manchester City are fast approaching in second place.

Loic Remy returns to the familiar ground where he played his football last season on loan from QPR, Remy scored 14 goals in 26 league games for the Magpies, one of those goals was against Chelsea in this same fixture, he should be given a warm reception by the Newcastle faithful’s should he be involved in the game at any time. Diego Costa is back from suspension, his absence was barely missed as Chelsea ran riot on Spurs in the midweek and Gary Cahill is done nursing a concussion and should be cleared to play while Nemanja Matic is the only confirmed absentee as he picked his fifth yellow card of the season in the previous game.

Newcastle also have a pair returning from suspension, Moussa Sissoko and Jack Colback are both back from suspension and Sissoko might wear the armband for the Magpies again as Fabricio Coloccini is still with a calf injury.

Key Players

Newcastle’s Moussa Sissoko is back from suspension and is the engine room for Alan Pardew’s rejuvenated side; his presence was definitely missed in the game against Burnley. Also Pappis Cisse was one of the pioneers in silencing Pardew’s critics, Cisse is Newcastle’s top scorer with 5 goals, he once scored a devastating brace against Chelsea in his first spell for the club.

Diego Costa also returns from suspension and is usually the headliner for Chelsea’s league victories, the Spaniard would be looking to continue from where he stopped as regards to doing just that. Cesc Fabregas has gone without an assist in his last two games and with Costa back it could be the usual ‘Costa goal, Fab assists’ situation.

The Stats

Newcastle is unbeaten in five home games, since their opening day defeat to Man.City.

The Magpies are also on a three game unbeaten streak at home with three clean sheets kept as well.

Chelsea can set a new club record of 24 matches unbeaten in all competitions by avoiding defeat against the Toons.

The Blues have kept just one clean sheet in seven away league games.

Head to Head

Newcastle has won their last two home games vs. Chelsea.

Alan Pardew has won once against Jose Mourinho in the Premier League, having lost five times to the Special one.

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 Posted by at 9:46 am
Dec 062014
 

After an uncharacteristic bore draw between us and Sunderland, Chelsea returned to winning ways against Spurs. A 3-0 demolishing even without top scorer Diego Costa showed our strength and what we can usually do and also expresses the fact that the draw against the Black cats on Saturday was just a minor blip on the path to hopeful Premier League glory.

Chelsea were unchanged as the same selection that played the last three games were in the line-up except upfront where Didier Drogba was selected ahead of Loic Remy due to Costa’s suspension. The big Ivorian didn’t disappoint after being given the nod, like we are used to. Drogba set up Eden Hazard with a remarkable back heel to assist the Belgian who fired past the Spurs goalkeeper at the near post, 1-0 Chelsea.

Three minutes later it was all Chelsea again, Hazard this time the provider as Drogba muscled his way past Spurs Vertonghen to poke the ball over Hugo Lloris for 2-0. Drogba soon came off for Remy in the second half and the French man made a good introduction getting into the game. After receiving a good pass from Cesar Azpilicueta he did brilliantly to cut into his right foot from his left, leaving Vertonghen, once again, flat footed before slotting it calmly into the net. Hugo Lloris the Spurs keeper had no chance as he was routed to the spot.

However there were a few negatives from the game. Nemanja Matic received a fifth yellow card and would be suspended for the next game against Newcastle, away while Gary Cahill was replaced after a collision with Spurs striker, Harry Kane. The defender might be in doubt for the next game but otherwise the team is fine.

The clean sheet is a fourth successive one and the points mean we are still six points ahead of City. Hazard scored his seventh of the season and Drogba with his fifth. The victory also meant we haven’t still lost at home to Spurs since Gary Lineker’s goal in 1990 and also with that win we have equaled our club record of 23 games unbeaten in 2007, we also equalled it in 2009.

With Manchester City’s 3-1 4-1 demolishing of Sunderland they are still very much on the prowl to defend their title, there were wins for Arsenal and Man.Utd as well as Liverpool over the midweek but none of them pose a threat as much as City at the moment. Southampton lose again and look like they would drop from the top 4, it could be the usual culprits going to Europe again next year but as for who wins the title it still looks Chelsea bound, until Newcastle away, top of the league. Come on Chelsea!

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 Posted by at 9:42 am
Dec 032014
 

The Game

Chelsea looked invisible until their clash with Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, so it wasn’t a loss but the Sunderland team stopped Chelsea from scoring for the first time this season and there were hints to the probability that there’s still a way to beat this Chelsea team who are still without a loss.

Tottenham come into the matchup with some kind of confidence from their last game. A feisty 2-1 victory over Everton saw Spurs climb to 7th position on the league table, level with bitter rivals, Arsenal and just two points of fourth place occupied by Man.Utd, making them have a hint of belief that maybe there’s still hope to make it into the top four once again.

Key Players

Chelsea are without Diego Costa after the Spaniard picked up his fifth yellow card against Sunderland, the Blues would have to look up to Didier Drogba or Loic Remy ahead of the Spurs fixture, however with Costa out the key man status shifts to Cesc Fabregas. Fabregas has been a revelation at Chelsea since his arrival and has fit perfectly to the blue jigsaw, assisting 10 goals in 13 league games.

As for Tottenham, their key man is also a midfielder. Christian Eriksen has scored two in his last two league games and like last season he looks to be the brightest of the Spurs pack. No player has created more chances this season that Eriksen for Spurs, the Danish playmaker has created 25 chances for them this season.

The Stats

Chelsea is undefeated this season in all competitions (W15, D5).

Their last league defeat came on 19 April – a 2-1 home reverses against Sunderland.

Chelsea has won 28 of their last 34 home league games (D5, L1).

Chelsea haven’t lost against Tottenham Hotspur in their last nine matches in all competitions

Didier Drogba has scored three goals and assisted four more in his last eight league games against Spurs.

Tottenham have not registered a single win at Stamford Bridge in any competition since February 1990 when Gary Lineker scored the winning goal in a 2-1 win (W0 D10 L17).

Tottenham Hotspur’s last five games in the Premier League have finished with a 2-1 score line.

Tottenham have lost just one of their last six Premier League away games (W3, D2).

They have won three of their last four league games, losing the other.

Spurs and Chelsea have both won the most points from losing positions in the league this season, both nine.

Only Yaya Toure (14) and Steven Gerrard (12) have scored more Premier League goals from midfield in 2014 than Christian Eriksen (11).

Roberto Soldado ended a run of 627 minutes without a league goal against Everton on Sunday.

Chelsea Likely Line Up

Courthois

Azpilicueta Cahill Terry Ivanonic

Matic

Fabregas Oscar

Hazard Willian

Remy

Head to Head

Tottenham have never won a game at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League. Drawing 8 and Losing 14.

Last Four League Meetings:

08 Mar 2014 Chelsea 4 – 0 Tottenham

28 Sep 2013 Tottenham 1 – 1 Chelsea

08 May 2013 Chelsea 2 – 2 Tottenham

20 Oct 2012 Tottenham2 – 4 Chelsea

Verdict

It’s obvious from all the stats Spurs always have a hard time at Stamford Bridge. Jose Mourinho doesn’t seem like the type to have two back to back draws. A Chelsea victory is on the cards for this one, as Spurs running away with any point at all from this game shows Chelsea might not be as potentially invisible as we think.

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 Posted by at 12:51 pm
Dec 022014
 

It’s that time of the season when games are coming thick and fast. Chelsea continues with action in the league after a disappointing barren draw at the Stadium of Light against Sunderland over the weekend.

It will mark the first time the club failed to register a goal in a competitive match this season and Jose Mourinho will look forward to getting his boys back on track even as the most hectic period of the season beckons.

Chelsea squads up against Tottenham Hotspurs in one of the many London derbies of the season and it will be the first time Mauricio Pochettino will be facing Chelsea as Spurs manager.

Jose Mourinho will be keen to get all three points from this game hence, will look to fresh-up his team bearing in mind suspensions and fatigue on the part of his players. We take a look at the possible changes Mourinho could make to the side to face Tottenham.

Cech for Courtois.

Jose Mourinho could hand Petr Cech his first league start of the season against Tottenham Hotspur.  Cech has not started any league game this season with his only appearance being an early substitute against Arsenal after Courtois was injured.

He has however started some Champions league games and did put up an impressive showing in those games but Mourinho has seemed to prefer Thibaut Courtois in goal in league matches.

With many games to play over the course of this Christmas season, Mourinho may rest the young Belgian while handing Cech his first league start in this game.

Cech’s lack of regular action has seen him linked to host of top European clubs but Chelsea have come out to state they are not entertaining any offer for their veteran keeper. Giving the Czech a run of action in the league may be one way to convince the player he is still valued at the club and Mourinho could use the Spurs’ game as it is always a big game that every player will want to be involved.

Luis for Azpilicueta.

Cesar Azpilicueta has made the left full back his own and rightfully so, as the 25-year-old Spaniard has been one of the top performer for the club this season even though being played out of his natural position.

Jose Mourinho could however, hand Filipe Luis a start at left back against Spurs. This will see Azpilicuelta dropped to the bench or moved to right back with Ivanovic who has played virtually all of Chelsea’s games this season given a rest.

Luis attacking prowess down the flank could come handy for Chelsea especially with Diego Costa not playing. Mourinho will need players who can give the team a more attacking dimension from behind and Luis offers that with greater effect than Azpilicueta.

Mourinho may also rest Branislav Ivanovic who has played majority of Chelsea’s games this season. This will see Azpilicueta revert to his natural right back position.

Loic Remy for Costa.

Diego Costa got his fifth booking of the season against Sunderland on Saturday when it appeared he caught Wes Brown’s face with his arm. This means he will miss the Tottenham game.

Loic Remy could be the possible replacement for the suspended Spaniard in the line-up. Remy has not started a game for Chelsea since pulling a groin injury in the Champions league game against NK Maribor seconds after scoring the first goal.

He has however, showed his good qualities anytime he has been called upon to play either as a substitute or a starter. Jose Mourinho could hand him another start ahead of Didier Drogba who also has been doing fine as a substitute for the club this season.

Drogba due to age may not be able to play the full 90minute hence, a start for Remy is likely while Drogba could come in as a substitute at some point in the game.

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 Posted by at 1:48 pm
Oct 282014
 

After a pulsating 1-1 draw with Manchester United on Sunday, Jose Mourinho and his player will have no time to ponder on the 92nd minute capitulation that saw Robin Van Persie salvage an unmerited one point for Manchester United as the team travel to New Meadows to face league 2 side Shrewsbury Town in the fifth round of the Capital one cup tonight.

As expected, Jose Mourinho will ring some changes to the team bearing in mind the level of opponent and the fact that the club have barely had a day of rest after the Old Trafford trip.

Quite a number of the players that played at Old Trafford will need to sit out this game to allow them time to recover. With some players suspended and the fear of picking up further injuries, Mourinho will look to give some of his fringe players who have played a bit part in the campaign chance to once again prove that they can be useful to the team.

Some academy and U-21 players could also be involved in this game, so we look at the likely changes Jose Mourinho could make to the team to face Shrewsbury.

In Goal:

Thibaut Courtois was magnificent in goal against Manchester United on Sunday pulling off several saves but could be dropped to the bench for Petr Cech who was in goal in the fourth round against Bolton Wanderers.

This is an easy decision for Jose to make as he’s keen to give adequate game time to the two world class keepers. So, Cech returns in goal after having a clean sheet in his last outing against NK Maribor in the Champion’s League a week ago.

In Defence

Branislav Ivanovic and Ceasar Azpilicueta will miss out due to suspensions leaving John Terry and Cahill as the senior regulars in defence. In the fourth round game against Bolton, Mourinho had partnered Cahill and Kurt Zouma and will look to continue with the pair in central defence. John Terry will be expected to miss this game as it will come too early for the 34-year-old after playing all 90minutes against Maribor and Manchester United within the space of five days.

Filipe Luis in the absence of Azpilicueta will get his first three consecutive starts in a Chelsea shirt at left back. Mourinho will however have a serious decision to make on who takes the right full back spot.

U-21 right back Todd Kane could get his chance at senior level tonight while centre back Andre Christensen could also play in the position.

In Midfield:

Mourinho will look to give majority of the regulars in midfield some time off and this could mean a number of starts for new faces. John Obi Mikel will take the place of Nemanja Matic in the DM position, while Fabregas could be rested for Nathan Ake who capped his introduction in the Maribor game with a wonderful assist for Hazard’s second goal.

Willian will start this one alongside Oscar behind the striker but Eden Hazard looks the man to be rested by Jose Mourinho. This will give Mohammed Salah a chance to stake a spot on either of the attacking flanks. Ramires is not fully recovered and there won’t be need rushing him back for this game.

In Attack:

Chelsea is currently having an injury crisis in the attacking department. Diego Costa and Loic Remy have missed the last two games due to injuries. In their absence Didier Drogba has put up a decent performance scoring two goals in the process but there is no denying that he is no longer the deadly finisher we used to know.

Against a youthful Shrewsbury side, Drogba could be given a rest. He played all 90minute against United and by his age it is yet to be seen how good he will be able to recover to play two games under 48hours.

There was suggestion Mourinho could play Andre Schurrle as a false striker against Manchester United but that did not come to be. I think it is in this game that Mourinho will look to explore his option of having Schurrle as his striker again after he tried the German in the same position at Old Trafford last season.

So, expect Andre Schurrle to play as a striker tonight against Srhewsbury while Drogba takes a place in the bench.

Chelsea’s Probable Line-up

  • Cech•Kane, Cahill, Zouma, Luis• Mikel, Ake• Salah, Oscar, Willian• Schurrle

Sub: Courtios, Terry, Christensen, Fabregas, Matic, Drogba.

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 Posted by at 1:28 pm
Sep 292014
 

After a comfortable win at Aston Villa over the weekend in the league game, Chelsea travels to the Alvalade stadium in Lisbon to face Sporting CP. Chelsea and Sporting Lisbon will look to pick their first three points in the Champions League after a less-than impressive performance saw the two teams picking up just a point in a 1-1 draw in match day one of the Uefa champions league 2014/2015 season against Schalke 04 and Maribor respectively, hence, the more important it becomes for both manager to unleash the best of their arsenal come Tuesday night.

Sporting manager Marco Silva will fancy going with the side that drew one all with FC Porto in the Portuguese Liga ZON Sagres with Rui Patricio in goal and the quartet of Mauricio, Mahamadou-Naby Sarr, Jonathan Cristian Silva and Cedric Soares holding down their place in the back four. William Carvalho will continue as the team’s Central defensive midfielder alongside Joao Mario and Adrien Silva. Nani, Andre Carrilo and Islam Slimani will complete the attacking trio upfront though its likely Carrilo loses his place to Diego Chapel after his not-too-impressive showing against FC Porto at the weekend.

There could also be a place for Fredy Montero and Carlos Mane in the line-up especially if the manager decides to go all attacking in so as to get a result against a decent Chelsea side.

Mourinho on his part will be left with a hard decision to make as regarding his likely line-up bearing in mind the London derby against Arsenal on Sunday. Thibaut Courtois will likely keep his place in between the sticks in place of the experienced and trusted Petr Cech. More so, because he had a clean sheet against Aston Villa his second after returning from his loan spell at Atletico Madrid.

The back four of Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry(C), and Azpilicueta will keep their place except for Azpilicueta who will likely make way for Luiz at left back.

With Ramires continuing his recovery from injury, Fabregas will look to partner Nemanja Matic in the central midfield position with Willian, Oscar and Hazard taking their place behind the lone striker. I expect Hazard to start irrespective of the poor game he had at Villa Park though André Schürrle could take Willians position leaving the Brazilian on the bench while his compatriot-Oscar will clearly get the nod as he has been impressive in his last two starts against Bolton and Aston Villa.

Who takes up the lone striker role will depend on what gamble and risk Mourinho is willing to entertain. Chelsea new boy- Diego Costa will be favourite but with reports he cannot start three games in a week due his hamstring making the round, it’s unlikely. Loic Remy looks the best bet to take up his position as many Chelsea fan will not want to entertain the idea of club legend- Didier Drogba repeating his insipid performance against Schalke04 a fortnight ago.

It is still expected though, that Diego Costa overcomes his hoodoo hamstring and makes the line-up.

Probable Line-up:

For Sporting CP:

  • Rui Patricio, Mauricio, Mahamadou-Naby, Cristian, Cedric, Willian, Joao, Adrien, Nani, Carrilo, Slimani.

For Chelsea:

  • Courtois, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Luis, Matic, Fabregas, Willian, Hazard, Schurrle, Costa.

What is your expected line-up?

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 Posted by at 6:29 pm
Sep 272014
 

Today’s game against Aston Villa will be Chelsea’s 4000th league game as well as their 2000th home league game. Coming from a 2-1 win against Bolton in the carling cup, Chelsea will be looking to extend their lead at the top of Premier League standing today as they welcome the visit of Villa. The Villans are currently third on the league table, three points behind the blues and will be hoping to avoid the fight for survival that has characterized their last two campaigns.

Except Ramires who sustained a groin injury in a tough game against Manchester City at the Etihad and Diego Costa who is apparently lacking fitness, Mourinho has no worries about his squad. Oscar is expected to replace his compatriot in the midfield while Willian should get the nod ahead of Schurrle who, despite scoring against City, was again guilty of lack of defensive concentration that led to the equaliser.

Aston Villa’s squad was hit by an illness ahead of the Arsenal game, with Baker, Bent and Westwood all missing out and Weimann forced off at half time with the sickness. Those four players should be back available, though concerns remain over the fitness of Ron Vlaar, who is still suffering with a calf injury. Christian Benteke has trained all week but is continuing to build up his fitness and unlikely to feature for another week or so.

Should we win, Mourinho will claim second place all for himself on the all-time list of career Chelsea wins. He’s currently tied with Dave Sexton on 164. Jose will also mark a quarter millennium of games in charge of the Blues (7th all-time).

Possible line-up for Chelsea: Courtois, Ivanovic, Terry, Cahil, Azpilicueta, Matic, Fabregas, Oscar, Willian, Hazard, Costa

Formation- 4 3 3

Possible line-up for Aston Villa: Guzan, Hutton, Baker, Senderos, Cissokho, Delap, Richardson, Cleverly, Westwood, Weimann, Agbonlahor Formation – 4 51.

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 Posted by at 10:23 am
Sep 232014
 

First, it is important to point out to all our fans that this article is a speculative one. But considering the number of years I have been following Chelsea, I believe I should be totally spot on once the official team list for tonight’s match is released. Enjoy.

After Sunday’s clash against the Champions ended in a hard fought draw, the Blues are back in action against Championship side Bolton Wanderers in a midweek league cup fixture.

With a Premier League game in the weekend, immediately following this 3rd round fixture, Mourinho will be looking to manage his squad as much as possible, with matches against heavy weights like Arsenal and Manchester United around the corner.

The tie against Bolton might see the Blues trot out fringe players, who up till now have yet to be given a chance in the team. Players like Filipe Luis, Nathan Ake, Kurt Zouma, Mohammed Salah, Petr Cech and Loic Remy are likely to see minutes on the pitch in mid week.

HEAD TO HEAD

April 13, 2010 – EPL

Chelsea 1- Bolton Wanderers 0

Dec 29, 2010 – EPL

Chelsea 1 – Bolton Wanderers 0

Jan 24 2011 – EPL

Bolton Wanderers 0 – Chelsea 4

Feb 25, 2012 – EPL

Chelsea 3 – Bolton Wanderers 0

A Chelsea win here is mostly important because were this competition not in existence, there would be no avenue through which the likes of Nathan Ake, Kurt Zouma and Petr Cech would get any meaningful time on the football pitch this season. Getting as many fringe players involved in as many games as possible is good for moral, plus it also ensures that they are fit and psychologically ready to compete when called upon in more important games.

Irrespective of who plays, the London side should be favorites and will be playing for the win.

LAST FIVE MATCHES 

CHELSEA FC

Sep 21, 2014- EPL

Manchester City 1 – Chelsea 1

Sep 17, 2014 – CL

Chelsea 1 – Schalke 1

Sep 13, 2014 – EPL

Chelsea 4 – Swansea 2

Aug 23, 2014 – EPL

Chelsea 2 – Leicester City 0

BOLTON WANDERERS

Sep 20, 2014 Championship

Wolves 1 – Bolton 0

Sep 16, 2014 Championship

BoltonWanderers 3 – Rotherham United 2

Sep 13, 2014 Championship

Bolton Wanderers 0 – Sheffield Wednesday 0

Aug 26, 2014 League Cup

Crewe Alexandria 2 – Bolton Wanderers 3

Aug 23, 2014 Championship

Brighton 2 – Bolton Wanderers 1

While the above results show that Chelsea remain unbeaten in all competitions, they also show how inconsistent Bolton’s form has been as they have lost 2, won 2 and drawn one of their last five. This is a sequence of results that have left the side in 21st on the Championship table.

It is also probably a good omen for Chelsea,  that they will play host to a team that is yet to win away from home this season, in what is sure to be a continuation of such an unfortunate stat.

POSSIBLE LINE UPS

CHELSEA – Cech, Ake, Luis, Zouma, Ivanovic, Mikel, Ramires, Salah, Remy, Schurrle, Drogba

BOLTON-  Lonergan, Ream, Mills,Moxey, Dervite, Lee Chong yong, Garvan, Spearing, Feeney, Mason, Davies

Jose Mourinho’s team will be hoping to wrap the tie up as quickly as possible, to avoid the embarrassment of having to bring in actual first team players, if they end up struggling against a side that even Championship sides don’t struggle against.

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 Posted by at 12:13 pm
Sep 202014
 

In the much anticipated clash of potential champions this Sunday, fans will be watching to see who wins what is essentially a heavy weight battle. Another attraction with fans is usually the individual battles between star players of the opposing teams.

In this article, we will highlight these key battles to further give the fans a clue of what they should expect;

  1. HAZARD VS ZABALETA

In a battle that is always interesting to keep an eye on, the Argentine has done surprising well against the tricky winger in past meetings. The assumption was that the right back would be vulnerable to Hazard’s lightening speed and quick feet. However, Zabaleta’s excellent defensive positioning has been crucial in keeping the 23 year old at bay in the match ups between he two players so far.

Whoever wins this confrontation, will go a long way in enhancing his team’s chances in this tie. Zabaleta will have to close down the Belgian as soon as he gets the ball and always has to ensure that he shows the former Lille man down the outside, towards the corner flag, in other to stop him from cutting in and taking shots at Joe Hart’s goal.

  1. RAMIRES VS SILVA

The slippery Spaniard David Silva is known for gliding around the center of the pitch, while holding to the ball as long as he needs to, in other to deliver the telling final ball to his team’s strikers. The Brazilian is perfect for the job as he possesses the stamina and work rate needed to properly track the Spanish international.

  1. MATIC VS. YAYA TOURE

The Ivorian Toure, has been sub par in the first couple of matches this season. The Chelsea and Serbian midfielder Nemanja Matic will be hoping that he doesn’t play at his best on Sunday.

The ex Barcelona man on his day, can be the biggest power house in football and Chelsea will need to use Matic in a role just in front of the defense, which ensures that when Toure breaks through from his double pivot position, the only man that can match his strength on the pitch is available to deal with the damage.

  1. COSTA VS. KOMPANY

Manchester City’s captain Vincent Kompany will lead his team against the Blues on Sunday. He however has to be careful, as he is coming up against the most in form striker in the league. Although the Belgian’s reading of the game is exceptional, he is more likely to be dribbled past by a slightly skillful player.

Also prevalent in his style is the compulsion to cover up for his fellow defenders, which usually leaves him open to uncomfortable situations. The Man. City captain has to make sure he is a 100 percent focused on Diego Costa and not on how well his defensive partners are faring.

  1. NASRI VS. IVANOVIC

Ivanovic has two goals and one assist this season, showing how much of an attacking force he can be, when given the license to roam. He should however be wary of the Manchester city left winger Sami Nasri, who will seize any gap left by the Serbian and won’t hesitate to expose John Terry’s lack of pace. It will be interesting to see how the Chelsea Right back can balance his attacking and defensive duties tomorrow.

It is clear that individual confrontations will be a key factor in deciding which team carries the day. Whatever the outcome, we are in for an intriguing match.

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 Posted by at 6:36 pm