Match day again, and we host Chelsea football club, and their new Manager Antonio Conte, kick off at five oclock. This will be our twelth time of playing Chelsea, without getting a win, so hopefully that run will not last much longer. Both sides have had good runs, to the build up to this game, and both sides have injuries, John Terry will not be fit enough and Aaron Ramsey also struggling for fitness, A late fitness test for Oliver Giroud will tell us whether he will figure in this match, as his sore toe is still an issue.
Danger men for Chelsea, Diego Costa, we have seen in the past that he likes nothing better than controversy, and he will certainly be on the wind up today. Last seasons game saw Gabriel Paulista sucked into his evil plan, where he saw a red card, this season the signs are that Mustafi could be the defender in line for some of his antics, Mastafi is experienced, and hopefully will treat him much the same as other misfits.
Eden Hazard is another talented Chelsea player, given room he can run the show for them, so its up to us to shut him down early. Oscar another player that can play havoc with defences, he to needs to be looked after. Antonio Conte, has brought back David Luiz who was ejected by former Manager Jose Mourinho, to fit by the experienced Cahill. Luis will fill in nicely for John Terry, but is not as defensively minded as Terry, so a chink in the Chelsea back line where we can penetrate.
For ourselves we have a squad of talented players to choose from, who they will comprise of is anybodies guess, but across the back, i would go for Belerin Mustafi Koshielney and Monreal, Both our top keepers have had a rest so either one could be included , i go with Ospina. Midfield, again a big choice, but Granit Zakha is a must in this game, Elneney or Coquelin i would take Coquelin, with Cazorla and Ozil. Forwards pick themselves, Iwobi Walcott and Sanchez, Lucas or Giroud, Giroud if fit, but i think he will start with Lucas.
Chelsea are a physical side so expect a lot of challenges from behind, they defend hard and they leave marks , we need to play to our strengths and pass the ball accurately and quickly, we need also to shut them down as quickly as we can, do it early and away from the box, as that i feel is the danger zone. We need to make runs all over the park if we are to unsettle Chelsea’s defence, we know they have weaknesses and we will have to exploit them.
I see this game as an important step for us, both clubs are sixth and seventh is the league and both climbing, we have to win this game, and the time is right, if we are to impart our presence among the top, then we have to make sure this twelfth game with them stops today. We have the players, do we have the desire.
Written by Steve Palmer