Come on then, who’s got any fingernails left? With barely time to catch breath following that thrilling (maybe too thrilling to tell the truth) 4-3 win over Leicester on Wednesday, its time to get back on the road for a trip to Wigan. It’s not just any normal away game though, the visit to the JJB Stadium is The Return To The Shed Campaign’s first organised ‘away day’ aimed at getting as many fans as we can there and the best possible atmosphere among us. Although our fingernails may be gone after Wednesday, we’ve still got our voices, so let’s make it a day to remember and hopefully the first of many!
Three people who won’t be travelling however, are John Terry, Ashley Cole and Michael Ballack. Terry is still a few days away from full fitness while Cole’s ankle injury will keep him out for a few more weeks. Wayne Bridge has finally completed his suspension and should start at left-back. Having scored ten goals in the last two games we are showing plenty of bite up-front, and with Darren Campbell’s running partner Andriy Shevchenko finally out of the blocks, we could be in store for more goals against 16th placed Wigan Athletic. Midweek hat-trick hero Frank Lampard should be in line for his 500th career start in club football while Didier Drogba could play in his 100th Premier League game.
Wigan are currently on a five-match run of league defeats and have conceded 12 goals in the process, although four of those were against Manchester United at Old Trafford. They are without England striker Emile Heskey and have been since mid-September, incidentally the last time they recorded points in a 1-1 draw with Fulham. Heskey is missing with a broken toe so Chris Hutchings’ side will have to look towards top-scorer Antoine Sibierski to get anything out of this game.
Last season’s corresponding fixture saw one of our ‘Chelsea Time’ victories, with Arjen Robben bagging a last-minute winner after we almost capitulated defensively. After racing into a 2-0 lead by the half-hour mark with goals from Lampard and Salomon Kalou, that man Heskey brought the scores level with two close-range finishes. With time running out though, we showed that Chelsea spirit and Robben’s winner handed us all three points.
If Saturday’s game is anything as entertaining as that 3-2 win then there should be absolutely no problems as far as atmosphere is concerned. But even if it’s a scrappy win or a frustrating 90 minutes, our songs will still be heard and our message put across because of the great work the Return To The Shed Campaign has done so far. Away days are always good occasions for the passionate fans and we’ve got the perfect opportunity to show what we are made of. A great performance on the pitch and our ears ringing at the end of it all would be an ideal result. See you all there!
Prediction: Songs, scarves and a great day out matched by a win to sustain our recent winning ways. 1-0 is more realistic, but who knows, perhaps we can inspire them to score a few more. Keep singing and enjoy the day.
Remember to visit www.returntotheshed.co.uk for more information and future plans.