THE BUSINESS END

By Daniel Rankine
Apr 7th, 2008

It’s the most exciting part of the season. Teams get relegated, promoted, miss the play-offs, put into administration, start planning their holidays (enjoy the beach City), and, of course, the prizes get dished out. The games start to build in importance and the pressure mounts. Alex Ferguson infamously refers to it as ‘squeaky bum time’ or at least I think that’s what he was talking about. Not an image that bares dwelling on really.

For The Chelsea it’s been a roller-coaster season with more ups and downs than a Britney Spears biography. Rumours of Stamford Bridge introducing height restrictions and heart condition warnings at the turn stiles have so far been unfounded. A great win against stuttering Arsenal set up the rest of season nicely. Lately we’ve been playing well but missing enough chances to win two games. Against Boro Drogba and Kalou missed sitters and, in the end, we were lucky not to have drawn as the nerves kicked in with ten minutes to go. After outclassing Fenerbahce for most of the match we typically failed to score the second and threw a lead away. Hopefully the lessons have been learned there because we can’t afford another slip up.

Once again we have to live by the football cliché ‘every game is a cup final.’ With United picking up wins with apparent ease we need to keep doing our job, getting the wins, and hope someone does us a big favour. I honestly think if we get within touching distance before they visit the Bridge we’ll not only win the game but could very easily sneak the title. First thing’s first though we have three tough games to contend with.

Fenerbahce looked as though they weren’t in the same class for much of Tuesday’s match and to go out of the competition against them would be tragic. It’s unthinkable we can’t turn the tie around and I, for one, would love to see the Fenerbahce fans faces (tongue twister there) if we win, given that they celebrated as if winning the World Cup final on Tuesday. Thanks to the idiots of TV scheduling we then play two games in three days, the trickier being Everton away. The distribution of free tickets for the game was a special gesture and should ensure a great atmosphere at Goodison.

Grant will have to juggle the squad a bit, something he did to great effect against City. Every game really is must win and too much fiddling with the team might be a gamble but freshness is needed when playing so soon. Whereas he does well with the starting selection where Grant and the coaching team really need to improve is in the substitutions. How about, if we need to score, we put two of our expensive forwards on? And play them upfront, next to each other? I know that sounds madness to you but it might be worth a try eh?

If Chelsea keep creating chances and playing as we have done then someone is due a drumming soon. Let’s hope it starts on Tuesday and we get that step closer to the Champions League Final.

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