AS IF I needed another reason to hate Tottenham… but we can’t rely on a side that has never beaten a Top 4 team away from home in the Premiership to do us a favour. Nor should we ever pin our hopes on another club when our fate is in our own hands.
I have recovered from my fury following the Spurs game — obviously the seven goals against Stoke helped, but it’s been a week where that result weighed heavily on my mind.
I lost my faith in the team and the manager and the malaise did not lift as quickly as usual after a defeat. In fact I was still in the depths of despair until half time on Sunday when we were 3-0 up.
We’d all agreed in the pub beforehand that what was needed was not only a win but a statement of intent — we reckoned a 5-0 would be perfect. What we got was way beyond what we hoped although when I spoke to the typically ungracious Andy Gray, who happened to be in our stand, he thought our performance was no more than “all right”.
This weekend’s game against Liverpool is one of the most important in our history — possibly second only to that Bolton game where Clive Walker’s goal prevented us dropping into the Third Division and almost certain financial oblivion.
Although the penalties of a loss are not so dramatic, a win followed by wins against Wigan and at Wembley would herald a level of achievement unthinkable to most Chelsea fans of my generation and before. Only great sides do the Double. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
All this talk of Liverpool wanting us to win to prevent United’s 19th title is garbage. Some fans may want that (although not many I will bet) but professional footballers do not think in the same way.
So I expect a hard game, especially as the Reds still have something to prove after what has been a disastrous season by their standards, a season where so much more was expected.
Making me more nervous is our patchy away form. The problem with most of our away performances this season is that the team has come out slowly and tentatively instead of going for the jugular. We are a strong, powerful, talented and well-balanced side and we should be imposing ourselves on matches whether home or away, not waiting to see how the opposition intend to play.
If Liverpool want a physical game, or a tactical game, or to hit us on the break then Chelsea have the players to counteract that, no doubt. But they need to be fast and decisive and not try to turn the game around once we are already one or two down. That was the problem in the San Siro and, more worryingly, at places like Goodison Park and Wigan.Chelsea also need John Terry to act like a captain and not a petulant avenger. We must keep our heads in this game.
It’s no surprise that Terry didn’t make the PFA Team of the Year awards — I don’t suppose he will have gathered too many votes from Team Bridge — but once again our professionals have demonstrated that they’re not exactly a sharp bunch. No Lampard? I know the votes are cast mid-season but his goal tally was already well up by then. But the omission that sticks out for me is Ashley Cole. He was dazzling by that stage of the campaign and had cemented the role of best left back in the world, never mind this country.
It is also time for Chelsea fans to make their choice of Player of the Year. Ashley Cole was pretty much ahead for me before he got injured, but now Ivanovic will get my vote. Proof, if ever it should be needed, that whether you are bought as a squad player, utility player or merely as a whim of the owner, if you play well consistently, you will secure a starting place. He has improved match after match, runs for 90 minutes, has the heart of a lion and the bravery too. Plays wherever he is needed with no prima donna tendencies and possesses a great death stare. Ivan has been one of the revelations of the season. Long may he continue.
I can’t finish without mentioning Mourinho (I know, I know — I’m obsessed) but well done to him, not only for showing Arsenal how to play Barcelona, but for his post match comments at the San Siro last week. These not only demonstrated that a little of his heart still belongs to us but told UEFA what the Chelsea bigwigs did not have the balls to do over the scandalous performance of the useless Ovrebo in last season’s semis.
So here we are edging towards history or the precipice of monumental failure. It’s in our own hands. We can’t really ask for anything more. Great team or chokers? We will know by next Sunday afternoon. Come on Chelsea!
Trizia is Joint Chair of the Chelsea Supporters Group. Visit the CSG website to find out more information.