Chelsea are minutes away from arguably their most important game of the season so far in all competitions as they prepare to take on Stoke City at The Britannia Stadium. A side who are managed by former Blue Mark Hughes who has steadily built up a solid, organised and talented unit that will provide a huge test today.
This game is pinnacle, absolutely decisive in the season of Chelsea. This could be the kick start to the season needed, or the one loss that finally makes this serious situation fall to a delusive depth of a genuine relegation dog fight.
It could also be the decisive factor in the future of Manager Jose Mourinho who despite his own insistence that he is here for his full contract, it looks more and more likely that he is literally hanging on by a thread at the club.
As the team news comes through I look at this whilst rubbing my hands as I feel this is genuinely our best possible eleven right now, and he has continued to select our full backs in their comfortable positions. The full team looks like this..
Begovic, Azpilicueta, Zouma, Terry, Rahman, Matic, Ramires, Hazard, Willian, Pedro, Costa. Subs – Amelia, Cahill, Mikel, Fabregas, Oscar, Kenedy, Remy.
No place on the bench for Branislav Ivanovic or Ruben Loftus-Cheek most notably. The latter news is hugely disappointing.
As I listen to the away travelling Chelsea support, the name of our top performing stand out player this season Willian, is being sung loud and clear and deservedly so. The Chelsea supporters have been fantastic this season, showing absolute entire support to the players and the Manager, this is completely admirable and must be applauded and noted.
Willian will also get a chance to play in his preferred central role where he can dictate our attacks and hopefully this will shine through today. Happy with the team.
But this is a MUST win game, the nerves will be creeping in and the side will want to win by any means possible, a scrappy one nil win here today against a tough and talented Stoke City side will be celebrated as much as a Premier League Title, THAT is how important today is for all involved with Chelsea.
The players are currently going through some last minute drills before being briefed by a Jose Mourinho team talk apparently, despite the Manager not being allowed inside the stadium today. All has been pre-prepared including any possible substitutions.
One thing left to say.. COYB!
Follow me here for live updates and game Tweets throughout the match – > @cfcneteditor
Simon Phillips – News Editor – CFCnet