After the defeat to Liverpool at Anfield, the Premier League final fixture is a bit anticlimactic given that we are out of the race for third or fourth place. The only thing left in this fixture is for the squad to entertain the home supporters one final time before heading to Munich and for Roberto Di Matteo to get one last look at one or two players ahead of the Champions League final.
For me, this is a perfect time to get an idea of who you might want to name to start for next week’s final, as well as possible see where some of the reserve players progression might be taking them into next season.
Regardless, don’t expect a team of youngsters starting, though you may see a few make an appearance as subs if the score is right, and it should be given Blackburn’s form.
Blackburn may very well be one of the worst teams overall that I’ve seen in awhile. Despite facing relegation, they never really showed any urgency in their play, and for once, I can say that two teams firmly deserved their relegation this season.
Because of that, I don’t expect Blackburn to pose much of a threat. One or two players appeared to look as if they were ready for holiday even when they were fighting for survival. I don’t see that changing tomorrow.
Thus, this column is going to be mostly about Five Things that I think Chelsea should be looking to get from this match.
Petr Cech is the number one goalkeeper going into next season, but who plays as his backup?
From all accounts, Hilario has not be offered another one-year contract, and as such, will be able to leave the club in June. He’s 35, but frighteningly has been more solid than the other option we have at the moment.
That means that Ross Turnbull will probably get another shot at a start in goal after conceding 4 to Liverpool on Wednesday. Granted, some of the 4 goals were not all his fault, but nonetheless, if he is the number two behind Cech, he must play better.
This is his time to prove himself because Thibault Courtois has played well for Atletico Madrid this season and gives the club the option to keep him as the backup to Cech next season. I have a feeling Turnbull stays because of the homegrown rules, but he must play much better.
If you want to start the Final on Saturday, now’s your chance to grab your place.
I don’t think that we’re entirely settled on who should man the flanks in Germany. However, I don’t think it’s so much down to skills now, but form and confidence.
Against this Blackburn side, I think the best thing to look for are players that want to go out there and perform, not just for themselves, but for the overall team concept.
This will be especially important on the flanks, where the right and left flank positions are up for grabs between four men. Scoring 5 goals isn’t as important as playing disciplined football and not sticking your neck out there to impress with personal achievement. Against Bayern, we will have to play as a unit. If you want to start, I’d feel that you need to show that willingness to work for the team, even against a side like Blackburn.
The Reserves and Youth may get a small evaluation tomorrow.
Let me preface this by saying that I don’t think we’ll see a slew of younger players playing tomorrow. I will say that one or two might get a look, maybe three. Honestly, there are only really three players that I might look at in the reserves, Islam Feruz, Lucas Piazon, and Patrick Bamford. However, they are all forward players, and I’m not so sure they’ll see more than maybe 15 to 20 minutes if any time at all.
I won’t say that I wouldn’t be happy to see them get a nice run-out and play well, but I will say that I don’t think there are as many reserve and youth players ready to step up as we think. In fact, I think there are a lot that need much more time.
Tomorrow may be the last chance to give Didier Drogba his proper send-off with his future in the balance.
If Drogba is to leave this offseason, it’s the perfect time for him to say goodbye or for us to tug on his heart strings a little to see if we can get one more season after him.
It may be unpopular, but I do think the club is taking the correct stance with Drogba. At 34, I’m not so sure paying him a two-year contract at his current rate is the right deal for the club. In fact, I think this season he’s shown that he’s still the man for the big matches, but he doesn’t always perform against lesser opposition.
I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing him play one more season for us, but in a reduced role. With the purchases of Kevin de Bruyne and Marko Marin, combined with Juan Mata this season, it’s becoming apparent that the team is shifting towards more of a focus on Fernando Torres and the types of players to feed him. Just something to consider.
We can look back at this season with some pride. Who’d have thought we’d be in for a Cup Double just a couple months ago?
I think that question sums it all up. Hopefully, the home support will give the side a nice send-off with confidence to go get the giant Big-Eared Cup.
I know I‘ve said nothing of how to beat Blackburn in this column, but frankly, there’s not much to say. Blackburn are not a good team, and even worse, their fans have turned on the manager and the board, so there’s really no one to play for but themselves.
The players that will more than likely move to other Premier League sides have already made their mark and are targeted, so there’s even less motivation for them.
I’ll be back on Thursday or Friday for a nice look at Bayern. Catch them in the DFB-Pokal Final tonight, if you can.