Chelsea take on Bolton Wanderers at the Bridge on Wednesday night and must, now, go on a run of victories, if we are to retain our title. The next nine matches, before we face Man Utd, see us take on Bolton twice, Villa, Wolves, Blackburn, Sunderland, Liverpool, Fulham and Birmingham, all games we should be winning, if we are to challenge. Sandwiched in between should be moral boosting cup games against Ipswich and FC Copenhagen.
Let’s take one match at a time but changes must be made. Mikel started the season really well and was beginning to play forward balls, at pace, but this has stopped since Ray Wilkins departed. Wilkins had a great relationship with Mikel and had a, personal, bet with him regarding assists and forward pass percentage. Mikel has become our weak link and Ancelotti has recognised this by substituting him in both our previous matches. We have struggled to fill this position since Makelele left and I think we need to buy in January. In the meantime we should play four in the middle with two up front. We are too predictable playing 4-3-3 as the space between the midfield and front line is being swamped by the opposition, to great effect and therefore nullifying our attack.
Our first opponents, in our 9 match run is Bolton, who can overtake us, in the League, with a victory. However, they have only won on the road at West Ham. Bolton have scored the same number of goals as us this season whilst conceding 12 more. Their top scorer is Elmander with an impressive nine, backed up by, the rejuvenated, Davies with six.
To win our next nine, we will need to play fast paced, attacking football. My team to beat Bolton, convincingly, would be Cech, Bosingwa, Ivanovic (who I thought was outstanding at the Emirates) and Cole, behind a midfield of Ramires, Malouda, Lampard and Essien, with a front two of Drogba and Anelka/Sturridge. We will need to be out of the traps early and have a real go at them.
So, take the Champions to win 4-0 and start the run of 27 points out of 27 before we face Man Utd and ‘squeaky bum time!’