The Blues travel up norf for the second time in a few days, this time for the Premier League tie against Man City. The match Kicks Off at 5.15pm and is televised.
Our players must be gleaming with confidence, our last league match was a 3-0 win at the Emirates and we’ve not lost in the League since Aston Villa in mid October. We also have the best away record in the Prem this season, with 15 points out of a possible 21. A win would be our sixth consecutive in the league.
Solomon Kalou is out for two weeks. Alex and Bosingwa are our other injury worries and we’re yet to hear the latest on them. Ashley Cole should be fully recovered from his Hamstring injury he picked up last Sunday.
Both sides had a League Cup match on Wednesday, we rested key first team personnel in our penalty defeat to Blackburn, whereas City played their first team when knocking out Arsenal, so hopefully our boys will be fresher.
Man City currently lie 14 points off the pace in seventh position but have played a game less then most. They have gone on an incredible run of seven league games in a row drawn, their last win coming at the end of September. Their season started brightly, an away win to Sparky’s old team Blackburn was followed by three more wins in a row, including beating Arsenal 4-2, but things just haven’t gone right since. City’s last Prem match was against Hull, their line up was: Given, Bridge, Lescott, Toure, Richards, Ireland, De Jong, Robinho, Tevez, Wright-Phillips and Adebayor.
Last seasons encounter saw the then unambitious (and now wantaway) striker Robinho score a debut goal from a free kick to put City into a one nil lead. Three minutes later Riccy Carvalho equalised, Frank Lampard put us into the lead eight minutes into the second half and with just over twenty mins left Nicolas Anelka sealed the win against his former club. John Terry was sent off later on, a decision that was rescinded. The match at Stamford Bridge saw us finish 1-0 victors, thanks to a free kick rolled to Michael Essien, who turned and hit it from the edge of the box into the top corner.
We’ve won the last four encounters at the City Of Manchester stadium, the match in October 2004 was the only time we’ve lost there, that was in the first title winning season and came courtesy of a Nicolas Anelka penalty, it was the only league match we lost that campaign. The time before that they beat us at home in the league was 2-1 back in 1991, before that it was 6-2 all the way back in 1977.
If Frank Lampard plays tomorrow, it will be his 446th appearance for the club, one ahead of Dennis Wise, only Harris, Bonetti and Hollins have made more appearances, and Frank will need to play nearly 150 more games to move into third spot, Hollins played 592 times for us.
Chelsea will face old boys Shaun Wright-Phillips and Wayne Bridge, it was Man City where Daniel Sturridge started his career and as previously mentioned Anelka played for them too. Man City’s staff consist of three ex blues, Mark Hughes, Eddie Niedzwiecki and Kevin Hitchcock.
We’re currently five points clear of United, and ten points clear of third placed Spurs. Man United Kick Off at 3pm away at Upton Park, hopefully Franco and Clarkey can do us a favour. If West Ham are to win they’ll have to do it without their top scorer and former Chelsea boy Carlton Cole, who is out until the new year, which also means he can’t come back to haunt us in a fortnight.
The referee tomorrow will be Howard Webb, who ‘reffed’ our 3-0 win over Spurs, and failed to give both teams a penalty. Last season he also officiated the home matches against Spurs (3y) and Liverpool (6y), the away matches to Bolton (3y) and Man United (8y), and the F.A Cup Final (5y). He took charge of three of our games in 07/08, the last time he sent anyone off in a match of ours was the League Cup final of 2007 against Arsenal, when all three sendings off that day are likely to play tomorrow, Mikel, Adebayor and Toure.
Likely team: Cech, A.Cole, Terry, Carvalho, Ivanovic, Mikel, Essien, Lampard, Ballack, Drogba, Anelka.
Subs: Hilario, Ferreira, Belletti, Deco, J. Cole, Kakuta, Bruma (unless Bos or Alex are fit)
Predicted score: With us not drawing yet this season and them drawing their last seven league games, somethings got to give. I think we’re going to concede for the first time in six league games but go on to win it:
3-2 to Chelsea.