Claudio Ranieri has some painful memories of his last visit to Elland Road. Last Christmas Chelsea headed up the M1 second in the table and hoping for a consistent few games to keep within sight of Arsenal. The 2-0 defeat, following a lacklustre draw with Southampton on Boxing Day, was enough to ease us off the pace. “We then lost to Arsenal and we did not continue our challenge for the title.”
Leeds weren’t exactly on fire last season but we all know that they tend to raise their game for us. This time round, though, surely Chelsea can get the result? We come in off the back of 5 successive Premiership wins, including a convincing defeat of the defending champions. Leeds victory over Charlton was their first ray of sunshine in an otherwise overcast season. You might be interested to know that the last time they won at Elland Road was at the beginning of October.
Of course, we’re well aware Leeds can be dangerous. It’ll be a long time before I forget the sight of a World Cup-winner floundering in the wake of a precocious 16-year-old. But that’s football. Milner, one of Leeds’ few reasons to be cheerful, will almost certainly play with Smith and professional pie-eater Viduka leading the attack. Jermaine Pennant could be another one to keep an eye on.
Chelsea’s line-up? Your guess is as good as mine. Jimmy’s goal in mid-week didn’t disguise his largely wan performance, so expect Adrian Mutu to return to the starting eleven. The Duffer should start this one on the pitch as well. Terry and Gallas may well return to form the central defence after Desailly’s mid-week appearance, and Mario Melchiot seems to be kicking up a bit more of a struggle than some of us expected to try and earn his new contract.
Finally, we hope you all caught the Chelski documentary last night. Isn’t it heartwarming to hear what a nice man Roman is? If you’re reading this, dear owner, CFCnet can always use a little more investment. We’re thinking a pool table would help us concentrate much better…