Finally the return leg and a chance to avenge our solitary league defeat this season. Man City pulled off the unlikely win, but it was the pre-Robben era where we were struggling to score goals. Ferreira unfortunately gave away the penalty after bringing Anelka down, and Cech was unable to pull off his Blackburn heroics. Chelsea pressed for the equaliser and were guilty of lacking the cutting edge when searching for goals, something we are more than capable of now.
Man City are without Anelka after he completed his move to Fenerbahce on Monday, so are likely to retain the team that drew 1-1 with Newcastle. Sibierski should return to the squad after recovering from a bout of flu. Shaun Wright-Phillips will again star for City, and the Stamford Bridge faithful will get a look at a touted potential summer signing, although that happens every week with all the players we get linked with. Keegan before the match slated our chances of winning the quadruple “it just won’t happen – definitely not”. Is Keegan being realistic or just bitter that he isn’t in our position? Clearly he is trying to be realistic, he wouldn’t want to be in our position, we only have an 11-point lead over Man U, whereas he had 12 when his Newcastle side still managed to crumble.
The bruising Blackburn trip left us with a number of injury concerns. Robben is out, whilst we still do not know the full extent of his injury. Mourinho in his pre-match interview revealed the scan to be inconclusive, but at the moment it is not weight bearing. Terry picked up a couple of knocks, one to the ankle the other to the shoulder. At the time he revealed he felt as if he had broken his ankle and dislocated his shoulder. Our very own hardman would ideally be rested, and with the expected return of Carvalho a few weeks away Mourinho may be tempted to bring him back early and prevent further damage to our captain. The injury to Arsenal defender, Campbell has turned out to be somewhat bittersweet; the demise of Arsenal obviously positive, but it is countered by the expected start of Terry in the England backline. With our habit of dropping points after the pesky internationals we would love to have had everyone rested for the awkward trip to Everton. Huth is another central defender who will be missing after picking up a long-term knee injury on his return match against Birmingham. The straightforward replacement for the injured Robben is Joe Cole, who has filled the role before in his absence. However, after disappointing Jose against Blackburn and showing a poor attitude when taken off, he may be taught another valuable lesson. The other option, whilst still keeping the system the same, is playing Kezman in that role. Upfront Drogba is rated doubtful, but the extent of his thigh strain received in training on Tuesday has not been revealed.
Cech and the Chelsea team have the chance to continue their fantastic defensive record, and with that the record broken by Cech in the Blackburn game. As this great run continues, outstanding records will continue to fall to the Mourinho war machine that was in fall force to contain the distasteful tactics of Blackburn. Unfortunately we will be witnessing the Chelsea team missing some major casualties and playing the odd walking wounded, but this will only advocate the strength in depth the Chelsea squad possesses.
We go into the match knowing the results of our rivals and may get the opportunity to extend our lead. It is unlikely Man U will drop points, but Arsenal may struggle without the injured central defensive pairing, although Villa are poor going forward to say the least.
For those unable to attend, the match is live on Sky Sports 1, coverage starts at 3.00pm, and kick off is at 4.05pm.
Referee: Howard Webb, South Yorkshire (Refereed the earlier reverse fixture)
Score Prediction: 2-0