Chelsea FC will take a trip up north, as the songs say, and play a match against the rival Reds of Anfield Sunday in a Barclay’s Premier League match that has strong implications on the title race.
While Chelsea’s loss to Sunderland last weekend effectively ended their title challenge, Liverpool are in the drivers seat over challengers Manchester City. Liverpool are first in the table on 80 points with just 3 matches remaining. City sit on 74 points, but have a game in hand on Liverpool. Should Liverpool win against Chelsea and their remaining games, they would finish the season on 89 points, and if City win their remaining matches (even the match in hand) they would finish with 86 points, leaving Liverpool with the title by a full match victory. Chelsea and their supporters would love nothing more than to deny the Reds their first title in 25 seasons.
However following a difficult match in the first leg of our UEFA Champions League semi-final against Atletico Madrid and a domestic football association that refuses to aid it’s teams in preparing for European honors, Chelsea FC will almost certainly field a much weaker side when the team sheet is released at Anfield. Manager Jose Mourinho hinted at as much following the Atleti match, and it appears owner Roman Abramovich and the clubs board have approved the Portuguese managers plans to essentially concede the title to Liverpool and focus on winning the trophy we have a real chance at.
For one, I’m quite excited to see what this lineup will look like, and I do hope we get a chance to see some of our Under 21′s and youth prospects get a run out against a big rival at a classic ground. If the youngsters can came out and put in a solid shift with 45,000 Scousers shouting about walking alone, they’ve got a future at Chelsea in my mind. (Although, to be fair, I do appreciate/enjoy that Liverpool tradition, and had I not found the light of Chelsea Football Club first, You’ll Never Walk Alone may have captured my heart).
Due to a variety of suspensions and injuries, we will see an interesting side no matter what. As “Super” Frank Lampard is suspended for the Champions League 2nd leg and Ramires suspended for the rest of the Premier League season, Lamps will more than likely play a part Sunday. Thanks to being cup-tied, we’ll also almost assuredly see Mohamed Salah and Nemanja Matic. Petr Cech and John Terry are out, Cech for the season, JT for at least this week. Ashley Cole put in a good shift against Atletico, and since Ivanovic will be clear for the 2nd leg we might see Ash get a run against Liverpool as well. Marco VanGinkel made the trip to Madrid but did not feature, so we could see his return to first team action Sunday as well.
I’d also love to see Fernando Torres start or at least feature and ideally score a game winner on a blistering goal that A) crushes Liverpools hopes and B) inspires him to superstar form against Atletico.
Either way, Chelsea supporters will be ready to take the mick out of Liverpool supporters and hopefully deny them their first title in 25 seasons.
Due to an inexperienced backline and our minds focused on Atletico Wednesday, Chelsea will most likely succumb 2-1 or 3-2 to their rivals. I’m still hoping for an upset or at least a Torres goal.
And no matter what they say at Anfield,
I’d rather walk alone.
Up The Chels!
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