On Wednesday night, we (really don’t want to) welcome Tottenham Hotspur to Stamford Bridge, however, due to the fixture list, we have to “entertain” those perennial Semi Final losers – what is it, eight Semi Final defeats in a row now and approximately 4022 days and counting without a trophy? Ha!
So, is this THE season defining game for Sarri? If we win, Sarri will continue, for now. If we draw, then we’ll continue to ask, if Sarri will keep his job, yet if we lose? Sarri Ball will have turned into Sarri Ballsed Up (I’m claiming that hashtag!) and it might well be Ciao Ciao for the ex-banker.
It’s now about Chelsea qualifying for the Champions League next season, which may continue to take a huge knock because of the resurgence of United; so a win against the team from North London is imperative, be it 1-0 or 6-5. We have the Europa League as a back-up to qualify, but we have to be certain of winning that competition.
Team news was a little sparse from the Sarri press conference earlier today as the journalists continued to want Kepa explanations. There’s a doubt if Kepa will start; Maurizio Sarri said in his presser that it’s a group decision, however, the “we don’t want to kill him” quote sounded to me that he’ll start, as apologies have been issued and fines paid. The only possible reason that he won’t start, is down to Kepa’s own confidence and mentally.
Emerson should continue for Alonso as the former showed good form at Wembley. Depending upon fitness after the 120 minutes at Wembley, the back four picks itself. In midfield, as long as his back holds out, I’d start Loftus-Cheek along with Jorginho and Kante. The front three will surely rotate, with Hazard moving out of the false nine to accommodate Higuain, then it’s a choice of Willian, Pedro or Callum Hudson-Odoi. I’d give Callum the nod and tell him to rip Spurs a new one.
The opposition will have Kane starting as he did against Burnley, however, Alli remains sidelined and Dier has tonsillitis (aww diddums!) Personally, I want us, as a team, to piss all over the opposition and for every single Chelsea fan attending to roar us to victory.
We simply cannot afford a repeat of last season where they beat us, thus ending a 2500 year hoodoo. My own personal view is to start Callum Hudson-Odoi to get balls into the box and to run at their defence. 18 or not, he simply has the class and the durability to run all all night. If he’s a match winner against Tottenham on the night, I’d stuff a £350k p/w contract under his nose and say sign it. I’d personally go and clean his boots for him too, as long as Mr CISA allows me away from my own £2.50p/w (non-negotiable) contract.
This is a huge game and Spurs, along with their fans will want to spoil the party. It’s about starting quick and moving the ball about, by stretching their midfield. If we make a fast start then I can see us scoring two or three; however, we can’t let the likes of Son run freely while we back off. Get into them early and I see us winning this one 3-1.