Chelsea vs Newcastle: 13-Dec-2006
4-3-3: No Sheva/Ballack
5 points gap with a game in hand. Though Lampard is confident of catching up Man Utd, it should not get worse than this. From now on, every game is a must-win game for Chelsea. For Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea this is a new territory. In the last two seasons we had enough lead all through the season that any loss or draw in between did not worry anyone. But now, Chelsea is under pressure and this is a fact. Jose knows how to handle and overcome pressure. This is also a fact.
In such circumstances, I would strictly go with a team and formation that can assure me 3 points. In short, this certainly means a 4-3-3 and no Sheva and Ballack. With Joe Cole out with foot injury, SWP and Kalou should get the nod. I know many of us slowly losing patience with Sheva and Ballack. I’m feeling so sorry for them. It’s not that they are doing pathetic but the expectations are really high in the current circumstances and they are not upto this mark. If Jose is going to revert to 4-3-3, SWP cannot get a better opportunity to get selected and show his class.
All through this season, despite being the first team score in all but two matches, Chelsea’s first half performance has been very lacklustre when you see the . energy and urgency of the second half. If we are going to wait till the half time talk by Jose or the opponent’s goal, we are never going to finish off opponents. If we end a goalless first half, and score around the 65th minute and keep defending and waiting for an opportunity to break for a counterattack, it can be very risky and we’re leaving things to luck.
Mike Riley, who officiated the blood stained Reading vs Chelsea match, should do a lot better in this one. With all due respect to Newcastle and their 8-match unbeaten streak, this is a match that we should win and win handsomely. No Damien Duff for them and anyways Martins has started scoring. Form-wise there is no big difference between Martins and Sheva in this season. Both are from the Italian league and slowly settling down. But Sheva is Sheva and Martins is just Martins. Different class, different clubs, different expectations (different transfer fees too!).
Petr is not afraid to return and he does not have (or never had) the trauma. Read his spine-chilling words:
Everyone is asking if I am afraid when I am back. But Carlo (Cudicini) said the main thing – ‘how can I be afraid of something I don’t even remember?’. That is exactly what it is going to be with me, because I don’t remember anything from the game. I don’t even remember the injury. I woke up three days later and I had 30 stitches on my head and it was difficult for me. But that game I don’t remember so I don’t think I am going to be afraid.
Petr has also confirmed that he would return to full training by mid-January. Something to cheer about!
Last season, we beat Newcastle 3-0 at home. Brilliant goals from Cole, Crespo and Duff!
Let’s get back to 4-3-3 and to our winning ways!