One nil wins all round at the weekend for the three clubs involved in the third, fourth and fifth place tussle mean that we, with our one man team, play our one game in hand on the gooners having to achieve one hell of a result.
Winning at Chelsea these days isn’t that big a deal for a lot of teams, Swansea, QPR and Man Utd have already done it this season, for us though, it’s a different matter with 23 years of history to debunk. Still, it can be, and in all probability will have to be, done if we’re not going to end up Europa League bound come the end of the season.
Not much is in our favour. Our form has been wanting and injuries abound. Bale, Lennon, Parker and Dembélé at the very least are all definitely due treatment rather than another game and, in the absence of Sandro anyway, they’re all players we need at their best should we hope to achieve anything. With these four at half capacity we will need all of the spirit and resourcefulness the likes of Dempsey, Sigurdsson, Dawson, Lloris and Walker have produced that has seen us battle through many games lately.
Our clean sheet against Southampton was something of a novelty and mostly down to some inspired work from Lloris, meaning that we’re probably going to have to score more than once to get a result, as a consequence a lot hangs on the performance of Jermain Defoe. Coming on as sub certainly appears to be the best way to make use of his talents but given Adebayor’s inconsistency and lethargy, he’s probably our best option up front to share the load with Bale. Whenever the ball went up to JD on Saturday it just appeared to come straight back again, without him growing another six inches it’s hard not to see the same thing happening against Ivanovic, Luiz or Cahill.
Chelsea have Mikel and Bertrand out but Hazard is back.
I am finding it hard to muster much optimism about our chances. I regularly underestimate our resilience and I hope that this is another occasion where I’ve done the same. I can see us getting a draw, which is better than nothing of course but it’s a win that we need. If you’re going or watching, don’t take your lead from me. Remember Old Trafford and Kaboul at the Haemorrhoids.
Mike Dean is the referee. COYS.
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