CHELSEA v Tottenham: FA Cup Preview

Date: Saturday 22nd April 2017
Venue: Wembley Stadium
Kick-off: 17:15 GMT

Today’s game takes us to Wembley Stadium for an FA Cup semi final against Spurs.
A month ago, we might have gone into this game full of confidence but recent defeats to Palace and again last weekend against United have chipped away at that bravado. The manner of last week’s defeat in particular, where we looked completely out of sorts, hasn’t had the best impact ahead of today’s game, although to be fair, the result came against a backdrop of a ref content to ignore Rojo and Herrera hacking at ankles along with the odd handball, and the late absence of Courtois and even later withdrawal of Alonso who’d seemingly infected at least two other team mates on the pitch. This week, Gary Cahill has succumbed to gastroenteritis already so we’ll just have to hope nobody else falls foul of the bug before kick-off.
As for today’s opponents, as well as beating us already this calendar year, they’ve won their last 8 straight and as much as they’re trying to make themselves out as the underdogs, most of the predictions seem to be favouring a Spurs win this evening.
Personally, I’m just wondering how quickly we could spread this bug outside our own ranks.

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Manchester United v CHELSEA: Preview

Date: Sunday 16th April 2017
Venue: Old Trafford
Kick-off: 16:00 GMT

Before the engine has even had time to cool on the Spurs party bus after yesterday’s celebrations, this afternoon’s game sees us up against Manchester United for the third time this season. But are they a much improved Manchester United under Jose Mourinho? The unbeaten run might suggest that’s the case, until you google ‘draw’ and it throws up Mourinho’s latest excuse. They had managed to move up to the dizzy heights of 5th in the league before yesterday’s games, so that in itself will feel like progression, scintillating, attacking football as per ‘the United way’ though? Clearly they’re not there yet.
So what should we expect from them today then?
It’s Jose Mourinho and his side have already lost to us twice this season, so although he’s bound to mention at some point how much more tired they are, you can bet your arse he’ll be sending them out to ‘not lose’, whilst priming Ibrahimovic to take every opportunity to give Courtois a tough day.
As for Antonio Conte, I’d expect him to treat this game the same way he’s treated every game this season. He’ll send the players out there to win, he’ll leap around for 90 minutes like his shoes are on fire – and the rest is up to them.
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Bournemouth v CHELSEA: Preview

Date: Saturday 8th April, 2017
Venue: Vitality Stadium
Kick-off: 17:30 BST

Midweek was a bit of a roller-coaster for us, from the joy at Hazard’s opener and the disappointment of Aguero levelling it, to the high of Hazard’s second and knowing Swansea were ahead against Spurs, we had a nail-biting second half right until Swansea capitulated and we ended the night where we started – 7 points ahead.
Today though, with Spurs playing early in the day, we’re likely to go into the game against Bournemouth with the gap down to 4 points and a bit of pressure on us. Not that we should be relying on other results anyway but that defeat against Palace last weekend has reinstated the nerves a 10-point cushion lessened.
With clean sheets about as commonplace at Chelsea lately as in your average teenage bedroom, and Bournemouth looking pretty decent at the back, we could do with Costa remembering to bring his shooting boots with him today.

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CHELSEA v Man City: Preview

Date: Wednesday 5th April, 2017
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Kick-off: 20:00 BST

We’re heading towards the end of the season but the finish line still isn’t in sight, particularly after Saturday’s defeat to Crystal Palace. Not that our title challenge is entirely on the ropes because we still have a 7 point gap over Spurs – and we’d have given our right arm to even get near the top of the table last season – but we’d made ourselves comfortable at the top of the table before Saturday and we’re not sitting quite as pretty going into this game.
City looked like they might rip Arsenal a new one at the weekend but some iffy defending saw them finish up with their 3rd consecutive draw in the league. They took all 3 points from this fixture last season and they’ll want to do the same tonight rather than accept a 4th draw. Guardiola certainly won’t be sending them out to lose to us for a second time this season, so we’re in for a game of it.
After the doom and gloom that followed Saturday’s defeat, our players will either have to step up tonight, or there’ll be a few mourning this season’s challenge after the whistle.

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CHELSEA v Man City: Stats

Going into tomorrow’s game against Man City, here’s the stats courtesy of Kickoff.co.uk

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CHELSEA v Crystal Palace: Preview

Date: Saturday 1st April, 2017
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Kick-off: 15:00 BST

After a pretty bland international break, it’s back to the business of the Premier League today and this afternoon’s home game against Crystal Palace.
Sorted you might think, since we’ve only lost once against them in the top-flight, and yet something tells me not to count my chickens just yet. Quite apart from the form of Zaha and the fact that Benteke isn’t shy of a goal against us, it’s also worth remembering Sam Allardyce has had wins against us with 3 different clubs so far.
Palace have managed a few shut outs lately as well, so we’ll need the ‘doubts’ from the break to get their minds and bodies together if we’re going to get the job done this afternoon.

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Stoke City v CHELSEA: Preview

Date: Saturday, 18th March, 2017
Venue: Bet365 Stadium
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT

This afternoon’s game sees us travel to the Bet365 Stadium to take on a Stoke City side that has only lost twice in their last nine league games and held City to a draw last time out. Add to that our poor record against Stoke away and the fact they’ve won this fixture in two of the last three seasons, and we may be a bit more concerned about this one than the one against our somewhat easier opposition in the FA Cup during the week. Mind you, with the lumps United kicked out of us Monday night we might struggle to tell the difference.
Either way, with Stoke looking to maintain their recent form and add to their tally of wins against us, the lack of recent goals conceded in their last couple of games suggests they’ll be trying to shut us out with whatever tactic it takes, so it really could be like Groundhog Day this afternoon.

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CHELSEA v Manchester United: FA Cup Preview

Date: Monday 13th March, 2017
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT

Tonight’s game sees us take on Manchester United in the sixth round of the FA Cup.
Of course, last time United came to Stamford Bridge, we kicked their arses and sent them packing with a 4-0 defeat to think about on their way home. This isn’t quite the same side we faced then though because the side that sat in 6th place for so long have put together an unbeaten run that sees the team we’ll host tonight – still in 6th place but with plenty of draws under their belts.
All joking aside though, they’re not quite the shambles they were and Jose Mourinho I’ll have been at their heads enough lately so that the side he puts out are clear of the job he expects them to do. As is usually the case with Mourinho though, half the first team are reportedly injured of ill right before the game, so we can probably expect some divine intervention to get them in the starting XI.
I’m not sure whether the United manager has mentioned our schedules are a little bit different, so whilst Antonio Conte will probably pick a stronger side than he has for the previous two cup ties, Mourinho will need to consider Thursday’s trip to Russia, what with that probably being their only hope of a Champions League spot.
I guess the only thing we need to think about, is that Jose Mourinho has never lost an FA Cup quarter-final.

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West Ham v CHELSEA: Preview

Date: Monday 6th March, 2017
Venue: Olympic Stadium
Kick-off: 20:00 GMT

After yesterday’s results did us no favours, tonight’s game sees us take on a West Ham side who have already beaten us at the Olympic Stadium once this season. Ok, so it may only have been in the League cup but given we’ve only lost 4 times so far this season in all competitions, all coincidentally in London, it’s still something for us to bear in mind.
Antonio Conte will undoubtedly have thought about the side he put out in that defeat and put a full strength one out for this game as we’d expect, with Fabregas possibly getting a start over Matic. For the Hammers meanwhile, the bad news for us is Andy Carroll’s untimely recovery from injury. Rate him or not, with 2 goals in his last 3 games against us, he’s one for us to look out for.

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CHELSEA v Swansea: Preview

Date: Saturday 25th February, 2017
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT

After last weekend’s FA Cup win against Wolves, today’s game sees us take on a much improved Swansea side at Stamford Bridge. Wolves made us work hard for the win last week and Swansea won’t be any easier to break down either.
With our gap at the top marginally shaved down to 8 points, the inevitable speculation around whether chinks are appearing in our armour has started, with rivals, pundits and press all crossing their fingers for a bit of a title fight. So Swansea won’t be the only ones hoping we drop points this afternoon.

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