Y’know what? I was going to do one of my usual match previews but then I reconsidered and thought ‘we could be out of the cup at the end of the night, do I really need to spend ages putting a preview together only to kick myself for it later?’
So here’s the lazy, shortened version!
Thanks to a lack of clinical finishing, a lack of desire and some woeful defending, tonight sees us at Roots Hall to take on Southend again.
Naturally, after a pretty pathetic caving in at Old Trafford at the weekend, Southend manager Steve Tilson is chomping at the bit to play us. He must have had his hand down his trousers ever since that third goal went in on Sunday. Is there a better time to play us than this? Well, Tilson says “Hopefully we can add to Chelsea’s woes. We’ll give it our best shot and hopefully play well, have some luck and they’ll have an off day. But we have to remain realistic – they are in the top two of the Premier League and we’re in League One. “It’s a big night and we’re up against one of the best sides in the world with some top, top players. And them losing on Sunday wasn’t a good result for us – the manager will give them a right kick up the backside and I’m sure they’ll put their best side out. I’ll put up on our board before the game: `Weaknesses – none, they don’t have any!’ But we’ll be positive and you never know what might happen. We’ll try to stay in the game as long as we can, and the longer it goes the more nervous they’ll get.”
Luiz Felipe Scolari, on the other hand, must have mixed feelings about this game – if he wins, there won’t be any celebration, no pats on the back, nothing, and yet if he loses…….. Is it any wonder he’s referring to it as the “game of the year”. Bloody hell, Southend v Chelsea, the ‘game of the year’? Dear, oh dear. But anyway, the Chelsea boss says “I think I have the squad behind me. We are all in the same boat. If Chelsea lose a game it is not only Scolari, it is the Chelsea team. There is not a problem with the spirit. It is a problem of mistakes not spirit. It is the game of the year for Southend and it is the same for us. We need to think the same as them. But if our spirit is not the same as Southend’s, it will be difficult to win. If we have the same spirit and are thinking about the FA Cup, we have more chance than them. We have very good players who are technically better, but we need to prove it on the pitch.”
On the squad front, for Southend, Francis Laurent misses out through injury, whilst Alan McCormack serves a one-match ban. Damian Scannell, returning from a loan spell at Brentford is available.
For Chelsea, long-term absentee Michael Essien remains out, as does Florent Malouda (hamstring), whilst Alex returns to the squad after recovering from his hamstring injury.
CHELSEA (from): Cudicini, Cech, Hilario, Ferreira, Ivanovic, Carvalho, Terry, Alex, Mancienne, A Cole, J Cole, Mikel, Mineiro, Belletti, Lampard, Kalou, Deco, Sawyer, Bruma, Stoch, Anelka, Drogba, Di Santo
SOUTHEND (from): Mildenhall, Barrett, Clarke, Francis, Herd, Joyce, Milsom, Sankofa, Wilson, Betsy, Christophe, Grant, Lokando, Moussa, O’Keefe, Orenuja, Stanislas, Barnard, Freedman, Furlong, Hazell, Revell, Walker, Scannell