Chelsea Need Spur(s) To Halt Slump
Chelsea’s alarming slump in form has seen them slip down to third place in the EPL, lose their 100% and unbeaten Champions League records and heaped considerable pressure on the permanently-raised eyebrow of Italian supremo Carlo Ancelotti.
Despite the return to the side of centre-half and captain John Terry, Chelsea’s defensive woes continue.
And Terry’s centre-back partner Alex will be out until February after having a knee operation. While influential goalscoring midfielder Frank Lampard’s putative comeback is still not certain.
In an attempt to halt the slump and restore confidence in a Chelsea team that had taken two EPL points out of the last 12, Ancelotti named his strongest available side for the Champions League clash in Marseille, even though the Blues were already assured of group victory.
Yet they still lost to Brandao’s late goal, leaving Ancelotti’s confidence sounding as low as his team’s. He said after the match:
“The bad moment continues but we have to keep going. We’ve lost some confidence in our play. But we mustn’t lose composure, character, ability. I want to resolve this problem quickly. I’m focused on my job. I am sure my players have that same focus.”
Chelsea visit Tottenham in the EPL on Sunday afternoon, having lost on their last two visits to White Hart Lane, a ground where they previously had a fine record.
Despite Spurs’ well-documented problems in EPL matches after Champions League weeks, Ancelotti said: “Everyone thinks we will lose that game. They are very close to the top of the table and doing well. It will be difficult but we have to consider this a great opportunity, not a problem.”
Alex last week underwent surgery on his on-going knee problem, which has kept him out of the side throughout the recent poor run, and, according to Ancelotti, “has had his knee cleaned and now needs six to eight weeks to recover.”
Ancelotti expects 32-year-old Lampard to be available for the Spurs trip, however, after his now three-month injury absence. The Blues boss said: “Lampard trained on Wednesday without a problem. We will decide on him in the next two or three days.”
Portuguese right-back Jose Bosingwa has already been ruled out of Sunday’s match, however, having limped off against Marseille with a hamstring problem.
But Nicolas Anelka and Ashley Cole, who both missed the Stade Velodrome defeat, are expected to make the trip to White Hart Lane.
Tags: Chelsea, EPL, Champions League, Carlo Ancelotti, John Terry, Jose Bosingwa, Nicolas Anelka