UPDATE: The Daily Fail has claimed that half our squad has been struck down by polio and/or perished in freak MRI accidents. CRISIS!
Always appropriate to be playing a team called Wolves in the middle of winter...as long as we don't get thrown to them. Of course, when it rains, it pours - and given our recent form, I would not put anything past us anymore.
But it's a whole new year...despite the fact that this match comes not 48 hours after the final whistle (and associated booing at Stamford Bridge) blew on the Aston Villa debacle. We can only hope that the psychological boost provided by the artificial framework of the Gregorian calendar triumphs over the potentially flagging morale of the squad.
Andre Villas-Boas will have you believe that there is no crisis and no need to reach for the PANIC button...but the 7 points lost from winning positions in the last four games, combined with our position in the table (the lowest that Chelsea have been at the turn of the year in over a decade) may indicate otherwise. Those 7 lost points are especially frustrating given the flounderings of those in the table above and around us.
All that must be pushed aside, as another underperformance at Wolverhampton would not be a welcome way to start 2012. With the players barely having had the time to take a hot (or cold) shower, they must regather themselves and put together a winning performance in one of those "cold nights in [somewhere in mid-table Anglia]".
I don't know much about Wolves (nor do I really care to) but I do know that Steven Fletcher has an annoying knack for scoring (and for some reason is in the SB nation database as Steven Kenneth Fletcher...), that Stephen Hunt (a living, breathing rhyming slang) plays for them, and that they just signed Emmanuel Frimpong on loan from Arsenal and the young destroyer is expected to start on Monday. And that, for the longest time, I used to confuse current Wolves manager Mick McCarthy with current Chelsea scout Mick McGiven. (Now THAT'S what I call an opposing scouting report. Eat your heart out, Dani Sousa!)
The Chelsea lineup for tomorrow is anybody's guess. AVB has already stated that there will be changes due to the timing of this fixture, although I highly doubt we'd see a Carling Cup lineup out there. The likelihood of added emphasis on the FA Cup (with the stated desire to play Drogba in the 3rd round match v. Portsmouth) may also complicate things. Here's my wild guess:
Chelsea (3-5-2 - haha, no - 4-3-3): Cech - Cole, Terry, Sideshow, Bosingwa - Romeu - Lampard, Malouda - Kalou, Torres, Sturridge
Yeah, that's right. Salomon Kalou. He's the KEY!!!
And no, I will absolutely not mention the fact that we lost in this exact same fixture last year (almost exactly one year ago, to the date), with a stupid deflected goal off of Jose Bosingwa's shins keeping all three points at the Molineux.
Anyway, join us here tomorrow for all the fun. 10am EST / 7am PST. Leftover New Year's champagne optional...but advised.