Cardiff City vs. Chelsea: Team news, TV & streaming information, preview

Mike Hewitt

Chelsea's last match of this slightly strange, up-and-down, but ultimately promising season.

Since there are no post-season friendly shenanigans this year, this match will be the last time we see Chelsea play for a couple months.  For some players, this will also be the last time they'll ever be associated with Chelsea Football Club as players, the last time they'll receive our support.  End of line.

Our match is just an inconsequential piece of Championship Sunday, the big blow-out extravaganza when all ten matches are played at the same time.  The build-up and the anticipation is the 15-piece bucket of spicy chicken wings, the reality is the soggy, greasy, mouth-burning mess after the first few bites.  Another problem solved by beer then.

Unless something drastically unexpected happens, Chelsea will finish third, just as last season.  One could argue that there's been no improvement, but beneath the surface, the current's moving in the right direction, slowly shaping this young, changing squad for the next decade.  At least that's the hope and the goal.

So, one final 90 minutes with this exact set of players.  Some will go, many will stay, a few will arrive.  And we go again.

Date/Time: Sunday, May 11, 2014, 15:00 BST; 10am EDT; 7:30pm IST

Venue: Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff, Wales

Referee: Michael Oliver - we go from one of the oldest (Swarbrick) to one of the youngest referees.  Just 29, Oliver took charge of his first Premier League match at age 24, still the youngest ever.  This will be his ninth Chelsea match all-time and his fourth this season.  We've won six of the previous eight, including all three this season (Swindon in the League Cup, Juan Mata's last match away to Southampton, and the 4-0 vs. Spurs).  He was also the referee for Roberto Di Matteo's final league match as Chelsea manager, which is our only loss under the baby-faced man from Northumberland.

Forecast: Morning rain should give way to "intervals" of sunshine and maybe even some decent temperatures.

On TV: none (UK); CNBC (USA); Star Sports 2 (India)

Online: NBC Sports Live Extra (USA)

Cardiff City team news: Cardiff end their one-season stay in the Premier League after nine months of constant, mostly negative headlines.  Here's their three-part recipe for disaster:  one part crazy, cartoon-villain owner with high pants and tucked-in football shirts, one part controversially dismissed manager, and one part inept, out-of-his-depth replacement; season to taste with a squad of underachievers, has-beens, and never-weres who bested the Championship last season but were woefully exposed at the top level.  Best served stale.

They have won just two of their last fourteen matches.  I'm sure they have a few injuries or maybe they don't.  Frankly, it doesn't matter.  Chelsea should win this.  But I've said that so many times over the last month without it ever coming true that... sigh...  At least our third place is secure, unless we contrive to lose by 18.

Chelsea team news: Frank Lampard, John Terry, and Samuel Eto'o - all three of whom at this point do not have a contract with us for next season - are set to miss this trip.  Petr Cech's recovering from shoulder surgery, while Oscar is presumably resting up for the World Cup.  Ramires will serve the third of his four-match suspension.  Marco van Ginkel has left the squad to get yelled at by Louis van Gaal in the Netherlands pre-World Cup selection training camp.

Maybe we'll see a few youngsters at least, though the final of the U21 Premier League is set for Wednesday, which may interfere with any plans to give the likes of Lewis Baker or Andreas Christensen some first-team minutes.

With just one win in five, Chelsea are ending the season just as inconsistently as they began it.  The progress made in the meantime is the important and, hopefully, lasting takeaway from this season.

Previously: Since this was Cardiff's first season in the top flight in 51 years, there isn't much of a recent fixture history to speak of between the two sides.  Of the previous 42 meetings, Chelsea have won 17 and lost 15, but only two of those have occurred since 1986 with Chelsea winning both by a score of 4-1.  Samuel Eto'o scored his first ever Chelsea goal in the other meeting this season, Hazard (twice) and Oscar scoring as well after Cardiff took an early lead.

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