Our matches against the blue team from Manchester have now become some of the biggest games for me. Carlo Ancelotti has not managed a win against them yet. They're one of the teams in our way as we strive to secure a guaranteed Champions League place.
Who: Manchester City
What: Premier League, Round 30
When: 20 March, 4:00pm local time (12:00pm EST)
Where: Stamford Bridge
How: FSC (DirecTV 619, Dish Network 149)
Why: Two reasons. 1) We need to ensure at least third place will be ours. 2) City has become a major stumbling block for us. We haven't beaten them in the league since the 3-1 come-from-behind win under Scolari in 2009 after they snatched Robinho from us. Tevez particularly manages to wreak havoc against us whichever side of Manchester he happens to be playing for (five goals in his last six matches against us).
Despite the gaffer initially claiming that Alex would take part in this match, he now won't be available as the physios have decided he needs a bit more training with the team before jumping back into the team. Ancelotti says that David Luiz will start, as will Malouda, Torres and Essien. Maybe Bob will be the one who can finally reign in Tevez. We can only hope.
Chelsea fans will be hoping to see Fernando Torres finally, finally score a goal or two. It's easy to say for pretty much any match he has played for the Blues so far that "now would be the perfect time for him to score", and here's another chance to say it. Torres rebuffed City's advances to eventually sign for us, so he needs to show them just what they missed out on.
Manchester City will be wanting to bounce back from their Europa League elimination in mid-week. Adam Johnson, a player I rate highly, looks set to return to the side as well. Their counter-attack always worries me; that's how they got their winning goal against us in the fall. I'm sure EBJT and Bob will be a formidable wall to beat, but Luiz's fouling worries me (but, to be fair, Ivanovic is prone to the same).
I thought that Chelsea looked good against Copenhagen the other day but, as usual, completely failed to finish any of our multiple chances. Super Frank has been making his trademark runs into the box again and nearly looking back to his old, excellent form while Torres has just been extremely unlucky in his failure to break his duck for the Blues. Even Drogba has looked more of the beast he truly is in the last couple matches. It's been promising for Chelsea, but can we really pump up the pressure and give the crowd at the Bridge good reason to make some noise?
Projected Chelsea XI:
Ivanovic - Luiz - Terry - Cole
Ramires - Essien - Lampard - Malouda
Drogba - Torres
I can see Ancelotti starting with Drogba and Torres tomorrow. I would love to see Mikel retained in the side as I thought our passing looked good with him on the pitch against Copenhagen but I think Essien will be taking his place and Rami will start in midfield with the Bison and Lampard. If we win, we'll move into third place above City. There's a lot at stake. We can do it.
A sample of Carlo's pre-match press conference:
And pre-match comments from the Bison:
We'll be back tomorrow with the rant box. KTBFFH!