So...this match kicks off in something like 6 hours...hopefully you've read up on the tactical preview because this will be kept short and sweet. Hopefully we'll be able to say the same thing about the match, too - Chelsea settle the tie early and make it a sweet start to our weekends.
This being the first match of GameWeek 22 puts us in a nice position of being able to observe the (arguably more interesting) match-ups on tap later this weekend. However, that does not mean that we should be looking past 9th placed Norwich City. Standing two points above Swansea, the Canaries have had the best showing so far of the three newly promoted teams. Perhaps best described as this season's imitation of Blackpool (7th in goals scored but with the 6th most goals conceded), Norwich have won 3 on the bounce in all competitions and have only lost twice since a home defeat by Arsenal in mid November. In fact, they have only lost three at home all year, although their only true scalp has been the 4-2 trouncing of Newcastle.
Chelsea will be hoping for a repeat of August's 3-1 victory - a match dominated by the Blues but not settled until the last 10 minutes (sound familiar?), but more famous for the mid-air KO of Didier Drogba, Hilario's latest attempts at top flight goalkeeping, and of course the debut goal of one Juan Mata. The little Spaniard has since become integral (as expected) and we will be relying on him once again to unlock the opposing defense and solidify our current grip on 4th place.
It'll be interesting to see how much part the "new" boys play in this one. Michael Essien is "not yet fit to start" but we could conceivably make use of Gary Cahill's height in both defense and attacking set pieces. If it were up to me, I'd wait with Cahill until the QPR match (and rest JT). Whoever starts in defense will have to make sure to keep our recently very good defensive record alive (only 6 conceded in last 12).
Chelsea (4-3-3): Cech - Cole, Terry, Luiz, Bosingwa - Romeu - Lampard, Ramires - Mata, Torres, Sturridge ... RADICAL!!
Anyway...join us here, bright and early 7:45am EST / 4:45am PST, for the match-day/game-thread festivities.