Chelsea take on Wigan Athletic at home in what should be one of the easiest matches of the entire season. Sure, we didn't beat the Latics at the DW Stadium, but this is one of those games where we should be able to simply cruise through. That doesn't mean we will, of course, but a failure to beat Wigan would see Chelsea stick below Newcastle in sixth place, and that would be be deeply, deeply embarrassing for everyone concerned, so let's try not to not win. Please.
Time/Date: 3:00 PM BST (10:00 AM EDT), Saturday April 7th.
Venue: Stamford Bridge, London.
TV Information: FOX Soccer Channel (USA).
Chelsea will be missing three of their big guns for this one. John Terry's cracked ribs will keep him out of the match. Ashley Cole has an ankle injury, and Frank Lampard is out with something undisclosed (which probably means it's not very serious). There are obvious replacements for all three, and it is Wigan, so let's not worry too much about their absence.
Wigan, meanwhile will probably be without Colombian striker Hugo Rodallega with a knee injury, but that's ok for Wigan because Hugo Rodallega is not a very good footballer anymore.
When Chelsea are playing a vastly inferior team - and no, I don't care about Wigan's recent form - the idea should always be to impose our tactics upon the game and let the opposition try to work out a response. This means that Juan Mata should live centrally, and that we should stick as many goalscorers as possible in the squad. Daniel Sturridge on the right flank makes perfect sense here, and Didier Drogba getting a start in the middle wouldn't be such a bad idea either.
The defence is limited by the absence of Cole and Terry, meaning that the back four is basically set. Ryan Bertrand's probable place at left back means that it might be a good idea to have a two-way player in front of him, which probably means Ramires. That leaves the two central players, and I'm thinking we could probably reward Raul Meireles for his howitzer against Benfica with a start, and it's probably also time to take Michael Essien out of the doghouse after his handball against Manchester City.
Spelling all of that out in lineup fashion gives you the following...
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Petr Cech; Ryan Bertrand, David Luiz, Gary Cahill, Branislav Ivanovic; Michael Essien, Raul Meireles; Ramires, Juan Mata, Daniel Sturridge; Didier Drogba.
What I'd really like to see happen is for the Blues to kill this one off early so that Romelu Lukaku and Oriol Romeu can make substitute appearances. We haven't had too many easy games this year, so if we could get one on Saturday that'd be super.