Chelsea's turbulent season will be facing its next tough challenge back at the Britannia, scene of an acrimonious penalty kick shootout in the League Cup just 10 days ago. And this time, we will have to do it without Jose Mourinho standing, sitting, scowling on the sideline. No, not because he will have been sacked — at least not yet, he added quietly, fearfully — but because he will serving a stadium ban after the incidents at West Ham United a fortnight ago, which all started when Nemanja Matić got himself sent off.
Matić already served his one-match suspension as well as a one-match additional punishment from the manager who dropped him for the Liverpool match, but the big man in the middle was back against Dynamo Kiev midweek and back to something close to his normal self. If only we could play Dynamo ever week; the midfielder's two best performances this season have both come against the Ukrainian champions.
While it's nowhere near guaranteed that Matić will start again on Saturday, he's vowed to fight for both club and manager as we look for a second successive victory.
"We want to win, and of course we want to win also for the coach, for our club, and we know that in the last couple of weeks, when everyone has been saying we are bad, we know that we have quality."
"We know that it is not easy to recover from that, because when you play for Chelsea you always have more responsibility than other clubs, because Chelsea always wants to win. Our supporters are used to winning trophies."
-Nemanja Matić; source: Guardian
Yes, trophies. We like trophies. But let's not worry about those too much right now. Right now, I'll just take three points.