There might still be random bits of blue confetti floating around Wembley, but at the home of your 2015
League Capital One Cup champions, it's back to business as usual. Or perhaps not quite usual, not exactly anyway, because we're now confirmed, bona fide winners. Hello there, killer instinct. Hello there, winning.
Everybody's ready to build on the 2-0 win over Spurs, even those who have won many things with Chelsea in the past. For the Old Guard, or what's left of them, it's a clear parallel to 2004-05. For the New Guard, for Hazard & Co, it's the start of something special. Or at least we hope.
But first, it's time for more menial matters. Like a trip across London with a five-point lead and a game-in-hand. At the same time, Manchester City will be at home to bottom-of-the-table Leicester City, in what should be an easy three points for our closest title rivals.
So, time to grind out another win. Twelve games to go.
Date / Time: Wednesday, March 4, 2015, 19:45 GMT; 2:45pm EST; 1:15am IST (next day)
Venue: Upton Park, London, England
Referee: Andre Marriner - Mr. Marriner, most famous for his mistaken identity incident in the 6-0 win over Arsenal last year, is back for just his second Chelsea game this season. Earlier he saw us lose to Bradford City in the FA Cup. That was one of only 6 matches we've ever lost under Marriner (in 26 tries), and the first not to come against Manchester City (twice), Manchester United, Liverpool, or Arsenal.
Forecast: Sunshiny day followed by cool night.
On TV: none (UK); NBCSN, NBC Universo (USA); Star Sports 2 (India); elsewhere
Online: NBC Sports Live Extra (USA); StarSports (India)
West Ham team news: Regardless of whether they're actually truly bad suddenly or just getting very unlucky, the fact remains that since Christmas, starting with the 2-0 Boxing Day defeat at Stamford Bridge, West Ham have won just once in the league. Eight points from a possible 30 has seen them drop from 4th to 9th; currently they're riding a six-match winless streak in all competitions. Last week they contrived to lose to Crystal Palace at home, the week before they allowed Spurs to come back from 2-0 down. Sam Allardyce has gone back to being the butt of all jokes, rather than the "sophisticated" manager who out-tactics the opposition, which he claims himself to be.
With that in mind, they'll probably win 5-0.
West Ham are down two strikers. Andy Carroll's out long-term with a knee ligament injury, while ex-Chelsea man (and recent recipient of an FA fine -- Chelsea DNA, baby!) Carlton Cole has a hamstring problem. Morgan Amalfitano, who gave us some problems at Stamford Bridge, is suspended.
Chelsea team news: John Obi Mikel remains our only official injury casualty, Mourinho confirming earlier on Tuesday that the midfielder will miss the rest of this month at least. With Nemanja Matic set to serve the final match of his two-game ban, the biggest question for us is who will play in midfield. Will we see another 4-3-3 with Zouma as the anchor? Will we rever to the usual 4-2-3-1 with a pairing of Ramires and Fabregas? Or is the a third option, another surprise up Jose's sleeve?
Chelsea don't play for a full week afterwards -- it's an FA Cup weekend -- so unless players are knackered from Sunday's win and short-lived celebrations, I'd expect as much of a full-strength lineup as possible.
Previously: I was having trouble remembering this game earlier, so here are the highlights from the 2-0 Boxing Day win. Costa vs. three defenders, that was fun!