The dream run is over. Chelsea’s 100 per cent record is gone. No time to lick our wounds however; next up are back-to-back games against probably the best team in England right now, Liverpool.
The first of those is in the Carabao Cup, which should see plenty of rotation. In fact, Sarri even rotated for the press conference, sending assistant manager Gianfranco Zola instead.
But don’t let that confuse our intentions. We’re in it to win it, and Zola had similar thoughts on the matter.
“It is an important game. We are Chelsea and want to try to win all our games and we will take it seriously. It is not the Premier League, but who we are we want to play the games as best we can.
“As Chelsea we are very greedy and will try to win both of them. It will be huge. The type of game it will be a lot. We will try to be competitive.”
That’s certainly good to hear, however, considering how we do have an all-important Premier League match on the horizon and the fact that Kante, Jorginho, Azpilicueta, Rudiger (who ended up getting injured in the West Ham game) have barely received any rest, it may just be a good idea to give them that much deserved rest.
“It’s an opportunity to see players that haven’t had many games so far.”
One player who would have loved this opportunity is Ruben Loftus-Cheek, but he is out injured, again. Joining him on the injury list are Antonio Rudiger and Pedro.
“Ruben is still recovering, very unlikely. Also Rudiger. Pedro is recovering very well, but it is tough for them to be there.”
Speaking of player getting opportunities, one player who is set to benefit from this mini injury crisis that we’re having is Gary Cahill who, now that Rudiger has a knock, may finally get the chance he has been looking for. Whether he grabs it with both hands or loses it to Christensen is up to him but for now, the (foot)ball is in his court.
“Whether [Cahill] plays tomorrow it won’t affect his future. It is understandable he is upset and we want him to be upset. He is a top professional, he has to be patient and he will have his chances. But then it is down to him.”
But others do have futures to think about, including the highly promising youngsters like Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ethan Ampadu, neither of whom have featured since the season began.
“Callum has done extremely well and impressed the most, along with Ethan. They are both in contention for the squad and we will see. We have a lot of players. We didn’t do a big pre-season and these games can be like that. Like for Christensen and Cahill, but Callum and Ethan are the future of this club.
“Without doubt he can be in the first team in the future. He has a future but he is in a very competitive team.”
It’s all about opportunity and having the faith and the trust in granting such opportunities. Zola should know, not only from his own playing career, but his current station.
“Maurizio opened a big world in front of me. I thought I knew a lot about football, I was wrong. I enjoy the person and we work well together. I would have enjoyed a lot to play under him. We play the majority of the games in the opposition half, they touch the ball a lot in the last 20 metres.
“For me this is a dream of a situation. Everyone knows how much I care about this club. It is a great opportunity, but there is a lot of work to be done. I want to give the best for Maurizio to be successful. His success is my happiness.”
-Gianfranco Zola; source: Football.London
Success and happiness may be tougher to find in the next two games than in other games so far this season. Chelsea are just a work in progress, but if the team gives their best (like Zola himself), we might just find plenty of it this week and beyond.