Chelsea overcame a slow and unconfident start on Thursday against unfancied Malmö FF from Sweden to advance easily to the Europa League Round of 16, but the difficulty ramps up immeasurably for the weekend as Chelsea meet Manchester City again just a couple weeks after getting embarrassed to the tune of 6-0.
This time the venue is Wembley instead of the Etihad and the competition is a one-off League Cup match instead of the long slog of the Premier League. It’s a final, a chance for Sarri to win a major trophy at last and for Chelsea to re-establish our song-enshrined aims of winning things. Above all, it’s a chance to redeem ourselves to a certain degree — and even if we don’t win, at least avoid embarrassment (though a loss might actually result in Sarri’s sacking, as some reports would have us believe).
“[Against Malmö] we had a tight first half on both sides, but we did a great second half, getting away with the win. We are in the next round, and I am very happy that I helped my team-mates to achieve this.”
“From [Friday], it is all about the final against Manchester City. It will be a difficult game, but we totally have what it takes to become champions.”
Emerson has steadily seen his playing time increase in recent weeks as the usual first-choice left back Marcos Alonso has hit a bit of a rough patch in his third season at the Bridge. Which of the two will start on Sunday is anyone’s guess — Alonso has been one of the worst performers in Chelsea’s recent embarrassments, and that’s saying something — but Emerson is just happy to finally feel fully fit after a couple years of dealing with his ACL injury, rehab, and recovery.
“I’m ready, and I hope I can help the team in this important game.”
“I’m feeling good physically, with resistance and more strength. I am sure that this is the result of the work that I have been doing inside the club, but also through the recovery work and the nutrition among the people who follow me here. It’s good to feel ready.”
-Emerson; source: Goal
Spirits are certainly not at an all-time high at Chelsea right now. On the pitch, Sarri is on thin ice, confidence is fragile, the results worse, and it all seems just a mild breeze away from crumbling altogether once again. Off the pitch, the fans are getting restless and Chelsea have just been hit by a two-window transfer ban (which, on appeal, should get delayed until next January).
But over the years, Chelsea have been known to respond and come through in such unfavourable situations. Backs against the wall, Sunday is a prime opportunity to carry on this tradition. Emerson sounds ready; hopefully so are the rest.