The final stretch of the season is upon us, and there is a lot left to fight for, including the Europa League title, Champions League qualification, Sarri’s job, Hudson-Odoi and Hazard’s futures, and, most importantly this weekend, the top four in the Premier League.
As daylight savings arrives in Europe as well, every game becomes a must-win from here on out.
Date / Time: Sunday, March 31, 2019, 14:05 BST; 9:05am EDT; 6:35pm IST
Venue: Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff, Wales
Forecast: Overcast, light breeze, mild & dry
Referee: Craig Pawson — ol’ Craigers is back for the fifth time this season; Chelsea have won all four of his games so far (Southampton, Burnley, and Palace away, plus Fulham at home).
On TV: Sky Sports Main Event (UK); NBCSN, Universo (USA); Star Sports Select HD2; elsewhere
Streaming online: Sky Go (UK); NBC Sports Live, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo (USA); Hotstar (India); Fubo (affiliate link — USA only)
Cardiff City team news: Saturday’s results confirmed the relegation of Huddersfield Town, with Fulham sure to follow soon as well. Cardiff are slightly ahead of those two, but are still facing an uphill battle to make it out of the relegation zone. They are five points off Burnley in 17th, albeit with two games-in-hand.
Their task was made even tougher with the injury the Callum Paterson, who joins fellow defender Sol Bamba in being ruled out for the rest of the season and well beyond with a major injury. Midfielder Harry Arter and full back Joe Bennett face late fitness tests and will be gameday decisions.
“It’s difficult, we know the situation. [...] We’ve got to play really well, defend like we never have and our goalie’s got to have a good day too.
“What we can’t do is what we did against Tottenham and Man United and concede a goal in the first two minutes. There’s no point doing tactics and stuff if we’re going to do that.”
-Neil Warnock; source: Wales Online
Cardiff do have three wins in their last six games, which is, shockingly, the same as Chelsea, and six of their eight total wins have come at home.
Chelsea team news: Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Davide Zappacosta were back in training this week after rehabbing various minor injuries over the break. Sarri did express concern over some of his key players playing a bit too much for their national teams (Hazard, Kanté, Jorginho, et al.), though it would appear that’s still not good enough reason to trust someone like Callum Hudson-Odoi against Championship-level opposition.
Chelsea, like Cardiff, are looking for end-of-season salvation, but need to find a few more wins than we’ve managed recently. The Blues are three points behind Arsenal and four points behind both Spurs and Manchester United (who have played one more game then the rest of the four-some competing for the final two top-four spots.
Previously: Chelsea’s only come-from-behind win in the Premier League this season was against Cardiff back in September. Eden Hazard scored a hat-trick.