Last season we split 6 points, taking 3 a piece with Chelsea also having 2 red cards in our home win; England man of the hour Fabien Delph getting the winner. It is now the chosen ones second season of his returning reign and what a difference a summer, and £91.3 million makes.
It is clear to see that Chelsea are not lacking goals this season with a huge 16 being scored in 5 games, that is 3.2 goals per game; 7 of which are from Diego Costa, the current Premier League top scorer (closely followed by Leicester’s Ulloa with 5).
Our games do not tend to lack goals. The past 6 meetings alone have seen 25 being scored collectively and a ratio seeing Chelsea win 67% compared to our 33%. There wasn’t any draws during that period. Now onto the present.
This could well be the season Chelsea take the title, having easily brushed away the majority who have faced them so far. But they are not an invincible club and have so far relied heavily upon the scoring abilities of Costa.
Chelsea are a great team, there is no denying it, they pull together as a team and most importantly they can score, and not just the strikers. Branislav Ivanovic is no stranger to scoring for the blues having already scored 2 goals this season and averaging 2.2 shots per game, making him second top scorer for Chelsea. He has a habit of finding space and converting from free kicks and corners meaning that he will give trouble the defence. It’s not just the his aerial abilities, he also has a keen eye for an accurate ball which sees him with a 79.8% completion rate this season and an average of 44.6 passes per game. He needs to be stopped, and will offer some decent battles in midfield as he likes to press forward, spending a lot of time near the half way line. Delph and Richardson (who I hope gets dropped for Grealish) will have a hard time here and will need to be at there best in order to stop the passes through to Cesc Fàbregas and runs along this wing.
Outside of Costa, Cesc has easily been Chelsea’s top player and having only scored in the Champions league so far this season, he is due a premier league goal and will no doubt come looking for it. The ball will continue to be fed through to Fàbregas and he will attempt to set up, or convert himself; this isn’t to be taken lightly. The Spaniard has already assisted 6 of the goals, and I have no doubt that he will play a key role for Chelsea this weekend, but Lambert will already know this and I can expect to see him man marked heavily in order to squash his creativity. He has been avergagin 72 passes a game with a competition of 89.4%. However, he is not a completely all rounded player though, what he offers in offence and passing, he lacks in defensive play; pressured enough, we can see him giving away fouls. This should be taken advantage of with players like Delph taking him on.
I feel that Costa’s legacy speaks for itself, he is dangerous and accurate. He can pass the ball well, he can read the game and he can score. I don’t need to go into too much depth on his abilities as it speaks for itself, so instead, lets look at his weaknesses. Diego Costa can be wound up, which I am sure Senderos will already be well aware of. He has managed to get himself 3 yellow cards in 5 games already, but the fuel only seems to ignite the flames as the scoring record shows. He will be a hard player to stop and Senderos needs to be careful as the ref will be informed on his antics against Ballotelli. We do not want to see a repeat of this dangerous football as risks like this not only affect the individual with red cards but it completely knocks the team, we can not afford this!
It’s a genuine daunting task attempting to write a preview and analyse Chelsea because each and every player is great in ability and has the potential to score against us on the weekend so I have narrowed it down to the above 3 players that I fear will create the most chaos in their areas.
Like touched upon earlier, Chelsea do have weaknesses that can be exploited evidently in defence and their choice of keeper , 22 year old Courtious who have played their parts in conceding 7 goals. It just so happens that they tend to deliver double that amount at the opposite end.
Man City put a stop to Costa on Sunday and forced him to concede his 3rd yellow card; we need to do the same. I can see there being a lot of yellow cards, predominantly on the Chelsea team sheet.
Outside of a leaky defence, we also have midweek games going in our favour as Chelsea played Bolton at home, have Sporting CP away midweek followed by Arsenal at home. I can see them fielding a slightly weaker side against us with the eyes on the following 2 games.
Injuries (list updated as news appears)
Benteke (Expect to see return for Man City)
STAFF GAME PREDICTIONS
I think the game will be a tough shocker but we play better on the road so I am going to predict 2-2 with a red card for Chelsea.
I’m going 3.1 to Chelsea
Blimey, it’s a tough one.
My head says that they will have too much for us, with their current free scoring.
But we have a fairly good record against them recently and should have drawn last season.
If they come at us, they’ll be playing our game, so you never know, hence my heart says a draw, 2-2.
Going back to reality, I suspect a 1-3 loss is probably more realistic.
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