Support for club captain John Terry was evident after the centre back’s powerful header secured a 2-1 victory over Burnley. ‘Team Stamford Bridge’ was the message in reply to Carlos Tevez and co’s decision to wear printed t-shirts under their sky blue kits.
Controversy is a common feature in the west of London this season, with the Blues English contingency falling to the wrath of the restless media. Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard were early season victims as their personal lives hit the front pages of the British media. Ashley and Cheryl’s celebrity status earns them constant media harassment, with the Chelsea left-back accused of adultery on his pop star lover. Lampard became the next Blue indicted of a similar offence as he and his significant other parted ways after his off the field antics were revealed. Now fresh from the weekend, club captain Terry failed in his legal quest to silence the media as reports leaked of his alleged affair with former team-mate Wayne Bridge’s girlfriend. Despite this the trio have remained strong and their performances have hardly presented evidence of these off the field personal fracas. Lampard appears to have shaken off early inconsistency as his name was moved from the back to the front pages of the UK newspapers earlier this year.
Terry rectified all doubt that was raised when Carlo Ancelotti selected him in the starting XI this weekend, with a solid defence performance and a goal to seal the deal. The Daddies sauce stated: “Daddy of the Year 2009 converted Lampard’s corner with great aplomb in a professional display. It seems the high wages demands of football’s elite are paying the consequence through intense media attention, and although Terry’s actions may be condemned by journalists and football’s hierarchy, the truth is affairs although an ugly concept are unfortunately an aspect of modern life. So although the act will by no means be condoned, the player is human and deserves a life away from football. He is not the first player to disrespect the three lions, as within the England World Cup ranks are an accused entourage of DJ punching, drink driving, drug abusing and cheats.” Focusing on the field, Tuesday night is likely to see the return of formidable figure Didier Drogba up front alongside high-flying Nicolas Anelka. Chelsea accumulated maximum points in the Ivoirians absence and will hope this form continues with the target man amongst their starting XI. Hull City provide Chelsea’s next challenge and after taking the lead in the reverse fixture earlier in the season the Tigers will not be taken for granted as a routine three points. Manchester United heaped pressure onto the Blues lead at the top on Sunday and Chelsea will be keen to once again distance themselves from their Northern rivals. Ancelotti is sure to have an eye on Arsenal in the Sunday clash although this is unlikely to affect his selection policy.
Flourent Malouda and Joe Cole have been finding their form in recent weeks and the attacking double alongside Anelka have caused havoc in front of goal. Drogba’s re-introduction is doubtful to disrupt the flow but may take some considerable man management skills from the Italian tactician to explain Cole or Malouda’s omission in place of the African striker had their position become compromised. The 4-3-3 employed in recent weeks has seen the Blues rain goals with seven against Sunderland and five in the cup tie with Watford. Hull should see a similar result with their poor form an incentive for the Blues to capitalise upon. The transfer period has merely provided speculation rather than action at the Bridge as no considerable inroads have been made in their battle with pending transfer restrictions on the horizon. Ancelotti’s lackadaisical approach to the transfer market has seen his ageing squad remain unchallenged by fresh additions to the squad. More significant is that Chelsea protect the form of their elite from the pressures of the media.
With Hull the next team to overcome, Chelsea will surely be focusing on the weekend clash with their North London rivals, so complacency should be addressed to avoid drop points to Hull ahead of their important battle.