Chelsea Club Focus - Di Matteo’s men put Europe on hold as focus shifts to Arsenal
Wednesday night was a memorable one in the history of Chelsea Football Club. The Blues went into the game as vast underdogs and were written off by many. Despite regular Barcelona pressure, Didier Drogba managed to put his theatrics aside to fire Chelsea to within touching distance of the Champions League final. On Saturday however it is a return to league action for the West Londoners as they make the short trip across the capital to take on rivals Arsenal.
The Blues go into the game in sixth place and two points away from the coveted Champions League qualification places. Being the early kick off on Saturday, it would be a big mental boost to be in those qualification places before closest rivals Tottenham and Newcastle even kick off.
After the win over Barcelona, Roberto Di Matteo’s men have now lost only one of their last 13 matches. More importantly for the fixture against the Gunners, Chelsea have won four of their last seven away games.
There may be more than a hint of revenge for Chelsea as well. Back in October the two sides met at Stamford Bridge in what turned out to be a thrilling game with Arsenal running out eventual 5-3 winners.
Despite the importance of the game, will the players be tired? This is a suggestion that is entertained on the Chelsea Daft fans blog: “The majority of players have now played two massive games at Wembley last Sunday and [against] Barcelona last night [Wednesday] so I personally can see a whole host of changes being made but keeping the core of our side strong.”
Chelsea fans could be excused for feeling quietly confident ahead of their trip to the Emirates because of their recent record in North London. Despite losing 3-1 at the Emirates the last time these two met, Chelsea had won the previous three, two of those wins being 3-0 and 4-1. Big wins in big matches.
It is unlikely that fans will be disappointed. Chelsea have scored in 11 of their last 12 matches and Arsenal have scored 22 goals in their last 10 games so the fixture screams entertainment.
The Blues are unlikely to be too bothered about the entertainment factor. They will be riding on a wave of euphoria and optimism and they will look to continue their recent impressive form.
A win really puts them in to Champions League qualification contention but a defeat could leave the Blues five points off the top four with just four games remaining. It is a juggling act for Di Matteo, but he has managed to keep the fans happy so far.
See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Arsenal v Chelsea