If the John Terry saga hasn’t providing enough pressure for the Blues, heading into the Arsenal game and 1-1 draw with Hull certainly has.
Didier Drogba returned to the starting line up and although his free kick was well executed to draw the sides level, his reintroduction may have unsettled the momentum. The trio of Joe Cole, Flourent Malouda and Nicolas Anelka had found their rhythm with synchronising runs and flowing football seeing them combine elegantly for the opening goal against Burnley. However the renewal of the Ivorian into the side may have disrupted the Blues surging form of late. J.Cole was the unfortunate party as his position in the side was compromised in favour of Portuguese playmaker Deco. Boaz Myhill produced another astonishing performance fending the Hull goal, which was bombarded for large periods throughout the game. Chelsea’s 21 shots at goal compared to Hull’s mere seven largely reflects a game dominated by the Blues. Phil Brown may hold some validity in his post-match interview however as his side did defend valiantly, his claims that they deserved all three points are somewhat bizarre when they managed just 40% possession.
The Tigers did battle for the duration of the game and often came out on top of the midfield battles as Deco was easily brushed aside on a number of occasions. The compact game made it difficult for players like Deco, Malouda and Yuri Zhirkov to influence, their impact was restricted by a hard-working Hull contingency. Uplifting news for the Blues however regards the summer transfer window, as the Court of Arbitration for Sports announced the impending transfer ban would be lifted after Lens and Chelsea agreed a settlement over the terms of the Gael Kakuta transfer. With the embargo put to rest, fans can relax after a worryingly desolate January window. Without any reinforcements introduced during the window many were sceptical that the ageing squad could front a serious challenge in the 2010/11 season. These fears have largely subsided with Ancelotti having once again funds and an opportunity to express his managerial desires in the summer months. The news comes as a welcome break to the Londoners after a turbulent season thus far (off the pitch), with players taking the headlines for all the wrong reasons.
The Blues necessitate a win at Arsenal in their pursuit of league glory. With Terry expected to find out his England captaincy future in the coming days, Ancelotti and the blues faithful will hope the outcome fails to impact on the proceedings. The tie at Arsenal is likely to be well fought with Fabregas and Drogba both presented good league form this season their impact could be key. The saying big players win big games has often been well demonstrated in this fixture and Drogba’s performance is essential to Chelsea hopes.