Club Focus – Chelsea – Confident Ancelotti proclaims victory ahead of Blues’ trip to Wolves

Chelsea manager, Carlo Ancelotti, gave an assured forecast that his struggling side ‘would win’ when the Blues travel to the Midlands on Wednesday to face bottom side Wolves in desperate need of a positive result. Ancelotti’s side started 2011 with another disappointment and more dropped points in Sunday’s 3-3 draw with Aston Villa and have not won on the road since the end of October when they returned from Blackburn 2-1 victors – six games in all competitions including four defeats.

After fighting back from behind in the last ten minutes against Villa only to concede an injury-time equaliser, the fifth-placed Blues have now taken just ten points from an available 30 in their last ten Premier League matches, a run that simply has to improve if they to keep up with the leading clubs. Manchester United pulled three points ahead of their city rivals with victory over Stoke on Tuesday night, as Manchester City travel to third-placed Arsenal on Wednesday. Chelsea’s poor form will need to recover if they are to achieve a place in the top four and a spot in next season’s Champions League, but the fact the club currently have 35 points after 20 Premier League matches, their fewest points at this stage since the 2001/2002 season when they finished in sixth-place, will not assure fans of their credentials to retain their Premier League crown.

Despite the Blues dreadful run, Ancelotti insisted that his side is ready to turn the corner, starting with three points on Wednesday night at Mick McCarthy’s Wanderers: “We will not lose, we will win,” the Italian boldly predicted. “We are improving, the team is very close to moving on from the bad moment. I have confidence that the team will improve.” Chelsea have missed opportunities in the closing stages of recent games, conceding late goals to drop points against Everton and Aston Villa, as well as Didier Drogba’s injury-time penalty miss away to Tottenham that denied his side victory, an important fact not lost on Ancelotti. “We drew against Everton with a goal in the 86th minute, we conceded a goal in the last minute against Aston Villa and missed a penalty in the last minute against Tottenham,” the Chelsea boss said. “We lost six points in the last minutes. We could have been at the top of the table.”

Going into the match, the West Londoners have not failed to beat Wolves in the Premier League, with five meetings and five wins. Their two trips to Molineux have yielded 5-0 and 2-0 victories and the Blues have not lost there since January 1983 in the old Second Division. Chelsea have Branislav Ivanovic available after his suspension for the weekend game with Villa and should return to the centre of defence, replacing Jeffrey Bruma who made his debut in the Serbian internationals’ absence. Ancelotti will again be without long term absentees Alex, Yuri Zhirkov and Yossi Benayoun while John Obi Mikel is still unavailable after his injury induced half-time withdrawal against Arsenal on December 27.

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