I was gutted when I realized I would miss our Champions League clash with PSG at Stamford Bridge but, going by the result, I think it was for the best otherwise something was meant to be broken.
Getting out so early from the most prestigious competition in the world sure hurts, even more so when you are as big a club like Chelsea and opposition fans just need a excuse to criticise and rant about you. But as Mourinho said in his most match interview:
“When a team cannot defend two corners and concedes two goals from a corner a team doesn’t deserve to win”!
And rightly so!
Anyways, let bygones be bygones. We still have a Premier League to play for and to win and for that we must not succumb to the pressure just like we did in the midweek. Apparently, our Captain thinks the same way too:
“There is an awful lot to do but it’s in our hands and we have to respond. We’re a few points clear and we need to keep that gap and maintain it.” “Southampton will come here playing on the front foot. And, if we’re not at it, we’ll drop points and slip away in the Premier League.” – JOHN TERRY
The message is clear from the Captain. We need to get back up and motivate ourselves after that defeat against PSG. Being kicked out of Champions League is sure gonna hurt bad but completing a double would still prove to be a successful season for us.
So, what are we waiting for? Let’s get on with the Key Player Battles to see which battles may play the biggest part in the outcome of this game.
OSCAR vs MORGAN SCHNEIDERLIN
It’s obvious that we haven’t been scoring goals freely for the past few games, and although, some of it is down to Diego Costa being sort of out of touch, there’s no denying that we haven’t been creative enough in the middle either.
The Cesc Fabregas of the first half of the season is missing partly due to fatigue and mainly due to the opposition teams closing the maestro down in the midfield. In these sort of situations, you need other players to take the responsibility and although, Eden Hazard has been brilliant on the Left Wing, we need someone to dictate the play from the middle. And for that, who else to look over to, other than your NO.10.
Oscar was brilliant in the first half of the season with some consistent performances for the Blues, but the Brazilian has been suffering from his usual “second half season syndrome”. With the opposition closing down Fabregas in the middle, we need Oscar to step up his game when he starts at the Bridge tomorrow against an excellent player in Morgan Schneiderlin.
Schneiderlin has been the best player for the Saints in this season so far and already has top club lined up for his services in the summer. If he can keep the Brazilian quiet is something we would know tomorrow. This is sure going to be one hell of a battle to look forward to!
DUSAN TADIC vs NEMANJA MATIC
This sure is going to be a game which will be won in the midfield with both teams quite heavy in the middle. Dusan Tadic, the Serbian international, has been one of the most creative players for the Saints this season and if we can remember correctly, he along with Sadio Mane gave us quite a headache when we met them away in the 1-1 draw in December last year.
Along with his creative skills, Tadic is also the primary set piece taker for the Saints, which is something he is very good at, probably one of the best in the league! So, we have to be very careful in giving away fouls in our own half otherwise, the Serbian is perfectly capable of exploiting the opportunity, and given our performances gainst set-pieces in the midweek, we sure would do well without conceding those silly mistakes.
Nemanja Matic, as usual, will have to be on top of his game when he starts at the Bridge tomorrow and he will have the primary job of closing down his international team-mate if Chelsea are to win the three points and go 8 points clear at the top. A battle, quite interesting to look forward to.
EDEN HAZARD vs NATHANIEL CLYNE
There’s no rest for the best!
Eden Hazard has been the top performer for the Blues this season with his daunting runs and magical moves and the Belgian has also been one of the most consistent players for us which says a lot on how much he has grown from last year or so.
The Winger has started regularly for us on the Left Wing and has that position locked down to his name. Destroying Fullbacks by cutting inside from the wing with unbelievable speed and some amazing trickery seems to be his primary objective whenever he has the ball and the Belgian needs to continue that when he starts tomorrow against Nathanial Clyne.
The highly rated Southampton Right-Back has been a revelation for the Saints this season with some very good performances on the wings. He sure faces a tough task though, when he comes up against one of the very best in the business, making this battle one of the most interesting and exciting to watch out for!
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Edited By: Ankur Bhatt