It’s not often that a minnow slays a behemoth, but it is precisely that Blackpool will seek to achieve when it takes on the most dominant force currently in the League – Premier League Champions, Chelsea FC. Blackpool, surprisingly at fourth spot in the league standings, have already proven they can spring a surprise or two, but were handed a chastening baptism of fire on their last visit to London, by Arsenal.
The Blues on the other hand will be looking to drain Blackpool of their resolve, chipping away at their defence, till the walls come crashing down. With some of its biggest rivals clashing with each other over the weekend and running the risk of dropping points, Chelsea will be relishing the prospect of steaming even further ahead in the standings. Chelsea, who withstood a spirited Zilina assault mid-week, also have the additional incentive of building a comfortable points cushion in anticipation of a tough game away to Manchester City in a week’s time.
Adding to Ancelotti’s tiny list of worries, will be the fact that Blackpool have performed admirably well on their travels. Currently sitting pretty, just one point behing Manchester United, Blackpool have had a dream start to the season.
Frank Lampard is unlikely to make it, after a successful hernia operation, in his quest to partnering the rampaging Essien in midfield. Bosingwa, the almost forgotten right-back, will still be out of action for another 2 weeks – giving Ivanovic the chance to showcase his wares as a stand-in right back. Ashley Cole, will also come back into the squad in place of Yuri Zhirkov who impressed against Zilina.
Gary Taylor-Fletcher, whose absence was barely felt in the victory over Newcastle United, will return to bolster his side. Coach Ian Holloway will also have the services of Keith Southern, Baptiste and Dekel Keinan to call upon.
Chelsea Possible Starting XI: Cech, Ivanovic, Alex, Terry, Cole, Essien, Ramires, Mikel, Malouda, Drogba, Anelka.
Chelsea Possible Starting XI: Gilks, Baptiste, Eardley, Crainey, Evatt, Adam, Vaughan, Varney, Campbell, Taylor-Fletcher, Grandin.
Chelsea’s home form looks to be too insurmountable an odd, for Blackpool to realistically overcome. Drawing on our extensive knowledge of the game, and a top-secret algorithm known only to Hard Tacklers, we conclude the game will end 3-1 in favor of The Blues.
Blast from the Past
The last time these two sides met, way back in 1996, it was the Seasiders who sprung a surprise on the Blues, winning 3-1 at Stamford Bridge. That was not, however, enough to overhaul the 4-1 win Chelsea FC managed to pull over Blackpool earlier, at Bloomfield Road.
Chelsea’s array of attacking talents will pose a huge threat, one Blackpool will have to neutralize at all cost if they want to stand a chance. Nobody exemplifies that threat better than Didier Drogba. Suspended, almost as usual, from the start of the Champions League, and watching his lesser prolific teammates add to their individual tallies, the big Ivorian will be salivating at the prospect of cementing his reputation as last season’s top scorer.