Stamford Bridge, London
October 19, 2013; 15:00 GMT
After an exciting round of World Cup qualifiers which saw its fair share of surprises and entertainment, Premier League action will resume this weekend in earnest. The phase that follows immediately after these international breaks is usually a tricky one and clubs sometimes end up losing momentum built prior to these breaks. It is with this in mind that Chelsea will welcome Cardiff City to Stamford Bridge. Results had begun going Chelsea’s way after some early jitters, but the Londoners will have to guard against both inertia and complacency against a relatively weaker opponent. It has always been a feature of Jose Mourinho’s teams that they hit the ground running, and the Portuguese will be hoping for more of the same from his Chelsea players.
On the other side of the pitch, Cardiff City have been adjusting well to life in the Premier League after an almighty hiatus of fifty four years. The revivalist surge in the latter half of the last decade eventually culminated in securing promotion last season and going by the fact that for their first ever Premier League home game, Cardiff emerged 3-2 winners over Manchester City; the Bluebirds’ fans can have plenty of hopes for the months ahead.
Team News, Tactics & Lineups
Jose Mourinho will be without the services of Fernando Torres and Ashley Cole, the duo joining Marko van Ginkel on the injuries bench and Chelsea will likely be without the two in the immediate future. With no further selection headaches, Mourinho’s team will take to pitch in the familiar 4-2-3-1 formation.
Petr Cech will take his usual position between the posts, assisted by a back-four of Branislav Ivanovic, David Luiz, John Terry and Ryan Bertrand; the young Englishman deputizing in for his injured compatriot, in front of him. The duo of Ramires and Frank Lampard will again feature as part of the holding pivot in the middle of the park. Jose will have the toughest selection decisions to make in the final third with Andre Schuerrle and Eden Hazard both fighting for a place on the left wing, having performed brilliantly during the international break. Oscar and Juan Mata will fill in the other two slots of the attacking trio and will exchange positions between centre and right side of the pitch. Demba Ba, after an impressive outing against Norwich, will again lead the line for Chelsea.
Cardiff have conceded goals aplenty in all but one of their fixtures since the turn of the season and have shown weakness in defending against both counter attacking teams and those which prefer to keep the greater chunk of possession. With the ability to offer the best of both worlds, Chelsea will hope to have a relatively comfortable afternoon.
Probable Starting Lineup (4-2-3-1): Cech(GK); Ivanovic, Luiz, Terry, Bertrand; Ramires, Lampard; Mata, Oscar, Schuerrle; Ba
Manager Malky Mackay has a tough task on his hands in organizing his players for arguably their toughest test yet. Cardiff City have triumphed in West London before, against Fulham late last month, but this one would likely be a little more difficult. Missing the services of Andreas Cornelius, the BlueBirds will take to the field in a 4-2-3-1, the preferred choice over the last few games.
David Marshall, one of their better players this season, will feature between the posts with a back-four comprising Theophile-Catherine, former Tottenham man Steven Caulker, Ben Turner and Andrew Taylor. Gary Medel and Aron Gunnarsson will stand guard in front of their back-four, and with Cardiff likely to be pegged back by Chelsea for the majority of the game, defending is what the two will likely do for most of the part.
Star signing from West Brom, Peter Odemwingie will feature on the right wing, and with Ryan Bertrand coming out with his first Premier League start this season, the duo could slug it out in an interesting battle. Kim Bo-Kyung and Peter Whittingham will attack down the mid and left side of the pitch, while. Fraizer Campbell will lead the line for Cardiff City.
Probable Starting Lineup (4-2-3-1): Marshall(GK); Theophile-Catherine, Caulker, Turner, Taylor; Medel, Gunnarsson; Odemwingie, Bo-Kyung, Whittingham; Campbell
- Chelsea have never lost a home fixture under Jose Mourinho in the Premier League; not the first time around and not this time either.
- Chelsea have won 10 of their last 11 home matches in the Premier League.
- Cardiff City have kept just one clean sheet this season.
- Chelsea and Cardiff city last faced off against each in the FA Cup in 2010, a fixture which was followed by fans of both clubs clashing on King’s Road. Quite the brawl it was.
Player to watch out for
Demba Ba (Chelsea)
Demba Ba was rather cruelly forced out of the picture with all the pre-season talk at Chelsea focusing on Romelu Lukaku and Fernando Torres, and then later on Samuel Eto’o. There was talk of a season long loan to rivals Arsenal which ultimately never materialized. Biding his time, Ba got a run-in against Norwich and proved his worth by assisting Oscar’s goal and creating several chances for himself. With the best attacking trio in the land creating chances for him, expect the Senegalese to get in among the goals.
Chelsea 3-1 Cardiff City
A relatively comfortable afternoon of Premier league football is in the offing for Chelsea. Jose Mourinho, however, would want to guard against complacency among his players, as his Blues look to maintain their winning momentum and pick up three crucial points.
Blast From The Past