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And now the hard work begins.


ethicalstrategy

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So far, so good. Some nice football, plenty of grit when required and a strong team spirit have all got us of to the perfect start.

But, whilst we have had some tricky matches, the real test of how we are progressing and whether we can go on and win the league starts next Sunday.

We face potential top 4 teams in 6 out of our next ten matches with only the games against Wigan, Blackburn, Bolton and Wolves looking relatively straightforward.

20 Sun H Tottenham Hotspur

26 Sat A Wigan Athletic

4 Sun H Liverpool

17 Sat A Aston Villa

24 Sat H Blackburn Rovers

31 Sat A Bolton Wanderers

8 Sun H Manchester United

21 Sat H Wolves

29 Sun A Arsenal

5 Sat A Manchester City

I'm confident we will come out of this stretch of games in good shape but it won't be easy, especially as they are interspersed with Carling Cup and CL matches too.

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Although we have not set the world alight with our football, and at times we have made a few errors in defence (see Cech at Stoke), overall I think we can be described as an extremley tough nut to crack.

But as you say, here comes the potential nutcrackers.

Its important to remember that all the other potentials have their own problems and agendas, manure, the dippers and le arse have already lost games this season and they are feeling the pressure, especially Rafa and Wenger, both are under extreme pressure to come up with some silverware this season, Hughsie isnt under as much pressure at Citeh, but he has got a hell of a job breaking into the top 4, even after Saturdays result against Le Arse, its a very long season.

Were in a much better position going into this tough period, and I feel we have the strength of character to pull through this and still be top of the league. Heres hoping anyway.

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i think the game against spurs this weekend will be the telling one

we seen utd beat them rather comfortably with 10 men and although i wouldn't consider them to have a realistic chance of making the top 4, i would group them in a top 6 that can all take points off each other

a bit of added pressure going for the record number of league victories in a row (seen someone post it, they didn't seem convinced so i'm not sure if that's true lol)

i am a bit worried about this game. think this could well be the end of the 100%

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I was thinking the other day that, should we really be title contenders, our opening few fixtures shouldn't be a problem. Yes we've had problems against Fulham in recent seasons and trips up north are always grim - but Champion's don't lose, or draw those games.

Now, like said above, the real test begins. I hope the loss of Modric affects Spurs and they role over waiting for it to be stuck up them like they did against the Mancs. Still, I've spent the last couple of seasons studying the fixtures list and trying to predict how we'll end up after the next x number of games. In the 2004.05 season I took it one game at a time, and I intend to do the same this time round. Next up - Porto. Let's get 3 points and push on from there. One thing for sure though is that Drogba will get a full weeks rest in time for our next Premier League match.

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A very tricky few weeks for us, and think it'll be a fun/excrutiating time for us Chelsea fans. The troble is, we'ver looked amazing in some games and then really close to throwing away points in others. Stoke is a prime example; going 1-0 down and then relying on injury time not once but twice! And we all know how injury time goals upset our competitors.

Last season the Scousers were the team most likely to score in the last 15 minutes of their games, in fact I believe those goals were responsible for getting them into the position they found themselves. Take those goals away and I'm pretty sure we'd've finished 2nd.

However, these late goals can be seen in two lights. Firstly, it is the grit and determination of a Championship contending side that they never give up. Secondly, we are spawny gets. Either way, late goals effect us with the belief that it ain't over till the finaly whistle, and it also keeps opposition on their toes the whole game. I think that the real tests begin now, especially in the CL without Drogba, to see how we "really" look.

I feel much more confident with Ancelotti at the helm than I did with Scolari, and the recent run has been a great morale builder so hopefully we can make that count. I just keep remembering that we took so few points (I think it was 1 point) against the top 4 under Scolari. We simply can't let that happen again.

Scott

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The difference between us this year and the Dippers last year is that we scored in injury time in two games after having battered them for the entire half.

Liverpool scored an injury time winner (iirc) in every other game until the middle of October, and I'll be damned if they deserved even a third of those wins.

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It's important that we win our Home fixtures against the bigger clubs. Last year we had the red scum, the red scum and the other red scum all at home for the first half of the season and came away with one point iirc. I don't think that was good enough. Nah...not good enough.

We have Arse away first this season but lets take the other two by their balls...or in Fernando's case, by the purse, and get business done early this year.

Sound good?

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i reckon theres only man utd in that list that can cause us any real problems

so nothing to worry about

I disagree.

Looking at the schedule, I see several opportunities for lost points. Thankfully though, while teams like Sunderland and Stoke are getting better, Wigan seems to be on the decline, so that should be some easy points.

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If we could get 25points or more out of these ten games i think we would have passed them with flying colours. We have had a great start to the season and sure they are all teams we should be beating but we have still had to go out there and perform. Long may it continue!!

Just as a sidenote checked our start to last season and we had 11 points at this stage so things have started well.

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Many thanks, plokkers - you must excuse me, I'm incredibly old :D

No, no, BB, you're not incredibly old - it's these kiddies who are incredibly abbreviatory!

And phrases like "If I recall correctly" usually mean "I'm bloody sure I'm right".

Just like imho (In my humble opinion) is always uttered by people who have never known the slightest twinge of humility in all their lives!

Old folk rule, OK? :D

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No, no, BB, you're not incredibly old - it's these kiddies who are incredibly abbreviatory!

And phrases like "If I recall correctly" usually mean "I'm bloody sure I'm right".

Just like imho (In my humble opinion) is always uttered by people who have never known the slightest twinge of humility in all their lives!

Old folk rule, OK? ;)

I have to say, I was confused when I read "iirc" aswell. I had no idea what it meant either BB! Here I am - 17 going on 70.

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The early signs from Carlo are very encouraging. The second half display at Sunderland was superb, and the same goes for Burnley.

Howeverm it all seems a little reminiscent of Scolari's early days so I'm trying not to get to far ahead of myself (It's bloody hard when we're winning!). Porto last night was our biggest test so far and in some ways it was good that we struggled a little, as it should keep feet and the ground and heads out the clouds.

As mentioned, the upcoming fixtures will be more of a challenge. As long as we knock a few past Spuds I'll be chuffed.

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I'm waiting for it as well. I'm also waiting to know exactly what that means. Come on moi. Commence the dousing.

It won't be holy water, it'll be fire and brimstone! To douse/dowse is to put out or extinguish.

I know what lmao means - a variation of lmfcao, I imagine. But I can't work out what gtfo means! (Grate the fresh orange? Greeks treat French 'orribly?)

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