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April: A Preview


Charles Ryder
Chelsea Megastore
Chelsea Megastore

Chelsea Megastore

April: How will we fare?  

20 members have voted

  1. 1. April: How will we fare?

    • 15 points in the league, progression in both cups
      1
    • 15 points in the league, progression in one or neither cup
      1
    • 12-13 points in the league, progression in both cups
      4
    • 12-13 points in the league, progression in one or neither cup
      0
    • 9-11 points in the league, progression in both cups
      7
    • 9-11 points in the league, progression in one or neither cup
      4
    • 6-10 points in the league, progression in both cups
      1
    • 6-10 points in the league, progression in one or neither cup
      1
    • Less than 6 points in the league, progression in one or neither cup
      1


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Sorry for being a bit late on parade with this, the FA Cup paragraphs are a tad moot now.

 

Still, vote away! :wink:
 

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Chelsea’s defeat at the hands of Southampton has left us staring down the barrel of a last minute collapse in our push for a Champions League spot, with Spurs climbing above us and Arsenal lying in wait not far behind.

 

Three into two doesn’t go and unless Manchester City suffer a sharp slump in form, April is shaping up as a three-way, all London tussle for third and fourth.

 

The fact that our fixture list for the month is packed with cup ties puts as at a distinct disadvantage, with games coming thick and fast.

 

We kick things off this afternoon with the visit of Manchester United in an FA Cup replay clash. The prospect of a Wembley semi-final against Manchester City awaits the victors, and both teams will be going all out to keep their chances of a double alive.

 

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson put his teams lacklustre second half performance at Old Trafford in the first leg down to tiredness, and both teams will be battling fatigue at the Bridge after competing in league fixtures just 48 hours earlier.

 

The Europa League quarter final beckons next, with the visit of Rubin Kazan for the first leg on Thursday. The Russian side currently sit fourth in their domestic league, and have beaten the likes of Inter Milan, Atletico Madrid and Levante to get to this stage of the competition.

 

Our first league fixture of the month sees the visit of Sunderland to Stamford Bridge. After the recent dismissal of Martin O’Neill, the Black Cats moved swiftly to appoint Paolo Di Canio into the hot seat as they attempt to stave off relegation.

 

The club recorded four league defeats in February but with the potential of the fabled ‘new manager bounce’ coming into play, Chelsea will be wary of taking them too lightly.

 

A tough away trip to Russia awaits for the second leg of our Europa League tie, with the team set to visit Moscow’s gargantuan Luzhniki stadium. The ground doesn’t hold happy memories for Chelsea fans after our Champions League final defeat there in 2008, but a failed pitch inspection at Rubin’s regular home necessitated the late change in venue.

 

Former Chelsea manager Andre Villas Boas returns to the Bridge with Tottenham on the 14th of April, for a match that will no doubt be a season defining one. Much has transpired since Roberto Di Matteo led us to a 4-2 victory at White Hart Lane in the early months of our league campaign, and Spurs will be desperate to strike a blow to strengthen their chances of Champions League qualification.

 

Another London derby is on the cards next up, with a short journey to face Fulham at Craven Cottage. Since the turn of the new year Martin Jol’s side have only suffered defeat in the league at the hands of the two Manchester clubs, and will fancy their chances against a Chelsea side they contained easily at the Bridge in our last encounter.

 

A visit to Anfield is next up, Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool side are chasing European qualification for next season but a late climb into a Champions League spot looks unlikely. The team will be desperate to finish ahead of local rivals Everton, though, so will not lack motivation as the season heads into it’s final weeks.

 

April wraps up with the visit of Michael Laudrup’s Swansea City. The Welsh side overcame Chelsea in a league cup double header back in January, en route to their first major domestic trophy in English football. The club are chasing a top ten finish this season, but have yet to record back to back league wins in 2013.

 

Key Players

 

Peter Cech: With our back four set to be rotated heavily this month, the constant presence of our Czech shot stopper in goal will be vital. Cech has come up with big saves lately, but our defensive struggles have seen us fail to clinch clean sheets on a regular basis. Petr’s ability and experience need to come to the fore if we’re to have any hope of achieving our targets.

 

Juan Mata: It is an oft repeated line, but it cannot be ignored. Without Juan Mata Chelsea struggle. More often than not, in fact, we simply don’t win. Juan’s second season at Stamford Bridge has been even more impressive than his first, and his influence will be crucial as we head into the run in.

 

Prediction

 

April is an extremely congested month on paper, and no opponent can be taken for granted. London derbies against Spurs and Fulham will test our mettle, whilst Liverpool and Swansea will also be significant hurdles to clear.

 

We’re currently perilously close to dropping out of the Champions League race if we take our eye off the prize, and the two cup competitions have to take a back seat for the sake of the long term health of the club.

 

Failure to qualify would be detrimental to our hunt for a new manager, not to mention the clubs finances.

 
Edited by Lofty 1905
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I don't see a finish out of the top 4 to be the end of the world like a lot of people make it out to be, manager's know that we're a top club with quality young players and an owner willing to splash the cash, if anything managers will be able to take credit for getting us back into the top 4 which in reality should be a fairly simple job, i'd take a cup double and 5th over 4th and nothing any day.

 

I'm predicting wins over sunderland and spuds, and draws with fulham and the dippers, ending with a win against swansea.

 

As well as progression against Rubin. 

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I don't see a finish out of the top 4 to be the end of the world like a lot of people make it out to be, manager's know that we're a top club with quality young players and an owner willing to splash the cash, if anything managers will be able to take credit for getting us back into the top 4 which in reality should be a fairly simple job, i'd take a cup double and 5th over 4th and nothing any day.

 

I'm predicting wins over sunderland and spuds, and draws with fulham and the dippers, ending with a win against swansea.

 

As well as progression against Rubin. 

 

 

I think failure to qualify would be a stumbling block to getting Jose back, other managers wouldn't even factor it into their decision in all likelihood, so you're very much correct on that front.

 

I just can't get excited about the potential of cup wins under Rafa, winning the FA Cup with Robbie meant a heck of a lot, seeing the bumbling idiot holding the trophy aloft would be painful to stomach.

 

In all likelihood though, Mancini will get the better of him again and he won't get the chance to add to that illustrious CV he loves to talk about at every opportunity.

Edited by Lofty 1905
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I think failure to qualify would be a stumbling block to getting Jose back, other managers wouldn't even factor it into their decision in all likelihood, so you're very much correct on that front.

 

I just can't get excited about the potential of cup wins under Rafa, winning the FA Cup with Robbie meant a heck of a lot, seeing the bumbling idiot holding the trophy aloft would be painful to stomach.

 

In all likelihood though, Mancini will get the better of him again and he won't get the chance to add to that illustrious CV he loves to talk about at every opportunity.

 

I think Jose would love to come back as the Messiah.

 

And if there is one manager dumb enough to get outwitted by the waiter, it is probably Mancini.

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We're mostly a cup team these days so I expect us to do well in both of them. Not sure we'll get past City but I'm sure knobhead will rest our best players in the league game before the City tie so we'll probably do alright. I'm reluctantly optimistic as I'd rather we focused on CL places than the FA Cup.

 

I'm hopeful we'll scrape a CL place but I wouldn't be surprised if FSW f**ked it up in favour of the other 2.

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Rafa will have a big dilemma come the FA cup semi on 14th as we go away to Kazan on the 11th, what sort of team will he play for the Europa League? 

The FA Cup is his best chance of a trophy as we are one game away from a final, a final which will be against either Millwall or Wigan.

My hope is he puts out a similar team against Kazan as he did against Southampton, and if they go through well then that's a bonus. 

The league has to be the priority.

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I don't see a finish out of the top 4 to be the end of the world like a lot of people make it out to be, manager's know that we're a top club with quality young players and an owner willing to splash the cash, if anything managers will be able to take credit for getting us back into the top 4 which in reality should be a fairly simple job, i'd take a cup double and 5th over 4th and nothing any day.

 

I'm predicting wins over sunderland and spuds, and draws with fulham and the dippers, ending with a win against swansea.

 

As well as progression against Rubin. 

We're probably in a minority here Jonty but I feel exactly the same, give me two  trophies and 5th if that's the worst case scenario as nothing beats winning a trophy, especially in a bad season.

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I think the Interims rotation will cost us, He has the FA Cup firmly in his sights and His reputation is his main concern...easy to see after not only his team selection vs Southampton but his statement to the press about "Chelsea having a great season".

 

I'm not convinced he will rotate too much for the Ruben games as he will when the two legs at Wembley come along so we shouldn't drop too many points in the next games although anything could happen against Tottenham as on their day and with Bale they can be a handful, of course the Liverpool game with the spouser at the helm is going to be interesting.

 

For my predictions (impossible with him in charge) I'd guess we'll get a win against the Russians at home, the three points against Sunderland, a draw in Russia, a draw at home to Spurs, win at Fulham and a draw with the interims lot followed by three points against Swansea...The semi with City I don't see going well for us and if the result rests on Benitez outwitting Manacini for me that makes it even less likely his CV will improve.

 

We're having a great season alright, even victory is tarnished by his presence and as Lofty has said the thought of him holding up a trophy doesn't make any goosepimples come up down my spine...can anyone imagine the players throwing him up in the air like they did Robbie? we'd have to bring Micky Droy and Dave Webb on to get him off the ground.

Edited by Chippy
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