Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Blues on Ancelotti´s wavelength as Rovers await

SoccerNews in English Premier League 24 Oct 2009


Carlo Ancelotti’s English might still be a work in progress, but the Italian is currently happy for Chelsea to provide eloquence on his behalf.

On every occasion the west Londoners have been asked a taxing question since Ancelotti took charge, they have provided an articulate response.

A shambolic defeat at Wigan was followed by a brutally efficient win over Liverpool; then, just when their credentials appeared to be undermined by another notable wobble, this time at Aston Villa, they reaffirmed them in stylish fashion with a 4-0 thrashing of Atletico Madrid.

It all makes ominous reading for Blackburn Rovers ahead of their visit to Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Chelsea may have been prone to the odd bout of brain-freeze on their travels this term, but their imperiousness on home soil has been a throwback to the days of Jose Mourinho.

Four wins out of four in the English Premier League, including 10 goals for and just one against, are the kind of statistics which usually add up to a title challenge.

Chelsea are also one step ahead of their rivals in a different form of numbers game.

The club’s serene progress in the Champions League this season, where they have won all three games without conceding, is a mark of their strength in depth.

They have not once been able to call upon Didier Drogba, their talismanic striker, due to the three-match European ban awarded for his foul-mouthed rant at Tom Henning Ovrebo, the referee for last season’s semi-final with Barcelona.

Chelsea’s ability to shrug off adversity is in stark contrast to some of their title rivals, most obviously Liverpool, who have laboured in the absence of the injured Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres, a point that has not gone unnoticed at Stamford Bridge.

“We’re very fortunate at Chelsea,” Frank Lampard, their England midfielder, said.

“Since Roman Abramovich came, we’ve had a lot of strength in depth – like with Salomon Kalou scoring twice against Atletico with Didier Drogba being out.

“People said we would struggle without Didier, but we didn’t. If you take Torres out of their team, who do they (Liverpool) bring in?

“It’s difficult. We have players that are not here only to make up the numbers, but players that are fighting and working hard every day in training to come in and really prove themselves.”

Lampard had failed to score from open play for his club all season until he plundered Chelsea’s third goal against Atletico with a typically crisp long-range drive.

Presumably, any relief felt by Lampard will have been mirrored by Ancelotti.

Sam Allardyce’s Blackburn have lost all three league games on their travels, leaking 11 goals in the process, and were thrashed 6-2 by Arsenal in their last outing to the capital.

They might venture south buoyed by their east Lanacashire derby win over Burnley, but few of their fans will be travelling with great expectations.

“Looking at the fixtures, beating Burnley gives us a better opportunity to nick something from the next two games than we would otherwise have done,” maintained Allardyce.

“It was a great three points bearing in mind it was a local derby and that our next two away games are Chelsea and Manchester United.

“It was important we got to 10 points as quickly as possible as these fixtures are going to be difficult.”



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