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Ancelotti see’s Villa game as the ultimate test

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By Lawrence Donaldson.

This week Paulo Ferreira stated that some of the veteran stars in Chelsea’s dressing room fear that they may end their careers without a champions league winners medal:

“We’ve reached the final one year and very nearly reached it other times. Several players feel it’s a trophy we are missing.” He told the Daily Mail.

Defeat to Inter certainly ended their hopes of going down in European history for yet another year but at least the league can now become their first priority. After a difficult match against Blackburn, which ended one a piece, Chelsea appeared back to their dominating best with an emphatic win over Pompey on Wednesday. However even manager Ancelotti is finding it hard to disguise his rawness over Chelsea’s recent results. The Italian see’s Saturdays match as a true test of whether their poor recent luck is over:

‘I hope the bad period for us is finished. We’ll only know on Saturday whether it has’

The Chelsea manager has stated that they need 86 points to win the title meaning only one defeat could be taken in their final 8 games. With the showdown at Old Trafford next week this game is a vital as they come. Villa have done their now familiar disappearing at the end of the season act, although proving still very hard to beat without losing in their last 7 games. Indeed many of Villas draws could quite easily have been capitalised upon and as Martin O’Neil stated just a two victories instead of draws would have left things looking very different. O’Neil believes the season is far from over:

‘’…But we all have tough fixtures, none tougher than us this Saturday. But honestly there will be twists and turns. It’s tight.”

So this is a vital game for both teams at a vital point in the season as Chelsea and villa chase first and fourth spot respectively. It is also a dress rehearsal for the FA cup semi final on the 10th of April which in theory could be all these two teams have left to play for by then.  However at this vital point in the season it is also a time when squad strength shines through. Despite the immense strength and depth at Chelsea injuries are still a mounting concern, as Didier Drogba pointed out, especially in their defensive line:

‘’We’re going to miss Ricardo(Carvalho), (Branislav) Ivanovic, Ashley(Cole),(Jose) Bosingwa, so many. But I think we are doing a great season even without our players’

Add to that list Michael Essien who like Bowingwa and Ivanovic is facing a knee problem whilst Cole and Carvalho are facing ankle injuries. Carvalho who was injured in the Pompey match has left Chelsea with just John Terry and Alex in the centre of defence. However, on a plus note Wednesdays match saw Drogba reach thirty league goals for the season in all competitions, with Lampard and Malouda in fine form as well.

Drogba was also keen to point Chelsea’s focus and how this match will affect their all important clash with United:

‘’This season has been so long and so difficult that I prefer to win the league. To do that, it’s important we beat Aston Villa so we can go to Old Trafford [next Saturday] with a lot of confidence.”

Villa are facing a similar glut of injuries with Agbonlahor (toe), Dunne, Heskey & Milner (all Achilles) doubtful and  Harewood (foot) and Reo-Coker (ankle) injured.

Saturdays match is an all important test for both of these teams, the result of which will have a defining effect on the outcome of the season. Chelsea will be confident after Wednesdays result and Villa will be comforted by the fact that they won when these teams met back in October. Interestingly at that point in the season Chelsea where still second and villa were only one place higher than they currently are, in 6th, in some ways belying the months of toil that have intervened this fixture and the last.

What do you think the result will be? Please leave your comments below….

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