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Consistent Chelsea warned against final day complacency


By Joe Carroll.

Chelsea will be crowned champions of England this afternoon should they beat Wigan Athletic at Stamford Bridge.

The Londoners are firm favourites going into the final game of the season, as they hold a one point advantage at the top of the Premier League over holders Manchester United.  On paper and with home advantage, Chelsea fans should see their team wrap up their first title win since Jose Mourinho’s tenure at the Bridge, however Carlo Ancelotti has warned his side against any complacency.

Speaking to press on Friday morning, the Italian was his usual, composed self, choosing not to get swept up among the hype of a potential league and cup double:

“There are no more games. If we miss our chance now, there is no chance to recover”, said Ancelotti.

We have to play one more game, nothing is decided yet”.

The Chelsea boss is looking for a strong finish to the season from his players who should be commended for bouncing back after suffering various setbacks throughout the season.  Allegations regarding the personal lives of John Terry and Ashley Cole, as well as the disappointment of a last 16 Champions League exit to Inter Milan have made for turbulent times at Stamford Bridge.  But Ancelotti has never looked like a man capable of panicking in a crisis; the stern, no nonsense expression that occupies the Chelsea hot-seat will no doubt take the plaudits should it be him lifting the Premier League trophy rather than Sir Alex Ferguson.

His Chelsea team has scored more goals than anyone else in the league this term, 95 in total with 60 of them being scored in front of their home fans.  Equally impressive is the fact they have lost just once at home all season- the 4-2 loss to Manchester City in February.

The stats point towards a home win this afternoon, but Chelsea would be foolish to undermine a Wigan side that have already tasted victory against the Blues this season.  A win for the Latics would provide them with an unprecedented double against the Londoners, meaning there is plenty of incentive for manager Roberto Martinez to at least not turn up and lie down.  After their remarkable comeback against Arsenal a few weeks ago- a Charles N’Zogbia last minute stunner completed the comeback after being 2-0 down- Wigan will certainly be in the mood to claim another big name scalp.

Nothing then is decided, and assistant manager Ray Wilkins has echoed the thoughts of his boss regarding the need for Chelsea to be at their very best this afternoon.  The former England player also praised the players for their efforts this season:

“The consistency level the players have shown is the all-important aspect. They have all contributed”, said Wilkins.

“We’ve had such a consistent season and if anybody deserves to win the double, it’s these boys”.

Wilkins’ comments come in light of the club’s awards evening, at which he revealed he couldn’t personally single any member of the team out for the Player of the Season accolade.  The award was won by leading scorer Didier Drogba, but Wilkins insisted that the team efforts on display this season deserve special mention:

“Everybody has done such a great job this year it was very difficult to choose, whether it’s a goalkeeper, defender, midfield player or forward player”

As of yet though, Chelsea have earned nothing and what has been so far a very good season of football should become a great season of winning trophies if they get the desired result against Wigan today.  If the Blues play half as well as they have been all season, then they will no doubt be celebrating the end of a bright season as league champions for only the fourth time in their history.

With an FA Cup final date with Portsmouth arranged for 15th May, their is still plenty to play for as the final game of the season looms.  Chelsea have their destiny in their own hands and another assured performance will ensure that the Premier League trophy ends up in the hands of captain John Terry when the referee blows the final whistle on the final day of a thrilling campaign.

Team News

Chelsea: Ancelotti confirmed on Friday that he will reward those players who helped clinch all three points at Anfield last weekend, with a starting place this afternoon.  While the team is unchanged, the Blues are also still without Ricardo Carvalho, Jose Bosingwa, Michael Essien and John Obi Mikel.

Wigan Athletic: A finger injury to Chris Kirkland means the stopper will miss the game at Stamford Bridge, allowing Vladimir Stojkovic to step in between the posts.  Titus Bramble is not expected to make the game due to a foot injury, whilst N’Zogbia is doubtful with an ankle problem.

Possible Line-Ups

Chelsea: Cech, Cole, Terry, Alex, Ivanovich, Ballack, Lampard, Malouda, Kalou, Anelka, Drogba

Wigan: Stojkovic, Gohouri, Caldwell, Melchiot, Figueroa, Watson, Moses, Gomez, McCarthy, Diame, Rodallega

Will it be a Chelsea romp or another famous Wigan scalp?…What would winning the title mean to Blues fans?…please leave your comments below…

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