F.A Cup Final: Carlo confident of Chelsea double
By Joe Carroll.
Chelsea go into this afternoon’s F.A Cup final against Portsmouth in confident mood and with no new injury worries after John Terry’s brief scare. Chelsea and England fans feared the worst when news broke out on Wednesday afternoon that the Blues skipper suffered a suspected broken foot in training. The worst was due to be confirmed by a scan that same day, but reports followed that the scan revealed nothing but heavy bruising and that the ex England captain would be fit not only for the events in South Africa, but more importantly for Chelsea fans, this afternoon’s encounter at Wembley.
With confirmation that his captain will be fit and proper for battle, Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti was even more upbeat about his side’s chances of lifting the world’s most famous, domestic cup competition for the second year running. Victory at the new Wembley will be even more special for all concerned at the club, as the current 09/10 team will become the first Chelsea team to win a league and cup double and it will also be the 11th ‘double’ won since Preston North End achieved the feat for the first time in 1889.
“We are in focus for the next game, said Ancelotti.
“Everyone knows how important this competition is and I am happy because the team have trained well and are in focus. We want to win this cup.”
After their 8-0 demolition of Wigan Athletic on the final league game of the season last week, not mentioning their tremendous run of form in the final phase of the season their is every reason for every Blue to feel as confident as Ancelotti that Chelsea can bring home their second piece of silverware in six days.
The Blues, since their mid March Champions League exit to Inter Milan have lost just once; defeat coming to London rivals Tottenham Hotspur last month. In clinching the Premier League trophy, they also finished with the league’s leading scorer (Didier Drogba with 29) and broke the Premier League record for most goals scored in a season, clocking up no fewer than 103 strikes- a phenomenal feat.
That record owes much to the team’s ability not just to beat teams, but to dessicate them and on no fewer than four occasions this term have Chelsea scored seven goals at home. Their away form does not make for similar reading, however they did record an emphatic 5-0 victory over today’s Wembley opponents Portsmouth. That game back in March proved to be somewhat of a revival for a club down on its luck after defeat to Inter Milan and a bore draw away to Blackburn Rovers.
So how fitting it should be that the team that so willingly let the roaming legions of Roman sweep five past them, be the team standing in their way of more glory. Portsmouth have surprised many not only for reaching this year’s F.A Cup final, but for their resistance to lie down and die after long realising long ago that their Premier League status had been relinquished. They overcame a strong Tottenham side in the semi finals, beating the man who brought the club F.A Cup success back in 2008.
Since then it’s all rather fallen apart for the south coast club, with crippling finances revealed to be at the heart of their problems. But that is not to say that their off-field problems will have any bearing on their performance this afternoon. Portsmouth have enjoyed a strong run of form in the latter part of the season and their players will be desperate to put aside a season of misery with potentially the biggest cup upset of all time.
Chelsea must be focused if they are to finish the season on a high that not many fans would have been dreaming of earlier in the season. But Ancelotti has proved resilient and has been able to make changes to a stuttering side whilst getting the very best out of players that have not been so used to pulling their weight. Florent Malouda has enjoyed his best season in English football whilst Salomon Kalou looks far more like an established Premier League player.
But one man who Chelsea have always been able to rely on, and one they have seen enjoy a fine season is midfield maestro Frank Lampard, who has echoed the words of his manager:
“We’ve had our day and a half of celebrating and quite rightly so. Since Tuesday we’ve been in training and after a long season it would be a big shame not to focus and concentrate on the last week and let ourselves down.”
It seems Ancelotti has primed his players mentally as well as physically for this cup final, instilling in his players the cautious approach to every game that has served the Italian so well in is first season in English football. Fan’s can rest assured that the eyes will be firmly on the prize this afternoon, and that before they board the plane for South Africa, Chelsea’s players will be concentrating all their efforts on doubling their season’s efforts.
Chelsea: No new injury worries for the Blues after Terry’s injury scare proved to be nothing too frightening, so an unchanged team could be on the cards. Bosingwa, Carvalho and Mikel remain sidelined.
Portsmouth: Jamie O’Hara will be hoping to play this afternoon after missing most of the end of the season. The midfielder has been suffering with a double stress fracture in his back, but has received pain killing injections in a bid to be fit. Aruna Dindane (groin), Kevin-Prince Boateng (ankle) and Marc Wilson (hamstring) are also doubtful.
Possible Line Ups
Chelsea: Cech, A.Cole, Terry, Alex, Ivanovich, Malouda, Lampard, Ballack, Kalou, Anelka, Drogba
Portsmouth: James, Mullins, Finnan, Rocha, Mokoena, O’Hara, Diop, Yebda, Van den Borre, Piquionne, Dindane
Who will lift the famous trophy at the famous stadium this afternoon?…Will Drogba continue his excellent goal-scoring form?…Will John Terry come through unscathed for the World Cup?…please leave your comments below…
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