Match Preview: Chelsea vs Stoke – Brazilian could make debut at Bridge
Written by Joe Carroll.
Chelsea new boy Ramires could be handed his debut tomorrow in front of his home fans as Stoke City come to the Bridge. Carlo Ancelotti has included the Brazilian in his first team squad which will come face to face with a Stoke City side that felt the full force of a rampant Chelsea side chasing the title back in April. Chelsea have been racking up gargantuan score lines as easily as Man City can throw money at potential signings, and Stoke boss Tony Pulis will not be relishing his latest trip to London.
7-0 was the final score the last time these teams met at SW6, and with the end of their scoring exploits nowhere in sight Chelsea fans can look forward to witnessing another goal fest. As well as the 12 goals scored in their opening two games, Chelsea have scored an incredible 29 goals in their last five Premier League games- conceding none.
With statistics like these, Blues fans have every right to feel confident, if not a little cocky about their sides chances of another convincing three points. Not that Chelsea’s faithful have been walking round with a weighty chip on their shoulder. There seems to be a quiet yet terrifying grace about Chelsea’s recent successes; a nonchalant confidence that has it’s roots deep within the Chelsea camp, stemming from manager, to players and branching as far as the stands.
This attitude to success is the same attitude deployed in Chelsea’s transfer dealings this summer. Whilst not spending an awful lot of money, the Blues have gone about their business quickly and with limited fuss. Yossi Benayoun slipped through the door with the cat, without as much as a glare over the garden fence from their neighbours. Any animosity Liverpool had toward their rivals for ‘pinching’ one of their best players was quickly forgotten when Joe Cole arrived on their doorstep.
Whilst Ramires’ arrival was a little more protracted, it seemed it was always in the bag. After issues with his work permit, the deal was a reality and the ex Benfica midfielder may well get his chance to show his home fans what he’s all about tomorrow. However, after such high quality performances as the 6-0 thumpings of West Brom and Wigan, the Brazilian will have a tough time breaking through a big, talented squad of players and in to that first XI
‘I feel like any player who joins such a big club like Chelsea,’ said Ramires. ‘Now I hope I can give my best and do well like I have done at previous clubs.
‘I have to work hard. When you sign a contract with Chelsea, it never has a clause saying you will be a starting-line-up player.
‘So I just need to try, work hard and hopefully I’ll get into the team.
‘I understand the challenge ahead, the nature of the Premier League and Champions League.
Ramires clearly understands that he may have to bide his time at Stamford Bridge, and perhaps no one at the club understands that more than Salomon Kalou. The Ivorian forward scored a hat-trick in this fixture last season, yet it is a compliment to the quality that Ancelotti has at his disposal that Kalou will most likely start on the bench tomorrow.
Although if all goes according to plan (in other words, if Chelsea find themselves 3-0 up by half time!) then expect to see the introduction of the likes of Ramires and Kalou. If we know Ancelotti by now, we’ll know that the Italian will be keen to keep his substitutes happy, but not at the expense of slipping up needlessly. He knows who he can count on to get the job done and despite the temptation to say that Chelsea’s rise to the top of the league has been ‘easy’ the Italian will be relying on his strongest starting XI to ensure there are no hiccups.
Whilst Chelsea are enjoying life as English football’s most prolific side, it will be even more comforting for Blues fans to learn that tomorrows visitors are nearer to the bottom of the goal scoring charts. Stoke scored a paltry 10 goals away from home in the 09/10 season; the lowest in the league. I’m sure it wont take long for Chelsea’s newest recruit to get in on the act tomorrow.
Chelsea: The boy from Brazil, Ramires is expected to make the bench whilst defender Branislav Ivanovich is not likely to feature. The Serbian has been suffering from a back injury. Chelsea’s long term injury culprits, Jose Bosingwa and Gael Kakuta remain sidelined.
Stoke: It will be touch and go whether Potteries’ new striker Kenwyne Jones will be fit to play after suffering an ankle injury against Wolves. Pulis will be giving the Trinidad and Tobago star every chance of playing right up until kick off. Elsewhere winger Liam Lawrence is a doubt with a groin problem whist Mamady Sidibe will not feature. Stoke’s latest capture Jonathan Walters should make his third start for the club in what should be an unchanged team from last weekend.
Chelsea: Cech, Cole, Terry, Alex, Ferreira, Lampard, Malouda, Essien, Mikel, Anelka, Drogba
Stoke: Sorensen, Huth, Faye, Shawcross, Collins, Delap, Whitehead, Whelan, Etherington, Walters, Fuller
Can Chelsea produce another magnificent performance?…Will they ever stop scoring for fun?…Whose your money on to bag a goal?…please leave your comments below..
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