An immovable object met an unstoppable force on Saturday at Brittania Stadium.
Stoke City are unbeaten at home this season. Chelsea had beaten Stoke 5 out of 5 times in the Premier League, a perfect record. Something had to give.
The loser? Chelsea’s chances of retaining their Premiership title. They vaporized in a 1-1 draw. Manchester United now sit 11 points clear with just eight contests remaining after coming back from 2-0 at West Ham.
With one eye firmly on Wednesday’s massive Champions League match against Manchester United, Carlo Ancelotti might have let a victory slip away. He’s probably not too disappointed. His clear priority was protecting his star players.
On the bench were Fernando Torres and Branislav Ivanovic. Ramires was yanked in the second half despite being Chelsea’s most dangerous player, as was Anelka. Ancelotti was trying to keep key players fresh for Wednesday after a busy week of international play.
It’s one of the questions we’ve been asking since Studge went out on loan and started scoring goals constantly – what to do with him when the loan spell is over?
Sturridge has scored six goals in seven Premier League matches for Bolton and was ineligible for their FA Cup semifinal last weekend, where they clearly missed his presence and goalscoring ability. It’s refreshing to watch him be able to start matches and score goals, but could that happen for him regularly next season at Chelsea?
The 21-year-old recently stated that he does see his future with the Blues: “I don’t have any other aims but to become a regular [at Chelsea].
“If I can achieve that, then great, but if not I obviously would have to assess what’s going to happen.
“But I’m a Chelsea player and I love playing for the club.”
Let’s play a game.
We’ll call the game ‘What if?” We’ll pretend that certain things will happen. Then we’ll ask you a question.
What If #1
What if Carlo Ancelotti leaves Chelsea at the end of the season?
Football rumors are, as the Americans say, a dime a dozen. Cheap. Easily found. But rarely true.
That’s how I feel about the Carlo Ancelotti to Roma rumor. It doesn’t make sense. Roma is in the process of being sold. Companies don’t usually make new hires when ownership is changing hands. The Italians who own Roma are in severe debt. So it’s hard to imagine them committing money to Carlo. He doesn’t come cheap.
The American who seems likely to be the new owner isn’t well-versed in football. He may not know Carlo Ancelotti from Fernando Alonso. Why, when he has so much on his plate, would he be courting Ancelotti when the current season isn’t over and he doesn’t have the keys?
Drogba misfiringLike last Monday, today’s journey into work took an unfamiliar feel. Same bus, same journey, same dreary monotony…save one detail. Normally my morning routine involves catching up with the latest football headlines on Sky Sports News, before casting my eyes over the online news on the bus.
Not today, not last week. Two terrible Chelsea Sunday performances have seen me, ostrich-like, bury my head in the sporting sand.
This time though, I’ll emerge to post my thoughts on the game. First thing’s first: Sunderland were excellent. Many teams have come to Stamford Bridge in recent months, caught Chelsea in something less than top form, and still left with nothing. Steve Bruce’s team certainly caught Chelsea below par, but tore through them relentlessly to record a well deserved victory. As Chelsea fans streamed from the stadium five minutes from time, the away support jeered: ‘easy, easy, easy’. Easy it certainly was: in many ways, 3-0 flattered Chelsea.
Deco Ok, so perhaps calling the departure of Joe Cole, Michael Ballack and Juliano Belletti on free transfers, and the sale of Mirolsav Stoch, an ‘exodous’ is pushing it a bit far. But now – four weeks after those exits were announced – news of probably departures still outweighs any rumoured purchases at the Stamford Bridge club.
Sky Sports are just one of many outlets to write-up the expected transfer of Deco to Fluminense. Slightly more surprising are rumours that Ricardo Carvalho will be sold to Inter (who he supposedly came close to joining last summer), and thechelseablog.org’s contention that even John Terry might be up for sale.
Many Chelsea fans, including those who are ‘fans’ of this blog over on facebook, are starting to get concerned at the lack of transfer activity.