Speaking in advance of the match at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo has said that he will be fully focussed on only that match and not their Cup Final at the weekend.
“I have not done that [rested players] in the past. We played Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup semi‑final a few days before playing Barcelona in the Champions League and we put out a strong team. I’ve always tried to put together a team to win the game, looking at our physical and mental state. When I pick the team for the Newcastle game, I will not be thinking about Saturday”.
Surely though Chelsea’s team selection is all a red herring anyway because though they might not have the best eleven players in the Premier League, they can arguably put two different elevens out that would be hard to tell apart, ability wise. When they recently made large scale changes, it involved bringing in the likes of Torres and Sturridge to replace the likes of Drogba and Ramires.
No disrespect but the reality in our case would be bringing in Shola and Obertan to replace Cisse and Ben Arfa!
Despite their ridiculous squad strength (and wage bill!), even if Chelski win their last three league matches they will still end the season with their lowest points total so far under Abramovich. Saying it that way almost makes it sound that he is really in charge of important team decisions as well….
What the truth is tonight is that we currently have a first eleven that can match up to Chelsea’s, the league table doesn’t lie after 35 matches.
Chelsea are showing respect to Newcastle, with or without that those in black & white shirts tonight know that they have more than earned that this season.