Date:Friday February 12 2010
Cardiff City fans have been unable to draw much comfort from an injury to Ashley Cole or the omission of John Terry ahead of the trip to Stamford Bridge tomorrow.
On Cardiff City's day, we can be a match for all but the best sides - of course, Chelsea are undoubtedly up there with the very best sides in the World but of more concern is that we, The Bluebirds, will not be having our day any time soon!
Injuries, more injuries and an inability to strengthen have significantly weakened our already thin squad to the extent that we will not be naming the full complement of substitutes tomorrow, and will be reliant on bit part players to fill the central midfield area - where numerous matches are won and lost ! Joe Ledley and Steve McPhail are our two most creative players - both are missing with hip and rib problems respectively. Add to that our Scottish International having a hamstring pull and we`re in dire straits.
As is having our captain Mark Hudson sidelined after ankle surgery is a blow of sorts, while illness to Michael Chopra and Gabor Gyepes should not prevent them playing. However, the loss this week of Jay Bothroyd, highly doubtful with knee ligament damage is the killer blow. Jay has quality and the skill to compete against Chelsea but aside from that he is absolutely key to our style! In truth, we cease to function without him!
Here is the Chelsea team, as routinely revealed by Carlo Ancelotti on the eve of games:
Hilario, Ferreira, Alex, Carvalho, Zhirkov. Lampard, Mikel, Ballack, Joe Cole, Sturridge, Drogba.
Bench: Turnbull, Bruma, Ivanovic, Malouda, Matic, Borini, Kalou.
That is scary for virtually any team, never mind one with the problems we have! In particular, the likes of Ballack, Mikel and Lampard will be pitted against our own central midfielders:
1) Aaron Wildig. The kid has shown promise, but has barely played a handful of games - and virtually all from the substitutes bench. To face the likes of Lampard at this stage is one hell of a big ask.
2) Darcy Blake, after several years, Blake has never had a run in the side and looked to be heading out of the club just a month ago. He's willing, tenacious and determined - but has played less than 200 minutes in central midfield. Oh, he also hasnt been in full training with a back nerve problem.
3) Sol Taiwo. The capture of the former Dagenham and Redbridge player was as a back-up to McPhail, Ledley, Scimeca and Rae. Since signing, he's barely featured and done nothing positive save for a few meaty challenges and interceptions. In short, he has yet to demonstrate even a hint of being ready for Championship football - a disasterous cameo against Swansea City does not suggest he is ready for the 'big games' either.
Cardiff City fans are used to adversity, and we will support those Bluebirds tomorrow regardless. This has the makings of a very long, and disappointing day for the travelling fans - few are expectant, not many more even dare to hope but the atmosphere will be good, and a draw would be simply unbelievable. To play Chelsea at home and with a fully fit squad would be better....
Date:Friday February 12 2010
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