MARTIN KEOWN: Hitting rock bottom could jolt Chelsea into life

0
311


When you get beaten 6-0 like Chelsea did at Manchester City, there is a feeling of total embarrassment within the group.

I lost 6-0 once in my career, with Aston Villa against Nottingham Forest, and I experienced those same feelings. 

In the days that followed that defeat, I didn’t want to leave the house. This Chelsea team have been rocked to the core but it might take hitting rock bottom to jolt their season back into life. Now they have to show pride in their performance.

Hitting rock bottom could see Chelsea jolt back into life following their awful run of form

Hitting rock bottom could see Chelsea jolt back into life following their awful run of form

Hitting rock bottom could see Chelsea jolt back into life following their awful run of form

They have to play for the shirt, and what an opportunity they have to show that they are willing to do that when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United visit on Monday night.

Maurizio Sarri has admitted that his players are difficult to motivate and you never know which Chelsea team are going to turn up.

Think back to their 2-0 win over City at Stamford Bridge and the Carabao Cup semi-final victory over Tottenham. This is a side who are capable of brilliant performances when they are up for it.

The Blues stars must show some pride and play for the shirt if they are to get out of this slump

The Blues stars must show some pride and play for the shirt if they are to get out of this slump

The Blues stars must show some pride and play for the shirt if they are to get out of this slump

I make them slight favourites to win against United on Monday evening.

It has not been an ideal week for United. Solskjaer suffered his first set-back since returning to the club and tactically, his team were taken to the cleaners by Paris Saint-Germain.

United could not cope with PSG playing with a back three. The French champions pushed their wide players high up the pitch, forcing United into retreat. When Juan Mata came off the bench, he spent most of the time at right back.

The key strength for Solskjaer’s team is the way they counter-attack in numbers with plenty of pace and no fear.

While Chelsea are in a bad run of form, I make them slight favourites to win against Man United

While Chelsea are in a bad run of form, I make them slight favourites to win against Man United

While Chelsea are in a bad run of form, I make them slight favourites to win against Man United

Chelsea are weak defensively but they will not have to deal with the pace of Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard, who are both injured. Instead they are likely to face a front three of Marcus Rashford, Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez.

United showed PSG far too much respect in their Champions League loss and they cannot afford to do the same to Chelsea.

If fear starts to creep back into these players’ performances, their FA Cup dream will come to an abrupt end at Stamford Bridge. 

I was 38 years old when I hung up my boots — the same age as Ashley Cole now. 

Watching the full back sprint down the left wing as Derby chased a second-half comeback at Brighton on Saturday, you could see he has lost none of his determination to win. 

He’s kept himself fit, too. Mentally, you can want to keep going but your body has to come with you. Derby decided against throwing him in at the deep end and rightly so. 

They know they will have to manage his minutes, and Cole will have to be honest about how he is feeling too. But even at the age of 38, he can be very useful for Frank Lampard at Derby this season. 

Ashley Cole has not lost any of his determination as he scored for Derby at the age of 38

Ashley Cole has not lost any of his determination as he scored for Derby at the age of 38

Ashley Cole has not lost any of his determination as he scored for Derby at the age of 38

Pep Guardiola has to select his best XI for Manchester City in the Premier League and unfortunately for Riyad Mahrez, he has not made the cut lately. 

The £60million forward may feel frustrated but he has to keep fighting. You can arguably impress Guardiola more when you’re out of the team than in it. 

You do that by showing him you are willing to do the work and get behind the group when you’re not playing. 

Wolves success in FA Cup and league should not surprise

Do not be surprised that Wolves have reached the FA Cup’s quarter-finals and are seventh in the Premier League.

Just look at the quality in their squad.

Joao Moutinho, who started in midfield against Bristol City yesterday, has 113 caps for Portugal. Raul Jimenez has appeared 70 times for Mexico. Full back Jonny, who they signed from Atletico Madrid, is a Spain international.

Their Portuguese goalkeeper, Rui Patricio, was rested for their fifth-round clash and he has 77 caps.

Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo has talented players at his disposal and we should not be underestimating this team or their experience. They are now just one win from an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley because of it.

Do not be surprised that Wolves reached the FA Cup’s last eight and are flying in the league

Do not be surprised that Wolves reached the FA Cup’s last eight and are flying in the league

Do not be surprised that Wolves reached the FA Cup’s last eight and are flying in the league

An awful run of form last season saw Brighton win once in 14 Premier League games midway through the campaign but they reached the FA Cup’s quarter-finals. 

Chris Hughton’s side now find themselves with only one win in their last 11 league outings and, once again, they have got to the last eight. 

It is a difficult juggling act but Hughton, who won the FA Cup twice as a Tottenham player, will be desperate to fare better this year and hope for another home tie next. 

Watford made 11 changes in the previous two FA Cup rounds amid a busy winter workload but only five against Queens Park Rangers. 

What helped them win 1-0 at Loftus Road was that Javi Gracia named players who were determined to get that result and avoid an upset, such as Troy Deeney. 

The captain said afterwards they did ‘not want to be the ones who went out’. Now, they will be one of six top-flight sides left in the last eight. 



Source link

Have something to say? Leave a comment:

Booking.com