Depending on who you believe right now will dictate your opinion on life at Stamford Bridge at present. On the face of things life does not look all that bad as the defending league champions sit third in the table going into this evening’s clash with Bournemouth.
They may also be in the 5th Round of the F.A. Cup after a comprehensive win over Newcastle last Sunday, a competition that now presents Chelsea with their most realistic hope of silverware this season, yes they may be in the Champions League but even the most ardent Blues fan will struggle to back them in their upcoming ties with Barcelona.
The reason the F.A. Cup does now present Chelsea with their most realistic hopes of silverware is due to the fact that they were dumped out of the Carabao Cup by local rivals Arsenal last week. That is now six games in which Antonio Conte has failed to get the better of Arsene Wenger, the latter certainly has the former’s number.
And it is that defeat which has stoked the fires once again as to whether Antonio Conte is happy in West London, after ceding home advantage in the first leg of the Carabao Cup due to a bore draw at Stamford Bridge it was Arsenal’s tie to lose.
However Chelsea did go in front early on and you felt at that point that it could finally be the night in which Conte gets one over his old adversary, however the Gunners had other ideas and it is they who will be making a quick return to Wembley after their Community Shield success earlier in the season.
Chelsea did bounce back in the Premier League ten days ago when they made very light work of Brighton at the AMEX Stadium. They may well have been without Pedro and Alvaro Morata through suspension but with Eden Hazard among their ranks it made absolutely no difference.
They got a lot of joy against South Coast based opposition that afternoon and they will be looking for more of the same when they play host to Bournemouth tonight. Eddie Howe’s men start the night in 13th place but the bottom half of the table is so topsy-turvy at the moment it is anyone’s guess as to where they will end up.
As things stand there are just three points separating Watford in 11th and Stoke in 18th. Not only that but those two clubs play each other tonight as well, should Paul Lambert mastermind another win for his new club then the concertina effect will be evident for all to see.
It is getting desperately tight in the battle to beat the drop, 13th may sound safe at present but you have to pay closer attention to the points gaps rather than the positions themselves. It is almost like sudden death down there, two defeats in a row and you are right back in the clutches of the drop zone.
Bournemouth will at least come into this game fresher than their opponents, that is because there was no weekend activity for them. That obviously was the consequence of them being dumped out of the F.A. Cup by Wigan Athletic at the 3rd Round stage.
Whisper it quietly but I don’t think Eddie Howe will be all that fussed at the fact Bournemouth’s cup exploits came to a halt so quickly, if they do manage to beat the drop for a third successive season then the end will certainly justify the means.
However I don’t think their will be much justification this evening as Chelsea should be able to make relatively light work of their opponents. Stamford Bridge has been something of a fortress for them this season and I cannot see it being penetrated tonight. A home win for me.