It is little wonder that Chelsea are bubbling with confidence right now, with 21 goals scored in their run of five victories since the season began. Blackpool are next up at Stamford Bridge on Sunday and are odds on to join West Bromwich Albion, Wigan, Stoke City, West Ham United and MSK Zilina on the wrong end of a hiding.
Eight different players have scored for Chelsea already this season, and according to Nicolas Anelka, who took his tally to four goals with two in the 4-1 win over Zilina on Wednesday, the multi-dimensional nature of their threat is creating fear among the opposition. "Everybody can score, which is good for Chelsea, and we try to do it on the pitch and show it to everybody," Anelka said. "It is good for the confidence of the team because the team against whom we're going to play know everybody can score, so maybe they'll be scared."
Manager Carlo Ancelotti made five changes to the team that had won at West Ham at the weekend for the trip to Slovakia, resting the likes of Ashley Cole, Salomon Kalou and Paulo Ferreira while Didier Drogba had to sit out the tie through suspension. The style, and the result, however remained unaltered as Zilina were brushed aside.
Ancelotti has made it clear to the players that they will all be rotated and rested in the coming weeks, a decision that Anelka said the club's senior players have accepted without complaint. "We know a lot of players will sometimes be on bench to rest and everybody knows that because we have so many games," he said. "We know it's going to be a tough season and some players need a rest and everybody accepts that because we want to win."
While the personnel changes, the formation stays the same 4-3-3 attacking system adopted by Ancelotti midway through last season, after deciding too many Premier League clubs had worked out how to defend against Chelsea's diamond formation. In some respects it is very similar to the tactical formation used by Jose Mourinho during his two title-winning seasons at Stamford Bridge in 2005 and 2006, when Damien Duff and Arjen Robben were alongside Drogba. The main difference between then and now is that under Ancelotti the two wingers have been excused some of their defensive duties, leaving them better able to create havoc in the opposition penalty area.
Florent Malouda has probably benefitted more than anyone from being liberated by Ancelotti. The winger said: "I think that's our strength, we play a system where everybody knows what he has to do and players come in and out and the result is still the same. Everybody can score and it is difficult for the opponents.
"It is a sign for us that the Champions League Final is being played at Wembley," he added. "We have won there a lot in recent years and it's a big objective for the club. Our aim is to be there again in May and to win. We love playing there as we have shown by winning three FA Cups in the last four years. Maybe it is our destiny to be there in May."Reuse content