Chelsea v Stoke: Time to clear our heads and get back to business.

This afternoon its Chelsea v Stoke in the FA Cup Quarter final at the Bridge and a time for Chelsea and Carlo Ancelotti in particular to cle...

This afternoon its Chelsea v Stoke in the FA Cup Quarter final at the Bridge and a time for Chelsea and Carlo Ancelotti in particular to clear their heads and start afresh. In a week where we have suffered a defeat to Man City, the focus on John Terry and England, more reports about Ashley Cole's reported break down, and Man United regaining the lead in the title race and Arsenal now level on points with us, its time to put in a good performance and get our season back on track!

Stoke come to the Bridge looking for a cup upset and today will be no easy game by any means. Alot is made of Stoke and their long-throw weapon they have in Rory Delap but there are much more of a side than that. Matthew Etherington is always a danger down the left hand side, they have forwards that can score goals and work hard for each other, but with Shawcross missing after being sent off against the Arsenal for that tackle they won't be as strong at the back and that could be their weakness today.

If it proves to be their weakness then we must take advantage, play on it and make our pressure count today. It will of course once more depend on Ancelotti's take on the game today and how he sends the side out. I just hope that he see's what I and other see and reverts back to our tried and trusted formation of 4-3-3 today (with proper wingers) or even a 4-4-2.

Chelsea have Ballack and Belletti out suspended after being sent off last week. Essien, Ashley Cole and Bosingwa are all long-term injuries and are out. Deco makes a return to the side and even though I won't be sad to see him go it could be his chance to show us finally what he is made of today. Especially with Ballack out he can come into the side and slot straight into the midfield next to Lampard and in front of Mikel.

I would like to see Turnbull given a start in goal. Ferreira come in at left back, Alex come into the side next John Terry in the middle with player of the season contender Ivanovic at right back. Mikel, Deco, Lampard as a 3 in the middle, with Malouda left, Didier down the middle and Joe Cole right. Which means Anelka and Carvalho would be rested on the bench. I think this formation has the right balance and we have a natural threat down both wings with Malouda reverting back to his familar position.

Or we could even play with a 4-4-2 formation. Same GK and back four. With Malouda left, Lampard and Mikel in the middle and Joe right wing, with Drogba and Anelka up front. Again, would provide the side with natural width, which is what I feel we have lacked in recent weeks.

Ahead of the game Ray Wilkins spoke, he said:
'It's big for us; we want to do really well. We love it and we want to be at the final with nearly 100,000 people at Wembley in May. It's fantastic.''The desire is there, whether we win is something else because you come across very tough competition along the way, but we want to win everything we play in. We go tooth and nail to win them all. In the Carling Cup we always play strong sides and we give every trophy we play in the credit it deserves. Today is no exception.'

Its good to see that we value the FA CUP as highly as we do. Look at United, Liverpool and Arsenal who are all out of the competition. It would be nice to retain the Cup this season along with the other two we are going for. With a clear week ahead to work on training ground after todays game, its important we get back to winning ways and our tried and trusted formation. If we play with width today we will win the game as thats how confident I am in playing with Joe Cole and Malouda in those positions.

At the end of the day a 1-0 win will do me as it means we are into the Semi Finals. The thing is being a Chelsea fan (and I have said this before) we have become accustomed to much more than that, so let's hope we all get what we are looking for!.


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