Chelsea facing run of tough fixtures

With Chelsea just a point ahead of Manchester City in the table, Jose Mourinho's side have very little room for error.

Jose Mourinho manager of Chelsea gives instructions during the Barclays Premier League

The Stamford Bridge outfit have 12 games left to play in the league and up to seven in the Champions League, starting at Galatasaray on Wednesday, but will need to be at their best to pick up either trophy.


Roberto Mancini's Galatasaray have only lost once in all competitions at the Turk Telekom Arena this season and of course also boast former Chelsea star Didier Drogba within their ranks. Last time in Istanbul, back in 1999, Chelsea ran out 5-0 winners but that sort of scoreline is rare, as Juventus found out when they lost at Gala earlier this season. John Terry and Gary Cahill will need to be on guard to keep Drogba quiet but, while they will know everything about him, that may not be enough to stop the Ivorian striker. If they can keep him under wraps it should set them up well for the return leg at Stamford Bridge.


December's goalless draw between these two sides was typical of Chelsea's performances against top teams away from home this season - defensively strong but without creating a huge number of chances. At home the Blues will be expected to attack the Gunners and will be desperate to end their title challenge. Their north London counterparts will pose a threat though, and could by then have Aaron Ramsey back to shore up a midfield that was cruelly exposed by Bayern Munich this week. Arsene Wenger will also be keen to get one over on Mourinho having failed to win any of his 10 games against him.


Since Swansea's promotion in 2011 Chelsea have failed to claim victory at the Liberty Stadium in any of their three attempts and had Eden Hazard sent off on their last visit. Their trip to south Wales in mid-April could come days after a potential Champions League quarter-final as well. With every other top-seven team, aside from Liverpool, claiming maximum points from this fixture already this season, Mourinho will need to make sure his side improve on dropped points against similarly-placed Newcastle, West Ham and Stoke and set themselves up for a strong run-in.


With just league games against Norwich at home and Cardiff away to follow this, Chelsea could see their title hopes either cemented or ruined at Anfield. Although they comfortably saw off Brendan Rodgers' side at Stamford Bridge in December, the Reds are a much tougher prospect at Anfield, as they showed in their 5-1 win over Arsenal. Chelsea's last win at this ground all but secured the title in 2010 under Carlo Ancelotti and they will hope a win will be similarly effective here.

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