With last sunday's barnstorming 8-0 victory over Wigan ensuring Chelsea a one point victory in the 09/10 Barclays Premier League over Manchester United, football fans now turn their attention to the forthcoming 2010 FA Cup Final. The FA Cup final always puts up the two of the strongest teams of England against each other. This year, however, we have a David vs Goliath battle in the final as millionaires Chelsea take on penniless Portsmouth at Wembley Stadium on May 15th.
The two Barclays Premier League teams could not have had more opposite seasons: Chelsea, having lifted the Premiership on Sunday go into the FA Cup Final looking for a remarkable Double for the first time in their history. Pompey, by contrast, have the chance to put some much needed shine on an otherwise depressing season. The club's debt spiralled to nearly £140 million, plunging the team into administration and earning them a nine point deduction which effectively relegated the side.
Despite this, Avram Grant has managed to steer his charges to the cup final, which itself is nothing short of miraculous. The fact they were helped by a slippery Wembley pitch in the semi-final against Tottenham, is more of a sidenote.
Chelsea has been in sparkling form following their 8-0 demolition of Wigan Athletic last week with which they staved off the threat from Manchester United in the title race. Didier Drogba with 29 goals won the league’s golden ball, while Frank Lampard made highest 17 assists in the season. Blues defense is strong enough in the presence of Terry, Ashley Cole and Ivanovic.
Portsmouth, however, can find some positives in their performance in FA Cup 2010. Despite their poor run in premier league, they could manage to reach the FA Cup final. They know that a victory over Chelsea would create a history on Saturday as it would be considered as one of the greatest shocks in the history of the tournament.
Apr 13: Chelsea 1-0 Bolton (Premier League)
Apr 17: Tottenham 2-1 Chelsea (Premier League)
Apr 25: Chelsea 7-0 Stoke (Premier League)
May 2: Liverpool 0-2 Chelsea (Premier League)
May 9: Chelsea 8-0 Wigan (Premier League)
Apr 14: Wigan 0-0 Portsmouth (Premier League)
Apr 18: Portsmouth 1-2 Aston Villa (Premier League)
Apr 24: Bolton 2-2 Portsmouth (Premier League)
May 1: Portsmouth 3-1 Wolves (Premier League)
May 9: Everton 1-0 Portsmouth (Premier League)
Portsmouth have not been the luckiest with injuries this season, and it was againstChelsea that one of their nastiest occurred - Daniel Sturridge's flailing elbow gave Tommy Smith one of the most graphic broken noses seen for a while.
Smith misses out, along with long-term absentees Hermann Hreidarsson (Achilles) and Danny Webber (knee).
Pompey's main injury worry, though, is all-action midfielder Jamie O'Hara, who has a back problem. The Spurs loanee has been in brilliant form this season and Grant's side have missed his combating midfielder displays of late. He is hoping a pain-killing injection will allow him to play some part.
Centre-half Tal Ben-Haim has recovered from a groin problem, Nadir Belhadj and Richard Hughes (both hamstring) should be available, but Aruna Dindane (groin), Marc Wilson (hamstring), Hassan Yebda (thigh) and youngster Lenny Sowah (knee) are all concerns.
Kevin-Prince Boateng, scorer in the semi-final, is almost certain to miss out with an ankle injury and has not even travelled to London with the squad.
Unsung hero of the season Branislav Ivanovic is a doubt with a knee problem but the big worry this week was captain John Terry. Thankfully for Blues fans his foot injury looks to be nowhere near as bad as first feared and the centre-back even declared himself "100 per cent" fit to play.
John Obi Mikel has undergone minor surgery on a knee injury and is out for the remainder of the season, while long-term absentees Michael Essien, Jose Bosingwa (both knee) andRicardo Carvalho (ankle) remain sidelined.
Chelsea Probable Squad:Peter Cech, John Terry, Alex, Ashley Cole, Branislav Ivanovic/ Paulo Ferreira, Michael Ballack, Frank Lampard, Florent Malouda,Salomon Kalou, Nicolas Anelka, Didier Drogba
Portsmouth Probable Squad: David James,Steve Finnan,Ricardo Rocha, Tal Ben Haim, Anthony Vanden Borre,Aaron Mokoena, Nadir Belhadj, Richard Hughes,Hayden Mullins, John Utaka, Frédéric Piquionne.
MAN TO WATCH
The Ivory Coast has 36 goals in all competitions already this season and will be keen to add more on Saturday.It's difficult to argue with Drogba's form - 11 goals in his last 11 games - and when he's on song it's almost impossible to stop him.
Portsmouth - Ricardo Rocha
The former Spurs man put in a Man of the Match performance against his old club in the semi-final, despite playing out of position at centre-half. Pompey were so ravaged with injuries the defender, usually used to playing at right-back, slotted in and was immense.
Another sterling display - albeit against a world-class forward in
Chelsea 3-1 Portsmouth
Crystal Palace nearly did it in 1990, West Ham nearly did it in 2006. I reckon Portsmouth will only add themselves to that list. But you never know, things might go well for Pompey, and that’s the joy of the Cup!