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Mikel, Obafemi trade crunchy tackles

Posted by By COSMAS OMEGOH on 2007/12/30 | Views: 2368 |

Mikel, Obafemi trade crunchy tackles


Two Super Eagles’ kid stars, John Mikel Obi and Obafemi Martins will end the year with a crunchy tie this afternoon.

Two Super Eagles’ kid stars, John Mikel Obi and Obafemi Martins will end the year with a crunchy tie this afternoon.

Both players look set to play their hearts out as Newcastle visit Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in search of unlikely end of year victory.

Followers of their games have an opportunity to glimpse what they can offer at the African Nations Cup, which opens on January 20.
Mikel has gradually established himself in Chelsea’s midfield in recent times, earning an avalanche of respect from the Blues’ Coach, Avram Grant and Stamford Bridge faithful.

He had a good game a fortnight ago, playing for full 90 minutes in Chelsea’s 1–0 away victory over Blackburn Rovers. He was equally brilliant last Wednesday when Chelsea hosted Aston Villa at the Bridge in their ill-tempered cracker that ended 4–4. And he looks set to do well yet again in today’s encounter against Newcastle.

Chelsea opened their season’s campaign with a resolve to regain the Premiership trophy they surrendered to Manchester United last season. However, that ambition took a big jolt in the twilight of Jose Mourinho’s reign at the club. But with the coming of former Israeli national team coach, Grant, that drive has since been rekindle, though it still faces real threat from the champions, Manchester United, who regained the leadership of the table last Wednesday following their 4–0 away smashing of Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. Chelsea trail them now by seven points.

The Blues have not lost at the Bridge this season. Against Newcastle today, they target their sixth home win and their chances of adding Newcastle to their list of Stamford Bridge vanquished are looking bright, as they would likely correct their last Boxing Day’s mistake when they split points with Villa.

But there is this fear that thunder may strike twice right at the same spot with the absence of their marksman, Didier Drogba, which showed in their last match against Aston Villa. And now, they have lost the cream of their defenders: Ashely Cole and Ricardo Carvalho, who saw red in their clash with Villa. That means that the like of Alex, John Terry, Wayne Bridge and the rest must do everything to guard the rear tightly against the invading Magpies.

One cherry thing is that Michael Ballack is back and better and Andriy Shevchenko is in the right gear. They just have to rise to the occasion to grind out a good result, which will send Stanford Bridge faithful celebrating into the New Year.

Meanwhile, Martins and the rest of his teammates just have to tuck their last Wednesday’s lone goal loss to Wigan right behind them if they hope to get a good result today. Manager, ‘Big’ Sam Allardyce only needed to take some cue from Villa’s magnificent showing three days ago at the Bridge and tell his wards that Chelsea are not invincible at home after all.

The Magpies are expected to throw everything, including their lives into this one to ensure they don’t record two straight losses in four days. They are nesting in the middle of the pack on 26 points from 19 league games and needed to keep up the pressure to explore prospects of European belt next season.
Martins, Mark Viduka, James Milner and Charles N’Zogbia remain potent instruments in the hands of Allardyce to rattle Chelsea, as they press for their third away win of the season.

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