A massive few months ahead in West London

Roberto Di Matteo, just a year after being axed from West Bromwich Albion, was dumped into the hotseat at Chelsea after Villas-Boas‘ sacking, with FA Cup, Champions League, and a top four finish hanging by a thread.

Two weeks on, they are favourites for the Champions league semi-finals, have qualified for the final four of the FA Cup, and are the form team in the league going into the last 10 or so games.

Adding to that, Fernando Torres scored a brace on Sunday as he hit the net for the first time in 24 games, and the new Di Matteo regime seems to be holding together well, with four wins from four games.

Torres seemed relieved after the final whistle, telling ESPN that “the job of a striker is to score goals, and if you don’t do it people think you’re playing badly” adding “I needed those goals, I’ve been working so hard to get them”

Many people believe El Nino is what you would call a ‘confidence’ striker, and that couldn’t have been more apt against Leicester. When is previous weeks he would’ve been a banker to miss, his second goal was the Torres of old, guiding a header into the corner like it was an exhibition match, before after a mazy run, he turned down the chance of a hat-trick to give the well placed Meireles a goal.

He will be backed to convert these goals into the league games now, and with Man City and Tottenham to play in the next 6 days, what better stage to do it at, followed by a tough tie against Portugese side Benfica in Europe, with a home tie with Aston Villa sandwiched between the two legs.

The 100% record for Di Matteo looks good on the surface, but with two of those sides being Championship sides, it will only get tougher for the Italian.

The next 5 games are key for Chelsea, and Di Matteo, who is now second favourite to be installed at the helm full-time, will want to prove he can mix with the big boys, and will no doubt look at the thrashing of Napoli as inspiration.

If Chelsea and Torres are as it seems back to what they were, then they couldn’t have timed it better, starting with the Etihad on Wednesday, they will no doubt take a draw there, while Spurs at the weekend is the big one, as a win at Stamford Bridge could well see them take the psychological advantage over Tottenham, as they look to take over them in points after their recent stumble in form.

A bearable European draw, sees David Luiz and Ramires pit their wits against former club Benfica, as they managed to dodge the two Spanish bullets, as well as in massively in-form Bayern Munich.

Should Di Matteo steer his side past Benfica, they may well meet holders Barcelona, who will no doubt be huge favourites, although if Di Matteo managed to overcome the Spanish giants, he might just write his own contract.

All of that is a long while away for Di Matteo’s side though, as they first turn their attentions to Wednesdays game, and take it one game at a time. They may well have turned a corner, but there are still a lot of important obstacles to come, which could not just shape Chelseas next few seasons, but whole careers.

Brad Smith

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