Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Oscar Backs Blues to Keep Riding High Thanks to Magnificent Seven

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Oscar Backs Blues to Keep Riding High Thanks to Magnificent Seven

Article excerpt

Byline: Simon Johnson Football Correspondent

CHELSEA have not even reached the halfway point of the season and already there appear to be few obstacles in their path to a fourth League crown in a decade.

Title rivals have been dropping away, with only a Sergio Aguero-inspired Manchester City still in contention.

Obviously, a six-point gap is surmountable, although Chelsea's 14-game unbeaten start to the campaign has led some to suggest even the defending champions should just throw in the towel.

Weaknesses do seem few and far between among the ranks at Stamford Bridge. However, fatigue could now play a part.

Manager Jose Mourinho has a large squad at his disposal but he has been consistently playing the same players.

A magnificent seven have started every League match Thibaut Courtois, Branislav Ivanovic, John Terry, Gary Cahill, Cesc Fabregas, Eden Hazard and Nemanja Matic.

Given they have also featured prominently in the Champions League, a lot of miles have been clocked up by the men setting the early pace.

The stat will change at Newcastle tomorrow because Matic is suspended but there have just been a few signs in the past week that tiredness could be setting in.

Chelsea's worst performance of the season came in the laboured 0-0 draw at Sunderland. Tottenham also looked much fresher and sharper in the first quarter of an hour on Wednesday night before Eden Hazard eased the tension at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea are currently four games into a hectic schedule of 11 matches in just 41 days which will provide a stern test of their staying power.

However, Oscar, who has featured in 19 of Chelsea's 21 outings in all competitions this term, is confident a lack of stamina won't be an issue. He told Standard Sport: "All of the players who are playing regularly don't train so much because there are so many games. It is better for us that way.

"We try to do our best during the games and afterwards we just stay calm and try and relax. I am not feeling tired. I am feeling good because I play every game. After each match I have a massage and I don't train that much."

A second trip to the North-East in the space of eight days will put that theory to the test, particularly as Mourinho has yet to beat Newcastle at St James' Park in four attempts in the League. …

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