In terms of player quality, Monterrey is hardly meat scraps. Los Rayados is well equipped with quality men – but not the caliber of collective quality they’ll see in European champion Chelsea early, early tomorrow morning as the pair meet in a FIFA Club World Cup semifinal in Japan.
So, all things being equal, the likes of Eden Hazard, Peter Cech, Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard, Juan Mata, Fernando Torres, etc., should be sufficient to overwhelm a side that just finished Mexico’s fall campaign mid-table, with a barley middling five wins in 17 matches.
But, all things are hardly equal. Not according to Blues manager Rafa Benitez, who seems concerned about Monterrey’s edge in body clock adjustment.
Monterrey, CONCACAF champs, arrived into Japan on Dec. 5. They have already played and won.
Chelsea, by comparison, dropped in only on Sunday. A very, very long Sunday. They played Saturday (a win at Sunderland) and then embarked on the long trip, via Helsinki (somehow) into Japan. That’s nine time zones if you are counting.
It’s quite difficult. We’ve tried to adapt to the time, the pitch, the ball. Everything. It’s all a bit new, but we’ve done everything we have to do.
“My experience in this tournament is that we have to assess the players the day before, see how they feel.
“Sometimes you can see some players are fresher than others. We were analyzing Monterrey and will look at our players before deciding which team to pick. We have options.
FYI, the oddsmakers are not buying it; the West London side is a goal to a goal-and-a-half favorite against the Mexican club.