Chelsea Den from the very impressive site, The Chelsea Blog, has taken a few minutes to have a chat with us about the two clubs ahead of Sunday’s game.
Scott the Red: So, the most obvious question has to be about Chelsea’s form. What the fuck is going on?
Chelsea Den: Swine flu? Delirium? Sabotage? I could give you any number of excuses but the bottom line is I think we started the season still buzzing from the double and probably didn’t even notice half the squad had gone. We weren’t ever going to sustain that indefinitely though and the City game did us no favours mentally. That was probably the moment the penny dropped for our players that party time was over – and with players missing, it was a collective ‘oh god’ feeling they’ve just struggled to get over.
STR: Interesting that you mention the squad. I would have thought the more obvious excuse would be Ray Wilkins’ departure. How much of an effect do you think that has had?
CD: It hasn’t helped but I keep saying that at Chelsea, staff come and go so it’s not as if it’s a new thing for the players to cope with. They’re professionals and as such, should be able to rise above whatever’s happening in the board room and focus on what happens on the pitch. So, if it has had any impact at all, they’ll get over it – they got over Mourinho!
STR: It’s not the board room though. It’s the training ground, pre-match, half-time and whatever else. Chelsea are enduring relegation form at the moment. Is Ancelotti’s job safe?
CD: No Chelsea manager’s job is ever safe.
STR: Good point. If he is to stick around, would you prefer him to league or Champions League glory?
CD: Either would do. Obviously the league is bread and butter stuff, so it’s massive. The Champions League has always eluded us though, so that would be the dream – which would make a nice change from the nightmares I have about it usually.
STR: What do you think you will win?
CD: To be honest, unless we bring in experienced back-up in January – which is never likely – or go the rest of the season without a single injury, I’m not convinced we’ll win anything.
STR: That’s the spirit! If you are to win something, who do you think you can thank for being your best performing player this season?
CD: No single player has been consistent enough to say they’ve been our best. Different players have performed at different times and none stand out for me as having really come into their own yet.
STR: A player that has been very consistent this season is Joe Cole. Are you sad that this little Chelsea fan has gone from strength to strength since joining the biggest club in the country?
CD: Absolutely. As you can imagine, I’m devastated his ‘dream’ has been realised away from the club he loved so much.
STR: Out with the old and in with the new. We’ve been promised that Chelsea will finally let some young players have a go. Which of your youngsters are you most impressed with?
CD: Josh McEachran without a doubt. He’s taken any chance he’s been given without looking completely out of his depth and from a 17 year old, that really impresses me.
STR: What about the transfer market? Are you hoping you can sign the despondent Tevez to replace the ageing Drogba?
CD: Hmmm, let me think – no thanks. I’m not saying Drogba’s been an angel at Chelsea – we’ve had to put up with whingeing in the press about wanting a move over the years – but he’s stayed and got on with what he’s been paid for without completely shitting on our doorstep the way Tevez did to you. Still, Citeh got what they deserved with him, so its karma there eh?
STR: Not a fan of Tevez then. You’ll fit in around here. But if you had to pick a first XI from our clubs’ players, what would it look like?
CD: Cech, Rafael, Terry, Vidic, Cole, Park, Lampard, Essien, Nani, Drogba, Berbatov. And before you argue Lampard hasn’t been playing, he’s back now and I just wouldn’t leave him out of a starting XI and I accept Cech hasn’t necessarily been the better keeper of the two but for me, that’s because he’s had a dodgier defence in front of him.
STR: Interesting choices. Now, looking to the game, do you think Roman Abramovich will pay off the officials again this season?
CD: Of course he hasn’t, he couldn’t afford the Premier League and World Cup all in one season.
STR: Touché. Finally, prediction for the game?
CD: I predict if we get a penalty, Lampard will take it.