The Chelsea Blog has kindly taken a few minutes of their day to talk to me about several topics ahead of our Community Shield match on Sunday.
How do you feel Chelsea have performed in the transfer market this summer?
I wouldn’t call what we’ve done in the transfer market this summer ‘performing’ exactly. We were supposed to have had a ‘marquee’ signing but unless Buck was on about the circus surrounding our captain, I haven’t seen anything resembling an erection around Stamford Bridge yet. Don’t get me wrong, I rate Zhirkov, he’s a decent player and Sturridge has impressed me pre-season, but anyone under the age of 30 is always in danger of being sent out on loan at Chelsea, and as for signing a keeper we put 5 past last season…….
We’ve both been linked to Franck Ribery – what do you make of him?
Skill, creativity, precision passing, accelerates faster than the local boy-racer and still only 26, so he won’t be coming our way. Seriously though, you don’t have players like Zinedine Zidane bigging you up for no reason but is he worth the rumoured £80million price tag they’ve put on him now? Not sure about that.
Judging from the pre-season so far, how have Chelsea looked this summer?
Scary. For a start it looks like Ancelotti plans to go for the diamond in midfield which isn’t wildly successful in the Premier League anyway. A holding midfield player is a must for this and unfortunately, Jon Obi Mikel hasn’t looked up to it over the summer. Of course we could use Essien but then that detracts from his attacking play, so I’m just not convinced. And as if that hasn’t been worrying enough, Anelka and Drogba have looked poor and having players like Pizarro and Shevchenko loitering really hasn’t helped my nervous disposition. On a positive note, Lampard has looked good and Sturridge and Zhirkov both look to have settled quickly. Sturridge has pace, ability and bags of confidence and whilst there might be a little arrogance about that now, he is only 19 so there’s time for that to settle. Zhirkov though, at 25, is more the finished article and he’s really impressed playing on the left of midfield. Not only did he score the winning goal against Milan in his debut but he puts in plenty of dangerous crosses. Considering he’d only just joined the squad before the end of the USA tour, it was pretty impressive – albeit against Kalac.
Who do you think will have the biggest impact on Chelsea’s season?
If I didn’t know I’d get battered for being paranoid I might be tempted to say the officials, lol – bit predictable though so I’ll skip the obvious answer and say probably the manager. He’ll need to sort his English out, stand his ground and let the egos know who’s boss. If he can do all that, he just might save us from nosediving as spectacularly as we did under Scolari.
Which players do you think Chelsea need to offload?
Well I’ve already said having players like Pizarro and Sheva around just unnerves me – I mean, just imagine Ancelotti was actually tempted to play them! I guess I can see why the club wanted to keep hold of Carvalho because when he’s fit, he’s our best defender but it’s not ideal if he really wants to go. We should definitely have let Deco go though, my mother could’ve have had a better season than him in the last campaign – come to think of it, she’d have whinged less and all.
What do you think of the new manager?
Not a lot. I think the trouble with Scolari was that for all his world cup success, he lacked experience around the club scene in Europe, and again with Ancelotti I can’t help thinking that whilst he’s had success in both Serie A and the Champions League, he hasn’t managed outside Italy and that doesn’t bode well for any manager coming into the Premier League.
What do you make of Terry’s transfer dealings with City?
Is there a limit to the number of expletives I’m allowed to use on your blog? I mean seriously, how long did it take him to decide there was ‘never a possibility’ of him leaving Chelsea? Then again, hardly surprising his response to the rumours was a little slow, given all the ‘sleepless nights’ he was having.
How do you feel about City’s spending, given this was something your club were doing a few years ago?
It amuses me. Obviously the whole Robinho thing pissed me off, I thought we really could have done with him and he looked like he was on his way to us before they got their inheritance, but then I’m sure they’d be only to happy to remind me of SWP, so shit happens I guess. As for all their summer signings though, it’s not something that’s bothered me if I’m honest – they can pretty much sign who they like, because for a start Hughes won’t be able to handle the players he’s got and besides, if anyone can fuck up having that sort of money, City can.
Do you agree with Sir Alex that you will be our biggest threat this season? Why?
Well we weren’t your biggest threat last season and we haven’t really added much to the squad, so I can’t say I’m convinced. I think he’s just taking another pop at Benitez really – and why not?
What do you think of Ronaldo’s United exit?
Actually, I’m with Gary Neville on this one, he’s not the first player to have left United with everyone expecting you lot to struggle without them and yet already you’ve got a handy looking player in Valencia and I’m not sure you’ll miss Ronaldo all that much. Obviously I hope I’m way off the mark and you struggle like hell though
Do you regret missing out on Tevez?
Yes and no. I wanted Tevez at Chelsea before you signed him and I still rate him. To be honest though, once he started whingeing to the press about wanting to get more games than he did at United (well, that and the fact he’d be getting whatever salary he fancied at City) it didn’t make any sense for him to come to us.
Which areas do you think Chelsea are stronger than United in?
I dunno, arm wrestling maybe? Ok, ok, at a push, with VDS out, possibly between the sticks. Our midfield now also gives you a run for your money, with Essien, Lampard and Joe Cole standing out. It’s hard to name players from your midfield that would start for us.
Predictions for Sunday.
A rude awakening for Ancelotti