With another big game against Chelsea coming up tomorrow, Chelsea D, from the always brilliant The Chelsea Blog, has given me a couple of minutes to have a chat. As frank and interesting as always.
Scott the Red: Starting off with some controversy and straight to our game earlier in the season. Chelsea picked up three points against us after scoring a goal which should have been ruled out on three counts. If Mike Dean hands us a victory in similar fashion will you just take it on the chin?
Chelsea D: I’m one of these people who think these things happen in football, particularly with the page on ‘consistency’ blatantly missing from the officials handbook, but that usually works both ways and ‘shit happens’ as they say. When it happens against us though, naturally I whinge like a bitch.
STR: Naturally! Continuing with the controversy theme and on to the Team Terry vs Team Bridge fuss. I know you were less than impressed with the booing Bridge was subjected to a couple of months ago. What impact do you think the John Terry/Wayne Bridge incident has had on the team?
Chelsea D: In terms of the ‘team’, I think it rocked us a bit without a doubt. It goes without saying the whole thing just brought even more embarrassment on the club in terms of negative publicity – I mean, he’s the captain, we just really could’ve done without him being led by his dick for once. Still, Bridge made his point, JT paid the price in terms of his England captaincy, his missus was as forgiving as ever and I’m sure it won’t ever happen again……..(kidding obviously).
STR: Terry’s form was effected as much as anything too but which player have you been able to rely on to perform this season?
CD: I’d say that’s been changeable this season really. Earlier in the season it would’ve been Drogba with the run he was having. More recently though I don’t think there’s any question our most improved player and the one who seems to be having quite a bit of influence on our games is Malouda.
STR: Is it safe to say that you’re surprised by Malouda’s form?
CD: I suppose most Chelsea supporters would happily say Malouda has surprised us more than anyone this season because he really has turned his game around although in all fairness, that started at the back-end of last season anyway. For me though, sadly the player who has surprised me most is Joe Cole – and not in a good way. I just can’t work out what’s happened to him. He’s always been a player who has had to prove himself season after season and he’s never truly been appreciated at Chelsea as far as I’m concerned. Having said that, no matter what’s going on behind the scenes, he has always produced the goods on the pitch. This season though, it just hasn’t been happening for him and together with the lack of a contract, that worries me a lot.
STR: Speaking of Cole, what do you think of him moving from Chelsea to United?
CD: He hasn’t done it yet.
STR: Of course but I imagine it wouldn’t go down well with your lot. Tacky sweatband aside, I know our lot would be happy to see him at United. He’d make a great addition to the squad. Let’s see how the rest of our players compare. Here’s some quick fire options. Terry or Vidic?
CD: Didn’t Vidic play for United once? Seriously, I’m not going to pretend JT has had a good season because he hasn’t. There’s been too much personal shit going on, he’s been off his game and losing his focus but at least he’s played.
STR: Valencia or Malouda?
CD: Haven’t seen enough of Valencia to make a call on his game but I’m really impressed with Malouda for us lately.
STR: Cech or Van der Sar?
CD: Tight call, again, Cech hasn’t been completely back to his best although he’s had a better season than he did in the last campaign and Van der Sar has had the sicknote out a fair bit. So,I’ll go for the Chelsea man.
STR: Anelka or Berbatov?
CD: Anelka for me. I like Berbatov, he’s a class player but he just doesn’t work as hard for United as Anelka does for us. I think Nic’s often underrated for us because he isn’t banging in the goals but his contribution is about much more than that for Chelsea.
STR: Lastly, Drogba or Rooney?
CD: Drogba, Rooney’s injured.
STR: Well avoided. It seems you rate your players pretty highly so I guess you fancy your chances tomorrow, particularly given the thrashing you dealt out to Villa?
CD: Not at all. I was stunned with our result against Villa, probably even more stunned that we actually deserved it as well. This is a completely different game though.
STR: Villa looked credible enough to finish in the top four but you have almost certainly put the final nail in that coffin. Which team would you like to join us in the elite top four?
CD: Obviously I’ll laugh my arse off as much as everyone else if Liverpool miss out and I think we could all do without City getting into the top four for obvious reasons. I don’t mind Everton or Villa, I think they’re both decent sides with managers who’ve genuinely worked their arses off and deserve that recognition.
STR: Interesting that you didn’t mention Spurs. Couldn’t have anything to do with local rivalry…? I reckon they’ll do it. Down at the other end of the table another one of your least liked clubs (and mine) are struggling, with Gianfranco Zola leading them to relegation. Do you feel for him?
CD: Really not bothered to be honest. I idolised him at Chelsea and whilst I still have total respect for him, he chose to make that particular bed so he’ll just have to lie in it now.
STR: And that bed will most likely be located in the Championship next season! What are your aspirations for next season?
CD: Treble? Right now, I don’t know. We need to dispense with the zimmer frames and bring in younger players, that’s for sure and maybe against my better judgement, hang onto a manager through a second season?
STR: Are you keen to hang on to Ancelotti then? Do you think he’s done a good job this season?
CD: Not especially no. I didn’t want him at the club and still don’t really. In terms of our football, I think he’s got it right for parts of the season and it doesn’t drain me quite so much to watch as it has under previous managers but having said that, it took him too long to suss that sometimes his favoured formation just won’t work. Not to mention Avram bloody Grant getting us further in the Champions League than Carlo’s managed!
STR: Oh good ol’ Avram. Happy days. That brings me to my final question. How do you feel about your Champions League exit?
STR: There’s always next year, as Merseyside would say! Thanks for the chat and I would wish you luck but then I would have to wash my mouth out with soap and water. So, here’s to Chelsea finishing second!
The RoM Manchester United 2022-23 season preview is now available for just £6. It includes exclusive interviews with Patrice Evra and Kleberson, articles from the country's best football writers about our expectations for the season ahead and our brightest talents, as well as proposed transfer business and which youth players to keep an eye out for. All profit goes to Trafford Macmillan so please support this fantastic cause.