Tuesday, August 12, 2008

EPL Previews: Chelsea. They're Baaack!

Last year, my Blues finished second in three competitions. In the fourth, the FA Cup, they lost to Barnsley. To hear it from the haters, Chelsea choked. You will not be surprised to discover that I view it differently.

Chelsea are nothing if not strong in character and belief. They lost the Champions League on a muffed penalty. They lost the Premiership to a special United season. They lost the Carling to the Spurs because... well someone had to lose a Cup to Spurs at some point. This was not choking. I am a Buffalo Bills fan as well. My friends, I know from choking.

It’s more than just bad luck, though, isn’t it? Look, I think that Avram Grant was a good manager. His accomplishments are impressive. The Dour One took over a dressing room in shock at the sudden, if not surprising, loss of Jose Mourinho and then driving them to the brink of a treble. That’s not easy, and it deserves more respect than it received.

But the fact remains that, tactically, Avram made his share of mistakes. The League was lost on too many late goal concessions to too many Wigans. Grant was categorically out-thought in Moscow by United’s Ferguson. If ever there were a season that showed that last-mile value of a good tactical manager, it was Chelsea’s last campaign.

So, yeah, Big Phil Scolari is exciting. We don’t know how Phil will do in a big league. Phil’s never managed in a big league. Phil has the stones and the passion, as well as the dressing room respect, necessary for success. Tactically? Most agree that Phil’s Brazil and Portugal sides were well managed in big matches. He has to be an improvement over Avram.

The squad?

Peter Cech has been human lately, both last year in Blue and this summer with the Czech Republic. But he’s also still arguably the best keeper in the world. I think that The Cat In The Hat will be fine.

Scolari kept Ricardo Carvalho to partner John Terry at the back. This Chelsea supporter loves JT, but believes that Carvalho is even more valuable. Ashley Cole is now better than he ever was for Arsenal. New signing Jose Bosingwa is exactly what Chelsea have lacked, a threat at right back. Time will tell if he can handle defensive duties.

In the middle of the park, an embarrassment of riches. Frank Lampard was not as incandescent last year, but that only provided space for Michael Ballack to prove his worth. Deeper, Michael Essien is a monster and Jon Obi Mikel still a possible Maka replacement. Add to this the Famous Deco. Few have the little one’s vision and creativity. He’s been fantastic in pre-season play, but I have serious questions as to Deco’s ability to put in the minutes at his age, and the Prem is a hard place for small Southern Europeans.

The other big question is formation. Chelsea have a LOT of talent who are used to playing about every match in the middle of the park. Hmmmm...

Up top, Drogba will be fine. I still don’t see him leaving. If he does leave, we’d better fucking get Robinho. Anelka is not to be counted on. I believe that Malouda will turn good. And Joe Cole is the only Englishman currently playing who can consistently break a defender down off the dribble at speed. Better, Joe was durable last year – posting the most minutes in the squad.

The bench is deep. Cuducini, Bridge, Alex, Belletti, Fucking Sheva, Kalou, Anelka, our tasty 19-year old Argentine starlet Franco di Santo [Ed. Note: a nice video of Spurs conceding goals awaits...] and several others.

Prediction? Chelsea will win the League this year and one more Cup to go with it. And if you are like most of my embittered colleagues here at UF... this will make you insane.

Oh, and Big Phil will make the Big Four Manager mind games fun again!

(I did not mention any further Blue signings. Don’t want to jinx ‘em!)


ΓΌ75 said...

Maybe a cup, not league. You have 49 more years to wait for that.

The Fan's Attic said...

What about Pizarro?

The NY Kid said...

Do you think it hurts his feelings when people call him Fat Frank?

Mike Georger said...

no way is that lampards body, the head is too big and the body not nearly fat enough, lazy limey photoshoppers.

if liverpool arent to win the league (and if arbeloa is the first choice right back, they wont) id rather have chelsea win it than united, and its not even close. i dont like chelsea, but most of that stems from bandwagoners and the money stuff. their squad isnt overrun with cunts and a red nosed cocksucker at the helm, so i can deal with them.

we will take JC off your hands though

Keith said...

See, I'd rather see Arsenal win if not Villa. And I'd prefer Man U to Chelsea.

And we'll take Joey Cole, thank you.

strong like bull smart like tractor said...

I'm blue to the core, and even I can't swallow that line about Ashley Cole. He's got the worst hype-to-usefulness ratio in all of England (with the possible exception of Andy Johnson).

The NY Kid said...

Cashley Cole is a useless twat.