Archive for the ‘Manchester City’ Category

As always, it’s a pleasure to hear views from fellow Chelsea fans. Today, we interview Chelsea Blogger, ‘The Chelsea Chat’, as he shares his views on keeping Hilario, using Sturridge, benching McEachran and our right flank.

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Chelsea Headache: Hello The Chelsea Chat. Thank you very much for your time today as we look forward to hearing some of your thoughts and feelings on Chelsea.

First up, what is your view on our transfer dealings (or lack of) so far in this transfer window? Do you think we really need to be going out for a player like Pastore or Modric when they could be costing in excess of £30m?

The Chelsea Chat: I am happy with the current dealings in the transfer market at the moment. Both Courtois and Romeu look like great signings for the future and it’s great to see Villas-Boas focusing on the youth so much. I do think we need a creative player like Pastore or Modric, but whether they would be worth the money is yet to be seen. I would definitely prefer Modric though; a proven performer at Premier league level. Whereas Pastore looks like he could be too small and weak for English football. I also believe Yossi Benayoun should deserve a go, and with the pre season he’s having, maybe we don’t need a creative player bought.

Chelsea Headache: Some people were shocked, and even angered, by Hilario being rewarded with a contract extension recently. Do you think his collection of stunning saves against the Thailand All Stars has justified why Chelsea did such a thing?

The Chelsea Chat: I didn’t actually catch the Thailand All Stars match myself, but I’ve long been an admirer of the way Hilario has stayed at Chelsea for these years, happy to warm the bench, but reliable and calm when he is needed on the pitch. Yes, he made one error against Man City in the 4-2 loss in 2010, but apart from that he’s been solid, and as we know from many an example, 35 is not old for a keeper. Turnbull doesn’t match up to the standard of Hilario, and has always looked nervous when playing for us. I’m happy to have Hilario stay.

Chelsea Headache: Sturridge impressed a lot of people against Kitchee the other day. Andre Villas-Boas will be all too familiar with his situation at Chelsea and what he’s capable of in the long run. Could this season be his chance to shine in the first team?

The Chelsea Chat: Sturridge is clearly a player with immense talent, which has been brought to the public’s eye with the loan spell at Bolton, and the under-21 European Championships. Villas-Boas has looked like he’s going to focus on youth much more than any of the recent Chelsea managers, which should be good for Sturridge. I believe he should get a lot of games in the first team this year, if Villas-Boas rotates the squad correctly. He is being played in the right position of an inside forward on the wings, which is where he flourishes and he should be a star this season, if he gets the right amount of game time.

Chelsea Headache: Everything has a weakness. Where do you believe Chelsea’s to be? Many believe our right flank to be a bit understrength. Do you agree?

The Chelsea Chat: The right flank isn’t weak, but it is just has a lot less width than the left one. With Ashley Cole and Malouda being very much a wing-back and winger combination. On the right we use Ivanovic and Anelka, Kalou or Sturridge, which is a full-back and inside forward relationship which cuts down on the width, hence the less chances created from the right side of the field. The main weakness on the pitch in my opinion is the lack of a genuine playmaker, with Benayoun being inconsistent in recent seasons for Liverpool. I also believe we could use another defensive midfielder due to Essien’s injury, and the doubt in his long term future at the club.

Chelsea Headache: Recent rumours have been linking Scott Dann with a move to the Bridge. Yes, he’s an English player but with the likes of Ivanovic, Terry, Luiz and Alex all challenging at centre back, surely this is just a rumour and nothing else? What’s more Chalobah will be looking to get some first team game time this season after a nice few run-outs in pre-season. What are your thoughts on this rumour?

The Chelsea Chat: True, there is already a lot of competition at centre back at the club, but this competition is reduced with Ivanovic playing at right back, if he does stay on the flank, I think another centre back would be useful, and Dann is a good player, but the young centre half Rajkovic has shown promise, and if he gets his work permit there will be no need to buy Dann. Chalobah has shown promise, but a loan would be the right move for him at the moment, he is still about a year away from the first team.

Chelsea Headache: It’s always nice to see a player coming through the ranks from the system at Chelsea. McEachran has had a good pre-season and will be pushing for first team action. There are mixed views on whether he should be going out on loan for a season or remaining with the Chelsea squad. If you were Andre Villas-Boas, what would you do with the little English maestro?

The Chelsea Chat: If I were Villas-Boas, I would have McEachran on the bench, with Benayoun, or another creative playmaker signing, mentoring him, showing him the way forward, and having him start the odd league cup, midweek fixture and champions league game, this should help him advance and make sure the team is at the right strength next year.

Chelsea Headache: And now to close. Where will Chelsea finish next season?

The Chelsea Chat: Honestly I believe we will win it. Manchester United aren’t as strong as everyone thinks; they benefited from everyone else being fairly poor last season, City are still a bit behind the pace still, and I don’t believe anyone else has the strength to challenge.

Chelsea Headache: Sounds good to me! Thanks again and I think I speak for a lot of Chelsea fans when I say, I hope you’re right.

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You can follow @thechelseachat on Twitter.

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To follow on from part 1 which was posted on Tuesday (click here to read) – here is the remainder of the combined challengers’ team, in my humble (and maybe slightly Blue-tinted) opinion.

The team so far looks like this:

Cech

Ivanovic         Vidic             Terry           Cole

Right Midfield:

Man U: Valencia

Chelsea: Kalou/Anelka

Man C: Balotelli/Johnson

Arsenal: Walcott/Nasri

Liverpool: Kuyt/Cole

Ok, ok, maybe not all out and out right wingers but something had to give seen as I opted for a 4-4-2 formation. Kalou, Anelka, Balotelli and maybe even Walcott fall into this category as they have been playing as a winger in a front three. Kuyt is another who is predominantly a forward player but can fill in adequately on the wing – don’t let his looks fool you; he is a hard worker and comes up with goals. If only Johnson was actually played at City we’d see what a good player he is. Unfortunately Mancini is hell-bent on keeping the big earners in the team regardless of performances. Nasri has been lauded for his performances last season, it may have taken him a while to get up to that level of performance but if he can maintain it, every top English club will want him… oh wait…

Verdict: Nasri

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Left Midfield:

Man U: Nani/Young

Chelsea: Malouda

Man C: Silva

Arsenal: Arshavin

Liverpool: Downing

Some good options here – both Nani and Young are excellent on their day, but maybe a little too inconsistent if we’re being pedantic. Malouda has scored a hat full of goals over the last three years but seems to have similar sleeping patterns to the North American brown bear leading to hibernation during the winter months. Silva had a very good first season in English football and City will be hoping he can build on that this season. Arshavin has bags of talent but is about as reliable as the Greek banks when it comes to big games. Downing improved a lot last season and has earned a move to Liverpool for his efforts. However, he needs to prove it wasn’t a flash in the pan this season.

Verdict: Nani

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Central Midfield:

Man U: Carrick/Fletcher/Giggs/Anderson/Park

Chelsea: Lampard/Essien/Mikel/Ramires/Benayoun

Man C: De Jong/Toure/Barry/Milner

Arsenal: Fabregas/Song/Wilshere/Ramsey

Liverpool: Gerrard/Meireles/Lucas/Henderson

So many ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ here. Essien is his prime would walk into the team. Ramires and Wilshere WILL be among the league’s best within three years. Milner doesn’t play enough. Gerrard is a luxury. Giggs, or should I say Benjamin Button, is the master but can’t do it week in week out anymore. Carrick needs a radius of 50 yards with no opponents to operate. Meireles is actually quite good but looks like he’s on his way. I really admire Park, people don’t often give him the credit he deserves by predictably labelling him a workhorse. He is a very intelligent player and a scorer of vital goals. He just misses out along with De Jong. Quite simply, Lampard will score you a bag full of goals every season without shirking defensive responsibilities. Fabregas, although he has injury problems and is a bit of a whiney f-f-f-fella, is a very good player and a great foil for any striker.

Verdict: Lampard and Fabregas

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Strikers:

Man U: Rooney/Hernandez/Berbatov

Chelsea: Drogba/Torres/Sturridge

Man C: Tevez/Dzeko/Adebayor/Jo/Bellamy etc etc

Arsenal: Van Persie/Bendtner/Chamakh

Liverpool: Carroll/Suarez/Ngog

This is very difficult to pick in one way, but very easy in another way. I say this because there are so many players here who are of the highest calibre, but there are two in particular who would get into any team in the world. Hernandez, Suarez and Tevez are all fantastic players who most teams would have in a heartbeat but just fall short in my opinion. Tevez missing out in particular may surprise you but if going like for like, he is second best to Rooney. Torres has a lot to do to convince us he is still the player he was. Berbatov reminds me of the Mona Lisa – doesn’t move an inch but provides us with moments of true beauty. Carroll has had half a good season in the top flight and can’t be considered. Van Persie is a truly world class player and one I really like to watch play. However, injuries are his downfall and he hasn’t had the chance to prove to the world just how good he is. Drogba is… well, he’s Drogba isn’t he?

Verdict: Rooney and Drogba

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So here’s the team in full, not bad eh?

Cech

Ivanovic         Vidic             Terry           Cole

Nasri         Lampard           Fabregas       Nani

Rooney     Drogba

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Article by Derek O’Rourke. Agree? Disagree? Please comment below and follow me on Twitter @fattyfoulke

As I’m sure you’re all aware, there has been a spate of headlines this transfer window saying Chelsea need to overhaul thesquad and make wholesale changes soon before the bulk of the squad retires. According to the media, (real Chelsea lovers that they are) we have been in for every player that has kicked a ball since the Second World War. Not one to get caught up in their self-created hype, I decided it’s time to look at the realities of it all.

Comparing the first 11’s of the top 5 teams who I believe will be challenging next season, using a standard 4-4-2 formation, let’s see who’s team looks the strongest and who really does need strengthening:

Goalkeeper:

Man U: De Gea

Chelsea: Cech

Man C: Hart

Arsenal: Szczesny

Liverpool: Reina

This is probably the strongest position with two truly world class keepers in Cech and Reina, two keepers who look like they will be top of their profession within a couple of years in De Gea and Hart and then the much maligned Szczesny who has more ability than he’s given credit for.

Verdict: Cech

Right Back:

Man U: Rafael

Chelsea: Ivanovic

Man C: Richards

Arsenal: Sagna

Liverpool: Johnson

World class right backs are few and far between these days and the position has evolved so much since the days of Lee Dixon who need an oxygen tank if he crossed the half way line. Full backs are so important in the modern game and Rafael has all the qualities to be one of the best. However, he’s a long way off just yet. Richards is hit and miss, as is Johnson. Sagna has failed to impress since his first season and Ivanovic is rock steady at the back but maybe not so much a marauding type.

Verdict: Ivanovic

Left Back:

Man U: Evra

Chelsea: Cole

Man C: Kolorov/Clichy

Arsenal: Gibbs

Liverpool: Aurelio

Probably the easiest choice of the lot. The only player who gets anywhere near Ashley Cole is Patrice Evra, but he’s still a league apart. Quite simply, Cole is the world’s best left back.

Verdict: Cole

Centre Backs:

Man U: Ferdinand/Vidic

Chelsea: Terry/Luiz

Man C: Kompany/Lescott

Arsenal: Vermaelen/Squillaci

Liverpool: Carragher/Agger

This is a tough one to call as there are a number of world class options here. Chelsea and Man U have four top class options available, together with Kompany and Vermaelen. Carragher was never in the sames league as these guys, as much as the Scousers would like to think otherwise and the same goes for Lescott and Agger. The jury is still very much out on Squillaci. The two I have chosen are there for their leadership and presence along with the fact that they are outstanding defenders.

Verdict: Vidic and Terry

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Part 2 will follow shortly with the midfield and forwards selections. What do you think so far? Do you agree?

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Article by Derek O’Rourke

Follow me on Twitter @fattyfoulke