Jul 312014
 

Up until now Chelsea were expecting to sell Torres or Mikel to conform to the regulations regarding the maximum number of players allowed in a squad. There can only be a maximum of 17 non-homegrown or association trained players in a squad of 25 players for a premier league season. The squad members can be changed only when the transfer windows are open. Although any number of under 21 players can be added to the squad, this regulation puts a lot of restrictions on the ambitious transfer plans of Chelsea.

As of now there are 18 non-homegrown players in the squad. Rumours have been making the rounds that Peter Cech would be let go to accommodate the signing of Drogba. Now that may be a poorly cooked up news. While it is true that Courtois is favoured by many to be the number 1 goalkeeper, we also have to take into consideration the fact that he has no experience in the premier league. While there’s no doubting him that he’ll be successful at Chelsea, we can never be too careful. This is why the selling of Cech will be a huge mistake. Cech can play 2 or 3 years more of quality football at the top level. Another important factor is that Cech conceded the least number of goals in EPL last season. Let’s not forget that Cech has always been Mourinho’s No.1 at Chelsea. He is too cautious to let go off his prised asset and trust entirely on a 22 year old. Although Courtois has a better goalkeeping record than Cech when we compare the records for a few seasons, Mourinho is probably going to let them battle it out next season for a place in front of the goal.

For the 2013-2014 season Henrique Hilario was not included in the squad list to meet the requirements. This strategy can be used this season by excluding Schwarzer from the list.

Torres would have been the easiest target but £20m price tag  put by Chelsea and £175,000 per week wages by paid to him by the club have scared away interested clubs namely, Athletico Madrid who are unwilling to buy him at that price. The best way Torres could have been sold was to include him in the Diego Costa deal. The striker has just two years in his current contract and at the end of next season his transfer value is going to decrease  considerably. This is the ideal time to sell him and Chelsea needs to cut down on the orice tag if they want to offload him and reduce the losses.

John Obi Mikel has been made a huge impact during his Chelsea career. Luck has always been in his favour when a series of managers came to the club and never thought of offloading him. It is shocking to realise that he has over 200 caps. He has never made any fuzz over being made to warm the bench during most of the games. As a defensive midfielder he has always done a pretty neat job in supporting the defenders and doing all the dirty work needed. But he lacks imagination when offense and link up play with the attackers are concerned .Although he is a type of player every club needs, he needs to be sold to make way for Cech and Drogba to co-exist.

 Posted by at 2:10 pm
Jul 312014
 

1. Little horses turned thoroughbreds

Last season was a transitional period for the club with the return of Jose Mourinho for good and shuffling of the squad. Juan Mata had been the centre of the team and the team was developed around him. Mourinho shipped him out and that changed everything. By the end of the season they were a formidable force and would have won the league if not for the unprecedented losses to a few lower ranked clubs in the league. The little horses came up with impressive displays against all the top clubs and might have been overconfident when playing the lower ranked teams.

2. The midfield duo

With the signing of Cesc Fabregas, the midfield position which were a bit weak apart from Matic, has been strengthened. Ramires and David Luiz, who occasionally handled the defensive midfield position, were both giving underwhelming performances. Cesc Fabregas had created the most number of chances for the club in la liga last season. With him pairing with Matic it will be wonderful sight to see him linking play with the defense and attack.

3. Depth in defense

Mourinho had deployed Cesar Azpilicueta, a natural right back, in left back position last season. Even though Azpilicueta did a wonderful job and was instrumental in conceding the least goals by any team in the premier league. This coming season Mourinho will be probably rotating mainly Terry, Cahill, Azpilicueta and Ivanovic in centre back and right back. If Kurt Zouma and Ake are not loaned out then the pool of talent for Mourinho to choose from will be enormous.

4. Goalkeeping options

According to Mourinho the best goalkeeper in the world and the best young goalkeeper are at his disposal. Chelsea are sure to field Courtois as the man in front of the goal at least at the start of season and see how he fares in the premier league. With Peter Cech refusing to go down without a fight, the healthy battle between them on the pitch is only going to benefit the club. They have never had such fierce competition in their respective clubs up until now and that is why this season is going to even more better for the blues in terms of goalkeeping excellence

5. Diego Costa

One of the main reasons for premier league slipping away from Chelsea’s hands was the misfiring trio of strikers up front who were unable to convert a tonne of chances and half chances that were created by the young and creative players like Hazard, Oscar and Willian.  The signing of Diego Costa, is going to change Chelsea for the better. It is a move that is going to have at impact at so many different levels. If he is able to bring his form at Athletico Madrid to the EPL, then Chelsea are sure to win the premier league. Coupled with that the support from Didier Drogba, Torres and even Lukaku, if he decides to stay, will surely give the Chelsea attack a new dimension and answer all critics of the defense oriented game that Chelsea played last term.

With all these shrewd signings and decisions made by Mourinho, there is no doubt that the little horses have become the thoroughbreds that are going to win the race.

 Posted by at 1:59 pm
Jul 302014
 

Chelsea’s iconic number 8, Frank Lampard has finally left the club for good and has recently signed for a new club, New York City FC, one of the latest expansion clubs in the MLS, joining Spain’s all-time scorer, David Villa, there.

With the preseason already well underway, it feels so strange not seeing him in a Chelsea number 8 shirt, having his hands up in the air celebrating, after scoring from his usual 20 yards from goal.

At his press conference in New York when he was introduced, a Sky Sports press correspondent asked the question “…do you think Cesc Fabregas can replace you at Chelsea?” all of a sudden, from the back of the press room there was a loud shout from probably or definitely a Chelsea fan, “NO ONE CAN REPLACE YOU FRANK! NO ONE!” loud cheers followed and an applause as Frank smiled with appreciation, but it really was a good question.

Yes, in case you missed it, London rivals, Arsenal favorite, CescFabregas has switched to the Blue side of activities in London. On June 12th during the World Cup he was confirmed as a Chelsea player and it was quite a shock even though his transfer saga was a very long one.

Would you say he was bought to replace Frank Lampard? Well, when one key midfielder leaves and another one is brought in, it doesn’t take much to put two and two together, so yes, Fabregas is his replacement at the club.

After Frank’s smile regarding the enthusiastic reply from that Chelsea fan during the presser, he answers “I hate to put too much pressure on Cesc…he has his own qualities and I have mine…” I think Frank hits the nail on the head here. Any fan who expects Cesc to play like how Frank plays is clearly not getting it.

What can Cesc offer to the club? Well, for starters, he can offer that Spanish passing football that many teams are envious of having. A player who can nick a precise pass in a split second even under pressure, Cesc is definitely capable of that. Not that Frank didn’t have that, Lampard in his prime was just as every bit of quality, not forgetting his magnificent achievement of being the 2nd best player in the world in 2005 with Brazilian legend, Ronaldinho, keeping him out of walking away with that award.

Fabregas has grown since his Arsenal days, bought back to his boy hood club, Barcelona, I feel he has grown more technical and has definitely improved in his finishing, remembering how often he played as a false 9 for both Spain and Barcelona. Fabregas scored 35 goals in 212 league appearances for Arsenal and scored 28, just 6 short in 96 games for the Catalan giants.

Fabregas also offers variety on the pitch, he started in center midfield during his established youth days at Arsenal and is said to have styled in game after his childhood hero ex-Barcelona coach, Pep Guardiola, he played as an attacking playmaker in his recent years at the Gunners especially when he got the captaincy at the Emirates and now capable of playing forward having moved to Barcelona.

Frank also goes on in his answer to the question after adding that Cesc is a world class addition to Chelsea, “Cesc and I have had our battles in the past…” It’s hard for a Chelsea fan to forget all those Arsenal/Chelsea rivalries with Fabregas and Lampard very much in the thick of it and even that spit on the iconic Michael Ballack, but I’m certain after a few glorious performances from the world class Spaniard, all would be forgiven. Lampard and his answer and says with a smile “…but I wish him all the very best with the club.”

 Posted by at 5:19 pm
Jul 302014
 

Earlier this month the uncertainty about Romelu Lukaku’s future had been put to rest when news spread that the Belgium international supposedly decided to stay at Chelsea and fight it out with goal machine Diego Costa and misfiring Fernando Torres for a place in the first team. But with the signing of Didier Drogba, the rumour has gained new life.

At the start of last season it was almost sure that Lukaku would be included in the premier league Chelsea squad. But immediately after his Super cup penalty miss against Bayern Munich he was shipped out to Everton on loan. He had succumbed to pressure at that big game and that is something that Mourinho doesn’t tolerate in his team. This is evident In the signings he made so far. Mourinho is known for signing players based on experience and form at the top level. But Didier Drogba is an exemption to this phenomenon and we all know what that shrewd signing did for Chelsea ‘s success.

In the just concluded FIFA world cup we saw a player in Lukaku who succumbed to the pressure of a big game. Sure there were moments that showed us the level of his talent that made him a highly regarded striker in the premier league. But when we look at his campaign, which was his one true chance at impressing his club coach, we are sure to be disappointed. With Benteke out of the world cup, it was Lukaku’s golden chance to shine at the most important event in football. But what resulted was following a series of unimpressive performances he was replaced often by Divock Origi or even reduced to the role of a substitute in the final games. This was yet another example of choking at the big games. One person who is almost opposite performance is Torres who shines especially in cup matches and big games for Chelsea.

This failure at the big game is a big negative in Mourinho’s books.

The super cup penalty miss was a huge factor In loaning out to Everton last season. He gained quality first team experience last season with the toffees. That reputation was again lost with his dismal world cup campaign. With two seasons left in his contract it is a viable option to loan out the Belgian to Everton again and let him have first team experience which cannot be guaranteed for him at Chelsea. At 21 years of age, his achievements have surely exceeded expectations. He has plenty of years in his career to become a well rounded player. The best decision that Lukaku can take for his career is to put away any thoughts of a permanent transfer to Everton and instead join them on loan. With the Europa league qualification, it will be a wonderful platform for Lukaku to gain some valuable game time against some top European teams. By the end of the season he would have more exposure to competition at high levels and learn how to face high pressure situations. After that he will have a season more in his Chelsea contract and have a shot at playing under the tactical mastermind who turned a rather unknown player into The Didier Drogba or maybe if he is lucky he could have Drogba as a coach in his team to mould him. Being a player with attributes similar to Drogba’s it will be a dream come true for him to play in a team that has been designed by Mourinho with a striker of those qualities in mind.

 Posted by at 4:42 pm
Jul 282014
 

Its Saturday lunchtime kick off, Anfield is the venue, the scousers patiently awaiting its next prey in the name of Blackburn Rovers FC for lunch at Merseyside. Captain Slippery Gerrard, sorry Captain Steven Gerrard leads the red army onto the pitch, Torres was going to be in his usual menacing and irresistible mood. A win for the Reds keeps them within range for the English Premier League title 2008/2009 season. The Referee signals and the game is on Live, not long Into this high tempo fixture Gerrard lays a telepathic long range pass to Torres who controls the ball brilliantly, held up the Rover defender, turns around and hits a volley to the top right hand corner, the Goalkeeper had no answer to that, Liverpool where 1 goal up, within 10minutes, that was Fernando Torres at his menacing best. The commentators on the day exclaimed ‘What a beauty of a goal from the fantastic Spanish attacker”. Those words sums up how brilliant a player El Nino was at that time that he was considered and voted the third best player in the world by FIFA.

Oooh “how are the mighty fallen”, barely 8months  after that performance as was expected Roman Abramovich rolled out the Cheque book for Carlo Ancelloti who had just won the double the season before to bring in Torres to add more firepower to Chelsea’s attack and complete the jigsaw for the Russians fantasy team. Torres was a clinical finisher who had terrorised EPL and European defenders with reckless abandon, Liverpool cashed in, Kenny Daglish and the Liverpool Board smiled to the bank, they just sold Roman a dummy, in the words of my co-bar soccer analyst colleague he said “Liverpool selling Torres to Chelsea was like Range Rover selling you a car without the manual”. What Liverpool did with the proceeds of the sale of Torres is another discussion for another day as Andy Carroll and the Enigmatic Luis Suarez were bought as replacements.

Torres Chelsea career began in earnest he was simply abysmal in his first seven games and the criticisms started pouring in, this was no longer the Torres of Liverpool who dribbled past defenders and scored for the fun of it, this was a new PIPISHFernando Torres who had become impotent in front of goal and gone through barren spells without  goal. He finally broke his scoreless streak on a wet Sunday against West Ham much to the relief of the Chelsea fans and of course his pay masters, was that to signal the return to form of El Nino? Am sorry No, that goal was just a stop gap and what he needed to get back to his new found pipish status. Glaring misses started pouring in and became his trademark, the vapour of El Nino’s reputation as one of Europe deadliest strikers began to evaporate into the stands and ambience of Stamford bridge.

Torres endeared another unproductive season concurrently these performances marked a watershed in his professional career as the once revered and feared striker had become a laughing stock amongst Chelsea fans, his name became synonymous with goal gaffes and glaring misses. Against Manchester United in 2011, I remember watching that game at a bar in Milton Keynes, Torres dribbled pass the United defenders and past David Gea but the goal went begging, Torres just did a TORRES, he blazed the ball in to the Sir Alex Ferguson stand that left supporters in great disbelief at what just happened. The last straw I believe came in Slovenia yesterday during a pre season friendly, young Nathan Ake had laid an excellent through ball for torres only for El Nino to chest the ball over the cross bar from 2yards the Chelsea players were in Utter disbelief (why should they be?) even the young Ake. Torres always looks emotionally and psychologically traumatized and he is in need of help and this help has to come in form of seeking a transfer to his boyhood club which he captained at a tender age and scored so many goals, made his name there at Vicente Calderon. Torres needs to go back to Athletico Madrid if he is to get back to his best again, well I do  not think he can play like he used too as his days in Liverpool but he surely deserves to be happy again, and home seems to be where he will get such happiness. No player in football has ever recovered from such deep in form and came back stronger than they were and I don’t think El Nino can, I hope he proves me wrong, he deserves to be happy once again like he was in Anfield.

By Omeiza Dawodu

 Posted by at 4:39 pm
Jul 262014
 

It’s been over 2 years or to be more exact 799 days since Didier Drogba sunk that ball into the bottom corner at the Bayern end in Munich to win Chelsea its greatest and most sought after prize of all time, the club’s proclaimed ‘Holy grail’, the UEFA Champions League. We thought that was the end of the chapter for him in the club’s books but then reports started linking him with a return to Chelsea and not as a coach like we thought at first, a player. But regardless of what he is returning as it’s really hard for a Chelsea fan not to get excited.

After the departure of Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard, Drogba returns to find only two of the ‘old guard’ still relevant to the club in John Terry and Petr Cech, who have both really been involved since the Roman Abramovich era took off in full flight. So at the tender age of 36, what could Didier Drogba bring to Chelsea?

Drogba stated in his last interview for the club before leaving that even if he was called to the club just to cut the grass he would and it seems the call has been made, and no, it’s not to level the turf of Stamford Bridge.

‘King Didier’ as a number of us love to refer him as, would be returning just as a boost for the new season and the majority of that boost doesn’t seem to be about his ability on the pitch as he is way past the mark, but probably as a voice among the backroom staffs and to help our ‘somewhat’ young squad find their bearing especially during difficult times.

Drogba has been through it all at Chelsea, held in high regard and heavily criticized by both media and fans at a time, played under 7 managers at the club, dropped to bench often during the Scolari era, red carded in cup finals as well as scoring the winning goals in them, he knows how to bounce back from unfortunate situations and that sort of experience is undoubtedly massive for group of players who may find themselves in similar situations at some point. But is providing moral support all what he would be doing? I doubt it.

Of course, any fan who expects Drogba to be the same deadly forward he used to be for us on his return is clearly deluded but a full season with us would no doubt see him score a number of goals and no matter how few they are and when they come in it would be very much appreciated.  Drogba scored 157 goals for the club, he is the highest goal scoring African in the premier league and let’s not forget his impressive 9 goals in 9 cup finals. Those are little things he could add a few numbers to on his return.

We’ve seen this with Liverpool, when Robbie Fowler returned, Arsenal, when Thierry Henry came back and now it’s our turn, there’s no disadvantage at all about this move, after all, ‘Didier Drogba, he is one of us!’

 Posted by at 4:34 pm
Jul 242014
 

It all started in 2004 when Chelsea signed Mateja Kežman who just had a stellar season at PSV Eindhoven among other stellar ones. He had scored 38 goals in 40 games for the Dutch outfit alongside Arjen Robben, the pair were hailed as ‘Batman and Robben’ in the Dutch Eredivisie. But a  £5.3m move to Chelsea changed dynamics of things.

Kežman, once a goal machine in Holland, scored just 4 goals in 25 league games and 7 goals overall in a total of 40 appearances. Chelsea won the league that season but despite that, the quality in attack was too much for Kežman’s misfortunes to affect the season. Kežman left for Atlético Madrid the next season for the same fee he was bought by Chelsea from PSV.

Then in 2006, Chelsea stepped the price a lot higher, this time it was world class forward, Andriy Shevchenko, bought for a record breaking £30m (at the time) and expectations were high on what ‘Shevy’ might bring to the premier league, however, he scored just 9 league goals in 2 seasons for the club, 14 overall in his first season and 8 in the next one proved the legendary striker to be a Chelsea flop.

And then, the most recent and infamous of all, we stepped it up to £50m in January 2011, when the club was in a bad slump and decided to sign Fernando Torres which is still the most expensive transfer in British history. Torres…well, hasn’t lived up to any of the expectations we had hoped for and to be honest no fan really has expectations on him at this point but what is worse is when you have no expectations on all your strikers and that was the case last season.

Didier Drogba’s departure has since left Chelsea with a Fernando Torres well past his peak inconsistently leading the line of attack, Romelu Lukaku was deemed too young to play and has been loaned time after time in search of ‘experience’ while Demba Ba was brought in to help things, but it turns out he wasn’t the quality we thought he was and Samuel Eto’o was acquired last summer to help patch things up, but with just 9 goals in the league by the Cameroonian and 5 each for the mediocre pair of Ba and Torres, the reality was still inevitable, Chelsea were only within touching distance of silverware but not winning any.

Moving on to this season, it seems José has finally reintroduced someone who is certainly going to lead the line next season, Diego Costa is the man, for a fee of £32m from Atlético Madrid and lots of Chelsea fans are excited but also putting hands together and hoping he doesn’t end up as the cases above.

Costa is no one season wonder, he grabbed the attention of a few when he went to Rayo Vallecano on loan from Atlético to score 10 goals in the league and 20 overall, alongside Michu who is now at Swansea. He returned to Atlético and continued to do well, but not to the point of outshining world class striker, Radamel Falcao but then Falcao left and suddenly Costa had gotten his break. He didn’t just grab the opportunity he also grabbed the attention of big clubs around the world.

Some of Diego Costa’s Stats

Costa finished his season with Atlético with 36 goals in all competitions, 27 of which were in the league after a total of 108 shots and with the best shots per goal among the top number 9s in Europe’s top leagues, an incredible 4.0 shots per goal, followed quite closely by Mario Mandžukić at 4.22.Ba had the best of the Chelsea strikers with 6.20 shots per goal but with the worst number of shots 31 and Torres had 61 the highest number of shots but his shots per goal rate was the lowest at 12.20. Lukaku had a total of 98 shots with a 6.53 shots per goal conversion.

Costa also suffered the most fouls in all of Europe’s top leagues, a bizarre or maybe amusing number of 116 the closest was Robert Lewandowki at 96, Torres suffered the most fouls (26) among the Chelsea strikers.

Diego Costa had better dribbles per game and key passes than all four of Chelsea’s strikers, Lukaku included, at 1.71 and 1.29 respectively. Luis Suarez had the highest of both in all of Europe with 2.82 and 2.64. Costa also had just 3 assists and the worst offside record at 50; once again the stats are domestically.

Conclusion

There’s actually no real certainty that Diego Costa would not flop in a Chelsea kit, but the evidence that proves he won’t seem to outweigh the ones that say he would (whatever they are), Costa seems to be reaching his peak or at it already and his game play denies him not having any impact on a game. Costa isn’t or doesn’t seem like the quiet type on the field like Kezman, Shevy…or Torres, he seems to relish a superb battle against oppositions…dare I say a ‘Suarez/Tevez type’ of forward, with a superb work ethic and agility.

He is also one to watch for the ‘boo boys’, as he is extremely controversial with a couple of disciplinary issues especially in heated/rivalry clashes. (Not as bad as Cassano, Balotelli or Suarez…) but certainly up there with a number of others.

While we welcome him to Chelsea we can only hope and pray he has a good first season with us and many more stellar ones, and would be remembered for all the right reasons like Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Eidur Gudjohnsen, Didier Drogba and not the wrong ones, like Adrian Mutu…or what’s even worse, not being remembered at all, like…Claudio Pizarro.

 Posted by at 10:38 am
Jul 242014
 

André Schürrle became the fifth Chelsea player to be involved in a World Cup final and then joined Legends, Marcel Dessaily and Frank Leboeuf, to be the third Chelsea player to eventually win the prestigious cup. The French captain of the 1998 squad, Didier Deschamps joined the Blues a year after he won it, then in 2006, Chelsea’s Claude Makélélé and William Gallas tasted the agony of defeat against Italy as they lost on penalties 5-4, Florent Malouda who was part of the 2006 runners up squad eventually joined Chelsea a year later and most recently Fernando Torres who lifted the trophy as a Liverpool player in 2010 and moved a year after to be a Blue.

It’s worth knowing that the first Chelsea player at a World Cup was Roy Bentley for England in 1950 and the first non-English player at a World Cup was Gordon Durie for Scotland in 1990, but the 1998 World Cup proved to be the one that was a bit special for the club, it featured the first Chelsea player to score, the first Chelsea players to move to various rounds of the tournament from the round of 16 to the finals itself and the first Chelsea players to be eventual winners.

The first Chelsea player to score in a World Cup was Romanian full back, Dan Petrescu who scored against England against team mate at the time, Graeme Le Saux. Chelsea had quite a number of their own at the 1998 world cup, Spain’s Albert Ferrer and Denmark’s Brian Laudrup both signed for the club before the competition had begun and Brian Laudrup showed fans a glimpse of his abilities on the world stage, scoring and assisting in a 4-1 victory over Nigeria who had club icon, Celestine Babayaro in the squad. To André Flo also scored in the tournament as Norway progressed to the round of 16.

However the round of 16 and quarterfinals would see the end of most Chelsea players, Babayaro and Nigeria were out after losing 4-1 to Denmark, Petrescu’s Romania lost with a lone goal to Croatia, while Flo’s Norway said goodbye after a defeat to Italy, and it’s worth knowing the Italian side didn’t call up club legends Roberto Di Matteo or Gianfranco Zola for the tournament.

Denmark eventually lost to Brazil in a brilliant quarterfinal game which ended 3-2, Brian Laudrup scored an equalizer to make it 2-2 but 10 minutes later, Brazilian legend, Rivaldo scored what proved to be the winner. Albert Ferrer and Spain shocking didn’t progress from the group stages as well as Jamaica who had Frank Sinclair in their side, being massive underdogs.

France enjoyed the tournament the most as they progressed to the final and beat Brazil 3-0 with the legendary Zinedine Zidane scoring 2 brilliant headers while eventual Blue Emmanuel Petit who was playing for Arsenal at the time scored the last goal to confirm the French’s first World Cup win in history.

To end a thrilling month of football Mario Götze struck in extra time as Germany beat Argentina 1-0 to win the tournament for a fourth time. It was a delightful night for the Germans and the only Chelsea representative in the squad, Schürrle, who confirmed that it was his best day ever.  So once again congratulations to Schürrle, who did in fact assist the winning goal just like his new teammate, CescFabregas had done 4 years ago in South Africa, and also congratulations to Germany.

 Posted by at 10:13 am
Jul 222014
 

Jose Mourinho’s claim that Chelsea have now finished their summer spending may just leave some fans concerned there is still not enough frontline depth at Stamford Bridge ahead of the new season. Diego Costa was always Mourinho’s top forward target and his arrival from Atletico Madrid was wrapped up weeks ago after a near six-month long pursuit. Some predicted the deal would include Fernando Torres heading back to his old club but the fact he has stayed at Chelsea means Torres is likely to be given at least one more season to rediscover his best form in Blue. Fans will hope he can find it because Mourinho does not, at the minute at least, have many more options.

If we are to believe Jose when he says he is finished in the transfer market this summer (and he has plenty of previous when it comes to being economical with the truth in these situations) then a cursory glance at the squad for 2014-15 means there are only three established out-and-out centre-forwards on the list – and one of those is Romelu Lukaku.

Granted, World Cup winner Andre Schurrle can do a job up front, while there is plenty of quality and no shortage of numbers in the supporting cast as Oscar, Eden Hazard, Willian, Mohamed Salah and new boy Cesc Fabregas will all get forward and are expected to chip in with goals.

But, following Samuel Eto’s exit, whose nine goals last season proved vital, and the expected departure of Lukaku again, there is only Torres and now Costa as recognised central strikers. That may not be too much of a problem if both players stay fit, because Mourinho is expected to start with just one lone frontman (Costa to begin with) in most games. However, if one or both were to get injured, it leaves the likes of the talented but relatively untested Patrick Bamford (if he doesn’t go out on loan again) or even forgotten man Victor Moses having to step up.

Mourinho’s treatment of Torres is intriguing as he has continued to back the former Liverpool man despite the fact his performances, goal record and sometimes his body language have suggested he would rather be elsewhere. The fact the manager has now said he doesn’t plan to make any more significant signings should offer Torres plenty of encouragement because, with another Champions League campaign and the domestic Cup competitions high on the agenda, there is no doubt he will get plenty of games, even if he may not be first-choice in the Premier League and unlikely to be among the frontrunners for top scorer in bet365’s football markets.

Of course, it could be that Jose has another trick up his sleeve and another striker will join before the end of August, while some have claimed Lukaku should finally be given a chance at the Bridge after his very impressive seasons at West Brom and Everton.

Whatever happens, fans will, of course, trust the manager to get it right, they’ll just hope there is enough with Costa – and Torres as back-up – to deliver the goods when and where it matters.

Jul 162014
 

Untitled

By  Ronnie Macdonald 

The title is on its way to Stamford Bridge again in 2015 – that’s if the betting market is anything to go by. As things stand, Chelsea are marginal favourites ahead of title holders Man City. But thereisn’t much in it. Chelsea are currently somewhere around 15/8, just edging out Man City at around 2/1. There’s then a gap to Man United who, the market clearly thinks, may be resurgent under the stewardship of Louis van Gaal, followed by Arsenal and Liverpool.

The reason Chelsea are favourites is because of the “Special One” factor. Mourinho has made numerous moves in the transfer market already – whilst a number of players have left or look likely to leave on free transfers as their contracts have come to an end.

Obviously, the biggie is the departure of David Luis to PSG for £50 million. Shrewd Chelsea fans will probably see this is a plus. He’s a special player with some remarkable abilities butthere are also times when he’s not as much of a team player as we’d like him to be and we know that José Mourinho only works with players who see the bigger team picture – and do what he tells them to!

It also gives Mourinho a big war chest and it’s one he’s busy working his way through, bringing in two massive names in the shape of Cesc Fabregas, in from Barcelona for £30 million, and Diego Costa, in from Atletico Madrid for £32million. Another new signing is Mario Pasalic from Hajduk Split. Going the other way (whether permanently or out on loan) are Thorgan Hazard, leaving for Borussia Monchengladbach on loan, Ashley Cole, going to Roma on a free transfer, Bertrand Traore leaving for Vitesse on loan – and we aren’t even into August yet.

On the downside, it seems inevitable that record goal-scorer Frank Lampard will leave for foreign pasture s- but we don’t know where yet.

So clearly the market thinks the Mourinho factor will make the difference this year. Let’s hope the market is right. And there may be a way you can get a free bet on the Blues. If you go to Winner Bingo and look under the “more from Winner” tab, you’ll find a section devoted to sports betting. Here, you’ll find markets on all Chelsea’s games so if you take full advantage of Winner’s offer of £40 free when you put £10 of your own money down – and when you play and win, the money is transferable to your sports betting account with Winner – so the site is appropriately named hopefully!

The other way to play the Mourinho factor is to back Chelsea at half time. There are many occasions on which the team emerging after the break plays a different game to the one we saw in the first half. This is the Mourinho factor at work again – and it’s amazing how many times Chelsea score in the 46-60 minute type of period.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

 Posted by at 6:32 pm