May 262013

Long term transfer target Edinson Cavani is reportedly top of the list this summer as Roman Abramovich looks set to open his chequebook once again this summer. Cavani, the 26 year old goal-scoring machine, has been at Napoli for three seasons where he has netted an incredible 104 goals in just 138 appearances. The Uruguayan has long been admired by many of Europe’s top clubs, but we look to be the first to make a big move this summer in the hope of beating other big spenders like Man City to his signature. However, there may be one big unknown in this situation – Rafa Benitez.

Benitez looks set to be officially named as the new Napoli boss in the next 24 hours. Club president Aurelio De Laurentiis is an extremely difficult man to predict, and by all accounts difficult to work for as well, but it seems Benitez is willing to take on the massive task. Abramovich will be hoping that Benitez will be more willing to discuss terms with the team he just won a Europa League with, but it is difficult to understand just how Benitez feels about Chelsea.

Rafa did not have an easy time at Stamford Bridge. Many fans were extremely vocal in their distaste and dislike at his appointment, and they never warmed to him. The fact of the matter is that Benitez actually did a very good job in his short time at Chelsea. He managed to win back some of the power from the dressing room, navigate a dreadful fixture schedule while keeping his major players fit, and ended the season comfortably in 3rd position with a Europa League to his name. If Roberto Di Matteo had only come in when Rafa did and achieved the same results, he would be considered a hero. Unfortunately for Benitez, his reputation preceded him, and the fans never gave him a chance.

This may have left Rafa with a bad taste in his mouth, and it would be understandable if he would rather not do us any favours. At this time, it’s guesswork as to how open he is to doing business with Roman, but we must hope that his relationship with our board remains strong. Cavani at Chelsea would be an incredible signing, and one that would strike fear in to every team across Europe. As far as strikers go, Cavani is the genuine article, and we should be moving heaven and earth to land him. Fingers crossed.

May 072013

Andre Villas-Boas returns to Stamford Bridge tomorrow night for the first time since he was sacked as the manager last March. The 35-year old has spoken before about it and is obviously unhappy with the way he was treated, although he must have known that Abramovich has been going through managers the way most people go through toilet rolls.

His Tottenham side are currently lying outside the Champions League places in fifth place and they desperately need a win to push them above Arsenal. So you would think that AVB would not try to do anything to wind the Chelsea players up and make his task even harder. Well you would be wrong, because the Portuguese coach has suggested that it was the players’ fault he was sacked.

“The experiences of managing Chelsea and Spurs are different and I learned a great lesson from last year,” said Villas-Boas.

“It becomes easier when the players are willing to commit to your ideas. They need to be able to take something from learning new things and also enjoy learning new things that they can use in their game.

“All the players have received me well and, when you receive that sort of openness, you can create a good environment.”

I am sure those words will help you and your team to get a good reception tomorrow Andre! If it was not for Di Matteo steadying the ship last season and steering us to a fantastic Champions League triumph, Chelsea would not have been in this season’s competition and may even have gone into a downward spiral.

AVB seemed to upset a lot of senior players and his tactics were not working, so whose fault is that? His `brilliant` tactics for Tottenham this season seem to consist of giving the ball to Bale and hoping he scores.

We beat them 4-2 at White Hart Lane back in October and we are playing much better now, so hopefully we can do them some serious damage tomorrow. You can be sure the Chelsea players will be fired up for it.

Mar 042013

Chelsea will definitely have a new manager next season. Rafa Benitez even admitted as much in his much publicisedrant last week. The fact that his job title was interim manager was a bit of a clue as well. The question is, who will it be. Earlier in the season it was widely thought that Roman Abramovich had arranged with the former boss of Barcelona to come to Stamford Bridge after his year away from football. Pep Guardiola surprised everyone, however, by taking the job at Bayern Munich.

There are lots of reports in the media about possible replacements for Benitez, but there is also a belief that some managers are wary of taking the job because of the recent history at the club. Abramovich is seen as way too keen to wield the axe, especially after the Di Matteo scandal. One man who has the confidence in his own ability not to worry about that, is also the man who most Chelsea fans would love to see back at the club, Jose Mourinho.

Petr Cech has been speaking about the possible return of the special one, and it is clear that the keeper would be delighted to see him take over again.

“We had fantastic success with him, so why not? He is a fantastic manager.

“Of course the fans sing his name. Jose Mourinho did a fantastic job for the club and people loved him, so he rightly deserved that.”

PSG are apparently trying to persuade Mourinho to move to France at the end of the season, but I am sure Abramovich could convince him to come to London instead. Will it happen, and if not, who should be the new boss?

Feb 242013

Today is an absolutely crucial day for Chelsea, and could decide whether the rest of the season is a dogfight with today’s opponents Manchester City to see who comes second in the Premier league, or a battle with Arsenal and Tottenham for the Champions league positions.

At the moment, the Blues are at a tipping point. A win today at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester will put us just a single point behind Roberto Mancini and last year’s champions. That would put us in a clear race with City, and also pull us clear of the chasing pack.

However, Chelsea are currently just one point ahead of Spurs and two ahead of Arsenal. Spurs travel to West Ham tomorrow, so anything other than a Chelsea win today would give them the chance to go above us in the table. After such a promising start to the season, failure to get in the Champions league would be an absolute disaster and prove once and for all that Roman Abramovich should have stuck with Di Matteo.

At least Benitez can pick Demba Ba today, instead of the misfiring Torres. City did not play in midweek, so may have a slight advantage, but at least Hazard’s late goal meant we avoided extra time. The pressure should be on the home side today, as their title challenge is slipping away, so hopefully we can exploit that and heap more misery on them.

Feb 232013

The most successful period for Chelsea was also the most successful period for the manager at the time Jose Mourinho. The `special one` has also proclaimed those three-and-a-half years as his happiest time in football. The beautiful friendship could soon be rekindled, according to another former manager of the Blues Ruud Gullit.

The Dutchman thinks that Mourinho is set to take over from Benitez at the end of the season, and also that he was going to come back to Stamford Bridge last summer. The only thing that delayed his return was that Roberto Di Matteo guided us to Champions league glory.

“Rafa Benitez’s main objective this season is to qualify for the Champions league and then to make way for Jose Mourinho. I have a gut feeling that Mourinho will come back to Chelsea.

“I have a feeling that he was meant to come back after the Champions league final, but then when Chelsea won it I think he thought better of it. It’s no coincidence that right after the final he signed a new contract with Real Madrid.”

That would explain a few things. Mourinho has not really had his mind on the job with Madrid this season, and has spoken about returning to England, despite his new contract. He has fallen out with a lot of the Spanish media, not seeming to care if he ruins his relationship with them for the future. He has been spotted back in London on occasion, and it is no secret that Benitez is only an interim manager.

Of course, it is up to Roman Abramovich, but he has surely realised now that he should have kept hold of Jose before, and we have never been as good since he left.

Feb 192013

The Chelsea captain John Terry is the only current player to have been at Stamford Bridge longer than the 34-year old midfielder Frank Lampard, and he is keen to continue playing with his team mate longer than the end of the season. Terry has joined in the debate about whether the club should offer Lampard a new contract despite his age, and the 32-year old defender is in no doubt whatsoever.

“Frank has so much more to give and he has been an inspiration to everyone at the club.

“He has got years ahead of him and we all hope they will be spent here at Chelsea.

“I am not even going to entertain the idea of him playing for another club.

“Even at his age, he is still the best trainer by a million miles. He works so hard, and for him to get that many goals, kids can look at him and think `he is just in the right position`.

“But believe me it is a lot of hard work before and after training, working on his strengths and weaknesses.

“I think you can see he has always been very fit naturally anyway.”

Hopefully, Terry’s words will reach the ears of Roman Abramovich and the owner will change his mind and keep Frank at the Bridge. Not only is he a fantastic player and great role model for the younger Chelsea players, it would show the fans that there is some loyalty at the club following the Di Matteo and Benitez fiasco.

Dec 232012

Rafa Benitez has claimed that Chelsea are doing much better now, and believes Fernando Torres’ return to form is proof.

Benitez had claimed that the squad he inherited was unfit, tired and lacked fight, but insists he is overseeing great improvement in the players.

‘Two or three things that we are doing for some players are really good,” Benitez said, claiming the sharpness in the majority of his squad was improving.

‘Fernando is one of the examples.’

He added: ‘He’s scoring goals and the team is winning and playing well, so he’s really happy, not just because he’s scoring goals but also because the team’s doing well.

‘I think that the team has an influence on him because the team is doing well, so the team is playing better, creating more chances, so Fernando is taking more chances.’

When asked to put a number on the squads fitness, Rafa responded: ‘You can more or less think but imagine I will say to you that they are 90 per cent fit and we lose on Sunday, you will say, ‘What is going on? What if I say 20 per cent and we beat Aston Villa 5-0? Football is so special that you cannot guarantee 70, 50 or 60.

‘What I can say is we have time to bring players in the team and then change players, so we can manage the tiredness a little bit better.’

‘Some players, they were quite tired, the day before, we were training and I was talking with the fitness coach. We had three or four that could be a problem. We decided to change some players but I didn’t want to change too many.’

I believe Chelsea would have got back to winning ways under Roberto Di Matteo, and Roberto would probably have won the World Club Cup. The Italian knew how to win the big trophies. As for Fernando Torres, he was scoring goals at the start of the season, and don’t forget all the new players are being integrated into the team and this takes time.

Chelsea are consistently bad in November and Roberto should have used more of his squad. Rafa is rotating the players in the wrong way, but it is starting to turn around. He inherited a very strong squad and there was no way those players could have carried on losing under any manager. Rafa can take the credit, but I’m not convinced just yet.

Am I being too harsh?

Nov 232012

Sir Alex Ferguson has claimed that Rafael Benitez is ‘very lucky’ to be hired just before Chelsea’s trip to Japan to compete in the World Club Cup.

Rafael Benitez was hired as Inter Milan boss, the season following on from Jose Mourinho’s treble winning exploits, and won the World Club Cup with Inter. He now has the opportunity to win a second with another squad he had no say in assembling.

Ferguson said: “On his CV he could have two world championships and nothing to do with the construction of the teams.

“Rafael Benitez is very lucky. Jose Mourinho won the treble at Inter; Rafa took over and they won the world title without having to do anything.”

He then went on to talk about Roberto Di Matteo´s sacking, saying:
“Everyone feels for Roberto Di Matteo, and quite rightly, It’s quite amazing that you win the FA Cup and the Champions League and lose your job.”

Rafael Benitez takes over his first game in charge at Chelsea this weekend, a home game against Manchester City, and Sir Alex said on the subject: “I hope he is lucky on Sunday too, It happens time and time again when a new manager comes in that a team win their first few games.

“It is strange how it happens and sometimes you wonder if it encourages chairmen at football clubs to make changes because they think: ‘if we get a new manager we’ll win the next two or three games’.”

Well all i can say is that I hope Chelsea DO win their next few games, but why couldn’t we win them with Di Matteo in charge????

Nov 112012

Chelsea and the Premier League seem to have been at loggerheads all year since the Anthon Ferdinand incident, and the Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo is now extremely annoyed that the Blues have not been allowed to cancel their League match against Sunderland ahead of Chelsea’s trip to Japan for the World Club Championship.

Di Matteo raged: ‘We are very happy to go to Japan and we have tried to postpone the Sunderland game to give us the best chance but the Premier League didn’t agree to it,’ .

‘That certainly could put strain on the players because we are only going to arrive three days before our first game in Japan. We would have liked to go a few days earlier so the players are adjusted to the new time zone. Travelling there with a nine-hour time difference, you want to do everything in your power to be ready for those games. It is a big injury risk as well.

‘You would think the Premier League would have every interest in making sure they give you the best chance of being successful in Japan, which would reflect very well on English football and the Premier League so I am very surprised about it, I can’t get my head round it.

‘The fixture list is obviously very full but where there is a will there is a way. You see all the other confederations trying to help their teams to do well in Europe. We talked about this last season as well.’

In fact the two teams playing for the right to face Chelsea in the semi-final, Ulsan Hyundai from South Korea and Mexican side Monterrey will be playing the day after Chelsea play Sunderland, and really Di Matteo should be at the game to get an idea of how their opponents play, but instead they will still be travelling!

Premier League clubs have often been accused of not taking the competition seriously, but as usual Chelsea play to win every tournament they are in, as Di Matteo said: “Maybe in England it is not regarded as so but you speak to the South Americans, the Asians and everybody that is involved and it is a massive competition. Winning that trophy means the world.

‘It is a trophy we don’t have in our cabinet and we desperately want to bring it to Stamford Bridge.’

That is a very silly decision by the Premier League…..

Oct 282012

The Man United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is well aware that another loss at Stamford Bridge today, a ground where they haven’t won for ten years, could be very important in the race for the Premier League title.

Man United could end the day seven points behind the leaders if they suffer another setback and the bookies think they face an uphill task and have set the United Odds up at 2/1 or higher to win the game today.

No-one in the Premier League has a better record against United than Roberto Di Matteo’s men, and Ferguson has explained why he thinks Chelsea have performed so well over the decade, despite seemingly changing their manager every year!

Fergie said: “Players who have been at the club for a number of years like Terry, [Ashley] Cole, [Frank] Lampard and [Petr] Cech give them stability,”

“Continuity with their kind of experience must help the dressing room. Terry will be a loss for them because he has been such a dominating figure. He is their captain, he has experience and he can be a ruthless defender.

“His presence a lot of the time was the most important thing for them. You will always miss a player like that.”

Ferguson may be hopeful that Chelsea miss Terry, but I think he will be sorely disappointed as we just like beating United whoever is in the team!