The 2012/13 season was an exceptionally long and demanding experience for the Chelsea squad, and the players are only now preparing to come back for pre-season training and to begin life under Jose Mourinho. There is still huge uncertainty over which players Mourinho is likely to favour, and in what way will he choose to set up the team for the start of the new season. There have been some indications that Mourinho wishes to give younger players a chance to feature and develop during the course of the season, but one thing that won’t be changing is club captain. Mourinho has been firm on that subject – John Terry will remain our captain. The question that springs to my mind when I hear that is – what’s going to happen to Gary Cahill?
The return of Jose Mourinho has prompted an awful lot of reflection and review amongst many Chelsea fans; yours truly included. Interestingly, I’ve found myself reviewing our seasons starting in 04/05 when we won the league. That was the start of something glorious for this club, and although we won the league double under Mourinho, it is probably fair to say that he got more out of his squads than successive managers have managed to get out of theirs. For example, we managed to accumulate an incredible 95 points in 04/05 with players like Thiago and Smertin getting 33 starts between them. When you compare it to the title winning squad of 09/10, you see a huge difference in supposed quality, and yet which team was more feared?
It’s been far too long since we last had the joy of seeing Jose Mourinho chair a Chelsea press conference, but in a matter of seconds you could have forgotten that he ever left. In a mammoth press conference, Mourinho was re-unveiled as the new Blues boss. It’s been 9 years since he first sat in the chair and declared himself ‘The Special One’, but it seems he has returned with a new moniker.
It is perhaps a sign of how good a job Rafa Benitez actually did in the Chelsea dressing room, but there hasn’t been the kind of media outrage at John Terry’s exclusion from the Chelsea first team that we might have expected in recent years. Terry has struggled all season with injuries, and while he is still capable of big performances, he is in no way guaranteed to be first choice come the end of the summer. Terry fell behind David Luiz, Branislav Ivanovic and Gary Cahill this season, and all 3 are far from falling into decline. It seems incredible that Terry can no longer get in to the team, but the question now becomes what will Terry’s role be at the club?
Frank Lampard is set to lead Chelsea out as captain for tonight’s all important Europa League final in Amsterdam. The veteran midfielder, who is believed to be on the brink of signing a new one year contract extension, will be the focal point of Chelsea’s midfield spine against an always dangerous Benfica side. The match will be the 68th of Chelsea’s season – far more than they would have anticipated or indeed liked. However, at this stage of the season, the weary legs and bones will be forgotten about. If you can’t get yourself motivated for a European Cup final, then you’re in the wrong sport!
David Luiz is having a fantastic season for Chelsea. He scored yet another stunning goal against Basel on Thursday and is becoming increasingly influential to the team and the club, being mentioned as the man who will take the captain’s armband from John Terry one day. So we certainly don’t want to sell the 26-year old, but it appears that Barcelona have targeted Luiz as one of the signings they want to make this summer.
The fantastic and versatile Brazilian international David Luiz is a popular choice to become the next captain od Chelsea, and the change could happen sooner than expected, apparently. The 26-year old has been putting in captains’ performances for the Blues lately and more than once his drive, skill and determination have rescued Chelsea, most recently with a last gasp winner at Basel.
According to the Daily Star, the Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich wants Luiz to replace Terry as club captain this summer, although it is unclear whether this would mean an end to Terry’s career at the club or simply a demotion. This could be speculation on the paper’s part, but Luiz has been receiving lots of plaudits from everyone at the club recently.
Chelsea have still got eight games to play this season. That includes the Europa League final at the Amsterdam Arena in Holland on May 15th. To get there, the Blues have got to get past the Swiss side Basel that knocked Tottenham Hotspur out in the last round. They are a good side, but Chelsea are better and have got the added bonus of Gary Cahill and Ashley Cole returning from injury.
Because Chelsea were playing their third big game in six days and the fact that it was a local derby against Fulham, it was expected to be a tough test for Rafa Benitez and the Blues at Craven Cottage last night. It turned out to be anything but, as we eased to a 3-0 win with John Terry marking his 21st start of the season with his first brace of goals in eight years.
With a mammoth and congested fixture list stretching out in front of them, Chelsea and Rafa Benitez will be glad of the opportunity to rest a few key players if necessary in the second leg against Rubin Kazan. Chelsea were easily the better side against Rubin Kazan at Stamford Bridge last night as they cruised to a 3-1 victory.
The Russians only got on the scoresheet because of a poor decision by the referee to award a penalty for a handball by John Terry. The Chelsea captain had his hands by his side and did not move towards the ball, in fact he would hardly have been able to given the speed it was struck at him. Apparently, Terry has less than a quarter of a second to react so it was a very harsh call.