May 092013

Chelsea totally dominated our arch-rivals Tottenham last night for 90% of the game, but simply failed to kill them off with the myriad chances that fell to all our talented midfielders, and when Spurs got an equalizer with ten minutes to go the Blues were in danger of losing a game that should have been over half an hour earlier.

Rafael Benitez just thinks that the tempo of the game caused our players to tire towards the end, which caused our jitters, especially when Gareth Bale got a chance of a freekick in the dying minutes. The Spaniard said: “We didn’t have the legs,”

“Their second goal was offside but still, we had to defend it better. At the end we were a little bit leggy and were too open, and they were pushing and attacking, and our final pass was a problem.

“We had some players tired, especially in the wide areas controlling their full-backs. We couldn’t hold the ball, so it was not easy. But we had to finish the game off. They pushed and pushed, that’s fine, but we had to find that third. We had chances on the counterattack to score the third goal, but there was no finish.”

So the Champions League place is still not certain for Chelsea, but a win in our 67th game of the season against Aston Villa this weekend will be enough, or we may have to wait for David Moyes last game for Everton, which may not be easy at all!

May 082013

He’s off again. The Portuguese manager (not him, the other not so special one). As Chelsea prepare to welcome Tottenham to Stamford Bridge tonight, there is a great deal at stake. Perhaps that is why Andre Villas-Boas seems to be suffering from verbal diarrhoea, especially when it comes to talking about Chelsea.

Whoever wins the game tonight will take a huge step towards a top four finish and the Chammpions League football it entails. There are quite a lot of bragging rights on offer as well, such as being the best of the London clubs, with Arsenal still in the race, and doing the double over Spurs. What is likely to get the Chelsea players really going, though, is the sniping of the former manager.

Not only has he criticised the way we play, with some stupid remarks about having a style, he criticised Frank Lampard for not supporting him when he was in charge. The same `super` Frank Lampard who he hardly played and tried to force out of the club, you know, the one on the verge of becoming the Blues’ all-time record goalscorer. AVB suggested that Chelsea were not playing football in the right way and were only concerned about winning.

“In the end, it’s brought them success and sometimes success is what matters in football- independent of the style,” he croaked.

“I have a different opinion. I think if you don’t have a style it makes you invisible in football. Only teams with style succeed. But in the end, success normally is what matters in modern Europe.”

Well yes, mate, until they introduce goals and points for artistic integrity. What a clown! Chelsea won the Champions League and FA cup last season and have outperformed his Spurs team in every competition this season. A draw tonight would leave us three points ahead of them with two games to play, but a win would prove once and for all who the better team is.

May 082013

The Tottenham manager Andres Villas-Boas is looking to make history by inflicting Chelsea first defeat to their great London rivals at Stamford Bridge in over 20 years. AVB has seen his team beat the other three teams in the top Four this season, and thinks he can get the full set tonight.

“Of course we have the quality,” AVB said. “I am always confident. We have had an excellent season. We beat all the big teams in the country apart from Chelsea.

“We have an opportunity to go there and put our destiny in our hands. So we have motivation factors and we have the players’ ability that is absolutely outstanding. It’s a great, great fixture to have. The pressure is on every­body. Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham are so tight together. Three teams covered by three points at this stage of the season is outstanding.”

Villas-Boas is certain that White Hart Lane is ready to compete in the Champions League, and obviously has one eye on the extra £25 million which would become available to improve the squad even further. “The club is ready, but getting into it is the most difficult thing,” he said.

“The resources that Uefa makes available in the Champions League are not available in the Europa League and I don’t have to speak about the amount of exposure you get from playing in the Champions League. It is the ultimate objective for any club going forward.”

Of course it is Andres, but I’m afraid you will not be getting the three points tonight. Your plans may have to depend on Arsenal slipping on a banana skin, because you will get no mercy from Chelsea tonight!

Come on you Blues!

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.

May 052013

Chelsea go into a vitally important two weeks standing on the verge of having either a very good season, or a pretty disastrous one. Having already reached the semi-final stage of both domestic cup competitions, the Blues went one step further this week by reaching the final of the Europa League.

A victory against Benfica in Amsterdam on May 15th will give Chelsea a second successive European trophy in two seasons, but that must be seen as a bonus, according to the man probably most responsible for Chelsea’s recent success, Juan Mata. The Spaniard has been nothing short of brilliant again this season and has helped the new Chelsea players like Oscar and Hazard to settle quickly.

If Chelsea fail to finish in the top four of the Premier League again this season, there is no backdoor through the Europa League and we will not be in the Champions League next season. For the quality of the players at Stamford Bridge, this would be a travesty and would turn a good season into a bad one.

Starting with Manchester United today, followed by Tottenham on Wednesday, Chelsea face two massive and difficult games which could define this season and Mata wants his team mates to give absolutely everything and forget about the cup final for now.

“We have to get in the top four. We have to win these two games,” declared the Spaniard.

“We want Champions League football next season. After that we can try and win another trophy.

“There are two tough games ahead. Playing Tottenham is going to be like a final because both teams will be fighting for the same thing.”

Hopefully, the United players will have taken their foot off the gas because the title is done, but Ferguson will want to get one over on Benitez, so will be urging full effort from them. If Chelsea really give everything, though, and play as we can, I think we will win today. Then it is just the small matter of stopping Gareth Bale, because when he doesn’t score, Spurs don’t win.

Apr 192013

The 27-year old central defender Gary Cahill seems to have been out of the Chelsea team for ages following a minor knee operation, but he is on the verge of returning. That is great news for Chelsea, as there could still be nine games to play if we reach the Europa League final by beating Basel in the semi.

There is an outside chance of Cahill making the match at Liverpool on Sunday, but if not then he will ready for the first leg against the team from Switzerland. He has already won the FA cup and the Champions League in his short career at Stamford Bridge and does not hide the fact that the group stage exit as holders of the European cup, along with exits from the English cup competitions were disappointing.

It is next season’s Champions League that is the real priority now, though. After a fantastic start in the league, we should not be in the position of fighting Arsenal and Tottenham for a top four spot and he knows that failure to do it is unthinkable.

“I do not think we are contemplating it,” said Cahill. “The expectation for us is that we are in that competition next year. It is down to us as players to make sure that happens. We have got six games to do that and we have got to fully focus on making sure we are in that competition next season.”

One thing is for sure, Chelsea have a much better chance of doing it now that Cahill is back.

Apr 182013

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.

Fulham started okay, but had no real cutting edge and Petr Cech was alert to save well from a deflected shot. Chelsea shook off the tiredness quickly to come back into the match, but nobody was expecting David Luiz to score one of the goals of the season out of the blue. The Brazilian was more than 30 yards from goal, but his piledriver with swerve and dip gave Schwarzer no chance. See highlights below.

The captain stepped up with two headers to seal the points, giving the Premier League table a healthy look for Chelsea fans. We are back in third spot, a point above Arsenal and still with a game in hand and three points above Tottenham. We also have better goal difference than both of them, so things are looking good.

Despite the workload, Chelsea keep getting the job done and a win away at Liverpool on Sunday would almost seal us a top 4 spot and probably automatically Champions League spot for next season.

Apr 172013

Chelsea have the perfect opportunity to put the disappointment of the FA cup exit at the hands of Manchester City behind them. Despite a back breaking fixture pile up, the Blues have got the chance to lay down a marker for a top four finish, after Arsenal failed to beat Everton last night.

We travel the short distance to Craven Cottage to play Fulham tonight, knowing that a victory will put us back into third and a point above Arsenal with a game in hand. Tottenham will be three points behind with the same number of games left, but they have a much worse goal difference, 13 less than ours before kick-off tonight.

Surprisingly Chelsea are odds on to win the game tonight, despite not winning an away Premier League game for over three months! I would still fancy them to beat Fulham, but check out the latest betting offers before you part with your hard-earned cash. If you shop around you could get a very good price on Chelsea to win by two or more goals.

Fulham have not really got anything to play for for the rest of the season, so this local derby will be their most important one left. That means that the Chelsea players have to match their commitment from the start to allow our superior class to show through. The prize of the Champions League next season should be more than enough to get them going.

With tough fixtures still to come, including away to Liverpool on Sunday and Manchester United at Old Trafford in May, we cannot afford to drop any points against teams like Fulham, Swansea and Aston Villa.

Apr 162013

The Chelsea players have got to pick themselves up quick. There is no time to feel sorry about missing out on another FA cup final, because there is still the important matters of the Europa League and the race for a top four spot in the Premier League. The fact that there is no time to sit around and mope about the disappointing defeat to Man City on Sunday is probably a good thing, and the team must just focus on the remaining games.

We now have the dates for two rearranged fixtures to put in the calendar. The game against Tottenham, which could be absolutely crucial for which team will be in next season’s Champions League, will now be played at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday May 8th. That is just three days after the away trip to Old Trafford to face Man United. Spurs will have one extra day to prepare after their home game against Southampton. They also have less games to worry about after being knocked out of the Europa League by our semi-final opponents Basel. Spurs seem to be in a bad run of form, though, and the European exit will not help.

The game against Swansea has been moved to Sunday April 28th, because we play Basel in Switzerland that Thursday. First things first, though. We need to beat Fulham tomorrow to go three points clear of Tottenham with a much better goal difference. The top four is the most important thing, but there is no reason we can’t top it off with the Europa League trophy as well.

Apr 022013

There was just one thing that put a negative on yesterday’s win over Manchester United. With the mammoth fixture list facing the club, the sight of Ashley Cole limping off holding his hamstring was the last thing we needed. The injury is not as bad as first feared, however, and the England left back should return in a couple of weeks.

It seems unlikely, though, that Cole be able to take part in the next FA cup game, against Manchester City at Wembley stadium on Sunday April 14th for a place in the final. Gary Cahill is also likely to miss that match, but both players should be back around that time or soon after.

We must pray for no more injuries now, especially not to Ryan Bertrand. The 23-year old is a capable replacement at left back and is used to pressure situations, making his Champions League debut in last season’s final. Bertrand has already made 20 starts and 12 appearances as a substitute this season, but if anything happened to him we could be in trouble.

The Premier League game against Tottenham has been postponed because of the FA cup game, which means that Cole and Cahill should be available for that. It could be a huge game in the race for the top four and next season’s Champions League, so having those two players rested and fresh could be a blessing in disguise.