Opposition view: Chelsea

By Ric Turner, Fri 25 October 2013 09:50

Opposition view: Chelseathechelseablog.org and chelseadaft.org give us the lowdown on Sunday's opposition

What are your expectations for this season?

TCB: I expect we won't leave Champions League qualification quite as much to chance as we have the past couple of seasons. Qualifying for Europe had been a given for us for a decade and the thought of coming close to not doing so shouldn't be a consideration for us now.

CD: Chelsea have underperformed for two seasons in the Premier League and have been way off the pace. With the squad we have, we should be at least challenging for the title.

Are you happy with the manager?

TCB: I was one of the few who didn't pine after Jose when he left but so far, I'm one of his biggest supporters now he's back. He still has some of the old familiar traits but with a slightly more grown-up edge. I think he's doing a great job.

CD: Jose Mourinho is back home and I could not be happier. Proven track record, proven ability and the fact he says that this is where he belongs means everything. Should never have left the club in the first place but now he has a chance to build over a sustained period of time.

Who are your key players?

TCB: Mata, Hazard, Oscar without a doubt - they make us tick and for all the focus on Mata and Oscar, I'm still not sure anyone really pays enough attention to just how important Hazard is in that trio. Maybe a less popular choice (and one not everyone would agree with) is JT. I know he isn't the same player he was last time Jose was boss but it's noticeable for me after he played a less significant role last season, his presence brings much more unity to the side again.

CD: Chelsea have a number of key players because of the quality we have in the squad. John Terry is still key at the back as there is no one better who reads the game from that position like he does. Ramires is outstanding and has become a vital part of Chelsea's makeup as a team. Eden Hazard is different class and has fantastic ability and Juan Mata who despite his issues so far this season, given time will prove to Jose Mourinho why he has been our player of the year for the last two seasons. As for Fernando Torres? Watch him fly under Mourinho!

Were you happy with the business conducted during the transfer window?

TCB: No, I wanted Messi. Seriously, I'd have been happier if we'd managed to get Rooney but you can't always have everything you want.

CD: I was happy with our business. Willian signing at the death was a surprise but with Moses going out on loan, is a natural replacement. The only disappointment was that we didn't get Wayne Rooney. I see Rooney as Jose's Eidur Gudjohnsen the first time he was here. The only player we lack is a link man as Eidur was and you could see why Mourinho wanted him.

Are there any rising stars in the squad that we might not have heard of?

TCB: I'd say Todd Kane, great little right-back (on loan at Blackburn) but then I'm biased. Proper Chelsea lad, great work ethic, total commitment to the game and just loves to play. What more could a Chelsea supporter ask for?

CD: You would have all heard of Nathianel Chalobah after his exploits at Watford last season but although not yet in the first team squad, I would keep an eye out for Patrick Bamford who is doing fantastic at the MK dons once again. He's one for the future for sure.

Your Achilles heel?

TCB: Spurs supporters - I just can't get on with them :-)

CD: At the moment I would say our left back position ahead of this weekend. If Cole is out then it's a slight concern.

If you could have any City player in your team who would you choose?

TCB: Aguero is great but I've always thought in terms of their importance to City (notable in his absence) is Kompany. Quality player and an annoyingly likeable bloke as well.

CD: I would have to say Yaya Toure! I would have him playing next to Ramires no problem. He has the ability to be box to box, to sit deep, to play in behind and can create and score goals.

What is your perception of City as a club?

TCB: When you first got your inheritance, it wound me up to be honest. As a club you seemd to almost mimic Chelsea when Abramovich arrived - including making exactly the same mistakes! I'm over that now and generally, I don't think you've achieved as much as you could do given the quality of your squad. Mind you, Mancini was never going to get you where you needed to be anyway.

CD: Being honest, the more favourable of the two Manchester sides, more of a club for the people!. City have followed the example Roman Abramovich set in England and fair play. You would have all heard comments from rival supporters telling you that you "bought the league and cup" blah, blah, blah!

At the end of the day and I do not care who the club is, if someone comes in and offers millions to invest, you are going to take it. City did and we have all seen the results!

The one thing that concerns me looking from the outside in is your owner. As long as he remains passionate about the game and the club then fantastic. If he sees the club as purely a long term business venture, that could be dangerous.

Roman Abramovich has been at Chelsea ten years now and you see him up there in the stands literally living and breathing the game, jumping out of his seat to head the ball etc.. That's passion for the game !

City are very similar to Chelsea in recent times. We have all been through relegation's, uncertain seasons and now we have success we milk it and enjoy it. However, we all know how quickly it can change.

United think they have this devine right to win everything and I am glad that these days with both our clubs fighting, they do not have it all their own way anymore!

Likely starting XI for the game, and score prediction?

TCB: Cech, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Bertrand, Lampard, Ramires, Hazard, Mata, Oscar, Torres. Make your own mind up about the score, I couldn't predict the need for an umbrella if it was raining!

CD: Cech, Ivanovic, Luiz, Terry(c), Cole, Ramires, Lampard, Oscar, Mata, Hazard and Torres.