Inside the Opposition: Chelsea

After the brilliant midweek at Spurs which saw us finally go above Arsenal into first position in the table, we now face a crucial home match with Chelsea, who remain close to us despite their midweek draw at home with West Ham. A win would have huge significance on the title race.

Earlier, I spoke to Ramon Isaac, Chelsea fan and blogger. He told me why he loves Mourinho and why he thinks it’s City who’ll win the league.

Mourinho, to me, is the most boring, two-dimensional man in football. Why do you and, more importantly, the British media love him so much?

I personally love Mourinho because he’s great at his job. That, and he loves the club and the fans, which he shows on a game to game basis. I think it’s brilliant that he’s different to the traditional, scripted stuff you usually get from managers. I suppose, to some it can be equally monotonous but there’s always a purpose to his comments. How often do our players make the back pages for a poor performance as opposed to Mourinho himself? He’s quick to take the blame and avoids taking credit when we win. As for the media, I’m not sure, I suppose they prefer it to the drivel that used to come out of Mancini.

Hang on, maybe it’s your taste in managers that’s the problem?

If Chelsea were to finish this season trophyless, would he keep his job?

Definitely. I don’t think there’s a debate about that. Obviously I’d be slightly disappointed if we ended this season trophy-less, especially when the last two seasons have been successful in that regard with a team that didn’t perform as well as this side have. It is important to remember the youthfulness of our best players, I think Mourinho has already worked wonders with both Hazard and Oscar, it would be a real shame if he wasn’t given the chance to finish his work with them. I do think Abramovich wants to commit to Mourinho, I think his rehiring is him admitting he made a mistake all those years ago.

Why on earth did Chelsea sell Mata? I really need this explaining.

There’s lot of tactical and financial reasons, but at the end of the day it was strange selling Mata mid way through the season. It comes down to a combination of factors:

– Mourinho looking for different attributes in his attacking players, that isn’t to say Mata didn’t try to adapt but there’s only so far he could go. A square won’t fit in a round hole.

– The form of Oscar, Willian and Hazard meant that Mata wasn’t starting on merit. It’s difficult for a player to impress with limited time on the pitch but equally you can’t drop a player who has been doing so well in order to let someone ‘play themselves in’.

– Mata himself wanted to leave. A spot in the Spain team in the World Cup this summer was too big a temptation to wait around on the Chelsea bench. It’s disappointing he didn’t stay but I can understand his thought process at the same time.

Who’s been you best player this season?

Most people would say Hazard but for me it’s Oscar. They’re both special but there’s something about that little (6ft) Brazilian that sets him apart. For me, he’s the most complete footballer in the league. His love for defensive duties is a joy to behold, if there was one criticism of Mata it was that he failed to really assert any physical pressure on the opposing midfield but Oscar is relentless in that regard. On the flip side his eye for goal has been evidenced this season, him and Hazard occupy the top two scorers in the team. However, the best thing about him is his decision-making, it’s almost flawless and for someone so young all you can wonder is how good can he be? Who needs Mata when you have Oscar.

Frank Lampard has consistently been one of the best midfielders in this country for many years now. How much longer can he go on for?

Frank has been amazing, him breaking the club goalscoring record last season is perhaps one of my favourite Chelsea moments. What an achievement. We’ve had some great players under Abramovich, but in terms of contributions it really is hard to look past Lampard being in a league of his own (Okay, Didier is there too). Mourinho this season has made it evident that he doesn’t think Frank has the ability to be able to play week in, week out and it makes you wonder how much fuel is left in the tank but so far this season his performances haven’t been far off the usual pace. It was a worry last season with his contract coming to an end, I don’t think there is that same doubt this year.

Who do think will ultimately win the title this season?

City. You have three strikers who score all the time, we have none.

Predicted Chelsea XI?

Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpi; Matic, Ramires; Willian, Oscar, Hazard; Eto’o

What have you made of City this season?

You’ve been impressive, especially at home… That shit been cray as they say. It’s worrying that your away form has begun to catch up. Defensively, you’ve looked a little suspect and Stamford Bridge pretty much epitomised that but it all gets overshadowed when you look further ahead. Fernandinho has been incredible this season, Yaya may get all the attention but he’s been the player I thought that has truly been the engine room. Toure’s goalscoring has come at the expense of him exposing the defence. When you look at Negredo, you’ve just got to wonder why Chelsea didn’t fork out the money when we’ve got no one comparable. Aguero, that boy is the best player in this league in my opinion and by some way, Chelsea should count their blessings they don’t have to be up against him, I certainly do.


No Aguero gives me hope, heart says 3-2 Chelsea but I think 2-2 and a point each.

Interview by Rob Pollard

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