Chelsea fans would have been dreaming at the start of last season thinking that title was wrapped up after the first few games. The Blues scored an amazing 21 goals in 5 games before they were undone by Manchester City and they conceded only 1. The season started to fade out for The Pensioners in an unusual drop of form towards the end of the year but fortunately for Chelsea fans they regained composure and ended strongly. Will next year be similar to seasons of two/three years ago where they were a formidable force, or will new manager André Villas-Boas struggle during his first season in English football?
We speak to Chelsea fan Delaney Gibson (@Delaney8) on his thoughts on whether The Pensioners can lose their Zimmer frames and challenge for the title this season.
What would be a dream season for you?
Winning the Champions League at last… following the screw jobs against Liverpool in 2005, Barca in 2009 and the famous John Terry penalty slip in 2008, I have started to wonder if we are destined to ever win this trophy. I have seen us lift domestic honors but I would love to be a European Cup winner.
What would be your worst nightmare?
Finishing outside the top 4. This season the battle for the top 4 is likely to be more exciting than the title race with United, City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool all in contention. There was a time that I couldn’t see us realistically finishing out of the top 2, but the gap between the top 6 clubs is continually shrinking and the risk of missing out on one of the Champions League spots is growing. With no European distractions and some exciting signings I have a feeling that Liverpool will be a sly bet to break back into the top 4, so someone out of last season’s top 4 is going to miss out.
What do you think of your club’s summer transfer activity?
Surprisingly quiet so far… We have brought some potentially good youngsters in, Courtois and Romeu, but we have already loaned Courtois out and Romeu has stiff competition in midfield too, so I am not sure how much of a role he will play. In my opinion we have lacked width and a little bit of creativity through the middle for a few years now. I would have liked to have made a proper attempt to sign Alexi Sanchez, Eden Hazard or Neymar, whilst maybe looking at Christian Eriksen at Ajax who would be a cheaper and younger alternative to both Pastore and Modric in that “number 10″ position.
I still expect that we will pay over the odds for someone before the end of the transfer window, I just hope it is one of the managers signings and not the board.
Who will be your most important player/s this season?
Fernando Torres – This will probably raise a few eyebrows given his performances in Chelsea shirt so far. He is important for two potential reasons.
1. If he rediscovers his form he is undoubtedly one of the best strikers in world football and that will only improve our chances.
2. If he fails to re-find his form, the pressure to score and perform will continue mount on him and become even more of an unwanted distraction for everyone.
Frank Lampard – His influence on and off the pitch cannot be under estimated, it was no surprise that our performances and results suffered last season during the period he was out injured. He consistently scores an average of 15 goals a season and is our creative spark. I also think that with the media seemingly looking to write him off he will have something to prove this season.
Any players you would happily see the back of?
Salomon Kalou – He is a little headless and extremely frustrating to watch. I try not to get wound up by him but he will have a good game then a string of poor ones and is not someone who will come on and win or change you a game.
Do you have the best manager for the job?
Now that is the million dollar question, we have been through some of the best managers in Europe over the past 5 years and none have been given a fair chance and have got the chop. I have been impressed with Andre Villas-Boas’ approach and backroom staff appointments since taking charge, his track record isn’t too shabby either. However, you cannot compare the Portuguese league with the Premier league and the pressures that come being Chelsea head coach, so he will be thrown into the deep end. If he is backed and given time I don’t see any reason why he cannot achieve success.
Opposition players that you respect?
Mikel Arteta (Everton) – Good on the ball, excellent range of passing and not scared to put his foot in.
Darren Bent (Villa) – Seen as a bit unfashionable but he scores no matter what club he is at. Whilst some strikers blame formations, or lack of chances he just hits the ground running and scores at any club.
Danny Murphy (Fulham) – Again an unfashionable player but one of the best technical English players in the game, a proper professional as well.
Opposition players that you despise?
Craig Bellamy – never been a fan of him, the fact he is happy to play in the City reserves so that he continues to pick up his big salary completely sums him up and only strengthens my hatred for him.
Phil Neville – Just because he is related to Gary.
Michael Brown – I know he isn’t in the Premier League now, but he is just a thug of a footballer.
Best away fans/ground in your league?
My favourite ground is St James’s Park, I love how it sits proud, overlooking Newcastle and is a ground full of character and personality, it may be a ground of long term suffering and delusional optimism but no matter what happens at the club the ground is always full on match day.
The best fans in the league are probably Liverpool, they may be stuck in the 80′s but they are a passionate bunch that bleeds the red of Liverpool and when you can break down the language barrier their chants are actually very funny.
Which teams do you really want to beat this season?
Queens Park Rangers – I have missed the West London derby so it is good to have it back and as so many Rangers fans have found a voice and come out of hiding it would be good to keep the, quiet.
Tottenham – I never like losing to them full stop.
Finally, where do you honestly think you will finish?
Heart says 2nd, head says 3rd. I think United City and Chelsea will be the 3 fighting it out for the title but I think United will win it. Leaving City and ourselves fighting for the runners up spot.
Chelsea fans, do you agree or disagree with Delaney’s comments? Why not sign up and have your say in the comments section below???