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Chelsea FC: The Four Stages

Since I started supporting Chelsea when I was four, I have witnessed different movements in the Chelsea squad; almost like generations changing.

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Since I started supporting Chelsea when I was four, I have witnessed different movements in the Chelsea squad; almost like generations changing. It is undoubtedly obvious that the Stamford Bridge outlet has grown as a club over nearly two decades and this boils down to their shuffling and reformation which I call it ‘the four stages’.                                                                                                                                                                               
The first stage is the late 90’s; to be precise 1997-2001. The crowds would gather at Stamford Bridge and cheer the Chelsea squad, a team consisting of players like: Gianfranco Zola and Gustavo Poyet providing attacking flair with Tore Andre Flo as the super sub, with the midfield trio of Roberto Di Matteo, Dennis Wise, Didier Deschamps. Then there was the defensive stars of Dan Petrescu, Celestine Babayaro, Frank Lebouef, Graham Le Saux, Albert Ferrer and the rock Marcel Desailly. This was all under the influence of player-manager Italian star Gianluca Vialli.                                                                                                  
During this era, the Blues finished an average position of fifth in the Premier League, which guaranteed them a place in the Uefa Cup. During this four year stage, Chelsea collected a lot of silverware which included the League Cup, UEFA Cup Winners Cup, UEFA Super Cup and two FA Cups, including a 1-0 victory over Middlesbrough thanks to a very early Roberto Di Matteo goal – a game that lives long in my memory.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
The next stage is a three-year period from 2001-04 after the millennium when the club was managed by Italian Claudio Ranieri. He had some excellent players as his disposal such as forwards Eidur Gudjohnsen, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Mikael Forssell, then in midfield Jesper Gronkjaer, Emmanuel Petit and Mario Stanic with William Gallas and Mario Melchiot at the back with Carlo Cudicini in goal. Although they didn’t win any honours, a Russian billionaire named Roman Abramovich saw promise and bought the club in 2003; a time when Chelsea had an average league finish of third.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
The third stage (2004-07) is arguably their most successful, under the influence of former FC Porto manager Jose Mourinho. With his introduction be brought his former players Ricardo Carvalho and Renato Paulo Ferreira with him, plus had star players Arjen Robben, Hernan Crespo and Claude Makelele as well as Njitap Geremi, Mateja Kezman, Juan Sebastian Veron, Adrian Mutu and the ever improving Joe Cole. Under Mourinho’s fantastic management, Chelsea won their first Premier League title in 50 years.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
This honour was then repeated a season after, along with winning the FA Cup and two Carling Cups which included a memorable 3-2 win over Liverpool with Mateja ‘flop’ Kezman grabbing the winner.
Chelsea was deemed the best team in England, with an average finish of first for three years.                                                                                                    
The final stage is from 2007 to the present, Chelsea have struggled for consistency, and their progression has been affected by various managers coming and going. The likes of Luiz Felipe Scolari and Guus Hiddink have both covered the number one job in London. As well as various managerial changes famous faces of Michael Ballack, Anderson Deco and a certain record signing Andriy Shevchenko, who was once Europe’s best striker have all played for the Blues and now moved on.                                                                                                        
    
However, at the moment, another Champions League winning in charge at the Bridge, it is  former AC Milan manager Carlo Ancelotti. He is has a host of stars which includes Frank Lampard, John Terry, Didier Drogba, Michael Essien and Fernando Torres. After winning their first ever double (Premier League and FA Cup) double last season meant Chelsea have finished an average of second in the last four seasons.
So what next for the Blues?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Their number one priority is to win the UEFA Champions League and the managerial appointments are arguably made to do that. Moving forward, will the club build the side around record signing of £50m rated Fernando Torres, or will more star players leave to make way for others?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
Aaron Aquilina
Prem-de-la-Prem (www.premdelaprem.wordpress.com)

 

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A View From The Bridge

Mourinho brands Chelsea lucky for having a manageable schedule

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Jose Mourinho brands Chelsea lucky for having a manageable schedule

According to The Sun, former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has branded the Blues’ schedule as lucky.

Now in charge at Tottenham Hospur, the Portuguese tactician is orchestrating a title challenge that sees the North Londoners at the top of the Premier League.

Tottenham’s match against Ludogorets takes place tonight, giving them just three days to prepare for the clash against Chelsea. We, on the other hand, have two extra days after playing the Champions League game against Rennes on Tuesday.

Lampard and Mourinho are set to go head to head once again
Lampard and Mourinho are set to go head to head once again

“In that case they were lucky this week that the draw gave them a Tuesday match that will allow them to prepare for the match on Sunday.”

The Spurs boss appears to insinuate that we have been given an advantage due to the extra time off. Mourinho appears to have conveniently forgotten that we travelled to France while his team are playing at home.

Mourinho also scoffed at Klopp’s tirade that TV companies have too much power to affect clubs’ schedules adversely. Despite appearing to complain about the disparity in preparation time, Mourinho also admitted that clubs will have to adapt.

Former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has branded the Blues' schedule as lucky. Spurs have lesser time to prepare for this weekend's fixture.
Jose Mourinho brands the Chelsea schedule lucky

A master of the mind games, it is convenient that he will mention us given both teams are set to face each other on Sunday.

Chelsea have improved in recent weeks and look like a team firing on all cylinders. It can be argued that the match is a potential six-pointer in regards to the title chase.

Mourinho has never beaten a team coached by Lampard (in normal time). His lone victory over the Blues boss came earlier this season the Carabao Cup. The game ended 1-1 with Spurs winning on penalties.

Chelsea look a formidable outfit
Chelsea look a formidable outfit

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For a manager used to the schedule since 2004, Mourinho’s comments seem petulant. If he finds the need to complain after all these years of managing in England, then clearly he is yet to find a solution.

At the very least, he now has an excuse for when we beat him this Sunday.

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A View From The Bridge

Chelsea star seen imparting advice to French wonderkid after UCL clash

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Chelsea ace Kurt Zouma imparts words of wisdom to Eduardo Camavinga

According to Football.london, Chelsea star Kurt Zouma had words of wisdom for Rennes wonderkid Eduardo Camavinga.

The 18-year-old is one of the best young talents in European football. Apart from being a regular for Rennes, he has also played his way into Didier Deschamps’ French national team squad.

Zouma came up against the youngster in our Champions League game on Tuesday. The Blues emerged victorious, thanks to Olivier Giroud’s stoppage-time strike.

Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma gave Eduardo Camavinga a pep talk
Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma gave Eduardo Camavinga a pep talk

And after the game, Zouma was captured by the French TV cameras while giving a two-minute pep-talk to the youngster. The topic appeared to be on where he needs to improve.

While the microphones failed to record the full conversation, they did catch Zouma telling the youngster the perils of losing the ball under pressure.

“When there is pressure, you lose the ball and a goal. Every time it’s like this! It happened against PSG too.”

Camavinga is one of France's finest young talents
Camavinga is one of France’s finest young talents

Rather than a criticism, it appears to be genuine advice from a seasoned professional to a younger prospect. Zouma’s comments could have been directed at Rennes’ 3-0 loss to PSG earlier in the month.

Planned out or just a coincidence?

It is interesting he should know that given we are not scheduled to play PSG anytime soon. It could hint at him watching the youngster’s progress with interest or just something he chanced upon while preparing for the game.

Chelsea defeated Rennes 2-1 on Tuesday
Chelsea defeated Rennes 2-1 on Tuesday

Zouma has emerged into an excellent partner to Thiago Silva this season. The Frenchman has upped his performance levels and is now a key member of our squad.

Chelsea have so far not been linked with a move for Camavinga. If we ever do land him, this could be the moment where we may have made the first move.

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A View From The Bridge

Chelsea new boy reveals the secret behind his instant success at Stamford Bridge

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Edouard Mendy has been a spectacular signing for Chelsea

Edouard Mendy reveals the secret behind his excellent Chelsea start

According to Football.london, Chelsea star Edouard Mendy has revealed the secret behind his strong start to life at the club.

The Senegalese international joined the club from Rennes in the summer. He has quickly put an end to Chelsea’s goalkeeping crisis and holds a solid grip on the number one spot.

Mendy has kept an impressive seven clean sheets in ten games since replacing Kepa Arrizabalaga. Blues boss Frank Lampard finally has a settled number one to go alongside his prolific attack and improving defence.

Edouard Mendy has been spectacular for Chelsea
Edouard Mendy has been spectacular for Chelsea

Mendy has attributed the partnership of Kurt Zouma and Thiago Silva ahead of him as a major factor in his solid performances.

Both players are fluent in French which makes communication easier. Mendy has not played out side France and being able to do so alongside players fluent in his language will come as a comfort.

“Kurt and Thiago they speak French which is good for me, but I can communicate well with the other players too and I am really enjoying it.”

Kurt Zouma and Thiago Silva are fluent in French making communication easier with Edouard MENDY
Kurt Zouma and Thiago Silva are fluent in French (Getty Images)

It is not only the French-speaking players, but everyone at the club has made life easier for the goalkeeper.

“Everyone has done everything to help me integrate as smoothly as possible, the players, the staff, they have all helped me.”

Mendy may not have been our most glamorous signing of the summer. However, there is no question that he has been effective. Actions speak louder than words and Mendy has done his reputation no harm.

Chelea star Kepa Arrizabalaga has reacted well to the signing of Edouard Mendy
Chelea star Kepa Arrizabalaga is the world’s most expensive keeper

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Mendy will face a table-topping Tottenham side this weekend. He will come up against the prolific duo of Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min.

Chelsea will feel much more secure going into such a key matchup with a formidable goalkeeper in place.

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A View From The Bridge

Chelsea set to reward key veteran star with contract extension

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Thiago Silva is already 36 years of age

Chelsea set to extend Thiago Silva stay beyond this season

According to Sky Sports, Chelsea are poised to extend the stay of Thiago Silva at the club.

The 36-year-old signed for the club on a free transfer earlier in the summer. He has since gone on to solidify the backline and convert a major weakness into one of his strengths.

With his performances speaking for themselves, the Blues are keen to keep him on beyond the current season.

Ben Chilwell has heaped praise on Chelsea teammate Thiago Silva
Thiago Silva has been excellent for Chelsea (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Silva’s contract has an option to extend his 12-month deal by a further year if he impressed. It would be fair to say he has done just that and more.

According to the report, official discussions with the player are not expected to occur until the new year. Blues boss Frank Lampard believes the 36-year old is a key part of Chelsea’s squad and is keen to keep him at Stamford Bridge for a second season.

Silva’s debut for the club against West Bromwich Albion was a forgettable affair. He was a part of a disjointed backline that conceded three on the night.

Thiago Silva claims to be getting headaches with all the aerial duels in PL
Thiago Silva scored his first goal for Chelsea against Sheffield

Things have only improved since then. The Blues have conceded just once in the four league games Silva has played since.

This defensive solidity has seen us rise steadily up the table. We can overtake current table-toppers Tottenham if we beat them this weekend.

Despite his age, Silva’s experience and leadership skills have proven to be a gamechanger for the Chelsea rearguard.

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 22: Frank Lampard manager of Chelsea celebrates his teams victory over Spurs during the Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge on February 22, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Chelsea’s defence has turned a corner in recent weeks (GETTY Images)

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Silva’s performances have not gone unnoticed. His effect has been so profound that he has even changed the mind of his detractors.

Chelsea icon Joe Cole, who had his doubts, is now a self-confessed convert. If he keeps impressing as he has done so far, there is no reason why he should not continue wearing blue.

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