We are about to start one of the most unpredictable seasons of recent times, many rate United and City above us because of their summer signings.
That is a fair comment, as it was our squad depth that brought us so much success under Mounriho, and something that Andre is trying to develop. The arrival of Romeu, Romelu and Mata plus the potential arrival of Periera, Mountino, Modric – backed up by the maturity of Sturidge, Josh, Kakuta, and Bertrand and a resurgent Torres will give us depth we lacked in the Ancelloti era.
When you have a season long battle, the key to succeed is that there is a strong bench. We did not seem to consider that when we released Ballack and all the others last summer without replacing them. I can see Villas-Boas has shown good judgement and acute thinking, and is gunning for young and extremely talented players.
I would not focus my mind on winning the title just yet, I just want to see a new Chelsea team become an invincible force. One thing is certain, in the next two-to-three years we will be winning the Premiership and challenging for Champions League, and with luck we will finally win it. AVB is going to play with the strength of Chelsea and the creativity and skill of Barca, backed up with a fiery winning mentality this team needs to be the best.
Torres joined to win titles, and now Mata has turned down Arsenal and Spurs as he wants to win trophies. Chelsea is full of winners, and this squad will win titles but I will be happy if we just start by winning the Carling Cup.
Winning is important and with the calibre of young players we have I can see us taking that cup, as well as making a serious bid for the FA Cup. Then next season we should push for the Premier League, with the youngster maturing there is no reason why it will not return to Stamford Bridge.
My expectation this season is to see us gradually (or rapidly if we are lucky) build a team that can rival and even within time demolish Barcelona in Europe – It is unlikely to happen this season, but we shall see.
It is important to win titles, but first we must focus on building a strong squad that will dominate in Europe for the next decade if not longer. We have started by getting the right coach who is young and well trained, he in turn has continued the good work by getting some of the most prolific young players in the World – I am sure he will continue to scout for more.
The next step will be to give them opportunity to play, the modern game requires rotation. You cannot play your best team every week, and the youngsters need to be ready to play, a good squad needs a balance of experience and youth. What I mean, is that Cech could be rested for a couple of games so that other players have their chance and then if he gets injured again we do not all panic about who will replace him.
Apart from the goalkeeping aspect, we should look seriously at the playmaker issue. Buying a playmaker does not solve anything, the issue is Frank Lampard; will he still be the hub of the team? The day Lampard got injured last season, we never knew he would be out for about four months – For the first time he scored less than twenty in a season. Frank is still is a great player, but we must start giving someone else the responsibility to carry the team like he did; especially in midfield.
No one can be nominated to do this, there has to be a stand out candidate – Once this person is chosen, he should be given the responsibility to lead the team. Regardless of age, the coach should make the other players protect and support this player. Manchester United have Rooney, Arsenal had Fabregas (even before he was captain), City have/had Tevez and in Spain, Barcelona have Messi whilst Madrid have Ronaldo. This is a player the team plays around from front to back, it do not create individualism or disunity – It is just the way its handled.
We have players who could rise to the challenge, players like young Sturridge, Essien once he is fit again and new signing Juan Mata … These are players that can literally carry a team and win games by their pure genius – Then we still have the added bonus of Lampard.
The likes of Lampard, Drogba, and Terry should be viewed as a possible future assistant coaches, and be made to read the games from the bench before they come on as substitutes. They should assume roles similar to what Gullit and Vialli did, do not get me wring, we should not rush them out of Chelsea.
The wings – We can’t fly without wingers and since Robben left I have not been impressed with our wide men, Malouda has come to fill the void at times, but how amazing would it be able to attack down both wings effectively. Now that Mata has arrived, this could become a possibility – I would still try Bosingwa as right wingback or midfielder, just in case he has it in him. We must use the whole pitch, by adding width to our game, it will make us unpredictable.
Buy English – I know that English players have become very expensive because of the home grown rule, yet I would still consider trying to bring in some English players who already understand the game. In the Mounriho era we had the likes of Cole, Philips, Lampard, Bridge, Terry and Johnson. – all of whom were playing in one team for both club and country.
There are still some available who we can grab for a fair price, we cannot and should not run away from it. Chelsea is a universal team in England, they know the game better than others and have experience of winning.
Most importantly, us fans must show our support and keep cheering on our team.
By Stan Blue