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A View From A Blue

In keeping with the link up with Vital Chelsea on the Fantasy Football front, myself and OLASAL set one another to task with some pre season questions.

1) With Chelsea's financial clout, there is obviously huge pressure to deliver success. What do you think would, realistically, represent a successful season for you?

I'd like to see us push United and you lot all the way to the end of the season and get to the semis or final of the Champions League. I dont think you can say success = trophies really, as thats a myopic view that Liverpool fans hold. Dont get me wrong, trophies would be nice but even if we dont win anything again, it would be better to see Scolari bed in and establish himself, blood a couple of our young players, play some good football and push for all four trophies very hard - I'd be happy with that. I just want the internal strife and all the rubbish about our management/players/owner in meltdown etc to stop, and Scolari's appointment seems to have staunched the flow. My message to him? - Stabilise the club, stop the sniping and get us winning but playing nice football, and I'll be happy. The trophies will come sooner or later.

2) Now Avram Grant has gone, what are Chelsea fans lasting impressions of him? And were you aware that his win percentage was only 0.1% behind Mourinho's in his time at Chelsea?

I didnt like him but only because I felt he took credit for a lot of Mourinho's work. It was Jose's team and they played Jose's way. Grant got very lucky to get the job and did better than we all thought he would, but to be honest, they players were playing for the club and the fans and not for him. He was out of his depth and it showed. Ten-Cate was a daft move as well. Now that the dust has settled, I think what we've seen is the inevitable - Mr Abramovich and his board level buddies have had a bitter football lesson and have (we hope) learned that football is a very different business to oil trading and aluminium manufacture. We hope Scolari has been brought in as an automaton to do his job without undue interference.

3) From an outsider's point of view, it seems Mourinho was forced because of his outspoken nature and his unwillingness to deliver the 'joga bonita' aspects of football. Do you see Scolari remedying this?

I think he made a lot of bitter enemies in the press and that the Chelsea hate campaign waged on us from all sections of the media was in a large part down to him. I think Kenyon realised that having such an outspoken and widely-hated (but respected by most) manager was making his job harder in terms of marketing a global brand. I also think Mourinho does not have the capacity to entertain on a football pitch in the way Arsenal, for example, do, and that it didnt sit right with Kenyon and Buck and with Abramovich either. With him it was win at all costs, and unfortunately it is hard to play beautiful football when you have literally 90% of teams coming to the Bridge and sticking 10 men behind the ball and showing no wish to go inside our half. Teams do that and Jose had his way of dealing with it. It wasnt pretty but it worked (most of the time). I fear Scolari will struggle to adapt to the same thing quickly enough.

4) Thus far, Chelsea have been reasonably quiet on the transfer front. Is there one area you really think you need to strengthen?

I think Deco and Bosingwa look excellent signings, and Anelka is basically a new signing for us as well. I think we need another top class winger though - one who can go past players, cross a ball, score goals and really scare defenders when he runs at them. Robinho fits the bill perfectly and I think we may get him. I would have liked Nasri or Ben-Arfa actually. Kalou and Malouda are decent enough replacements for Joe Cole and the new winger (whoever he may be) but Wright-Phillips has had his time and is doing his career no favours by staying with us and hoping he can cut the mustard. He's just not up to it, I'm afraid.

5) Do Chelsea have a 'secret weapon' that you think will really emerge this season much to everyone's surprise?

I think everyone has forgotten about Anelka, who I think it going to be excellent for us this season, I really do. We have a young 19 year old Argentine called Franco Di Santo who looks the spitting image of Hernan Crespo but about an inch taller, and he is awesome prospect. Young Gael Kakuta may break through into the first team this season and he's as exciting a youngster we've had at Chelsea in living memory I'd say. He's a Clairefontaine product and looks jaw-droppingly good despite his very young age. Remember the name!

6) Didier Drogba seemed to earn a fair bit of opprobrium from Chelsea fans at the end of last season. Now it looks as though he will stay, how do you guys feel about him?

Personally I wish he'd just go. Scolari likes to play one up top and Drogba is the best in the World in that position but we should have sold him for £30m this Summer - he'll be worth £15m next Summer when he'll be 31, and thats assuming his increasingly dodgy knee holds up. I also think he has a loyalty problem. Having had his agent whore him around Europe all Summer and getting precisely sod-all interest from anyone but the tabloids, he's now decided he wants to stay. On his day he's unplayable, but all the moaning and critisicms in the press about how badly treated he feels and how he wants to leave just ruins any enthusiasm for him, for me. All he needs is to come out in the press and commit to us in unequivocal terms and say he doesnt want to leave, but you just know he wont. He obviously doesnt want to be here and keeping him on means more months spent on the treatment table shoring his knee up, more really badly thought out statements in the press come November time slagging the club off and saying how much he misses Jose Mourinho, more diving, more play acting and more histrionics. Set against a tally of goals, there comes a point where you have to say no more and sell him. Top, top, top player, but the nonsense baggage that comes with him isnt worth it in my view.

7) Frank Lampard. Taking you for a ride or entitled to hold out for a better deal?

Entitled to hold out for a better deal. I dont begrudge him his asking for a better deal (although five years at £150K/week is a hell of a deal), and as Mr Chelsea, he is completely within his rights to do so. When the club made it absolutely clear than there would be no more, improved offers after their take-it-or-leave-it £140K/week for four years (which is more than Inter were offering), he should have just signed it and thanked the club for their generosity. He didnt, because his agent obviously thinks Chelsea are bluffing and that it somehow damages his name to back down in public negotiations. I think its fair to say Steve Kutner has probably made the problem much worse. Frankly speaking, I think Frank could leave with our best wishes now and it would be best for everyone concerned. Essien is actually a better player and we would not be worse off without him from a playing point of view. The worry is that he stays but doesnt love the club any more and starts playing poorly and with no hunger, which would tarnish his reputation as one of the all-time Chelsea greats.

8) If you could take one player from the current Arsenal squad for Chelsea, who would it be?

Controversial one this, but I'd take William Gallas back in a heartbeat. I hate him, but the reason I hate him so much is because we have missed him. Actually no, scratch that - a moment of weak sentimentality there. I'd probably take Nasri, your new kid. I think he'll be a huge player for your lot.

9) If you could send one Chelsea player packing, who would it be?

Am I only allowed one? It would be any one of Drogba, Pizarro, Wright-Phillips or Hilario. Of the four, probably Pizarro - total waste of a shirt number. I'd love to see Drogba shuffled off to Italy and us replace him with Adebayor, Ibrahimovic, Benzema or Huntelaar but sadly I dont think its going to happen.

10) At Arsenal, the consensus of opinion is, and certainly my opinion is, that Lassana Diarra would have definitely made the grade here were he not such an impatient little cry baby f*cknut. How do you guys at the Bridge feel about him?

Great player. Wish we'd held on to him as he'd play every game in our midfield as Maka's replacement now the great man has left for PSG, as Mikel is just not a defensive midfielder as he is just a red card wiating to happen. No question he's a massive star in the making and Pompey will do very well with him. I was gutted to see him go to Arsenal, but delighted to see him go to Pompey, who I have a big soft spot for. I wonder whether we may come back in for him next Summer you know.

11) Liverpool and Spurs are forever telling us that this year will definitely be their year. The sun has to shine on a dog's arse once a day, right?

Its been Liverpool's year for the last 18, and they havent come close in that time. They'll flatter to decieve again but be out of it by the end of February, and Sp*rs had their year last year - they arent due another trophy for some years yet. My predictions for the coming season are us to win the League, United to come second, Arsenal third, Liverpool fourth, Villa fifth, Sp*rs sixth and Pompey seventh. Stoke, Hull and Fulham will go down. I think Inter will win the Champions League and Serie-A, Real will win Primera Liga, and Marseilles will knock Lyon off the top in France.

Cheers to OLASAL for his thoughts and time and also for setting the interview into motion as it were. OLASAL also went all Jeremy Paxman on me, to see my interview, pop over to Vital Chelsea.LD.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday August 7 2008

Time: 2:57PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
I would take Fabregas:) He's a magic boy.
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07/08/2008 15:09:00

Thanks for the cooperation chaps - glad to see the banter kept civil!
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07/08/2008 15:10:00

Again, very good answers. Agree about Drogba but not Adebayor as his replacement. Hilario? What has he done wrong?
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07/08/2008 15:19:00

both articles are a great read.. good job on keepin it civil lads! lol
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07/08/2008 15:23:00

Drogba is best centre forward target man in the world. END OF!
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07/08/2008 16:00:00

Amen, Merlin, its good to banter. The one player I would take from Chelsea is Cech. Playerwise it would have to be controversially - Anelka.
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07/08/2008 16:08:00

Olasal - I think you got off lightly mate, you absolutly grilled LD in your Chelsea column LOL Might need a part two at some stage. Nice to hear the insites and thoughts of rival supporters without the slanging match it turns into whenever sp*rs are involved.
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07/08/2008 16:16:00

Hilario? What has he done wrong? chelseaforever, mate you should of said "what has he done?" lol
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07/08/2008 16:17:00

What's all this Chelsea / Arsenal love in... It's not normal.
North Upper
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07/08/2008 16:40:00

Good read. Hmm good luck Chelsea in the FA Cup.. (Like the boss, I'm only interested in the 2 big cups and I'd also like the kids to win the CC so there you go.)
Lou the Gunneress
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07/08/2008 16:49:00

From Chelsea I'd take Essien or Cech. From Arsenal it would have to be the Cesc wouldn't it?
Ozi Gooner
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07/08/2008 17:03:00

I'd take Essien from Chelsea. Cech hasn't been the same since his injury unfortunately.
Lou the Gunneress
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07/08/2008 17:09:00

Yeah another good read. Not long until it all kicks off now.
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07/08/2008 17:10:00

I'm with you on that Ozi. Cesc and Essien in the middle of the pitch... better than sex.
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07/08/2008 17:16:00

What's wrong with Hilario?Come on! I think he is the only keeper in our history, to keep a clean sheet against barcelona.
Report Abuse
07/08/2008 17:22:00

and these interviews were a "Bill Cosby" version. I've seen the Richard Pryor ones, that's how I know.
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07/08/2008 17:25:00

Hilario is in the way for Rhys Taylor, that's why.
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07/08/2008 19:01:00

We're gonna have cech for another 14 years. Having a young goalkeeper is pointless.Maybe in 7 years.
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07/08/2008 19:15:00

olly... well balanced and interesting. but billy as your gooner trade?? surely there's just one gooner to die for... like some have already said out here (and my good friend 4ever will rub my nose to the ground about)... it's cesc fabregas. what a player, what a talent! cesc is god!!! and just for the record am still as blue as you can get. sorry LG mate, the big trophies have our name etched in stone around it for 2008/09. you can take the small change. imo, better you than anybody else :)
johnny come lately
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07/08/2008 19:18:00

Hilario has performed waaaaaaay above expectations whenever he's been called upon. Yup, he kept a clean sheet against Barca! And what more should you expect from a third choice GK? "Standing in the way of Taylor"? Lindy, do we really expect Taylor to oust Cech from the team?
Report Abuse
07/08/2008 19:24:00

looks like more Chelsea posts than Gooner posts here!
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07/08/2008 20:01:00

If Cech does any more howlers like he did in the Euros...then yes..!!
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07/08/2008 20:05:00

for once, well said 4ever mate ;) to his credit, whenever hilario was thrown into the deep end over the past two seasons (and deepest of deep ends they were sometimes) he performed way above expectations. may not have been spectacular, but for somebody to come - not off the bench, but off the stands where he resided for the most part - and do what he did, i'd rate wanting a trade on hilario hugely unjust.
johnny come lately
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07/08/2008 20:05:00

ha ha merlin. your dream of chelsea's global domination already coming true! we're taking over the enemy camp already!!
johnny come lately
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07/08/2008 20:07:00

"for once, well said 4ever mate" - :P ;))
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07/08/2008 20:40:00

I'd take no mercenary from Chelsea. I'm happy with our squad even if i'd like a bit more experience in the ranks. Like NU said, I don't understand this CFC/AFC love-in either. I was having a beer with some Chelsea fans an hour ago and rest assured.. they are still the same one-eyed-sugar-daddy-loving-no-care-in-the-world fans enjoying the money and hoping for a Robinho or a Kaka. In response I acted properly, I was generously fair-play and congratulated them on taking part in the historic £1.5bn CL final.
Report Abuse
07/08/2008 21:06:00

Great interview but LD, PLEASE DO NOT USE THAT NIKE SCREW-UP OF PORTUGUESE "joga bonita." There's no such term, it's grammatically incorrect. No one in Brazil says it. The term is JOGO BONITO. I've been intrigued to see what Felipao will bring to Chelsea. I liked how Olasal said that he could be satisfied even without trophies, as long as Chelsea pushed hard in all competitions. Also, OLASAL should be glad he didn't get Ben Arfa, so should we. For awhile I thought maybe AW could turn him around but then thought better of it. I too love the player but after following his career and esp. the last few months thru the Euros and the transfer to Marseille, any club he signs should be prepared to deal with THE most difficult player in any top club in Europe today. I'm not exaggerating. There are difficult players like Drogba, Benzema and others...then there's Ben Arfa. He's in a category all his own. He managed to alienate every single teammate and staff member at Lyon, just as he's always done.
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07/08/2008 21:08:00

Wouldn't take Cech at all -- he's not the same anymore. Hilario has done very well whenever he's been called to replace Cech. The only player I'd take from Chelsea is Essien, no question. Oh, there's Deco too, even at 31 yrs. old.
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07/08/2008 21:12:00

Nike actually said "Joga bonito". So Jaelle is "joga" and "jogo" different versions of the same verb? And "bonita" and "bonito" just feminine and masculine adjectives? I'm curious.
Lou the Gunneress
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07/08/2008 21:34:00

I'm asking cos I thought "joga" = "gioca" in Italian = "juega" in Spanish. Like for 3rd person.
Lou the Gunneress
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07/08/2008 21:39:00

"joga bonito" is a poor construction -- but not grammatically incorrect. Brazilians don't really use it. They'll usually say "faca um jogo bonito!" meaning "make a beautiful game!" "Joga bonito" is an imperative command, as if you're telling someone to "play beautifully." But in that case it's still misspelled because the imperative command is "joge", tho it's prounounced "joga." "Jogo" is the noun -- as in the "game." So if you're talking about Chelsea delivering the beautiful game, you want them to play "o jogo bonito." "Bonita" is the feminine, so it doesn't apply to "jogo." If you're telling them to play beautifully you'll say "joge bonito, cara!" with the "e" pronounced more like an "a." Got all that? :-) Sorry, didn't mean to give a language lesson, but the Nike campaign just irritated a lot of Brazilians. Back to your regularly scheduled Arsenal-Chelsea lovefest. :-D
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07/08/2008 21:53:00

lol I can't believe Nike made a big mistake in a tagline for such a big campaign. For an international big brand to do that is just very unusual and embarrassing. :D
Lou the Gunneress
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07/08/2008 22:13:00

It's not a mistake actually.Artistic license, they just want something that sounds good.Also , jogue has an u.Must've slipped by.
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08/08/2008 00:49:00

If I could have one Chelsea player at Arsenal right now, then it would have to be Essien. He would fit the missing piece of our puzzle in the team at DM.
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08/08/2008 01:06:00

Have to say i agree with the Gallas thing, i wish he never left cause he was some fecking player for us. One player i'd take is definitely Febregas - he is some player.
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08/08/2008 09:42:00

and these interviews were a "Bill Cosby" version. I've seen the Richard Pryor ones, that's how I know. k_chelski ......A crack fuelled slanging match then??? lol
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08/08/2008 12:28:00

oops, kchelski's right, it's "jogue", totally spaced it out.
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08/08/2008 18:07:00

".A crack fuelled slanging match then?" And full of burns.
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08/08/2008 20:33:00

Ah Lassana Diarra - a player who I fully expect to regret leaving both Chelsea and Arsenal, since he would be assured a place in either team this next season.
Report Abuse
09/08/2008 00:53:00

".A crack fuelled slanging match then?" And full of burns. k_chelski Nice lol!
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11/08/2008 12:04:00

the only thing i see common between us is the hatred for Spu*s....CAREFREE!
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13/08/2008 00:44:00


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