Ahead of the midweek clash at Stamford Bridge, we spoke once more with Chelsea fan Martin from
The Chelsea Chronicle. He gives his views on the Blues' struggles this season,
Jose Mourinho, Guus Hiddink,
and more. You can follow Martin and the
'Chronicle' on twitter
We have to
start with last month's departure of Jose Mourinho. Was it the right decision?
How did the majority of Chelsea fans react to the news?
Unfortunately I think this was a
decision detrimental for the long-term good of Chelsea, even if in the short-term Hiddink might rejuvenate the side. Mourinho knows the club inside out and bleeds
blue more and it is a travesty that the players therefore got to stay. It is of
no doubt that he will go on and succeed at his next club so the concern is for
Chelsea itself, and yet again we go back to the short-termism view of having
another eight managers in six years. Only this time Mourinho won’t come back.
As for the fans, I think the
older generation fans appreciated Mourinho’s work and certainly this was made
very local in the match directly after (though the chants have stopped now
Hiddink is in place, but Steve Holland did not have a nice game to oversee). On
social media it tends to be the younger generation of fans who maybe started
supporting Chelsea once we won the Champions League in 2012 so did not feel as
much connection to a man who has brought so much joy.
Hiddink is now the man in charge although only as interim boss, how did the
Stamford Bridge faithful feel about his return?
I think most are pleased to see
a likeable man come in, and certainly not another Avram Grant or Rafael Benitez.
Having said that, however much fans appreciate his work previously here, there
is a strange bewilderment among fans at to whether Hiddink really is a better
bet to turn around the club’s fortunes than Mourinho, who is certainly better
than Hiddink as a manager.
If it's not
Hiddink, who would you like to see named as Mourinho's long-term successor?
There’s only one Special One! I
only see one man fit for the
job but seeing as he won’t come back, then it is tricky. I would like someone
who knows the club, but promoting from within is not within Abramovich’s
strategy, and managers who do know Chelsea (Rodgers etc) probably aren’t of the
ilk Abramovich wants. Again we will go onto the continent but Guardiola does not
fit Chelsea’s style and it would be incredibly risky for Simeone’s reputation to
try his hand here. You really want someone who has won the Champions League but
Mourinho and Ancelotti have both been moved on, so we are stuck in a rut, hence
I never believed we should have fired him.
struggles have surprised everyone this season, why have the Blues' form and
results been so poor?
Mourinho described it as a
mixture of things but refused to explain in more detail during one interview.
You can imagine the row with Carneiro set the season off to a dreadful start,
but maybe even before that the problems were there by allowing the players two
weeks extra holiday so they came back in lethargic manner to a Community Shield
loss against Arsenal. Mourinho’s man-management has also came under scrutiny: he
has always taken any flak away from his players and whilst he tried that, it was
clear that was not working, so he put the blame on the players, then referees,
then just about everyone. Players clearly became disillusioned but it is
disappointing if world-class players behave this unprofessionally and do not
have that innate drive to work hard and be the star in any match, with Willian
the only one who can hold his head high.
club likely to be active during this month's transfer window? Do they need to
It would be ironic if Abramovich
gives Hiddink funds to spend but couldn’t wait two more weeks before sacking
Mourinho and giving him the January window instead. There is continued
speculation over needing more competition for Costa, whilst Hazard has gone
missing all season. However, Chelsea don’t tend to be too active this window
(and when they are they waste £50 million) so I cannot expect any big names
moving in. As for the opposite direction, we may see young players moved out on
loan, as per.
player of the season so far?
Willian. Chelsea’s best burst of
energy and the only winger who looks like he can shoot. Hazard has some
wonderful feet but you would not trust him with a long-range drive or with a
free-kick, and neither with Pedro. Willian, and maybe Azpilicueta, has been the
only one to hit that consistency and, on a personality sense, clearly has great
professionalism and drive to succeed. It’s a shame some of his other colleagues
took every match as a walk-about.
It would be unfair to bully
Hazard alone because Chelsea’s
spine has gone. Ivanovic, the rock that he was last season, has been beaten time
and again and Chelsea have a gaping hole down their right. But in midfield,
Fabregas and Matic have had too many off days and are not strong enough or
tactically aware enough to help Ivanovic out. When you mix this with the fact
Chelsea’s penetration has been shocking – Hazard has tried at least whilst Costa
has not and every one of his goals seem to be an easy tap-in with no work done
on his part – then you make for a shocking season, however good the manager at
the helm. It is clear we are missing big player presences, like Drogba.
You can trust Arsenal to slip
this up and maybe Pellegrini will be motivated to go out on a final hurrah as he
knows this is likely his last season.
It’s really difficult to predict
given how close Leicester were to being relegated even in April last season but
now they are near the top of the table. Having said this, it would be hard not
to bet that Aston Villa will go down given that Garde still has not really found that
magic touch. I am not sure
Bournemouth will have the legs or experience to beat the drop, whilst
out of Newcastle or
Sunderland to go down, I would favour the Black Cats.
Thoughts on, and prediction for Wednesday's game?
Chelsea need to get moving and
quickly given we have passed the half-way mark of the season, and if we
extrapolate current form so far to the end of the season, the Blues would not
even get 46 points. The Blues need to make up 13 points, which is roughly 4
matches, with 18 to go, but the sheer scale of hoping everyone in and around the
Top Four, e.g. Tottenham, Man Utd,
Liverpool, to all lose 4 matches, and crucially for
Chelsea to win them all, is a
tough ask. The Blues should get Europa League though and next season will be
interesting to see us manage the Thursday night treks and Sunday returns.