Ahead of Saturday's game at Stamford
Bridge, we caught up with Chelsea fan Martin, from The Chelsea Chronicle.
He gives his views on Chelsea's start to the season,
Romelu Lukaku, Fernando Torres
and more. You can also find
Martin on Twitter @MartinLi24.
It’s been an excellent start to the season results-wise for Chelsea,
how have performances been?
Performances have been very promising as a whole, but some shaky
performances early on in the season and, more recently at
doubt over whether Mourinho can actually repeat his heroics of 2004 so instantly
this time round. Oscar has excelled in his Number 10 role and the furore over
Mata losing his position has largely quietened. Some defensive solidity has been
restored with the pairing of Cahill-Terry, so the problem involving keeping Luiz
happy has to be addressed. The initial worry the reasons as to why the strikers
could not score looks to be disappearing with the resurgence of Torres and, more
lately, Eto’o at Schalke.
Blues’ fans must have been happy to see the return of the ‘Special One’? will he
be given the time previous managers weren’t?
For sure. The
hierarchy did remark that this was the most peaceful managerial appointment
they’ve had for a long time. The anger over Benitez, the hasty arrival of Di
Matteo, the optimistic appointment of AVB. Finally Chelsea returns to someone
who needs no introduction and has, although he does not want to live off it,
bought himself significant time given his successes first time round. Whilst
Abramovich shall still be as ruthless as ever, there is a direction seen with
Mourinho’s works, and that is why it may pay off for him. A philosophy is always
Who’s been the star of your season so far?
The star last season has to be Mata but with him being side-lined, then a
new star must emerge and we are seeing it with Oscar. Too young? Too slight? Too
Brazilian for the Premier League? The man is having none of it, displaying
passing and maturity beyond his age. Much more is to be expected of Hazard
whilst Torres has demonstrated very capable perseverance and heart wearing the
shirt than we have seen for many a long time.
Anyone been particularly disappointing?
Lampard worked so hard for his contract extension last year but, whilst
it cannot be said he is sated by that, it must be said his game has to improve.
For sure, he has had to sit deeper alongside Ramires, but he did that largely
last season, and the choosing of Lampard over Mikel in that holding role is that
Lampard offers more going forward. We have seen the one goal but more can come
from a man who no doubt shall display his experience and know-how later on in
the seasons and dig in deep when it matters.
Thoughts on Fernando Torres? To the neutral he seems nothing like the
player he was at Anfield, what’s the general view of him amongst Chelsea fans?
The general feel must be one of continued optimism. The realisation that
he can never repay the £50 million fee is very much correct, and nothing can
really replace some pretty poor two and a half years. But better to repay as
much of it as you can, and soon given age is not on his side. More performances
of the heart and soul shown recently will endear himself to frustrated
but the one thing craved most is goals, hence the enormous love for him with his
City. He must remain as Chelsea’s number one given Eto’o’s still in transition
period and Ba is not cut for it, but whilst Torres can have very poor days also,
the feel is one of optimism that, like Mourinho worked his magic on Benzema, so
too can be rework Torres.
Your view on Romelu Lukaku, most Baggies’ fans were surprised he was
allowed to leave on loan again and Everton are clearly reaping the rewards now,
should he have been given more of a chance at Stamford Bridge?
I was probably the one fan thinking so but the loan was the right move
for him. If anything, his move to
too soon. This is a very capable man who can do wonders for Chelsea maybe as
early as next year, but his age must not be forgotten. He had the opportunity to
learn from Drogba and has put that into practice wonderfully as West Brom, and
now at a step up in Everton. A continued good season shall no doubt convince
Mourinho that Lukaku is the way forward, but for the decision made this summer,
it was very correct in keeping the other three strikers happy and in furthering
Lukaku’s overall game time and technical knowledge.
Any particular memories or highlights that stand out from previous Albion v Chelsea games?
versus West Brom always stirs up memories as a manager always seems to leave! Di
Matteo, AVB, and whilst Mourinho shall not leave regardless of the result, the
importance must not be underestimated. Clarke’s men play some admirable stuff
and Mourinho must alter his tactics else Clarke, having worked so closely to the
Mourinho method for so long, may suss the Portuguese out.
Prediction for Chelsea’s
season? Can you achieve success in both the Premier League and Europe or will
one become a distraction for the other?
The Premier League must be the key aim. It must be disappointing for
Abramovich to have only won it three times in ten years when
Chelsea is a
side that can win it every other year, but the emergence of City and internal
turbulence at Chelsea has seen United hold strong power still. Mourinho is very
true in saying the best team always wins the Premier League. In the cup
competitions, one unlucky moment, a controversial refereeing decision, a wrong
penalty call, the timing of the match.. All these factors can work against you
but in the 38-game League season, they even out and Mourinho will firmly enjoy
calling himself a true winner after just one year back.
Prediction for Albion’s season?
I expected a lot of Anelka given I know what he can do after his Chelsea
time but stints at Juventus and in China, together with unfortunate personal
matters has meant he has suffered. The philosophies and management of Steve
Clarke must be admired and as Mourinho said earlier today in his press
conference, he was “more than an assistant coach”. Early season struggles
should be quickly forgotten and
and Steve Clarke will have enough to see out a top position.
Premier League Champions?
Not being so biased, but I feel we have the best squad and manager who has the
experience to see the challenges of City and United out. Arsenal are going
strong but I cannot see them not capitulating.
Palace, Hull, Norwich
Prediction for Saturday’s game?
One must be optimistic and go for a
particularly knowing the Blues are at home.