Chelsea: Replace Mikel With Fellaini & We'll Win The League...
Pre season: Good, bad or ugly?
Good. 100% so far. Granted this has included victories over generally inferior opposition with the games in Asia. However, we have since recorded wins over both Milan clubs in the States.
Due to players who participated in the Confederations Cup being granted extra time off and missing the Asian leg of the tour, the make up of the side in those games probably won't bare much resemblance to what we'll see come the start of the real season. But fantastic to see Lukaku coming back from that successful loan spell at West Brom and not only being used - but scoring too.
Hopes for the season:
Following on from the inspirational parts of pre-season - Lukaku is a big hope this year. A bit of a brute and often compared with Drogba, you would like to think he could feed off of the abundance of creative midfielders he will be playing in front of with relative ease. Demba Ba has done OK at best since coming from Newcastle, the Torres story is all too well known and we can't acknowledge any signings from Manchester until old jug-ears is on the official website holding a blue shirt. So if Mourinho keeps the lone-striker model he used at Madrid and that Chelsea used under both managers last season, who knows? Maybe Lukaku could be the number one choice.
Fears for the season:
In terms of squad I fear at the back. Since Mourinho's blunt admission of 'Rooney or bust' the obvious focus of strengthening is in attack. Not something I disagree with necessarily, but I think with an injury here and a suspension there, we may struggle. Granted Ryan Bertrand seems a decent back-up for Ashley Cole but now that Ferreira has left, our only cover for Cesar 'Dave' Azpilicueta comes in losing Ivanovic at centre back. John Terry's injuries last year make me question if he will ever be fit to play regularly again. And as much as I love him as an entertaining and skilful footballer, the jury remains out on whether David Luiz is actually a centre-half or not. This of course leaves dependable Gary Cahill but I think with injuries and the inevitable suspensions of Luiz or Ivanovic at some stage, this might be an area where we actually lack depth.
Absolute bare minimum you’ll accept:
Top three - but with at least a proper title challenge, something we can't claim to have had since Ancelotti.
Fixture you’re most looking forward to?
Crystal Palace. Mourinho against Holloway has got to be well worth the viewing for post-match interviews alone.
Got the right manager?
'Now I am one of you', I couldn't help myself from welling up and completely buying into it. But even putting the emotion aside for a moment - he's Mourinho and he's done it before. With both Manchester clubs starting the season with new managers, Chelsea fans should feel at ease with the second coming of Jose.
The never-go-back superstitions sit slightly uneasily in the back of my mind but I have to say I am ultimately very happy.
By Christmas you’ll be…
Hopefully we will have avoided one of our habitually bad Novembers, which contributed significantly to the dismissals of both Di Matteo and AVB, so we'll be doing alright. That would mean tight around the top of the Premier League and relaxed about progression in the Champions League.
Player you’d most like to sign?
A big man in midfield. I look at little Oscar and Hazard and just feel we could really use a bruiser in the holding role for support. Yaya Toure is totally unrealistic but perhaps we could pull off an out of the blue scoop for Fellaini. However, I'd be just as delighted to see Essien come back from the dead and make that role his again. Needless to say I've never been convinced by Mikel.
Which player should we look out for?
Kevin De Bruyne has been our player and loaned back out for the past two seasons but Mourinho has said he is staying this time. He has scored in pre-season and has been hyped as the young player to keep an eye on for quite some time.
Which player would you love to ditch?
Contract expirations were quite fortunate for Chelsea and saw a good clear out. Respectfully I couldn't believe Ferreira was even still under contract and Benayoun was a bit of mystery of a signing in the first place as he was loaned on to Arsenal and then scarcely used other than as a token 75th minute substitute by his old mucker Rafa.
But if we could offload a player now, for me it would be Mikel but only if a replacement was signed.
Opposition hate figure?
Is Suarez too easy?
Tell us something we don’t know about your club?
Petr Cech is an accomplished drummer and even found time to play at the Rock For People festival in his native Czech Republic before pre-season.
What won’t happen this season?
We won't sack the manager... I hope.
The Jose Mourinho chant is going to be much nicer to hear at Stamford Bridge as praise for the current manager. As opposed to when it was used last season to show disrespect.
Where will you finish?
First (yeah, why not?)
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