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Roman is playing at supermarket sweep – should Chelsea FC concern Arsenal?

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If you think you know your Arsenal, it is time to think again.

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By Phil Gregory (who also keeps an economics blog here)

Continuing on in my little series of articles looking at the teams placed near the Arsenal last season, next up is Chelsea. With the Blues finishing in 6th place last year perhaps I’m stretching the definition of “near the Arsenal”, but I suppose I did do Liverpool down in lowly 8th…

Anyroad, to be fair to Chelsea such a season could be put down to a one-off. There was managerial disruption which while generally the rule rather than the exception when we’re talking about Chelsea, the fracas did seem to have a serious detrimental impact on their team performances. The Portuguese tactician was seemingly brought in to renew Chelsea’s team, seeking to phase out the old guard and transition in some new, younger talent.

Such a job is tricky at any club, but at Chelsea it is very difficult indeed: it is alleged that a cabal of senior players (Cole, Terry, Lampard and Drogba) have the ear of the owner. When Villas-Boas tried to phase some of those players out – justifiably so, given performances, age and his own mandate to renew the side – a player revolt managed to undermine the manager and effectively secure his sacking.

This dynamic is really important to understand Chelsea as Arsenal’s competitor this season. They’ve apparently secured managerial stability with the securing of Champions League winning caretaker Di Matteo, but the owner’s concern as to the Italian’s pedigree was made clear by a decision to hand him a mere two year contract after spending substantial time searching for another man.  Hardly the basis for Di Matteo to feel confident in his ability to revitalise Chelsea’s team, and the transfer dealings that were either being negotiated or even sealed during the period without a manager at the helm suggests Chelsea’s gaffer may not have complete control.

From that then, I suspect that Chelsea this year might be somewhat hamstrung by Abramovich’s continued meddling in first team affairs, along with a manager who is inexperienced at the top level. Long term, Chelsea need to move on some of the declining senior members of the squad but Di Matteo doesn’t seem to have enough job security to really care about the long term picture. Bad for Chelsea, but good for Arsenal.

In terms of signings, Chelsea have been very busy. Young winger Kevin De Bruyne has been loaned out, while fellow Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois will continue on loan at Atletico Madrid for a second season. Big money arrival Eden Hazard certainly got tongues wagging given the size of the fee and his stellar reputation after lighting up Ligue 1 in recent years.

Attacking midfielder/wide player Marin arrived early in the summer, while Brazilian Oscar was announced more recently. Certainly, Chelsea have splashed the cash but what is interesting is the positions they play: all are exciting, attacking talents. One or two signings in this area may have been justified given Malouda’s decline in recent seasons and the release of Kalou, but certain other areas of the squad are in much greater need of new faces.

One of those is the defence. Right back Bosingwa was released and despite not always convincing, he was their only genuine rightback. Ivanovic has often played there and done well, but moving the Serbian simply creates problems at centreback. Certainly Luiz has improved considerably but John Terry is looking less and less like the player who was imperious in partnership with Ricardo Carvalho under Mourinho.

Paulo Ferreira is inadequate and has been for quite some time, so really Chelsea currently look like going into the season at least  without a first choice right back and an able deputy there too. If they put Ivanovic there, they still need a deputy and would also probably need a fourth centreback too. Left back looks OK, with Cole and the youngster Bertrand, but Chelsea’s defence looks somewhat underequipped for a side who are looking to show that sixth place last season was a one-off.

Further forward, Chelsea’s squad is absolutely packed with numbers.  There’s a plethora of attacking/playmaking midfielders, and their new signings have ensured that they now have quality on the flanks. Yet a midfield cannot be made of simply artisans, and Chelsea look lopsided in this respect. There’s Mikel who does OK but hasn’t seemed to command complete confidence from any Chelsea manager since he arrived, while young Romeu seemingly hasn’t done enough to earn a place yet.

Then, of course, there is centre forward. Club talisman Drogba has left, leaving Torres to lead the line for the season. The Spaniard has looked much better in the latter half of last season, but given that he’s not yet rediscovered the form that arguably marked him out as one of the best strikers in the world at Liverpool, having him as the sole centre forward option seems foolish. After Torres, there is Belgian Lukaku who has barely featured and seems more likely to head out on loan.

For me then, there are question marks over Chelsea’s squad at both ends. The defence seems ramshackle, the holding options don’t convince and the centre forwards don’t inspire confidence. They have a wealth of options in terms of central midfield and on the flanks, but given the numbers there, you have to wonder how team spirit will be with big names being consistently overlooked. Looking at their options, I cannot fathom how Lampard will start consistently if the team is decided by merit, so that will certainly be one area for potential fireworks.

Of course, with Chelsea spending so much money and the season still three weeks away, it is possible that these weaknesses will be rectified in due course. The names being bandied around though do not suggest that: how can Chelsea feasibly need to sign Brazilian attacker Willian, who numerous quotes seem to attribute them with a big-money interest in. They do seem to be looking at Spaniard Azpilcueta who would be an excellent addition at right back, but they do seem to be leaving it late to fill a crucial, starting role in the team.

It all smacks of a transfer policy being run by an indulged billionaire, running Chelsea in the manner of a fourteen year old playing Football Manager.

The squad limit is something to keep an eye on. While the unlimited U21s just keeps them in good nick for this season, next year they will likely have issues with the likes of Romeu, Hazard and some others needing to be registered. That issue could be resolved with departures of the likes of Malouda, Benayoun and co, but for this season Chelsea’s wage bill is going to be phenomenally high… FFP anyone?

For me then, despite Chelsea’s big money additions, I’m not actually too worried about them this season. They’ve got a lot of ground to make up in the league, and the squad seems unbalanced. The potential for squad fireworks and managerial upheaval seems likely, and no doubt the likes of Terry and Lampard will leaning on Di Matteo to keep them in the side.

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ISLINGTON 100.  Approaching 100 years of Arsenal in north London

Untold Arsenal – latest stories

46 comments to Roman is playing at supermarket sweep – should Chelsea FC concern Arsenal?

  • Steve J

    A fair article, unfortunately I, and a lot of other Chelsea season ticket holders share your concerns, or in your case glee, at our inability to sign a right back or two and our inability to bring on strikers such as Lukaku through the ranks.
    KTBFFH

  • davi

    They’ve made some spectacular attacking midfield signings, and will certainly be much improved on last season. The one who doesn’t make much sense to me is Marin, because I can’t see him starting games with Hazard and Mata around, and he’s not as effective as Sturridge. I don’t think they have too many defensive worries, seeing as how they managed to get it together at the end of last season, but for me it all hinges on whether they can get Torres back to form. Drogba basically won them the CL, and without him last season would have been an utter failure. Torres has started scoring a bit, but mostly in “easy” situations, against weaker opposition, of coming on against already beaten sides. That said, it will surely have helped his confidence, and given these attacking midfield signings, he will certainly get a lot of chances to score next season. Given the attacking mid/winger signings, they may start to use Sturridge as a centre forward, which could work out well.
    You can’t really tell until the season get’s going but they will have more of a fear factor and should carry some confidence over from the end of last season, so I’d consider them a legitimate threat for the title this season.

  • Good response Davi

  • nicky

    Chelsea should be put up as a warning to all clubs of the dangers of “sugardaddyitis”. Can you imagine a clique of senior Arsenal players going behind Arsene Wenger’s back to Usmanov in order to get their own way in a matter.
    You have been warned.

  • wambam

    Torres – Sturridge

    Mata – Oscar – Hazard

    Mikel

    Cole – Terry – Luiz – Ivanovic

    This would work given that Luiz would spend most of the game pressed forward into DM helping Mikel break up the game.

    Against 15/19 teams this team would be sufficient for a high scoring win. Drop a striker and bring in Romeu next to Mikel against top sides and you’re covered in midfield.

    However if defensive injuries hit, they have no backup.

  • John L

    isnt essien there?

  • spotty

    One thing I do not agree with the above comments.
    Chelsea are not finished buying yet !
    Come back in 3 weeks & re-write the whole article.
    Perhaps, then it could be worth of reading ?

  • Ste

    But chelseas spending isn’t completed yet gourlay has said te cheque book is still open and there looking for 2 or 3 more I don’t Care what anyone says chelsea are gonna be one of if not the strongest team I’m the prem

  • zdzis

    It’s funny to see Chelsea sport almost as many numbers as Arsenal, and still being short on players 🙂
    It looks as if they might shape in something like a 2-1-7 formation, perhaps broken down into 2-1-2-4-1. While I would definitely like to see it, it looks very much as if we were talking Australian football. Is DiMatteo a kangaroo in disguise?
    The number of unnecessary players they have is almost as huge as ours 🙂
    Ferreira, Essien, Malouda, Benayoun, Kakuta… I’d expect they’ll offload them before the season begins. That is, unless DiMatteo really has these strange ideas about football formations…

  • Dom

    If Chelsea get a good manager then probably. Respect only gets you so far, the current crop of players the top players terry, lampard, essien these players don’t only control the pitch they control the dressing room and training ground if they get rid of the old guard then di matteo might be able to get the ten playing but I doubt it.

  • zdzis

    @wambam: The problem is it’s not enough to have a CB going up to DM, especially when you need to defend in numbers, not positions. Also, this is actually gambling on Torres and Sturridge really going hand in hand, which hasn’t always happened. As far as I recall, Sturridge was notorious for not being a team player, and we all know hum much each of Torres’ goals cost. The final problem is breaking Oscar into the squad just after the Olympics, without any pre-season. It would be a huge risk, I’m more inclined to believe it’ll be Lampard or Ramires.
    Oh, and Meireles ahead of Mikel.

  • Blueboy7

    As a lifelong (50 yrs plus) Chelsea fan I appreciate reading your article, Phil, giving a perspective from a fan of another club.
    I’ve become accustomed to a football environment in the UK where fans generally just sledge or abuse other teams / fans, so thank you for a well written, intelligent and, in my opinion, accurate article about my beloved club.
    You’ve rightly highlighted problems at right back and centre forward but, additionally, we lack any credible cover for Petr Cech.
    Pre season has been rather disjointed with many of the squad at different stages of preparation following delayed returns.
    If we solve the potential issues (GK, RB, CF) we’ll be well placed to challenge for major honours but, with less than three weeks until the first league game, the club are leaving it too late.
    No doubt it will be another interesting campaign. ……. Enjoy the ride!

  • Thanks Blueboy7,

    This is a good point – can we all discuss without the need to wave our dicks at each other? If you have posted a comment that goes something along the lines of:

    “Arsenil r shit and u ain’t got no trowfies”

    Then please don’t be upset if it doesn’t get published – as it will only cause trouble and distract from the debate.

    Thanks,

  • Joe black

    @wambam.. u seem to forget that chelsea got cahill to and i doubt u wil bench Cahill for terry/luiz…
    And 4 me(united fan) chelsea buying al tht young talent seem to put them in a gud position 2 play wonderful football ths season,BUT it takes mre thn just getng al gud players togther,. The tactics mus fit thos playas,da game play,they must b able to handle physical fast opponents hu r determent on proving thm wrong e.g(newcastle,totham,liverpool,fulham,mancity,stoke,everton,sunderland,swancity)…

  • nabby

    I think Chelsea have spent big on flair playersnonnthe assumption that they’ve been pretty good defensively in recent seasons. I think their best signing of recent times has been Ramires, as Essien is barely missed now. The only potential fly in the ointment is the squad size and age limits and FFP.

  • Dan

    “If they put Ivanovic there, they still need a deputy and would also probably need a fourth centreback too”. – I’m sorry aren’t you forgetting Gary Cahill? Ivanovic will start RB regardless of who we sign and do we need to sign a RB, having watched Sam Hutchinson come back from retirement at such an early age we have a potential England RB already in our team, what a prospect. A disciplined midfield player, Essien, Mikel, Romeu – lets not foget Lampard/Ramires as box to box players thats better than Diaby, Song and Ramsey in anyones books. Marin is a lot more creative than Sturridge (to answer Davi) Sturridge will be a back up striker down the middle (which solves his little hissy fits as well). All in all I think Chelsea have broguht wisely and creatively, we lacked flair and creation and now we have it in abundance. If Torres is firing the Premier League and Europe should be very careful indeed – Arsenal aren’t in the same league anymore I’m afraid and thats said with a heavy heart as I like Arsenal but no trophies since 2005 is not good enough for a ‘top 4’ team not by any stretch of the imagination and if anyone comes back with the argument of 15 years in the champions league then that are blinded by a very weak positive, you’ve also been in the FA cup/ League Cup and Premier League every year since 2005 – still havent one those either, taking part doesn’t count, it’s the winning that matters…..

  • Hi Dan,

    The last time I checked Arsenal were in the same league as Chelsea.

    Thanks

  • GunnerPete

    Its a good honest article and shows us all the sad downfall of our once great league. I have been a Gunner for 62 of my 70 years and I have seen clubs like C Spurs’61, Liverpool 20 years and Manure (always) +City ..buy success. The haul of trophies may be great when listed in history but all the rest will know they were purchased. Sadly, soon, the rest will be faced with the decision whether to keep watching as this bunch try to outspend each other every seaon or to think of breaking away and forming another league without them, playing to the only true rule of being able to spend only what you earn via the gates etc. This means the buyers of trophies will end up in a super league with Madrid , PSG, Barca etc. Good! We may see the return of more Uk players getting there chance over disloyal imports.

  • GunnerPete

    Dan…you summed up my arguement entirely..a Chelski fan teling the one true top club who sticks to its principles and spend what it can afford, that it does not belong with the buyers of trophies. Please, Please let it continue. I never want my club to be as shallow as the trophy buyers. Let them boast and sneer, but they will never earn real respect as ther history is pathetic without the Ruski cash and they know it. Yes we may not have anything to show for all the wonderful football AFC have played since 2005 but we know we will only use our cheap squad we can afford and not mecenaries of great cost. Worldwide this group of rophy buyers are lothed for what they have done to football and history will record it.

  • Rich

    In a sense it’s a fair article. I do have concerns for our defence, Terry is starting to show signs of decline- and is likely to face a ban from the FA, Luiz can be a bit adventurous (but undoubtedly a talent) and Cahill hasn’t quite gelled with the squad yet. Ivanovic does a brilliant job wherever he is on the pitch and I feel if we get Azipilicueta we would be more secure. We also have protection for the back four in Mikel, Essien, Romeu along with players such as Lampard and Meireles who can play a deep role, do a job in defence but can also pick the right runs and assist the four attacking players ahead of them.

    Last year we struggled with our attacking midfielders and wingers. We relied far too much on the likes of Mata and Ramires and struggled when they were tired or rules out. The additions of Oscar, Hazard and Marin means we have an abundance of creativity and depth in this area of the pitch. I am absolutely confident in this area of the pitch- it is just a matter of when.

    As for our centre forward position, it could become a concern, depending on Torres’ form, but for now I’m content with Torres, Sturridge and a further striker to be signed- likely to be Victor Moses. It’s also worth noting that we’re likely to use a false nine system and bring the likes of Hazard and Mata into goalscoring positions.

    We’re likely to loan out Lukaku, De Bruyne, Romeu and Thorgan Hazard and sell Malouda and Benayoun which should solve our problems with numbers. We’re likely to sign Azipilicueta and Moses. Hulk is another option but looks more and more unlikely by the day.

    I feel this team will end up being successful but it won’t be immediate by any stretch. I can see us truly gelling in around January, February. I feel we will just do enough to finish in the top four, but in the future I can see this side challenge for titles.

  • Dan

    @GunnerPete:

    History will only ever records facts, it doesn’t record the details, it just records the most important stats, win/losses/honours. When you look back in 25 years, you will ‘only’ see that Chelsea have had the best FA Cup Record since Wanderers and the time the most famous of all cups began. It will show Chelsea were the first London club to win the Champions League and more importanly you will be able to accurately see in black and white on paper, the transition between Chelsea’s rise and Arsenal’s decline starting in 2005 and currently continuing – I’m only stating facts, nothing else. Success is ONLY measured on tangible achievements, you say AFC have played beautiful football since 2005 and I might say I think their style of play is crap, you might think Chelsea’s defensive displays in the Champions League were awful but I’d disagree and say it was a beautiful representation of the defensive art, my point is these details are only opinion and you can argue till the cows come home but the point is, you can’t argue with the club who have lifted the trophies. Chelsea brought success… well I’d argue that you did pretty well with Henry, Viera, Bergkamp, Van Persie and all the others that have come through you youth system which you paid nothing for…? Stop making excuses about disloyal overseas players, your players are only disloyal because they’ve seen other players leave and win trophies in their first season at their new clubs, why wouldn’t they want that for themselves and HISTORY will confirm that their chances of personal success stand a much chance of happening away from Arsenal.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Oh you Chelsea fans just to inform you that maybe today, maybe tomorrow the referee review report on Chelsea will be made public on this site.
    Something to look forward to I would say 😉

  • T2T

    Trophies, I don’t care too much about them. I do care about playing CL football. I’d take Arsenal’s 2011/12 season over L’pool’s. I’d take Arsenal’s last 7 seasons over Spurs last 7. Both L’pool and Spurs have won trophies but they have not consistently played in CL.
    Which top player will choose to play for a team winning the CC over a team playing in CL?

  • Stick to the subject of the post please – anyone else waving their cock around shouting ‘trowfies’ will be banned.

    Thanks

  • WalterBroeckx

    Dan,
    I think most players are only disloyal because your owner can pay whatever they want (and the same goes for the City owner of course)

  • WalterBroeckx

    Just wait till the big boys tell the manager to bench Hazard for a few weeks. 😉 Do they have good burgers at Stamford Bridge? 😉

    That last is an inside joke by the way about the behaviour of Hazard when things don’t go his way. Last year when the rumour mill was linking Hazard with Arsenal I wrote an article on this site where I said why Wenger would not go for Hazard at the end of the day (apart from the money issue of course).
    Talent enough but never shown it at the highest level in the CL or in the Belgium national team.
    And he wants to be the star of the show.
    And if you take him off against his will he will act like an angry child.
    Things they don’t really care about maybe at Chelsea but that do play a role when Arsenal buys a player.
    I really wonder if Wenger stopped his interest the day Hazard was taken off the field for the Belgium national team after playing his usual part of non existence, then walking past the player that was brought on, ignoring him completely, ignoring the manager of the national team completely acting like a angry child walking straight in to the tunnel showing his anger and then going straight to a hamburger stall and ordering a big and fat juicy hamburger.

    When he was benched at Lille he also almost started a riot with the manager two seasons ago I think. Hazard was of the impression that he had to start no matter how he played. Good or bad, he has Hazard and should play.

    So a bit of an attitude problem. And the reason why I wasn’t that wild about the thought of him joining Arsenal as was said in the media.
    But he will play some brilliant games, of that I am sure. But will he be consistent… and will he have the character… I really doubt that to be honest

  • JohnW

    Aah, you forget Phil, Chelsea will park the bus, but I don’t know whether they can do it for every game this season.

  • Gunner Pete. Manchester United is not “always”. Remember that in 1974/5 they played in the second division having been relegated

  • Dog Face, you are doing a great job. Please feel free also to offer some Oik awards if you feel like it.

  • insideright

    Incoming players at any club will always provide a mixture of those who work out and those that don’t. Chelsea’s record over the past eight years has been patchy and one of the reasons why they have had to spend so much is because so many expensive players haven’t worked out.
    FFP however will be acheived off the pitch rather than on it and Chelsea’s continuing failure to get a site for a new stadium (let alone build one) is their main problem. Without it they can’t significantly increase ticket revenue or tap the stadium sponsorship market within the FFP rules.
    The continuing need to spend in the market also unlines their failure to develop players through their academy and that will rebound on them when it comes to future recruitment. Kids want some reassurance of potential career progress and they aren’t seeing it at Chelsea.
    Actually Spurs are beginning to look more successful in this regard and that really is a turn up for the books!

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    @insideright,
    Spurs are the dark horses of London, nobody knows what they are up to but they are up to something, they certainly aren’t the joke club we used to love humiliating on a regular basis.
    Anyone with half a brain can see that Arsenal are borrowing the Barcelona model lock-stock-and-barrel, it’s just that we’re Barcelona circa 2004/2005 not the current iteration. The Barca that was trying to blend expensive foreign imports with homegrown talent whilst in the midst of a humiliating trophy drought…but always looking to buy players for whom Barca was their dream club.
    There doesn’t seem to be much of a plan at Chelsea, Ancelotti was supposed to crack the CL but secured a domestic double, AVB was supposed to get Chelsea playing like Barca and got them playing like Wigan, Robbie steps into the breach and then somehow scoops the biggest prize by making Jose Mourinho look like Marcelo Bielsa…

  • SouthernGunner

    Think most of the old guard will be playing in the defense and definsive-mildfield areas for the blues, whilst the younger, recently arrived players will be playing predominantly in the attacking. Can see Lampard playing alongside Essien or Mikel in a DM position infront of the back four, like he has done for England. Think this is their managers best option if he wants to keep everyone happy, otherwise it could be bye bye Roberto. Also, nt sure any of the signings made so far are actually his. Hazzards arrived before RDM was given the managers job full-time. Will be interesting to see how it works out, but I don’t think it’ll be another AVB situation for them this year.

  • zdzis

    @Dan: If history only records wins and winners, how come there are so many fans of Napoleon out there? True, Chelsea today are a big club, a member of the absolute top tier in England, and one of the bigger teams in the world. But if you allow this to cloud your vision so much that you fail to see the problems lurking behind that facade, well, it’s time to buy some glasses.
    I guess the point of the assessment of the current spate of Chelsea transfers is that Abramovich flashes his cash yet again, and this time around there doesn’t seem to be much order to his doings. Hazard was a logical buy, a spoiled brat who may have the skills to make him another Messi – he’ll most likely play opposite Mata, and it’s going to be mighty hard to stop them going. But the players you seem to value more than some of the best Arsenal players – like Song – are definitely not as good as you think. Essien is no longer the star he was several years ago, Romeu isn’t quite ready yet, Ramires has a great work ethic, but I can’t see him as anything more than a great utility player, Mikel is terribly one-sided and not a game-winner by any stretch of imagination, Meireles is also a working man, but a tad too simple-minded, and Lampard is getting old. Yes, there does seem to be a problem with Chelsea midfield, just like there are problems with different areas of the Arsenal team. Again, if you can’t see that, I’m sorry, but it’s your problem. The Internet is so rich of content that you can hardly expect all of it to suit your views.
    As for Ivanovic at RB – it’s definitely not the best option. Ivanovic is great defender, but he’s not fast enough nor smart enough to act as permanent full-back.
    As for player departures, again you must be blinded by that blue light of Stamford not to notice that players get paid not in trophies, but in cash. True, if you’ve been playing at the top for a decade without winning anything, you might get irate. But if Arsenal were able to offer 200K/week contracts, few of the stars would welcome the idea of moving away.
    Also, Arsenal-not-in-the-same-league-anymore have somehow made it to the English top 4 each season since 2005 (or was it 1997?). Are you suggesting we’re in Glasgow?

  • Andrei

    @DogFace “Stick to the subject of the post please – anyone else waving their cock around shouting ‘trowfies’ will be banned.”

    I’m sorry but it was the article that started with unnecessary snub at Chelsea:

    “…With the Blues finishing in 6th place last year perhaps I’m stretching the definition of “near the Arsenal”, but I suppose I did do Liverpool down in lowly 8th…”

    If it is not “waving their cock…” I don’t know what it is. The bottom line is that the last season was among he most successful in Chelsea’s history. Winning CL an achievement that Arsenal FC haven’t managed to accomplish yet is not something to be snubbed at. Unfortunately the author decided to ignore it in his opening tirade.

  • @Andrei – That’s the way it is I’m afraid – if you saw the comments that didn’t get through you would understand.

    Thanks

  • Andrei

    @DogFace I understand where you are coming from and my point is that the article is partially to blame. Anyway, just out curiosity as Arsenal supporter would you prefer Arsenal’s 3rd place finish or Chelsea’s 6th place finish and CL title?

  • Andrei – I’d more classify that as a bit of a tease, and in comments from Chelsea fans I’d more than expect the same back. Such is part of football rivalry – I’m pleased that so many Chelsea fans have read the article and enjoyed it despite the fact I made no attempt to hide my Arsenal leanings in order to make the article more acceptable to Chelsea fans. The balance of course is not letting your club colours blind your sense of reason – we all know a scouser who declares that Carroll was worth the money, for instance.

    Naturally we will all differ on humour and the like, but banter is a healthy part of being a football fan whereas mindless idiots who don’t contribute anything to the discussion aren’t really worth bothering with.

  • @Andrei – it’s a good question… 6th place is a worry – but the Champions League is the Champions League – tournament and league football are two different beasts. With the investment Chelsea can put in to strengthen the squad – they made the right choice by focusing on the champions league, it was a gamble but they did it and fair play to them – it would be hard for them to sign the players they want now if it didn’t work out that way.

    If you were to say – 6th place and win champions league AND in the process knock spurs out of next years champions league I would snatch your hand off as that would be very sweet and one we could rub their noses in for years to come.

    But this is straying from the subject – Chelsea fans have the right to reply in a constructive or witty way and state their achievements as a few of them have done already.

    Would I swap places with Chelsea right now though… no – I think not. They are in a bubble and I can see Abramovich’s exit plan. Lean times will come again to Stamford Bridge – or whatever site the new stadium will be built on.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Arsenals situation or Chelsea’s? Interesting polar opposites. Chelsea have had much more recent trophy success but seem completely dependant on the whims or generosity of one man. We are led to believe we have a sustainable model. Unless stan is doing something we are not being told about, there would seem to be no reason to doubt our sustainability. As much as I back our manager and agree that the path we seem to be on is the only real long term plan, the fan in me does at times wish we were in a more happy medium position somewhere between roman and stan than we at times appear to be, as opposed to what sometimes seems like a waiting game…..then I remember other clubs who have tried to reach something like a happy medium with the likes of Roman A…….and have seriously screwed up. Hopefully we will be relieving one such club of one of their best players very soon, and if not this time, there will be many many others….harsh but increasingly true.

  • Damien Luu

    @Dan: Yeah, you are so right. Of course Arsenal and Chelsea are not in the same league anymore. One are playing CL football, the other are not. Obviously, err?

    @Woolwich Peripatetic: And your beloved Barca are having no money to pay players’ wages. Let’s see. Let’s see. I’m very excited 😀

  • Damien Luu

    @DogFace: Don’t you worry about Chelsea. When the bubble explodes and our dear 14 year-old FM player Roman gets bored and leave the game (to find another game), they will just find another sugar-daddy and suck his sugar hard. That is zillion times easier than what AW-the-fool has been doing for Arsenal 😀

    @Phil: Talk about FM players, I can assure to you that my 7 year-old nephew is doing better than your 14 year-old Roman in buying trophies for Chelsea. Yeah, I’m very proud da him 😀

  • Damien Luu

    @Dan: Oh, silly me, I forgot that Chelsea are still playing CL football this season. So I have to painfully acknowledge that Chelsea are still in the same league with Arsenal, somehow!

  • Mark Ibrahim

    My goodness. We usually have extremely productive comments on here. Where did all these imbeciles come from?
    My two cents.
    -I actually rate Romeu VERY highly and was utterly astounded that he didn’t get a look in under RDM as he was easily one of the best players in the 1st-half of the season.
    -I also think that Chelsea went a bit overboard with the MF signings. When they were speaking about Oscar I was thinking “where will he play? They have Mata, Marvin, & Hazard which is more than enough cover for attacking MF.”
    -I think their defensive situation isn’t as bad as you say. As you say, LB is covered. For my money, Terry is still a very good defender as long as they don’t try to defend with a high-line. He doesn’t have the pace for that. Although, I suspect he’ll be suspended by Cahill, Luiz & Ivanovic are very good cover. I agree that they need another RB and I believe they will get one very soon.
    -The one questionable area I see is CF. I say questionable because it could go either way but nothing can be guaranteed in football. Despite recent form, Torres is still a World Class striker. You simply DO NOT lose that talent overnight. However, that is why you have to give him a real chance at making it right. Also, I really rate Sturidge but ONLY as a CF. He is extremely selfish and simply cannot play as a winger.
    In summary, I think the current Chelsea team is pretty f’ing good. As for the set up of the club… that is a different matter Entirely. From a Gooner.

  • Nirav Shah

    Centre Forward – I think we struggled there last season even with drogs to be honest. Reason – not enough creativity and supply from the middle of the park. I think thats sorted out with Oscar, Hazard and already present Mata (decent back ups in Marin and ramirez)
    Midlfield – I think attacking threat is sufficient. As far as deep lying “playmakers” go, I am pretty happy with what we have got. I hope we play more of a romeu and Joshou Mceachron (plus lamps, mikel and merieles)
    Defense – I think we are pretty well covered there. JT, Ivanovic, Luiz, Cahill, Cole, Bertrand. How many more would one want ?
    GK – Cech with no proper back up (unfortunately). but hopefully Courtois coming around in a season or two 🙂
    I wouldnt worry too much about the way things have gone thus far but am hoping a good season is on the way.

  • WestLondon

    As a Chelsea fan this article and many of the comments are agreeable, except past(CL win)/present/future, its hard to see any negatives about the way Chelsea is being run right now.

    People have picked up on it here; picking the 2 holding players each week will be the hardest team selection RDM will have. We have a lot of players who can do the job but the balance there is yet to be conceptualised.

    Mikel looks like a holding one with two in front, maybe Rambo playing box to box on the right of CM3 and the more slight Oscar doing the left to right play making. This would allow for Hazard and Mata to support the striker.

    Saying that tho if its a holding two then picking them will be a hard choice. Balancing experience with youth or defensive qualities (without play making flair) with the younger less physical attacking players. Its gonna be a long season and we are gonna need all the comps we have to try out different combinations, but in theory if balance and a system can be found that incorporates the new talent we have; Chelsea potential have an awesome team for years to come. Providing the new lads fit in as well as Luiz, Rambo and Mata in terms of their team spirit and club identity.

    Ok so Drogba, (like RVP did for arsenal last season) carried Chelsea through the CL; except for two things; our season had a nice big CL/FA cup cherry on top and our Drogba is a Chelsea legend who has blue blood through and through!

  • coach

    Real difference between Chelski and Gooners is:…..

    Chelski win titles and Arsenal make excuses for not winning titles.

    Arsenal buy all of their players as do Chelski or did Wenger give birth to them?… Arsenal directors like big profits in their personal accounts, Chelsea owner likes big trophies in his personal trophy account….

    I know which one I’d rather have.

    No more truth in this article than Chelsea being the superior club and some hard cheese being spouted.