Tevez Questioning Chelsea’s Staying Power?

Sir Alex Ferguson gave the press boys something to get themselves off over when he wondered at the start of the season what else Chelsea’s experienced players had to give this campaign. Obviously, that was translated by the press into Chelsea being a load of old pensioners (no pun intended) who were well past their sell-by dates.

More recently, with too many jaded performances creeping in before the busy Christmas period, even I’ve started to wonder whether Fergie might have been right from the start. And now, Manchester United’s Carlos Tevez is providing the press with the latest headlines to wank over as they again inform the world Chelsea are being labelled as ‘past it’.

With regards to Chelsea’s ability to sustain a challenge over the busy festive period, Tevez says “I think they are a great team. But I also think that as it is for me, at 24 years of age, it is sometimes very hard to recover and play Sunday and Wednesday.  I would imagine that for some of the Chelsea guys that are much older it would be even harder.  I think that the intensive Christmas schedule will take its toll on them because they have some great players but not so much strength in depth.”

Unfortunately though, given Chelsea’s recent form and the prospect of facing four games in a two week period, starting December 14, Tevez might actually have a point.

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Arsenal Shocker: Wenger To Spend Money?!

Arsene Wenger might not be known for splashing the cash and yet if yesterday’s rumours are to be believed, he’s willing to throw £11million Chelsea’s way.

The Arsenal manager put in a sneaky bid for Salomon Kalou during the summer and with Peter Hill-Wood prepared to release the odd moth or two from the Arsenal coffers in January, the suggestion is that Wenger will try his luck again when the transfer window opens.

Mind you, whilst you couldn’t usually imagine Chelsea selling first team players to their rivals, with Scolari not being bankrolled for new players Wenger might well be in with a chance this time

Was Fergie Right About Chelsea All Along?

We’ve all heard the spiel by now – Luiz Felipe Scolari won’t be given any money for players in January – but whether or not Roman sticks to that if the current squad continues with its recent form remains to be seen.

The suggestion at the minute seems to be that if Scolari insists on bringing in new recruits, he’ll have to fund it by selling off some of what he’s already got.  Did Scolari know all this before he agreed to manage Chelsea, or is this penny-pinching as much of a surprise to him as it is to some of us?

I mean, let’s be honest, Chelsea spent a shed load of money putting together a side capable of winning back-to-back titles. Of course, it takes more than money to do that but would we have done it without having the financial muscle to compete on a level with the top clubs? I think the fact that we clearly didn’t have the resources to take the number one spot pre-Roman answers that one.

However, some elements of our Championship winning side have gone and there are others who are getting close to their sell-by dates and as good a squad as we have, Sir Alex Ferguson’s point at the start of the campaign about it being hard to see how far we could go with what we’d got, is starting to make a lot of sense as the season wears on.

Chelsea have already gone a couple of seasons as runners up to United in the League, finishing totally pot-less last season, and under the new non-spending regime, brought in only Jose Bosingwa and Deco in the summer. So whilst Bosingwa was a necessity rather than a luxury purchase, despite a blistering debut month from Deco, it’s starting to look like he might well not last the distance. And already this season, if our last few games are anything to go by, what we’re looking at is a jaded looking side with a lack of fight, energy or ideas.

Scolari seems unfazed with the lack of funds to address this problem though, stating “In January, if I have something to buy one player or another, OK. If I don’t have, it’s not a problem for me because I have a good squad, I like this squad. Maybe some clubs want one of my players and the time is for change. I give you this and you give me that.” Which is all very resourceful of the Chelsea boss, but isn’t this drastic cost-cutting going to leave us even further behind United, not just in May but in the long-term as well? Because for all John Terry’s straw-clutching earlier this year, suggesting United had reached their peak last season and we’d be the one’s raising the bar this time around, even the briefest look at some of their young talent so far shows that theory to be way off the mark.

So is Roman really happy to spend yet another season finishing behind United, or worse? Because like it or not, unless Chelsea seriously look at bringing some new, younger personnel in, of a high enough calibre, we could be in big trouble.

CHELSEA vs Arsenal: Talking To The Opposition

TheChelseaBlog did a quick interview with Arsenal Insider in the run up to today’s game. You can check it out here.

Wenger More Concerned For Ashley Cole Than Gallas?

It’s probably fair to say Ashley Cole isn’t your average gooner’s favourite player. The nature of his transfer to Chelsea was never going to go down well and just to cement their hatred, his autobiography confirmed what they already thought of him. So, it’s a foregone conclusion the left-back will get his fair share of stick from the travelling support tomorrow and I’m sure none of us are really all that bothered.

Arsene Wenger, on the other hand, doesn’t seem quite as keen to hear this friendly exchange of opinion about Cole’s petulance, his bank balance, his marriage or even where he may or may not choose to store his mobile phone. So, the Arsenal manager has asked very nicely that the away supporters show some love for the away side instead. In his plea on Arsenal’s official website, Wenger says “I do not want anybody to be targetted in the other team.  You want your fans to support your team in a fair way, but a very passionate way and I am sure that will happen on Sunday.”

Mind you, it’s funny how when it comes to William Gallas, the Arsenal boss doesn’t seem to have the same expectations. And whether that’s because it’s a little hard to expect anything else after the recent outbursts that even Wenger was forced to act on, or whether it’s more to do with us all reading the ex-Arsenal captain’s admissions that he too was up to no good behind Chelsea’s back before his move to Arsenal, it’s anyone’s guess. But on the reception Gallas might expect and his ability to deal with it, Wenger says “What gets you through everything is your focus on what you love the most – to win the game.   When you are on the football pitch, no matter what people say, you do not even hear it.  I believe that a player sometimes will not know that it rained after the game because he is so focused on the game and you forget everything around you.”

I guess the home crowd will just have to make sure they’re a little louder then!

Chelsea Players Making Headlines Ahead Of Arsenal?

Y’know I’ve often wished players would just keep quiet before games instead of giving the press tit-bits to feed off and blow up into headlines alluding to over-confident predictions.

Unfortunately though, this week Michael Ballack has fed the vultures ahead of Sunday’s derby against Arsenal at Stamford Bridge by stating “We are on top of the League and they are 10 points behind us and need to win. At the moment they are not the strongest team because they have other problems now. It is our intention to beat them. A 13-point gap is a lot and we hope we can do this. It will be hard for them.”

And yet, whilst the press were busy sensationalising headlines of Ballack’s threats to end the Gunners’ title hopes, they seemed to have overlooked the bit where he said At the moment, Arsenal look like a strange team. They have many problems, some from within their dressing-room, but this kind of opponent is very dangerous.  They’re like a boxer who has been knocked to the canvas. They want to get up and keep fighting, and that is what makes them so dangerous for other teams.”

Still, at least they got it about right in Jose Bosingwa’s case, because although he’s hoping the home crowd get behind the players and give them the boost they need, with Spurs, United, Liverpool and Newcastle all leaving Stamford Bridge with points already this season, the Chelsea defender seems pretty realistic about our chances. Add to that the chances of a backlash after Arsenal’s recent troubles, and our right-back was correctly reported to be a bit wary, stating “This is going to be a huge game and no doubt Stamford Bridge’s fans will help us a lot to take all three points.  I do not know if this is the best moment to play Arsenal because of what [William] Gallas said. You cannot expect them to decrease, they are Arsenal. Who am I to judge them?”

I wonder what headlines they’ll come up with by Monday morning?

New Arsenal Captain Promises Chelsea A Fight

Arsenal come to Stamford Bridge this weekend off the back of a marginal win in Europe and with their new captain firmly in place.

They might well trail us by ten points, having suffered five defeats already this season but the new captain is still brimming with confidence about their chances of re-entering the title race at some stage. Fabregas says “The aim is to lift a trophy. We are in the last 16 of the Champions League and are in contention in every competition.  We have played only 14 league games this season and it is not over yet. Nothing is done and we will fight until the end. Our target is to go there and win, because we could get some points back. The other teams at the top have some difficult games as well, so we will see.”

Of course, the fact that they’ve had a bit of a nightmare lately, not least of all bringing  trouble on themselves by having someone like Gallas as captain in the first place, doesn’t mean they won’t raise their game against us on Sunday. In fact, the way our home form is, it really wouldn’t surprise me either.

But at least according to Fabregas, they don’t plan on parking any buses, because the new Arsenal captain says “We have to play as a team and when we play good and quick passing, we can play against anybody and win.  Arsenal never go for a draw, we always go for a win and I am sure a club like Chelsea will do the same as well because every time I have played against them they have always gone forwards, to go for the victory.”

Bet Gallas and Anelka can’t wait.