Chelsea Getting Sneaky While United Are Away?

The rumours are coming in thick and fast as we get ever closer to the transfer window. No matter what Chelsea might say about lack of funds available, the press aren’t giving in that easy even if it means repeating themselves.

So the latest voice we have echoing around us is Axel Witsel.

Yes I know we’ve been there and done that already because only last month we were being told Scolari had his eye on the Standard Liege youngster. We were also told the player himself had a preference for United.

Now though, the press reckon we’re getting sneaking about it because although United apparently had a bid of £19million for the 19 year old turned down last month, the suggestion is Chelsea are trying to pull a fast one while they’re out of the way.

You see whilst United are in Japan for the FIFA Club World Cup, Chelsea are rumoured to have ‘contacted’ Standard Liege about the promising midfielder. Only snag I can see with that one is, the press missed the bit out about where exactly the money is meant to be coming from to pay for him.

 

What’s with the Anelka celebration?

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Arshavin Prefers Chelsea To United…..Now?

I had to laugh when I read the reports linking Andrei Arshavin to Chelsea again.

Arshavin’s agent, Dennis Lachter, has previously informed us the Zenit striker was almost certain to sign for Barca in the summer then did an about-turn when he didn’t get the offer he’d hoped for. The next thing we heard was he’d accepted an offer from Chelsea although Zenit made it clear they didn’t either want or need to sell him. And so, with no firm offers forthcoming, Lachter threw the net out a little wider, suggesting Arshavin would play for any of the top four British clubs – not sure he meant Villa at the time though.

Anyway, back to the latest rumours, apparently off the back of a quote from the player himself this time, and he’s sticking with Barca – or is he? Because Arshavin says “I still want to play abroad. I would like to play in Spain or England. Barca are my favourite team and in England I used to like Manchester United, but right now I prefer Chelsea.”

How much does he sound like a 6 year old in the playground hedging his bets and trying to be everyone’s friend?

Going Up In The World?

As I might have mentioned earlier, The Chelsea Blog was voted the Best New Blog in this year’s Soccerlens awards.

And as if that wasn’t good enough, there’s more because thanks to Soccerlens, The Chelsea Blog has had a mention on ITV.com. All a bit exciting really and I’ll be preparing a speech if this carries on 🙂

I’ll give you all a mention if you hang around!

Chelsea 1-1 West Ham: Video Highlights

CHELSEA 1-1 WEST HAM

Ok, so yet again it wasn’t the most inspiring game at Stamford Bridge but you can watch highlights here.

Awards For This Year…….

The Chelsea Blog has picked up the award for the Best New Football Blog of 2008 by Soccerlens. Bloody stunned if I’m honest but it’s official – some of you must like what you’ve read this year.

I’ll keep it up if you all do.

 

Thanks to all who voted, hope you all stick around for the next year.

Are Cole Rumours A Concern For Chelsea?

We’ve had rumours about possible moves for Joe Cole before, notably Villa and Liverpool in the summer although fortunately they were no more than that. But somehow the latest rumours worry me a little more.

This time, it’s Spurs with an interest in Joe Cole and that bothers me for a few reasons. Firstly there’s the Redknapp thing. Harry Redknapp is more than a little keen on Cole and they know each other well what with it being Redknapp who gave Cole his debut at West Ham. Then there’s the fact that Cole would be valued highly by his former boss – something he’s always had to fight for at Chelsea.

Add to that the fact that Redknapp knows that come the summer, Joe Cole will have just a year left on his contract thanks to Chelsea’s delay in holding talks, and these reports aren’t weighing heavily in Chelsea’s favour. Not only that, but with Cole apparently only being on around £70,000 a week at Chelsea – hardly an amount comparable with the big earners around him – he could even get a pay rise into the bargain.

And here’s what a Spurs source has to say about the whole thing “Harry loves the way Joe plays and can’t believe Chelsea are running the risk of losing him. It is behind the striker where Harry sees him for Spurs — given a licence to thrill.”

I know Cole has previously said he was happy for the talks to be put on hold because his priority was playing for Chelsea but I can’t help hoping the club get their act together over a contract just in case.

Change Of Formation Needed At Stamford Bridge?

Our home form is doing my head in but what’s more annoying than not being able to get a win at home is the fact that Scolari doesn’t have a clue what to do about it.

With just three wins from nine at home now, including another draw at home to West Ham yesterday, Scolari admitted “Yes it’s difficult. When we play here it is different than when we play away.  Away we have more space and we play more with the ball, maybe we are now thinking ‘this is not our home’ and we are not scoring goals, I don’t know what is happening.”

Er hello! Change of formation maybe?

For a start he left Drogba on the bench yesterday and went for a 4-5-1 when that hasn’t worked at home this season. I’m not suggesting he drop Anelka either because to be fair, he’s totally earnt his place but the point is, Anelka does better in the games away from home because he relies on his pace. Away from home we’re up against teams who have to give us a bit of a game, so it’s faster, more open football and that suits Anelka. At home though, probably because of ‘that record’ the opposition have learnt how to play us, they put men behind the ball and shut us out. That’s where Drogba’s strength and physical presence are a must. Ok, we might have to revert to the ball over the top, but if it works, so what?

Whilst we’re on the subject of Anelka, where did he play most of his games last season and how effective was it? Yep, slung out wide with his chin dragging along the floor because he hated it and no wonder – he isn’t as good there, he’s not a wide player so why play him there?

On the second half yesterday even Scolari admits it didn’t work, stating “With [both Drogba and Anelka] yes, but also before because when they come on I lose my middle.” And yet he goes on to say “We need to train with that system a lot more because when we only have two forwards and one winger like today I play a genuine 4-3-3 for the second half [with Joe Cole used as a striker], but lose my middle – so it is difficult for me.”

So what’s wrong with 4-4-2 at home? Worth a try surely?

Kalou and Malouda are useless, so we’d have to rely on Bosingwa and Ashley Cole to do the business up and down the wings. Keep Mikel in front of the back four – for me he’s doing a steady job there this season. Then it’s a diamond formation with Ballack and Lampard either side and Joe Cole sitting behind Drogba and Anelka. I wouldn’t even bother with Deco in these home games unless Joey’s injured because he just doesn’t look up to it to me.

Defensively, we really need Ricardo Carvalho back because there’s no doubt about it, we’re weaker without him and god knows we’ve missed Essien this season. But for now at least, Scolari needs to address this run of bad form at home and sticking with formations that aren’t working isn’t the way to do it.

Your thoughts?