Ahead of this Saturday’s clash with West Brom, I spoke to AlbionTillWeDie.co.uk, outlining my predictions for the match and season ahead. Here are my thoughts:
It’s been a great first few months of the season for the Blues, currently sitting top of the Premier League unbeaten, and progressing nicely in both the Champions League and the Capital One Cup. Did the Chelsea support expect such a good start?
Absolutely; in all honesty, it should have gone better! There was so much optimism for the start of this season, because we knew we were not far off last season and with the additions in the summer, we felt very confident. However, fan optimism doesn’t necessarily translate into player performance — many buckle, as we are maybe seeing with Manchester City — which is where Mourinho has had to step in and reign in the ego so there’s no chance of complacency. I talk about it potentially having been better, of course referring to the two Manchester games, but we can settle for those solitary points away from home.
There’s been lots of talk recently as to whether Chelsea can go the entire season unbeaten, do you feel it’s really achievable or are you expecting a few hiccups somewhere along the way?
How confident are you of seeing success in the Champions League?
Do the Blues have any obvious weakness that other teams should be looking to exploit?
Yes if a full-strength side is not played. Many experts have made out that Fabregas is the weak link is the holding role and, granted, he is better further forward, but sitting deep allows him to utilise his other qualities, which is to read the game and dictate. He would be crowded out further forward with Hazard/Oscar etc and his versatility is useful. Whilst Courtois continues to get praise, I personally feel much more assured with Cech in goal still (this is not to say Courtois is a weakness). But when the fringe players play, that is where any team can really go for it. At the back, you will have the youngsters to have a go out (Zouma, Christensen, Ake) whilst up top, the likes of Schurrle will hardly scare you as much as Hazard/Costa.
Player of the season so far?
Where to start! Costa for his goals and Fabregas for his assists have, of course, been the main talking points. But spare a thought, for me, for Nemanja Matic. One of the most startling present figures in the Chelsea team and fills a void Chelsea have had to deal with since Makelele left. Mikel was neither very defensive or very attacking; Matic can be relied upon to help Cahill out, but also to provide the assist of an assist for Chelsea’s frontmen.
Anyone been particularly disappointing?
You have to say Schurrle.That right-wing spot is there for the taking: every other spot is taken but the fact Willian and Schurrle keeps changing for the right-wing berth suggests no-one has performed with immense consistency to fulfil it (hence Marco Reus rumours). On the back of a World Cup win, you would have expected a little more. Other than that, Felipe Luis has been OK when he has had his minutes but worth the £19 million for a 29-year-old? No.
Chelsea signed highly-rated young Albion midfielder Izzy Brown in an acrimonious deal back in July 2013, how’s he progressing?
He’s done well, causing Mourinho to go as far as saying he would have failed if he can not make Brown an England contender for the future. 10 goals and six assists in 22 U21 appearances is a promising start, and will leave WBA even more infuriated he left with only peanuts for his services.
Prediction for Chelsea’s season?
All the way in the Premier League. At least a semi-final in the Champions League. FA Cup winners and League Cup semis.
Prediction for Albion’s season?
You’ll do alright. Three wins in the last 10 Premier League games will disappoint but Irvine looks an astute, if unpopular, figure. With the fact he is not the big name, WBA fans’ deflation may well translate into lower expectations and thus work in his favour.
Premier League Champions?
Burnley, QPR, Crystal Palace.
Prediction and thoughts on Saturday’s game?
Post written by Martin Li. Martin has had three years’ blogging experience, writing for the likes of Bleacher Report and SWOL. He runs his own Chelsea blog — The Chelsea Chronicle — which has match reaction and analysis from every Chelsea match. You can follow him on Twitter.
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