How Chelsea’s transfer and player development policy has emphatically come back to bite them! By Dan De Luca!

How Chelsea’s transfer and player development policy has emphatically come back to bite them! 

Now even the most ambitious of journalists have conceded Chelsea won’t be finishing anywhere the top 4 this season, and the reality of how bad they’ve been this season is hopefully settling in, both in the press room and for their sake the board room.

I’ve questioned the attitude of the players recently while most were seeming expecting a dramatic rival of the teams fortunes, truth is though there is more to it than just that and a manager falling out with a dressing room. The bottom line is Chelsea are also paying the price of their attitude in the transfer market.

Too keen to flood the squad with the latest big name at the detriment of re-building the solid core upon which their success was built and the team spirit which runs through the sides still fighting for the title.

It’s Chelsea’s impatience that fundamentally costs them, it’s almost as if they can’t be bothered to coach their players to improve, when they can just buy a ready made one.

They’ve made the FA youth cup final for 5 of the last 6 seasons winning 4 of them. Additionally they are in this years final too so that’s 6 finals in 7.

It’ll be interesting to see in a couple of years time how many of the last few years’ promising talents feature in the first team.

Jeffrey Bruma & Josh McEachran the only names you may recognise from the 2010 & 2011 squad list. McEachran just didn’t make it, Bruma made less than a handful of appearances. Connor Clifford who scored a spectacular winner in 2010 finds himself 6 years later plying his trade for Boreham Wood.

Loftus-Cheek was Chelsea’s brightest spark during This weekends mauling by Manchester City, nice to see a youth player from one of these cup winning squads finally be given a chance at the bridge. Guess what? He’s performing better than the collection of over the hill misfits and juvenile spoilt mercenaries who have flooded the squad this season.
Not since John Terry has a player graduated through Chelsea’s academy, maybe they’ve found one, what if there is more? How much game time will Dominic Solanke and Charlie Colkett get in the Chelsea Blue? Time will tell.

It’s more than just the lack of progress these promising best in their generation youth players make that causes me concern. It’s the players that come in and then go out of the club ahead of the ones who stay. I sometimes wonder what the thought process is? It can’t be down to ability in all cases, so is there a bit about image? Marketability? Favouritsm?
Either way some questionable decisions made at the club, particularly in attacking positions. It’s fitting that despite an Aguero hat-trick the man responsible for dismantling Chelsea this weekend was Kevin De Bruyne. He was exceptional and a class above anything in a Chelsea shirt. De Bruyne made a defence splitting pass to set up the opening goal on the first day of the season for Chelsea in 2013. He would play for them just twice more.

When you think of the players who have been through the football club it has to cause questions to be asked. But the question I’d like to ask is this.. Even ignoring the players who have left to join other leagues in Europe, focussing just on players in the Premier League this season, how would this lot down here have got on?

Johnson Huth Ake Bertrand
Moses De Bruyne Mata
Sturridge Lukaku

Don’t analyse each player, or ask why they left? Just ask yourself would that squad of players based on this season be above 10th in the table after 33 games?

I’ll give you a clue, 9 of the 11 are, and one of the others in the top 5 premier goalscorers.

Time Chelsea start looking at the bigger picture and getting their player development and transfer policy right and in the interests of the team and not any other politics or agenda. If they don’t, this years ‘blip’ might happen a lot more often

Chelsea – As bad as they look & in denial. A club finally reaping what it’s sowed – Dan De Luca

I’m bored to be honest of constantly hearing about Chelsea. How Chelsea are going to turn the corner. How the Chelsea of old are going to bounce back.

People don’t become bad players overnight right? Wrong.
People do become bad players overnight. Certainly over pre seasons. Being a professional footballer is about than just ability. It’s also fitness, athleticism, hunger, desire Things that distinguish a park player from a top professional.

Pre-season is where the magic happens, the thing that ensures a player comes back the same as he left. The fitness levels drop for a period and need to be restored.
It’s a players desire that impacts that.

The pre-season is footballs equivalent of overnight and players who don’t have the desire don’t maintain their levels it’s as simple as that. You become a bad player, because your ability is outweighed by your inability to use it. It happens, just as you can become a good player overnight through confidence and form you can become bad, and it’s happened at Chelsea all over the park.

It gets harder as you get older, that’s obvious. John Terry can be forgiven but he is never going to be the same player again. Mourinho knew this and chased John Stones over a cliff in the summer. Whether Stones should have been the man or not can be debated, but Chelsea’s failure to land a centre half is the catalyst this season. Ivanovic at 30, old for an up and down full back. His season hasn’t started. The desire of Diego Costa to lead Chelsea’s line sees him come back from training hugely overweight. Hazard looks like he wishes he played for someone else and next year he will, watch the desire increase when that happens.
Fabregas has been spoilt over the last few years, sweeping all before him at Barca, winning the league at a canter with Chelsea last season. Now all is not well he looks like a man who has no desire to fix it, can’t understand why he is not winning.
Cesc this season has been more interested in convincing himself referees have a which hunt against him. He’s bought into the Chelsea philosophy. He’s turned from a class act to conspiracy theorists. Overnight he’s turned into a bad player. Nemanja Matic has been the worst I’ve ever seen don the tag of defending champion. Largely unnoticed by anyone quite how appalling he has been.

Mourinho’s biggest mistake this season was allowing his team to believe in the nonsense he was spouting after games. This though is the Chelsea way too. Never can it be the fault of the players that things are going wrong. The media support them too. No acknowledgement to the fact they are watching a team of bad players perform badly consistently. The owner will turn on a manager before a player is shown the door. Everyone is responsible except the players.

This season has been coming at Chelsea for a while, built on a culture of breeding spoilt modern footballers who are made to believe they are bigger than the game. At Chelsea you are never too far away from an implosion. A racist insult from a captain, an accusation towards a referee of the same offence, the dismissal of Ray Wilkins, the dismissing of a physio for god sake. All events in recent years that people have been made to believe have led to the capitulations that followed. Are people honestly being expected that Chelsea’s poor season can be attributed to the sacking of a medic?
It’s the players, and the more excuses they’re given the worse they become. The desire not there and the excuse made by the media to hide behind, perfect combination for destruction. So that’s the irony, the very people in media circles who create these myths to justify Chelsea playing badly are the ones who have helped create a culture at a club that allows players to consistently become bad overnight and with frightening regularity. At the end of this season Chelsea will have won 2 premier league titles in a decade, that’s pretty poor considering the level investment and the platform that was created during Mourinho’s first spell.

Back to the matter of a top 4 finish.
Not a chance. Zero. Less than zero.
They won’t even finish top 6. There hasn’t been a chance since October.

There is nothing wrong with portraying some belief to the fans but last week when John Terry in his post match interview claimed Chelsea had a “good chance” it was the most ludicrous thing I’ve heard all season from anyone. I thought when Mourinho left, the post match garbage at Chelsea press conferences would cease for a while but this topped all of Mourinho crazed rants for me.
A GOOD chance, not a small chance, not an outside chance, but a good one. The most typical comment that could come out of Chelsea at that time. It makes you wonder if that’s what they actually believe. Completely disrespectful to the 14 or so clubs above them, I’d expect no less to be honest.

Do you think at Chelsea at any one point this season that they’ve sat down together accepted they’re not good enough to a man, and worked out what to do about it. No. Doubt it highly. It’s always someone else, a ref, a conspiracy, the physio, the manager, but never the players and they’re so good it will all be alright in the end. Nonsense.

At the time of writing Spurs & Arsenal would need to win just 7 of their last 14 games, they could lose the other 7 and have 65 points. Both sides will get more than that.
But even so to match that total Chelsea would need to win 12 of their remaining 14, (or 11 and 3 draws). If that’s “a good chance” then I need to give up gambling for sure.
Ludicrous that a player of John Terry’s stature would make this claim during the season he and his team are having. For some perspective here, Chelsea have failed to win back to back premier league games all season. Not once. There have been many potential turning points throughout the campaign for Chelsea and not a single time have they been good enough so quite the media and their own club captain have continually suggested success is still inevitable I’m not sure.
Captain, Leader, Legend.. There will be people in the dressing who would believe everything is ok and not look at their own game there will be fans who believe it too. The theme of Chelsea’s season.

It’s time for a major rebuild at that club, hope for their sakes and the sake of the premier league that this time they target personnel with a little class and humility. The club is devoid of it and always has been which is why their cup record will comfortably eclipse their ability to stay for the long haul.

In the meantime the rest of us fans can carry on revelling in their failure. They are one of the few clubs who deserve it. The media’s love affair and denial can carry on as much as they feel necessary but it’s to no avail this season.

Football is played on grass not paper.

‘Betrayed’ Jose needs to stop pointing the finger and take a look at himself! – Harry

Jose Mourinho stood in front of the sky sports cameras after last nights defeat and claimed he was ‘betrayed by his players’. Will this man ever take responsibility for his teams performances? Granted, the so called ‘top players’ are not performing at present but surely it’s the managers overall responsibility. How often do you flick on sky sports news and see that a player has been sacked for not performing? Never! The manager is ultimately responsible for how the team does.

The good thing about Jose’s interview this week was that he didn’t blame the computer for not working and he wasn’t blaming the officials, probably for the first time this season – 16 games in.

Let’s face it, Chelsea are in turmoil. They currently sit a point above the relegation zone almost half way through the season and that is simply not acceptable for the Champions of England. Had this been any other Chelsea manager during the Abramovich era they would have most certainly got the chop by now.

I think the fact that none of us were surprised that Chelsea lost again shows the state they’re in at the moment. My personal belief on the matter is that Jose has completely lost the dressing room. Over recent months he has chosen to act like a big baby and point the finger at everyone else but himself, refusing to take any of the blame for his teams awful start to the season. His out of date, boring style of football is no longer effective and he has to be held accountable!

So far this season he has publicly criticised his stars for their individual performances on a number of occasions and whether it’s justified or not is irrelevant. A manager of his experience having won so much in the game should know better than to air his dirty laundry in public! The players have simply had enough of it, the tension and divide in the dressing room is clear for all to see.

Diego Costa is among some of the stars that just haven’t performed this season and to see him run back and signal to his defence something along the lines of ‘your asleep’ sums up the whole atmosphere at the club. Ironic, coming from the guy who has been asleep all season as Jamie Carragher pointed out – maybe the first thing I agree with him on!

Nobody at that club is willing to take the blame or responsibility if you like and that’s the issue. The likes of Costa, Fabregas, Hazard and the MANAGER etc prefer to throw their toys out of the pram and blame others for the teams performance, a team that they are a huge part of!
This unrest has been hotting up for a while and it’s finally reached boiling point.

There was the substitution of JT, the reported disagreement with Fabregas, the fallout with Diego Costa and last night we saw something with Eden Hazard when he was substituted. It seemed as though the Belgian was adamant he couldn’t continue and reacted angrily to Jose trying to keep him on.

Something at Chelski has to change and fast. A club that has spent so many millions to acquire a squad with so much talent cannot be hovering above the drop zone the season after winning the title so convincingly.

So I say something has to change, but for me there’s only one thing that should change… It’s Jose Mourinho. The new ‘specialist in failure’, having lost 9 of their opening 16 and refusing to acknowledge his part in the demise. As an Arsenal fan I’m thoroughly enjoying watching the Chelsea ‘meltdown’ but if I was a Chelsea fan I’d want the ‘not so special one’ out the door.

He’s lost the relationship with his stars, something that has been such a key ingredient to his past success and his style is out of date. A man who is forever bringing negative press on a club looking to grow, a cry baby that talks about the ball boys wiping the ball before throw ins as opposed to his tactical flaws and poor team selections.

You’re not so special any more Jose and you’re lucky to still be in the job! As the pressure mounts and the top four pull further and further away you’d have to say the Portuguese managers days are numbered.

Come on Rom get your axe out and give him the chop!

Harry Symeou

Chelsea 1-3 Liverpool – Alavi’s Analysis

First of all you’re probably wondering why the picture below is my sky box paused at the point of the opening Chelsea goal. There is some method behind the madness- take a close look and I’ll reveal at the end of the review. For me, the key in this game were the tactics employed by Klopp. But let’s start with the game itself.



Philippe Coutinho scored twice as Liverpool recovered from an early deficit to beat struggling Premier League champions Chelsea 3-1 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday and pile more pressure on Blues manager Jose Mourinho. Ramires headed Chelsea in front after four minutes but Mourinho’s side looked woefully short of confidence as Liverpool hit back to claim an emphatic win first league win for new boss Juergen Klopp. Just four minutes had elapsed when the hosts opened the scoring as Ramires planted a downward header into the back of the net from Cesar Azpilicueata’s centre. However, Philippe Coutinho drew the Reds level on the stroke of half-time, cutting inside the Chelsea goalscorer and curling a magnificent left-footed effort into the corner from outside the area. The equaliser marked an impressive recovery by curling in an equaliser in the third minute of first-half stoppage time. Liverpool had dominated for long spells after falling behind and their pressure told on 74 minutes as the Brazilian worked his magic once again. Collecting substitute Christian Benteke’s knockdown, Coutinho worked himself a yard of space inside the area before driving home via the aid of a deflection.It was to get even better for the Reds, too, as Benteke made certain of the outcome when he benefited from Lallana’s step-over by firing across goal and into the corner to put the seal on a fantastic afternoon’s work for Klopp and his team With Mourinho standing glumly on the touchline, Liverpool fans chanted: “You’re getting sacked in the morning”. Chelsea had already made the worst start to a season for Premier League champions and now have only 11 points from 11 games played, leaving them in 15th place


Firstly, I want to caveat the following with the fact that I am by no means hailing Klopp as a tactical genius that can never be beaten. On the other hand, I don’t think there are too many managers who would get the tactics as spot on as he did on Saturday. Klopp showed ability to work out his opponent’s weaknesses, and to change the flow of the game with his substitutions.

Roberto Firmino, fresh from an encouraging midweek performance, would be the man asked to play furthest forward, supported by Adam Lallana and Philippe Coutinho.

It is tempting to view that as a negative move by Klopp – though Benteke’s ongoing knee issue is clearly one which will require careful management – but the presence of Firmino, Lallana and Coutinho enabled Liverpool both to press from the front effectively, and to work the ball between Chelsea’s lines with regularity. To play without a recognised number 9 is, of course, a risk. But it can help confuse a defence. If Benteke has played- Cahill and Terry would have quickly decided between them “You stick on him, I’ll sweep up anything that comes through”. When you have a your “number 9” instead playing in an additional free role then you can drift the opposition everywhere- too deep for the Chelsea Central defenders yet too advanced for the defending holding Midfielders. And that’s what Firmino did. Yes, you sacrifice rarely being in a position to get shots away, but he kept Terry and co occupied, and was a willing recipient for passes in and around the box, in a way that, say, Divock Origi may not have been. The first goal is an example of being able to bringing Coutinho into the game. In essence, Firmino became an unmarked number 10.


The substitution was another tactical mastermind. Off went Milner, who had been sloppy, and on came Benteke, with Firmino dropping back on the right-hand side. The last thing a tired defence really needs is a power-house like Benteke coming at you. This was what Liverpool had planned for, a second-half burst from their No.9, at a time when the game was there for the taking. Benteke’s first act was to flatten Kurt Zouma in an aerial challenge, and within 10 minutes he had set up the game’s decisive goal. It was a strike which showcased both sides of what Klopp is after at Liverpool. A spell of controlled possession, followed by a quick switch of play (a nice way of saying long ball) from Sakho, Benteke, pulling away onto the smaller Cesar Azpilicueta, wins the ball and Liverpool have two men, Lallana and Coutinho, gambling on the knock down. Lallana didn’t make it, but Coutinho did – 2-1, and Klopp’s substitution pays off handsomely. 2 very different goals. Great teams often have both options. Am I suggesting Benteke doesn’t start ? Absolutely not. A different way of playing when he doesn’t? For sure.

So to the picture……………for Chelsea’s opening goal you have all 11 liverpool players defending. Yes, they conceded, but the dedication to Klopp’s counter pressing was already evident.

Klopp, clearly, is desperate for them to move the ball quicker, and to stretch the game at every opportunity. The all-action, high tempo, high pressure tactic was once justified by Klopp as “the best moment to win the ball back is immediately after the team has lost it. The opponent is still looking for orientation where to pass the ball.”

You catch the opponent in transition and their defensive shape will not be as it should. They don’t have enough time to set up properly. If every single player presses then the swarm effect forces opposition to make errors. Now here is the difference between Klopp and the Barcelona way. The Barca high press is designed to retain possession. Once the ball is obtained it is passed around to tire the opposition. Klopp’s version is basically all-out attach- the ball always goes forward. When defending from say a goal kick, the players are tight to the opposition players they believe will receive the all and zonally mark the area which a player can pass into. This forces the player on the ball to make a pass they don’t really want to. The attacking players win the ball and burst into life, which is why they close down closely together. One to win the ball and the other to take advantage of the loose ball, link up play and counter attack. There are flaws in the system. It won’t always work. Unfortunately, for Chelsea, Saturday was not one of those days.



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It’s Monday morning and I’m sure I’m not the only Arsenal fan that’s still fuming with the officials from Saturday’s game. I’ve got a lot of sympathy for Gabriel Paulista & whilst he made a sort of kicking out action against Diego Costa he was no way at fault for that whole incident.

I’ve seen it over and over again and I’m very pleased to say that Costa’s actions have been condemned by the whole footballing world, all except his deluded manager of course. The man had no intention other than to get an Arsenal player sent off from the very beginning of the incident.

If I’m honest I don’t know why I was even surprised we’ve all seen Costa’s dirty tactics and classless actions over and over again & should just expect it by now. However, Saturday’s display was something else.
For me it all began from very early on when he clearly dived under a challenge from Coquelin in the middle of the park. The replays were conclusive and clearly showed there was zero contact between the two and a free kick was awarded surprise surprise, in Chelski’s favour. This was when I first began questioning the referee… My immediate thought was ‘if you really do think that was a foul Mr Dean why haven’t you booked Coquelin? I mean if you do think there was contact it’s definitely cynical enough to warrant a yellow card no?!

At this point in the game it was 0-0 coming up towards half time, neither side had really threatened or had any decent attempts at goal. A couple of routine saves from the keepers was all we had seen at this point.

Then, just before half time it began. Costa’s antics reached a new level and we were about to witness something that in my view makes a mockery of the beautiful game and nobody, Arsenal fan or not wants to see happen on a football pitch. Koscielny and Costa are in the box awaiting a cross, Costa first of all puts his hands in LK6’s face & then blatantly swings an arm into the face of the Frenchman. Once the play has broken down Costa gets up off the floor and throws his chest (a clear sign of aggression from the Chelsea man) into LK6 again who goes down.
Gabriel comes rushing over to the defence of his partner and his first reaction is to get them apart, play the peacemaker.

Sportsmanship and peace making are obviously two things that Diego Costa doesn’t understand as he then starts on Gabriel. Constant verbal provocation and patronising pats on the chest from Costa led to Gabriel ‘flicking out’ at him. I won’t even call it a kick because it was child’s play compared to what Costa had just done to Koscielny. Gabriel was then shown a red card for the whole incident. Absolute disgrace! Was he wrong to react? Yes of course, but where was the punishment for the provocation? A poxy yellow card!? The thing that I can’t seem to comprehend is how on earth has Dean missed the whole incident with LK6 yet he notices Gabriel’s small part in the whole thing and decides to send him off only? If he really didn’t see it then I expect him to say that in his report and allow the FA to punish Costa retrospectively.

Howard Webb on BT Sport criticised the ref and even said he should have been stronger and bossed the situation and put out the flame from the start. Instead the ‘weak’ Mike Dean allowed the situation to escalate and Costa got his way.

‘Weak, biased refereeing and disgraceful behaviour from the Chelsea striker’

There’s been all kinds of reaction to it all over social media and in the press, I especially enjoyed Garth Crooks’ piece on it on BBC’s final score programme. One thing I do want to mention though was my disappointment in Arsenal legend Ian Wrights comments, having watched him on BT Sport that day I was disappointed he was so reluctant to point the finger at Costa. He was so quick to point the finger at Gabriel for reacting but it was as if he was ‘afraid’ to lay any criticism at the feet of the Chelsea striker.

Not to say Arsenal would have won the game but it certainly doesn’t help when you lose a CB right on the stroke of half time. It was always going to be an up hill struggle from there and this seriously damaged our chances of getting a result. I mean as if it isn’t hard enough to get anything at Stamford bridge let alone when it’s all going against you.

Mourinho once again lacked any class by claiming that Costa was playing the game ‘the way it should be played’ – he’s not stupid he knows exactly what his striker was up to.

And so the fued between Wenger & Mourinho continues…

Wenger was criticised by some people for his comments after the game but I for one was very proud of our manager. He stuck up for his team and pointed out (not that he needed to) exactly what Costa had done. He was also honest in saying Gabriel shouldn’t have reacted and I thought the Arsenal manager showed passion and fight in the way he defended his side. We might not always agree with his tactics and some of his decisions but you can’t doubt he cares about our club.

My final point takes me to some comments I read from Jens Lehmann regarding the incident… Jens pointed out that had this been his Arsenal side ‘the invincibles’ they would have showed more ‘togetherness’ & in his words ‘dealt with Diego Costa’. Jens went on to say that had he been Arsenal goalkeeper on Saturday he would have been straight out to defend both his centre halves. “When I was in goal for Arsenal the goal area was mine and I would police it, if I had seen my centre halves being bullied I would of been straight in the face of Costa and you can bet that Patrick and Sol would have been there too letting him know he would have to take on all of us as a team, it’s not cheating it’s showing togetherness and this Arsenal team lacks that”

I think in an in-direct way it was a dig at Petr Cech because he then said “maybe because Petr played many years for Chelsea he felt he couldn’t do this, you will have to ask him why.”

That did get me thinking though, what happened to that fighting Arsenal side that could play everybody off the park yet still had the steel to deal with those kind of situations.

But ultimately another weekend over where all we are talking about are bad refereeing calls. Bring in technology I say your killing the game!

Thanks for reading,

Harry Symeou – Arsenal fan!

Chelsea vs Arsenal Saturday 12:45 – Preview by Kyri Christodoulou


Chelsea had a much needed break from domestic football this week and their champions league campaign started well when they beat Maccabi Tel Aviv at home last night. A much needed boost to the likes off Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa who got on the score sheet and a boost to the whole Chelsea team really was much needed for Saturday’s game against Arsenal. Early on in the game though it looked like it was going to be the same old when Eden hazard blazed an early penalty over the bar and into the shed end. But a routine 4-0 win is exactly what they needed at this point with Arsenal up next for them.

Going onto Chelsea’s start in the league and I don’t think anybody could have predicted the champions shocking defence to their tittle would start this way. Many peoples favourites to retain their crown before a ball was kicked. Chelsea currently sit 11 points behind league leaders Manchester City and just above the bottom three and any sort off drop points at home to Arsenal at the weekend and it really will be hard for Chelsea to make up that ground even this early in the season. Whatever your opinion on Jose Mourinho’s philosophy on football his teams usually defend well in numbers off the ball and are a very hard defensive unit to break down and it usually works more than it doesn’t were ever Mourinho has been, that’s why it’s so hard to understand even after 5 games why they have the worst defensive record in the league. Not the best time for them to loose Thibaut Courtois to injury for 2-4 months.

For me Chelsea’s trip to Goodison Park last Saturday was the perfect example off Chelsea’s season so far. Everton started the game with a 4-4-2 with a diamond midfield with Kone and Lukaku as the two strikers and both off them getting in-between Zouma and Terry with ease and managed to create space and chances for the themselves on a few occasions especially in the 1st half and really gave the Chelsea defence a tough afternoon. Another Chelsea defender who has been far from his best is Branislav Ivanovic who over the years has been one off Chelsea’s most consistent and reliable players, which is a surprise considering his experience in the game, we’ve been used to the Serbian throwing himself in front off shots and bullying players for fun and being a real rock at right back and centre half in his Chelsea career. So far this season he is giving the opposition so much time on the ball, wide players beating him constantly this season and is far from the Branislav Ivanovic that we’ve seen. then there’s Matic and Mikel who sat in front off the back 4 who applied no pressure and allowed time and space on the ball for the Everton midfield, none off them tracking any off the Everton midfielders runs into the box and Everton players passing rings round them way to easy at times they were chasing shadows for a lot off the game even though Matic did produce a great strike to get Chelsea back in the game before half time. Matic is another player is season who doesn’t know weather to press the ball or sit deeper and over the past 18 months since he re-signed for Chelsea from Benfica he has been a player that reads the game well breaks up play and is also a bully in the middle off the park. in the past 5 games this season he looks confused off what his duties are and that’s very unlike him. The likes off hazard and Fabregas, two off the best players in the premier league if not in world football and on there day are a joy to watch who can’t seem to control, pass or even keep the ball for Chelsea at the moment and have been pretty much none excitant in games this season who haven’t delivered anything to Diego Costa at all. Even Diego Costa who last season was so energetic who used to come from deep link up play who used to get himself in very good positions was constantly moving around off the ball getting in between defenders and was always a threat on and off the ball, defenders last season at times in games had no idea were Costa was. Now it seems like he’s waiting for the service that isn’t coming his way and seems less confident in front off goal and is guilty off taken one to many chances in front off goal than he did last season when he does get the ball to his feet and times as well looks like he feels sorry for himself. Funnily enough last Saturday will probably one off john stones easiest games he’ll play this season. Many people have their opinions on why Chelsea have started the season so badly many people seem to think that they have a lot off problems off the field which looks like one off the cases but Chelsea looked exactly the same during pre-season and still haven’t rectified their problems. Did Mourinho not do the correct business in the summer which some people are also saying? That is also a possible explanation as well. If I’m being honest I still expect them to finish in the top 2 come the end off the campaign but that remains to be seen.

So Chelsea welcome london rivals Arsenal to Stamford bridge on Saturday lunchtime. Arsenal like Chelsea were in Champions League action on Wednesday night away in the Croatian capital off Zagreb and the Gunners were dreadful. Arsene Wenger made 6 changes to the team that beat Stoke on Saturday and it showed. I can’t say I blame Wenger for rotating the team he didn’t really have a choice with 4 games away from home in 10 days but the good news is that Arsenal will field a much stronger team on the weekend. Got to give a lot off credit to Dinamo Zargreb they had a game plan and it worked they sat with two banks off four off the ball and didn’t let Arsenal settle at all and caught the gunners on the break and it worked. Arsenal with the ball were pretty bad with no movement, creativity or imagination what so ever. Arsenal couldn’t keep the ball and kept giving it away in a very sloppy fashion. These sort off results do happen in football not just to Arsenal and it could also be a wake up call for Saturday but these wake up calls seem to happen to Arsenal way to often than they should. I still expect Arsenal to qualify from their Champions League group with 5 games left in the group but still a very disappointing night.

Before a ball was kicked this season Arsenal were a lot off people’s favourites to be Chelsea’s closet challengers for the premier league tittle until the transfer window slammed shut at the beginning off the month and not to mention Manchester City’s perfect start to the season in the league. For some reason people seemed to have forgotten about City before the season started which is strange because of the likes off Kompany, Silva, Toure and Aguero and co in that team and if they stay fit and have good seasons then I feel their the most ruthless team in the league and without question have the leagues best centre forward and have also added the likes off Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling two young and very promising players for big price tags.

Back to Arsenal and for me looked sharp, fit and exciting in pre-season and looked very promising for the start off the season but we’re shocked on the opening day by a 2-0 home defeat to West Ham (another wake up call) and since then I think Arsenal have done ok and responded well from a shock opening day defeat apart from Wednesday night in Zargreb but have certainly created a lot off chances in games but seem to be very wasteful at the moment but the goals will come at some point no question about that. I think Arsene Wenger has again put together a very good team and squad together again and even though he only brought in 1 player in the summer it was rectifying the goalkeeping situation which was a problem before but bringing in the Petr Cech was a big step forward for me. Cech returns to Stamford Bridge in Arsenal colours for the 1st time on Saturday after 11 successful years at Chelsea and managed to keep a clean sheet on his Arsenal debut against his former club in the community shield. he will probably feel mixed emotions returning to Stamford bridge for the first time as an opposition player but he will definitely get a warm reception from the Chelsea fans.

He is a top professional and world class keeper who was made 2nd choice at Chelsea in his last season after Courtois came back after 3 seasons on loan at Athetico Madrid but with Chelsea winning the league tittle you couldn’t argue with Mourinho’s decision to make Courtois no.1 goalkeeper last season, he certainly didn’t want to sell Cech to Arsene Wengers side he made that clear. Cech will want to go back there and make a statement with his new club.

Many people still feel Arsenal are still missing a top top centre forward to compete for tittle and people argue that Arsenal also needed a defensive midfield player which I also agree with but I like Coqualin who put in fantastic performances since he was called back from on-loan from Chalton in January. Didn’t have the best off games against West Ham and maybe lucky to stay on the pitch before being substituted at Selhurst Park against Crystal Palace and still lacks experience in that position but since then has again put in good performances and was very good against Stoke on Saturday.

Chelsea HAVE to win and cannot afford to drop points and theirs a lot off pressure on them which as an Arsenal fan scares me. I think it can be a good time for Arsenal to play Chelsea because they are obviously lacking confidence at the moment and their is clearly problems on and off the pitch at the bridge but also you can argue its a bad time to play them because Chelsea have to respond and have to win the game. As an Arsenal fan attending the game in South West London on Saturday I can happily say that I’d settle for a point considering Arsenal’s record at Stamford bridge over recent years how times have changed When pre-abramovic era how Arsenal always used to get a least 4 points off Chelsea a season it’s certainly been the opposite since the Russian took over at Chelsea. Jose Mourinho’s long unbeaten record against Arsene Wenger came to an end when Gunners saw off Chelsea at Wembley in the community shield at the start off the season which for me is a massive mental believe that Arsenal and Arsene Wenger can believe they can beat Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea.

As the starting 11 for both sides on Saturday i think Mourinho Will play Terry and Cahill at the heart off the defence. I know Cahill hasn’t been in the team and has been replaced by zouma recently even though he did start in midweek in the champions league I’d expect Terry and Cahill for the experience and the they seem to have a good partnership and understanding together and both good readers off the game. I expect Chelsea to sit deep and have men behind the ball at a lot off the time on Saturday and look to catch Arsenal on the break just like Dinamo Zargreb did and Chelsea have against Arsenal in the past. Apart from that I don’t expect the Chelsea team to be much different to the side that played against Everton. I expect the two holding midfielders in Matic and probably Mikel to play and protect the back four with Fabregas Hazard and Pedro to play infront off them and Diego Costa to lead the line in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

For Arsenal I’d expect the same 11 that beat Stoke last weekend I’d expect Ramsey to sit with Cazorla and Coqualin in a midfield 3 without the ball in front off the back four, for me Ramsey is an engine and he’d get behind and the ball and sit with coqualin even if Ramsey is put out wide id expect him to slot in more off a central position off the ball and cover the right ground when arsenal don’t have position and he’d also bring the ball forward quickly on the break Then you have Santi Cazorla who can spread the ball around the pitch quickly. Then Theres Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil who will be left right and central at times in the game anybody who watches Arsenal regularly will know that the likes off Sanchez, Ozil and Ramsey love to rotate and switch around the pitch at times in the game and I don’t expect any different on Saturday. A lot off Arsenal fans have been saying a lot at times this season that Alex oxlaide-chamberlain should start more games but I don’t think he deserves to at the moment, ok he was injured for a long part off last season but for me when he picks the ball up from deep he’s very quick and direct and looks very threatening on the break and can probably beat most full backs in this league but his decision making and end product lets him down for me his stats with assists and goals will prove that and I think the manager doesn’t trust him so much at the moment.

Another question is who will Arsene Wenger start up top on Saturday? Will he stick with Walcott or will he go with the low on confident Olivier Giroud? People can say what the want about these two but I do think they both have certain qualities about them that are very beneficial to the team. Oliver Giroud comes deep to receive the ball and holds up play well and has good link up play and brings the midfield into play which is one off his strengths and is good in the air but what he lacks for me is pace and movement off the ball and cannot create space for himself and doesn’t run in behind defenders which is frustrating. Then Theo Walcott on the other hand obviously has bags off pace plays on the shoulder and can run in behind which centre halfs don’t particularly like especially against somebody as quick as him, sometimes it’s annoys me that Walcott is so quick but doesn’t use it to his advantage a lot off the time I’ve always said that Theo Walcott is a right forward player but I do think he can play through the middle in certain games depending on who the opposition is or what defence he’s coming up against. None off Oliver Giroud or Theo Walcott are consistent or clinical enough to be Arsenal’s number one striker to score enough league goals and fire them to win them the tittle and as much as people may disagree with me I think Arsene Wenger Knows that. However both are still more than good enough and have certain attributes to be part off a tittle winning squad. If Walcott starts I can see Chelsea sitting deep because off walcott’s pace but I don’t think that’s a good thing for Arsenal, I always prefer arsenal to play against a team who like to play higher up the pitch thats my opinion. if Oliver Giroud starts I can see Chelsea playing a little bit higher up the pitch witch may benefit arsenal but even if they do Oliver Giroud hasn’t got the pace to get in behind but can link up play with the midfield well. I think Mourinho would rather see Giroud play than Walcott at this moment in time. Walcott on the other hand can cause Terry problems with his pace and has a decent record against Chelsea and has shown up in the big games for Arsenal in the past. But who knows maybe Wenger will start both and play Giroud up top and Walcott on the right but I don’t expect him to. I’d expect Wenger to start Walcott over Giroud on Saturday even though Walcott came on as a substitute on Wednesday he only came on because Arsenal were trailing and needed a goal and it was a good finish as well but Wenger clearly wanted to rest Walcott for the weekend. Giroud is having problems at the moment with confidence and isn’t really in the Arsenal or France fans good books and he didn’t help himself last night picking up two stupid yellow cards.

It’s a massive London Derby and it’s going to be a tight game and a very interesting one and what spices it up even more is Wenger against Mourinho who have had plenty off disagreements down the years but as much as they bicker against each other I do believe their is mutual respect their for each other from both off them even though neither manager will probably admit that. unfortunately i wouldn’t be surprised if Chelsea discover the form we know their capable off against Arsenal I also wouldn’t be shocked if Chelsea ended up with the 3 points and getting back on track but I hope that isn’t the case. Let’s hope the Gunners can get there first victory at Stamford bridge since October 2011 it’s due if you ask me but But I’m biased. Saying that I’d gladly take a point.

My prediction is a score draw ill happily bight your hand off for that right now and I’m going to predict:

Chelsea 1-1 Arsenal