Part two of the Jose Mourinho Chelsea era started with a victory as the Blues easily saw off the opening day challenge of the newly promoted Hull.
The atmosphere as the Bridge was worthy of this “Special Day” and the home sides football in the first 45 mins matched the occasion. The best thing that could have happened is that the game ended at the break and supporters spent the second half at the World’s End pub in discussion of the events to that point. Unfortunately the flood gates didn’t open once Chelsea had a safe 2 goal cushion and the game fizzled out to a dull and disappointing close.
Let us remember that this is game 1 in a long campaign and players are generally not fully match sharpened and therefore 3 points with glimpses of brilliant play should be seen for what it is…… A great start for all concerned.
One could be forgiven for thinking little has changed since Jose was last at the helm. Terry, Lampard and Cole formed the experienced backbone of the side, with no sign of our new Latin play-makers Juan Mata or David Luiz. Their absence due to heavy pre-season travel and maybe niggly injuries was promptly misread by many commentators who were looking for a more sinister angle.
Today’s opener provided our new/old manager with the chance to give un-pressured home debut’s to new signings Schurrle and Van Ginkel. He also took this opportunity to re-introduce us to De Bruyne and Lukaku, who in effect are new signings following their successful loan spells.
The first half had all the fun of the fair. Hazard and Oscar left off where they finished last season, tormenting defenses with their quick passing game. The latter scoring the opening goal on 13 minutes after the Blues dominated the early passage of play.
Torres also looked like the summer break had sharpened his senses although for all his good work, it still feels like he doesn’t have enough efforts on goal for someone wearing the No.9 shirt.
Lampard had a penalty saved by McGregor, after said keeper had clumsily bought down Torres in the 5th minute. Although The God’s were kind to Super Frank, giving him only a short wait to make amends. A spectacular goal from a swerving free kick which made McGregor feel like the village idiot after previous to this he looked to be making a sterling Premier League debut.
Ramires anchored the midfield, looking particularly fresh as his well oiled engine roared on all cylinders. Jose has apparently consulted the Brazilian’s personal trainer in an effort to lose some of the puppy fat he gained during his Tapas years. The Portly Portuguese certainly looked like he has shed a few pounds already in pre-season, although maybe that was just an optical illusion as he stood next to Steve Bruce in the technical area.
JT also seems to have his regular spot back, as he is still Jose’s best option to lead the side. I feel the later stages of this season will see our management searching for the successor to the armband. “Captain to the Bridge” will be a recurring theme in the 2014 season.
All in all it should be seen as a successful day and we certainly don’t have to wait long for the next installment.
At this point let’s discuss whether this squad needs any additional strengthening considering it already feels like we have a lot more depth than last season.
I’m sure we all agree that across the board all the transfer hype in pre-season has resulted in far fewer transactions than could be have been expected. I think this seasons window resembles a game of dominoes. When one of the rumoured big trades happens the rest will fall into place one by one.
The main reason for lack of deal closure can be put down to the fact that most of the big clubs are under new management. Chelsea, Man.Utd, Man.City, Bayern Munich, PSG, Barcelona and Real Madrid, the main buyers and sellers, have managers who cannot be seen to weaken squads before purchasing acceptable replacements.
I would imagine that if Bale’s fee to Real Madrid could be agreed, the merry-go-round would begin.
How would this effect Chelsea? I think there is no doubt that Roman and Jose are not ready to give up on Wayne Rooney. We still need a big game player at the top of our formation.
As promising as Lukaku is, he is still not of that guaranteed caliber. Demba Ba is a solid deputy but no Wyatt Earp! As discussed it’s not in Torres’ skill-set to be the player to hold the ball up, letting our 3 amigos wander freely without needing to have one eye on defensive duties when the Spaniard gets beaten to the punch.
So let’s hope that the Welshman head’s to Spain and Moyes get’s Fabregas or Orzil, meaning the Blues pick up Shrek.
Rooney certainly would add a new dimension to the side. He is also perfect for the Global branding of the club. We must realize that this season will probably be the last regular one for Terry and Lampard. SW6 will need at least one Superstar “Englishman” to fill those sizable boots and keep the clubs roots at least somewhat on Blighty soil. Hopefully Gary Cahill becomes a stalwart, but Ashley Cole at 32 will be gone soon too!
Anyway next up the Villans, Paul Lambert looks to have put last seasons woes behind him and with all the managerial changes in the league, two seasons in charge makes his one of the more experienced coaches.
Talking of experienced coaches, Arsene Wenger doesn’t seem to be learning by his mistakes. As an on-looker to the situation at the Emirates I find it unbelievable that they haven’t dipped into their pockets yet! …… When will he learn that the season starts in August, not at Christmas.
My predictions for the Top 4 for 2014 are Chelsea, Man.Utd, Man.City, Liverpool……… no need at this stage to have to justify that….just a gut feel.