Chelsea fans don't panic! Here's why!

I thought starting today I'll take a look at the current Chelsea squad as we are now in the second week of Pre Season with our first fri...

I thought starting today I'll take a look at the current Chelsea squad as we are now in the second week of Pre Season with our first friendly of Pre Season this weekend against Crystal Palace. I have to say we have no need to panic at the moment at all. There is continued speculation about players coming to the club and going but right now as it stands we are not in a bad position. We have important players due back from injury next season to bolster our squad and this is important to remember.

So I am going to have a look at the players we currently have (excluding youngsters/reserves)and possible additions to the squad if in my view, I feel we need to strengthen. Please feel free to have a read and add your opinions as I would love to hear from you. So let's get the ball rolling:

Goalkeepers: Cech, Hilario and Turnbull.
In my view we are ok with our keepers'. Hopefully Cech can be a mainstay and not suffer any injuries at all this season. If he does, Hilario can step in for the odd couple of games. It will be the likes of the Carling Cup, early rounds (dependant on the draw) of the FA Cup that Turnbull/Hilario will get a look in.

Verdict: No need to change/bring anyone in.

Defenders: Ivanovic, Bosingwa, Alex, Terry, Carvalho, Cole, Zhirkov, Ferreira.
I feel that Carvalho will be out the door this summer. Riccy had twitchy feet last summer after Jose had expressed some sort of an "interest" in him and Deco. Under Ancelotti he got the start until the last couple of months of the season where just like last year, Alex stepped in and has now formed the better partnership with JT.

So that leaves us the returning Bosingwa with Ivanovic for the right back role. Its fair to say that when we had lost Bosingwa through injury at the time it was a worry. Branislav Ivanovic stepped in and for me was outstanding last season, so much so he walked into the Premier League team of the season as voted by other Premiership players. Once Bosingwa comes back he will find it tough to oust Iva. Ivanovic is solid, strong and has made the position his own. I expect him to be there as our right back for the season.

Our left back role at the moment looks fine too with Cole the number one backed up by Ferriera and Zhirkov. Ok we all know the crap that Cole has got upto off the pitch and you have to say you pick up the papers and think to yourselves "What's he gone and done now!" but at the end of the day on the pitch, he is the best there is in his position. Its no wonder that Real want him (reportedly) but whether or not he jumps ship and the country is another thing. Being honest, I wouldn't be surprised if he did go, but then again wouldn't be surprised if he stayed. So for the time being its Ash for me as number one.

That leaves the ever improving Yuri Zhirkov and Paulo Ferriera as backups and we aren't bad there at all. Ferreira has been there and done that for Chelsea and will always gives us his best and let's not forget he is still part of the Portugal squad. Ferriera provides more of a solid option whereas he's as effective as Cole and Zhirkov going forward.

Zhirkov has in the last few months of the season come into his own now he has settled down in London. He provides natural width down the left and is more than capable going forward. I think ideally we would all like him to be more solid defensively but that will come to his game working with Carlo Ancelotti.

Our centre backs as we stand are fine too. But there is the continued speculation about Carvalho going. JT will always start when fit so its always going to be who do you play alongside him. I think the majority of Chelsea fans will now tell you the best partnership is the Alex and JT one. Alex really took his chance under Hiddink towards the end of the season before last and again when called upon under Ancelotti.

Carvalho for me has had his day at the club and the pace of Premier League football seems a struggle for him these days. Riccy has been without question one of the best centre backs in World Football and will always be a massive part of our successes we have had in the last 6 years. He reads a game like no other and will make interceptions numerous times during a season. However, he does worry me when he then bombs on up the pitch looking to join our attack. You are left thinking to yourself "where are you going?, get back!".

I really think that he feels after losing out to Alex that his time is up and it seems Milan is calling for next season.

Verdict: If Carvalho goes I'm not sure we need a replacement. Ivanovic can step in allowing Bosingwa or Ferriera to step in at right back, But, I think Carlo likes to have four centre backs so maybe Alves from Porto will come to Chelsea. Whoever comes in will have a job on their hands to split up Alex and JT.

Midfielders: Mikel, Essien, Lampard, Malouda, Benayoun, Deco.
As you all know with the departures of Joe Cole, Michael Ballack and Juliano Belletti from our midfield the press are going to town with speculation as to who we will bring in to replace these three, but before we look at our current midfielders let's have a quick look back at the role these three played last season. We all know by now that Joe Cole was a bit-part after his injury. He came back during the season but could never force his way into the side for the starts he craved week-in, week-out.

Michael Ballack was one that for me was always undervalued at the club. He did play a major part in our success last season but you have to take into account the fact that Essien was injured so maybe, just maybe he wouldn't have featured in as many games as he did.

Juliano Belletti was Mr Versatile if required and often appeared on the bench last season. The crowd favourite was never really a starter for Carlo and he would come on as a sub either at right back or in the middle of midfield to help close out a game.

So you do have to say that Cole and Belletti will not be missed by Carlo this season as they were only bit part last season. Ballack might just be a different story.

I believe after the success with the 4-3-3 formation Ancelotti will look to play the same. So to the players who are currently at the club. John Obi Mikel injured towards the end of last season was always involved in a holding role in midfield no matter the formation Ancelotti deployed. Ok, Essien was injured and some people may argue the fact that they see Essien as the man to finally take on Maka's mantle in that position but I feel Essien see's himself more in the Lampard role. With Essien able to play that role we are fine in the holding role positon.

Essien is back training and will be like a new signing for Carlo this season. The man mountain is simply what we have been missing and once he is back fully fit I expect to see him lining up in our midfield week-in, week out. Like I have said Essien see's himself more of a box to box midfielder and can have a massive influence on our game.

What do you say that hasn't already been said about Frank Lampard. Quite simply the best goalscoring midfielder there is. People forget about the other work he puts into a game defensively too. His all-round game is remarkable and there is no one who can influence a game from midfield better when he is on his game. Last season he did have a dry spell and struggled to score for a while but when he found his range my god did he make them count.

Its fair to say that Carlo know just how important Frank is to Chelsea and just how important Frank's role in our formation is to the team. He certainly got the best out of Frank in the second half of last season and I expect Frank to kick on putting a disappointing World Cup for him personally behind him.

Florent Malouda really has found his "home" now at Chelsea and there is not a single player who has come on and improved more in the Premier League. Malouda has established himself as a starter for Ancelotti and I believe is partly the reason Joe Cole has left the club. Malouda has turned architect in our midfield and his composure on the ball and with the ball at his feet provides the players around him with confidence. A definate starter for me next season. He will want to put the World Cup behind him as we all know so expect him to start with a bang this season.

Deco is a strange one for me. I believe he is off this summer and its not a surprise for me at all. He just hasn't cut it for us on a regular basis ever since he has been here. He was given his chances under Ancelotti last season and was inspired against Sunderland away but that was about it. He lost his way and his place in the run in last season and never recovered. He is talking about returning home and I believe he will do.

The last of our recognised midfielders is new boy Yossi Benayoun. I have my opinion about him and stand by that but see him as purely a squad player that Ancelotti see's could come on and make some sort of difference if the players on the pitch are unable to. With the 4-3-3 formation and Mikel, Essien, Lampard and Malouda in front of him for sure it will be a struggle for him to impose himself in the team and let's be honest can you see him being selected ahead of these anyway?. Injuries and suspensions will play their part and then Yossi will get his chance. At the moment that's about as far as I see his role at the club, I hope I am wrong but can't see it before the season starts.

Verdict: I believe unless we bring in at least one quality midfielder to replace Ballack then we will miss Ballack's influence and passing in our midfield. I maybe wrong but with Lampard pushing forward we could find Malouda being deployed more in the middle of the park this season. Like I said, Deco will be another one out the door but even if that happens I feel we have enough cover if we stick with the 4-3-3.

Forwards: Drogba, Anelka, Kalou and Sturridge.
Its definately an area we should look to improve upon. In Didier Drogba we have one of, if not the best striker in the league when he is on song and on his day. His power, pace, ariel ability, scoring record and presence is unmatched in the English game and its no wonder that City have been reported as interested. I feel at 32 this is Didier's last major season with the club and will want to make it count again domestically and of course the Champions League and this is why I feel he will stay with the club. Drogba is our number one and expect him to start nearly all the games under Carlo.

Nico Anelka is so under-rated for me when he is playing in a position that gets the best out of him. So many times last season I vented my anger and frustrations with Ancelotti for sticking him out wide it doesn't work. Ancelotti gave him and Drogba the freedom to interchange positions towards the end of the season and they were both fantastic. For me Drogba is the man with the ball at his feet but Anelka is the man when he doesn't!. Its his work off the ball to create the space and his movement that is second to none. He really found his feet and became a major influence last season after winning the golden boot the season before last. I expect Anelka to start alongside Drogba this season in the 4-3-3.

Now to Kalou. Some of you love him and some of you are yet to make up your minds about him. He can be one of the most frustrating players you will ever see with the ball as to me he seems as thought he runs head down and doesn't see a pass or is too greedy!. One thing you can't argue about is the important goals he comes up with. He has the ability to change a game and make an impact but at the same time he can not have any at all. The thing is right now we don't want to lose him as he provides cover up front or on the wing.

Danny Sturridge has had his season to settle in and will be looking for more involvement this season. You have to say alot of the time last year he was brought into games either too late or in the wrong position. When he was given more of a chance towards the end of the season he showed that he can finish and his pace is something that anyone no matter how respected as a defender in the Premier League would have to cope with. Expect more from Sturridge this season.

Verdict: Another proven goalscorer would be nice but not the end of the World this season if we don't get one.

Just a quick note on some other players. Let's not forget we have Mancienne, Sinclair, Cork and Di Santo back from their loan spell's in the Premier League and if are not sold will have a chance to get into the squad and on the bench on match days.

Along with the likes of Matic, Hutchinson, Bruma, Kakuta, Borini, Sala and Sebek looking to get involved in the first team squad things look bright for our squad and our season ahead this summer.

Predicted starting eleven v West Brom:



Post a Comment

  1. Some nice ideas, but you're missing out on the fact that Matic and Kakuta can help to fill the cracks in the Midfield. Matic might not be as influential as Ballack, but he'll do well given a chance to develop alongside Mikel and Essien. Kakuta is the perfect replacement for Deco, and should be good enough to add much more to the position.

    The biggest question mark remains upfront. Drogba yes, but Anelka has had difficulty playing alongside him on occasions. We could definitely do with a new striker, but someone who will fit into a rotation set-up with the others.

  2. Goalkeeper - So, You've forgot the last season so sooner eh? When Cech was injured and Hilario was playing like a clown last season, didn't we all cry to sign a new back-up keeper? winning the title last season doesn't heal the wound. I think we have to sign a GK like Asenjo who can late take over from Cech as no 1.

    Defenders - I agree with you but I would like to see another strong defender who can play CD,LB & RB, like Caceres or Alexis.

    Midfielder - I agree, we desperately need to sign one and my choice is Ozil. We can also sign Sneijder.

    Attackers - Yes, one more 'marquee' would do. My choice is Aguero or Higuain.

    We have Kakuta, Matic & Hutchinson - the young stars, so nothing much to worry.

    Yeah - nothing to panic much!

  3. Goalkeeper - The sad fact is tha since Carlo left Cech has had no one to challange him, so although I agree that we don't NEED another option, it migh benifit Cech's game to have a little challange.

    Defenders - IF Ash stays we are set. Ivanovich is arguably even better in he middle than he is out wide, and Ferrier is naturaly right sided not left. And we might keep Mancienne.

    Midfield - Given the versitiliy of our midfield and youth coming through, we could use any kind of player who is up to scratch. Get a def mid and essien plays further forward, but what we realy lack is a Xavi/Kaka link man. Ozil does look good.

    Attack - We are ok for one more season, and let's not write off any of our young players making the grade, but if we shop abroad (Pato, Agurio etc.) it might benifit us to have them here for a season to adjust to the prem.

    Roll on the Chels!!

  4. Schweini and Aguero. That's all we need.

  5. You forgot to mention the young players. I expect Matic and Bruma to play a role next season.

    I don't agree with the valuation of our attack.

    With Drogba and Anelka we have good strikers, Kalou and Sturridge have the class to back them up. With Borini coming in and Di Santo possibly looking to make an impression, we don't really need any reinforcement this season.

    If we keep playing 4-3-3, we could definitely use a winger, though.
    Apart from Malouda and Benayoun we could only play others out of position (Kalou, Anelka, possibly Zhirkov and Bosingwa).

  6. I've made my mind up about Kalou.
    He is not good enough for Chelsea and never will be.
    Seems like a lovely chap.
    Seems like an honest footballer.
    Sadly, he just doesn't have the wit or ability to play for a Champions League team.




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