Category: Chelsea


The Premier League season begins tomorrow, but there will be no Sir Alex Ferguson in sight. Perhaps some journalists, pundits, and fans will be reminded of the late comic, Spike Milligan, who used to end many of his comedy sketches by staring at the camera and asking: “What are we going to do now?”

Winning start | New Manchester United manager David Moyes has already won a trophy, but the real battle is about to begin. (Image | Daily Telegraph)

Winning start | New Manchester United manager David Moyes has already won a trophy, but the real battle is about to begin. (Image | Daily Telegraph)

Fergie may be gone, but the Premier League juggernaut continues, and it appears that the race for the 2013/14 title will be between three clubs: Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United.

United are used to approaching the season under intense scrutiny, but this this time the pressure is different, for other clubs will see the Red Devils as a kingdom without a strong leader.

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It is official, José Mourinho has returned. The man whose first press conference in England saw him famously describe himself not as “the special one”, as the press claimed, but “a special one“.

Back for Mour | José Mourinho is back. (Image | The Mirror)

Back for Mour | José Mourinho signed a four-year contract with Chelsea on Monday to return as manager after a six-year absence. (Image | The Mirror)

However, as Mark Twain said: “Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.” For Mourinho returning to Chelsea on Monday is a very good story indeed.

As the most successful manager in the club’s history, adored by the fans and one of few men to win the treble, with Inter Milan, and lift the European Cup twice, what could possibly go wrong?

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Ben Watson's 90th minute header confirmed the biggest headline in football this week (Image | The Sun)

Ben Watson’s 90th minute header confirmed the biggest headline in football this week (Image | The Sun)

Last week may have seen the first significant news of the football off-season, but it certainly wasn’t the last. Following the retirement of the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson, and David Moyes’ arrival at Old Trafford as his successor, there has been plenty more big news in the past seven days.

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Are there lessons other clubs can learn from the now clearly premature dismissal of Roberto di Matteo by Chelsea last month? (Image | Getty)

Are there lessons other clubs can learn from the now clearly premature dismissal of Roberto Di Matteo by Chelsea last month? (Image | Getty)

One question in football has never been answered by the owners of the world’s elite football clubs: When is the right time to change your manager?

I’ll start with the obvious ones – probably not, say, within five months of winning you the Champions’ League title you have craved for almost a decade, not the day after claiming your club a league crown but doing so “in the wrong style” (a la Bernt Schuster), and probably not simply because you’ve just bought the club and you’d quite like a more high-profile manager.

The thing is, there doesn’t really seem to be a right time for change.

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Chelsea Football Club took the decision on Wednesday to remove manager Roberto Di Matteo from his post after eight months in charge, a period in which the Blues won the UEFA Champions League for the first time in their history.

Dismissed | Roberto Di Matteo in appropriate pose after his side’s run of two wins from eight games, which brought about his departure from Stamford Bridge. (Image | Blue Champions)

Having made a strong start to the season and recruited exciting new players such as Oscar, Victor Moses and Eden Hazard, Chelsea’s form dipped over the past few weeks and following the 3-0 defeat to Juventus in midweek, the club now stands on the brink of becoming the first European Cup winners to be knocked out of the competition at the group stages the following year.

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Chelsea Football Club took the decision on Wednesday to remove manager Roberto Di Matteo from his post after eight months in charge, a period in which the Blues won the UEFA Champions League for the first time in their history.

Axed | Roberto Di Matteo looks on as Chelsea slump to a 3-0 defeat by Juventus in midweek, which brought about his sacking as Blues manager. (Image | The Guardian)

Having made a strong start to the season and recruited exciting new players such as Oscar, Victor Moses and Eden Hazard, Chelsea’s form dipped over the past few weeks and following the 3-0 defeat to Juventus in midweek, the club now stands on the brink of becoming the first European Cup winners to be knocked out of the competition at the group stages the following year.

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Spellbinding | Ajax’s two mesmerising performances against Manchester City have put Dutch football back on the map after a long spell on the sidelines. (Image | Getty)

This week in Europe may have turned into the week of the comeback for the English quartet, but there can be little doubt, if any lingered, that the Premier League’s finest are no longer Europe’s dominant force.

Remember that spell when there were three English clubs in the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League every year between 2008 and 2010?

At this time, footballing knowledge suggested that the continent had been conquered by Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United. Well, can you really see that happening this year?

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Guilty | John Terry drives away from Wembley having heard the FA’s verdict. (Image | The Telegraph)

In case you weren’t aware, the Football Association has a disciplinary problem. Perhaps it will create a commission, give it a year to prepare and then finally entrust it to report on exactly what is wrong with the way the FA polices English football.

John Terry was banned for four matches yesterday and fined £220,000, a measly sum for a Premier League footballer.

Reactions varied on Twitter, from those that believed he should be banned for life and jailed, on the extreme side, to others that asked why he was brought to trial in the first place having been cleared by the courts.

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Dangerman | Eden Hazard scored his first goal for Chelsea against Newcastle United last weekend. (Image | The Telegraph)

Kevin McCarra‘s frank assessment of the peaks and troughs of the gambler’s “last throw”, otherwise known as transfer deadline day, was an excellent read on The Guardian earlier today. Seizing upon the arrival of Eden Hazard at Chelsea for £32m earlier this summer, McCarra pointed out that sometimes the inflated and frenetic nature of 31 August – in particular – leads clubs to take on players at tremendous cost with almost an “assurance” that they will turn out to fulfil, not only their inflated price tags, but the immense weight of expectation that putting pen to paper on a deal with a Premier League outfit carries with it.

The Blues have hardly been backwards in coming forwards since picking up their maiden Champions League trophy last season, but the 21-year-old Belgian is the club’s poster boy, its marquee signing among a parade of fledgling European superstars. With three Premier League games having been played thus far, Hazard hasn’t even appeared to be slightly daunted by the amount of faith placed in him by manager Roberto Di Matteo and Russian benefactor Roman Abramovich, both in a footballing and monetary sense.

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Frustrated | Once again Arsenal failed to break down inferior opposition in a pattern drearily reminiscent of previous seasons. (Image | The Guardian)

With one Premier League match played, and football having returned from its slightly shorter than usual summer break, if the season were to abruptly end before tomorrow’s action begins, Fulham would have narrowly lost out on their first ever Premier League title to neighbours Chelsea, while Norwich City and Queens Park Rangers would be heading back to the Championship having failed to find the net in the top flight.

Although, while Cottagers supporters struggle to contain their nosebleeds and Swansea City fans organise an open top bus parade for legendary manager Michael Laudrup, we must remember that there are 37 games remaining (for most sides), and plenty of time for the table to take on a more predictable appearance. However, although it is impossible to assess a side’s ability and probable fortune this early on, it is worth taking a look at what is likely to transpire over the next nine months.

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