In Toon Today: Chelsea

Who Manages Them?  

Always entertaining, mostly victorious, usually arrogant, often controversial, sometimes funny, occasionally git-ish Jose Mourinho.

This season’s controversy has been the usual mix of amusing Wenger-baiting and nonchalantly defending the indefensible Diego Costa, but he may well have over-stepped the mark with his unprofessional criticism of team doctor Eva Carneiro.

Even the previous unheard of Woman In Football organisation expects Mourinho to be charged after his outburst, though they didn’t say what with…talking with his mouth full perhaps, not remembering her birthday?

Despite my flippancy it is obvious that Jose was right, the doctor was ‘naïve’ during the game against Swansea. Eden Hazard went down and stayed down as if seriously injured, if a doctor ran on the pitch every time that happened we’d never get the matches finished, there would be more doctors on the pitch than players. Still, in Carneiro’s defence, the referees fall for it every time so why shouldn’t she.

Although Jose has a slightly different sort of controversy at the start of this season it is one he is used to, he does occasionally do something very, very stupid, he is always under the microscope.

What is different about the start of this season is that Jose is under a slightly different sort of pressure to that which he is used to. Two seasons ago on his return to Chelsea Jose was under no pressure at all, his “little horses” came within a short head of winning the title when the special one had predicted that they no chance of success at the start of the season.


Last season, after an unprecedented first trophy-less season, Jose was under pressure to win something, and he did. This season, the misfiring Blues are under pressure to simply defend better and win more games, something Jose has struggled to explain away.

That is something that he shares with his opponent today, Steve McClaren, who also has maintained a generally vague reasoning for his and his team’s failures. I suppose in the land of the under-achiever, the man with the longest list of excuses is king.

Mourinho normally blames his lack of success on Tyneside on NUFC trying much harder against his team than all of the others. One thing is for sure, if we want to beat Chelsea, we will have to try a lot harder than we did against Watford and Wednesday.

Who Have They Signed?                             

During the summer the Pensioners did their normal transfer window trick of buying another half dozen players and loaning them out without even bothering to turn up at Heathrow to meet them.

By my calculations Chelsea currently have 31 players out on loan including some they signed in the summer, some they signed in January and some who have never played for the first team. It’s called People Trafficking in any other country.

A couple of summer signings put in decent performances in the midweek 4-1 cup win against lower league opposition, ah the memories of our own former glories, that Northampton game will be the special feature on our end of season DVD.

£6.5million Brazilian forward Kennedy looked like a left winger who could run, cross and shoot with pace and energy to burn in his first team debut during the week, everything our own Florian Thauvin seems to have forgotten in the past month. He’s only 19, so he’s going to get better but he probably won’t play today though he may be on the bench, along with Ghanaian left back Baba Rahman who also debuted during the week. The £14million signing from Augsburg has a Wikipedia entry which says he was “Formed at Dreams FC”! Well, weren’t we all?

Chelsea’s high profile signings Asmir Begovic (£8million), Pedro (£21.4million) and Falcao (loan) will all be involved today.

Pedro  was a late signing and the sudden move took him and his Barca team-mates by surprise, so much so that he had to go back a week later to say goodbye. At that hastily arranged press conference most of his ex-Barca team-mates turned out to wish him well, something which doesn’t happen in many places, though it has happened at Chelsea before. When former left back Wayne Bridge left London everyone turned up to see him off. Except John Terry. And Wayne Bridge’s lass. Wonder where they were?


Who Have We Seen Before?    

Loic Remy. He wafted his way through the 2013/14 season on loan on Tyneside, talent in abundance, a heart like Monty Burns. He scored 14 goals in 26 appearances for us in that season, in the times since, he has managed considerably less both in appearances and goals. With Diego Costa’s monthly suspension coinciding with the match today, Remy has a chance of playing and he sounded suitably up for it after a tiring amble around Walsall on Wednesday:

“The manager knows as well he can use me as a striker or on the side, so I don’t have any pressure. I just want to feel better and now with the games coming, maybe I have the opportunity to play more. We will see.”

He’s just not bothered is he? What a waste.

A Special Mention For:                

John Terry. He might play today but his poor performances this season have been speculated upon by those in the know. Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has denied there is any rift between himself and Captain John Terry after former Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard claimed there were signs of “friction behind the scenes”. Fnar fnar, not for the first time eh John? Keep an eye on Mrs Mourinho, Jose.

How Will They Do This Season?                               

Chelsea’s early season woes have been pretty easy to spot from Tyneside, after all we are used to spotting the bleeding obvious.

When previously reliable defenders are all making mistakes then you concede goals; Begovic, Terry, Cahill and Ivanovic have all been below par this season and against Everton it was Zouma’s turn to have a howler.

As we know from experience, it doesn’t matter how well you play or how hard you work as a team, if your defenders make crucial mistakes, you lose games. Once those players stop making those individual errors, and they will, they are all good players, Chelsea will start challenging again.

Mourinho will do better to go back to last season’s formation and not push Cesc Fabregas further forward in the hope of making his team more solid defensively though, only an idiot plays two defensive players in front of the back four and Fabregas will be a key player today.

If you stop Matic and Fabregas playing, any team can put pressure on the Chelsea back four and force mistakes. If those two find some form, Chelsea can challenge for everything again this season.

Are We Going To Win?                

“We know Chelsea will eventually turn the corner and start winning games because they’ve got too much quality to not do that.”

Said Steve McClaren yesterday, the day after Chelsea had won their third game on the trot, having scored ten and conceded one in those three games.

Pay attention 007. But all is not lost, we’ve been in the position before where we have been utterly dire in games before playing the Blues and we’ve still beaten them, so there is no reason why we can’t do it again. And I’ve got an email from Lee Charnley which says we are going to do much, much better so I’m sure we are going to win, but if not, it’s not the end of the world, I’m calm, patient, together we are strong but it won’t last forever.

As Steve Mac said:

“We are changing a lot – philosophy, culture, standards, training and style.”

Ok Steve, but try changing the results first, everything else is just Pardew-speak and we’re not stupid. Get behind your team today, it’s our only hope.