Opposing View - Chelsea
We caught up with Vital Chelsea ed. Merlin ahead of Saturday's clash to get a Blues point of view...
Half-way stage of the season, how does your current position and situation compare to what you hoped for back in August?
Pre-season is always an optimistic time, supporters of most clubs have that inner belief that this will be their season and I suppose we`re no different. But matters were complicated by the fact we`d dispensed with the services of Carlo Ancelotti and were in the market for a new boss.
Taking Andre Villas-Boas on board was a risk, although he`d been successful in Portugal, we all know the Premier League is entirely different.
To be honest many of us had also been suffering through wearing rose-tinted spectacles and failing to see that the squad was growing old and needed replenishment. So whilst I`d, back in August, have been hoping we`d be leading the pack, on reflection I`d say we`re slightly behind where we should be, we should be a lot closer to the top three than we are!Does Andre Villas deserve more time to mould his own side and more importantly, will he get it?
He does deserve more time. Okay, results may not have gone his way but the fact, as mentioned previously, that he`s inherited an ageing side isn`t his fault.
Some of his buys have been good, others questionable, but unless we have a disastrous end to the season I see no reason why Roman Abramovich and the board won`t stick with him.How much of a role does Frank Lampard have to play going forward?
Now this is a question that has split the Vital Chelsea membership.
They`re torn between ditching Frank and sticking with the legend that he is. Personally, I`m in the latter camp. Once again, although he`s hardly been setting the world alight and has found that his absence from the side has created more headlines than his goals, he`s joint top-scorer with Daniel Sturridge as we enter the second half of the season. Whether there are problems behind the scenes with Andre Villas-Boas I don`t know, but I suspect Frank may be in the twilight of a very successful Chelsea career.It's my personal belief that Didier Drogba will have to leave to get the best out of Fernando Torres as they're both very much used to being the main man. What's your position on the Torres and Drogba situations?
Bemused, puzzled and perplexed! When we purchased Torres I thought it was a good deal but his goals record for us is atrocious and I`m wondering if we signed somebody who had passed his prime early and had lost something crucial in his make-up.
As for Drogba, one of those ageing squad members I mentioned? His form has tailed off and I can seriously see him walking away from the Premier League at the end of the season to take one last, huge pay-deal in China.Who is the key man for Chelsea that we should be looking out for?
Ramires! You wouldn`t believe how somebody of such a slight build can be so powerful and so full of energy. Add to that the fact he can score goals as well and he is the key element of our side at the moment, just shading out the wonderful Juan Mata.Where will you finish this season?
I`m praying it is the top four as life without Champions League football will be, financially, very difficult. Plus the fact that not being in the Champions League has a detrimental affect on attracting top names to a club.
So, bearing those facts in mind, I`ll go for fourth!Match prediction?
Revenge for last season please - 2-1 to Chelsea!Cheers, Merlin. You were a lot better off when we beat you last season, so who knows? A trashing might be on the cards!