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Guardian Review

Tim W

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Just added a couple of comments of my own, regarding the unbelievable Carvalho stat: when he's played, we haven't lost since Dec 2006. I added in the fact that last season, only Joe Cole played more than 20 times in the Prem, showing the extent of our injury crisis

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Chelsea hardly need worry about the defensive implications of fielding one fewer midfielder. Their back four is formidable, and will be all the more so following the signing of José Bosingwa

I was thinking more on the lines of what implications will have the complete absence of Maka in front of the defence this year.

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On the other side, Ashley Cole has quietly increased his consistency after a patchy start to life at Chelsea, and his deputy, Wayne Bridge, remains more talented than all but a handful of other sides' starters.

Great point, and totally true. Finally, someone realises Bridge's talent!

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That was a good read, thanks for sharing. The Guardian does seem to have a much more high brow analysis of football. Even the comment section doesnt degenerate into the usual crap

If you ignore the comments of a character calling himself Ronaldo77, a Manc from Nottingham who's output is full of the usual idiotic second rate windup merchant garbage - Chelski, Fat Frank and so on. People like that are only good for one thing. Nowadays I wouldn't even bother dirtying my feet.

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August 6, 2008 2:15 PM


philg - how exactly do Chelski have more English players than Man U?

Cry Baby Terry, Fat Frank and Girlie Arms Cole are the only ones I can think of...

While Utd have:

Nevile, Brown, Ferdinand, Carrick, Hargreaves, Scholes, Carrick and Rooney...

Let me guess: not a maths student....???

[Offensive? Unsuitable? Report this comment.]

The fact that he mentioned Carrick twice doesn't help his argument.

Neville, Brown & Scholes arn't in the England squad anymore.

We, on the other hand have - JT, Lamps, A. Cole, Joey Cole, SWP & Bridge. <<< All regular's in the England squad.

So that's 4 Manc players in the England squad against Chelsea's 6....

Ronadlo77, Let me guess: not a maths student...?

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If you ignore the comments of a character calling himself Ronaldo77, a Manc from Nottingham who's output is full of the usual idiotic second rate windup merchant garbage - Chelski, Fat Frank and so on. People like that are only good for one thing. Nowadays I wouldn't even bother dirtying my feet.

When I get sent on courses from work, I like to play 'Bullsh*t bingo' where you just cross off all the current jargon and clichés that speakers come out with with monotonous regularity. It's like that on the Guardian blog, which can be a really good read but when it comes to Chelsea you are guaranteed that posters will lower the debate to include all of the following:

- Chelski

-Roman is a gangster

- Chavski

-Fat Frank

-Crybaby JT

-JT spits on players

-All CFC fans are JCLs

-bought the league

-JT made a racist remark to King

-only 6000 watched CFC in the 80s

-I liked them when they had Osgood and Cooke but...

-boring, functional football

-harassing refs

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I know its frustrating to read crap like that in comment sections, so I have just given up reading such things all together, and I would advise you to do the same

Those type of 'add your 2 cents' bit are tailor made for the gutless internet mudslinger that doesnt know sh*t about football. On quality forums such as this and others, where people actually watch the sport on a regular basis and attend the frigging matches, you find alot more intellectual weight, and even handedness with regards to Cheslea, than you find on those intellectual cesspools

Trust me when I say I have nearly let crap like that affect my love of football in the past. Never again. Dont waste precious minutes of youre life reading that sh*t, and you'll be alot happier, trust me.

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I know its frustrating to read crap like that in comment sections, so I have just given up reading such things all together, and I would advise you to do the same

I never noticed there was a comments section, I suppose its one of the advantages of age, failing eye sight.

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That was actually a good read.

Not gushing in a weird pro way but analytical and factually good.

Rare to find such a good balanced article.

Steve 'man Utd till I die' Curry couldn't write an article of that quality if he had red devils climbing out of his arse...probs.

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Times' review of Chelsea.


Attack-minded Chelsea look to go one better

by Joe Lovejoy

A new season, eternal hope springs far and wide, and nowhere is there a keener sense of anticipation, amply justified, than at Chelsea, who believe that they are well equipped to dethrone Manchester United as Premier League champions. Their optimism is founded, credibly enough, on the fact that they threatened to do it last time, when they were runners-up and lost the European Cup final, also to United, on penalties.

Logic dictates that if they were that close under Avram Grant, a lame-duck manager who had little, or in some cases no respect from the players, they should do even better with Luiz Felipe Scolari, whose pedigree can’t be faulted. “Big Phil†has quickly made the favourable impression that was widely expected when he took charge on finishing his stint with Portugal after Euro 2008.

The two summer signings to date, Jose Bosingwa and Deco, both of whom played for Scolari’s Portugal at the European Championship, have improved the team and there is the promise of more to follow. Right-back has been Chelsea’s achilles heel for the past two years, Paulo Ferreira’s defensive shortcomings leading Grant and his predecessor, Jose Mourinho, to play Michael Essien, among others, there, out of position. By all accounts, Bosingwa has been looking the part. Chelsea have also lacked a playmaker, which is one of the reasons they resorted too readily to the long ball game. Deco is the pass-master to remedy that.

If the near £20m bid for Real Madrid’s Robinho is successful, Scolari will have the depth in striking resources that United lack. All the indications are that he favours a composed, constructive style — the attractive football for which his boss, Roman Abramovich, has long been pining. In their pre-season friendlies, prior to the real thing next Sunday, Chelsea have played through Deco, with him often taking the ball from just in front of the back four to set things moving. If he is to be their key man, one can envisage the likes of United and Liverpool detailing Owen Hargreaves and Javier Mascherano to mark him out of the game, but Scolari will doubtless have a Plan B.

Already the shape of the team and their mode of attack has changed. Mourinho and Grant favoured wingers to supply and support Didier Drogba in a 4-3-3 formation. The early signs suggest Scolari is content to let his two adventurous full-backs, Bosingwa and Ashley Cole, provide the width, raiding either side of conventional midfielders in a 4-4-2 configuration. Deco and John Obi Mikel, who may well give way to Essien, have been deployed just ahead of the back line, Mikel defending à la the departed Claude Makelele and allowing the playmaker to pick out the runs made by Frank Lampard and Joe Cole, which he has been doing to telling effect.

Up front, Nicolas Anelka is at last showing decent form, but would presumably be the one to give way to Robinho as the rapier-foil for Drogba, whose threat to leave has been withdrawn in the light of the managerial change. Back-up is always important, and there is strength in depth in the likes of Carlo Cudicini, Wayne Bridge, Alex, Florent Malouda, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Salomon Kalou. All things considered, it is a team that ticks all the boxes — powerful, resilient, clever and full of goals — and it is not hard to imagine them getting the better of United. It was easily forgotten, amid all the “Glory, glory Man Unitedâ€, that Grant’s Chelsea were hit hard by injuries and absences at the African Cup of Nations.

Petr Cech, John Terry, Ricardo Carvalho and Michael Ballack were all hors de combat for significant spells and their main striker, Drogba, made only 17 starts in the league and was consequently down to eight goals, after rattling in 20 the previous season. It was much the same for Lampard who missed 14 league games. No Chelsea player was able to make more than 28 league appearances, whereas Wes Brown, Patrice Evra, Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Michael Carrick, Ryan Giggs, Carlos Tevez and Ronaldo all made more than 30 for United.

Chelsea are stronger for the arrival of Scolari, Bosingwa and Deco, with Robinho to come, but United are reliant on the same personnel. It could all change if they eventually manage to sign Dimitar Berbatov, but as things stand the Lovejoy beer money is on the boys in blue. Mind you, it was last time.

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Read this from The Times as well:


2007-08 RECORD League 2nd FA Cup QF Carling CupR-up Champions League R-up

Manager Luiz Felipe Scolari. Had he played his cards less adroitly, he could be managing England. Instead, he’s bagged the top job. His remit: to do better than trophy-winning Jose Mourinho and finals-reaching Avram Grant and to do it in style. Nothing too difficult there, then

Chop rating Luiz Felipe Scolari 13/8

New faces Jose Bosingwa (FC Porto, £16.2m), Deco (Barcelona, £8m)

How they play Of late, rather attritionally. In the future, they will be more swashbuckling than Errol Flynn playing Indiana Jones. This, at least, is what Roman Abramovich thinks (and expects). He’s banking on Scolari to make the difference this year and he may not be disappointed

Player to watch Michael Ballack. It’s taken long enough, but finally Ballack is controlling Chelsea’s midfield and once again looking like one of the best players in Europe. If only he had more than one striker - and a wantaway striker at that - to aim for. Still, if he and Deco click they’ll take some stopping

Tabloid favourite Ashley Cole. He left Arsenal because they offered him only £50,000 a week; he married that woman from Girls Aloud dressed as a criminal from Miami Vice. And then he cheated on her with a hairdresser. The tabloids may be sifting through his rubbish as we speak

In an ideal world Champions

In the real world Champions

SQUAD ANALYSIS Goalkeepers1 Petr Cech, 23 Carlo Cudicini, 30 Rhys Taylor, 40 Henrique Hilario Defenders2 Branislav Ivanovic, 3 Ashley Cole, 6 Ricardo Carvalho, 17 Jose Bosingwa, 18 Wayne Bridge, 19 Paulo Ferreira, 26 John Terry, 33 Alex, 35 Juliano Belletti Midfielders5 Michael Essien, 8 Frank Lampard, 10 Joe Cole, 12 John Mikel Obi, 13 Michael Ballack, 15 Florent Malouda, 16 Scott Sinclair, 20 Deco, 24 Shaun Wright-Phillips Forwards7 Andriy Shevchenko, 9 Franco Di Santo, 11 Didier Drogba, 14 Claudio Pizarro, 21 Salomon Kalou, 39 Nicolas Anelka

Players in Deco (Barcelona) £8m, Bosingwa (FC Porto) £16.2m

Players out Steven Sidwell (Aston Villa) £5m, Claude Makelele (Paris St-G) free, Tal Ben-Haim (Man City) undisclosed

IF THEY WERE A POLITICIAN THEY WOULD BE. . . David Cameron Resident in West London, backed by big money, but short on substance

JOE LOVEJOY’S PREDICTION 1st With a better manager, Luiz Felipe Scolari, and a clever playmaker in Deco they can go one better



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That was a good read.

The Guardian did the other teams as well. I like this bit from their analysis of Liverpool (link):

Everyone has one: a mate who spends ages in front of the mirror before heading out on Friday evening, dousing himself in deodorant and preening like a wannabe Casanova despite the fact that it's obvious to all that he's not going to pull. He'll return home later that night, alone as always, and, ahem, get a grip of himself. His whole sorry routine is an unwitting tribute to Liverpool in the Premier League.
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I quite like this comment on the same article. Not a bad analogy:

Liverpool are like your 35yr old mate, who was a good looking fella back in the day. When you were all eighteen, he'd get birds left, right and centre. Problem is, he squandered all his money on bits of tat over the years, and gradually became balder, a bit overweight, and doesn't look anywhere near as good as he once did.

His mum still tells him he's the best looking guy on the street, but he's slowly coming to terms with the fact that women now look for very different things in a man.

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