Ahead of our game against United tomorrow, TheChelseaBlog has already been interrogated answered a few questions for Scott the Red over at the Republik of Mancunia. So, all things being fair in love and war and all that, it was only right to turn the tables and have the favour returned.
TCB: I know you’re never exactly backwards at coming forwards with your opinion, so what do you think you’ll win this season?
STR: We’ve already got one trophy in the bag but I fancy us to win the league. Obviously we’ve had a blow with Rooney’s injury but we’ve got plenty of quality players who have all won the league before, so have the confidence to go and do it again. You can never predict knock out competitions, so it’s hard to call the Champions League. We’ve definitely got the easier side of the draw, so let’s wait and see.
TCB: Talking of the Champions League, I think one thing we can agree on is how funny it would be to see Liverpool fail to qualify. Who do you want to take 4th spot though?
STR: I wanted Villa to but they don’t have the bottle. So it has to be Spurs. Seeing Liverpool doomed to another season in Europa would be pretty funny and it would be disastrous if City got Champions League football. You know better than anyone what CL football + money equals.
TCB: I’m not sure I get your point there but talking about money, how do you think City have done this season?
STR: For the money they’ve spent, not great. I realise teams take time to gel and whatever but they’ve splashed the cash around and sadly for them, it’s largely been on players who are there just for the pay cheque. Players like Adebayor and Robinho don’t give a shit about City and that’s apparent. Also, they didn’t learn from Chelsea’s mistakes in not giving a manager time and have paid the price.
TCB: You missed Tevez off your list of players who don’t give a shit, but then we all know what a ‘Team’ player he is I suppose. You’re right though, Hughes wasn’t given that long a run but that’s pretty much to be expected with City using Chelsea’s ‘how not to get it right first time’ handbook. Speaking of which, how do you think Ancelotti’s done this season?
STR: Not very well. What’s happened to your defence? We’ve been playing with Darren Fletcher and Michael Carrick in the centre of defence and Van der Sar has played half the games Cech has, so why do we have a better defensive record? It’s pretty shocking. The guy needs some time in the transfer market I guess to prove his worth. But that early and toothless exit from the Champions League means there should be questions asked of him.
TCB: Well, we can’t all have knight’s in post can we? By the way, when the nursing home does come calling, who would you fancy to replace your seemingly irreplaceable manager?
STR: Ferguson could be around for another ten years yet, so don’t start getting your hopes up! Replacing Ferguson is the biggest footballing appointment of all time and I’m sure the club will get it right. I fancy Laurent Blanc or Pep Guardiola. But we have Sir Bobby Charlton, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Brian McClair, Mike Phelan… and like Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs and Sir Alex himself on the staff. Whoever gets the job will have the presence around him to know how to do things the United way.
TCB: You mention players like Giggs and Neville, obviously because their playing days are numbered. Do you think you’ll need to add much to your squad in the summer?
STR: I think we’ve got a great squad but you can never account for injuries so it’s important to get the right balance. You can’t have too many superstars because they won’t tolerate massive rotation. Our midfield is strong but I anticipate Vidic leaving in the summer so another central defender would probably come in handy. Whether we sign a new striker or not depends on how much of a future the manager envisages Welbeck or Macheda having with the club.
TCB: I have to grudgingly admit Fergie knows how to pick his players and there’s one or two I wouldn’t mind in the Chelsea squad if I’m completely honest. Thinking of one in particular – and going for the stupid question of the day award – which of your current players do you rate most?
STR: Wayne Rooney, and that has been the case for years. As you know, I’ve always said I’d rather we sold Ronaldo 100 times over than sell Rooney. He’s a cut above and he’s proving it this year. I imagine it’s pretty terrifying for everyone else to think he’s only 24. Darren Fletcher is quality, Patrice Evra is great, I love Berbatov’s style too.
TCB: Have to agree with you on Rooney and obviously I’m devastated he won’t be playing against us this weekend. Am I just getting my hopes up though or can you see his absence having the effect I’m hoping for?
STR: Psychologically it could be a problem. We’ve won the three league games Rooney has been missing for this season scoring 9 goals in total, and in all other competitions have won every game in his absence. But obviously you look to players like Rooney when times are tough and I just want the rest of the squad to have the nerve to take the responsibility on their own shoulders. Everyone is talking about Berbatov at the moment and I really hope he does the job. The games he plays in Rooney’s absence could really make or break his relationship with the majority of our fans.
TCB: You’re clearly a bigger fan of Berbatov than some of your supporters but is he the man for us to watch out for or do you fancy anyone else to cause us problems?
STR: Valencia is dangerous and it will be interesting to see how you deal with him. Giggs has just come back and will be raring to go. I hope Berbatov is pulling the strings though.
TCB: What about our players? Anyone you think you might need to keep an eye on?
STR: Didier Drogba is probably due a good game against us. His performance at Old Trafford last season was comedy gold and I’m sure he’ll want to make up for that. Malouda has hit some good form and Frankie seems to be scoring for fun too.
TCB: As much as I’d love to defend you having a pop at any of our players, I wouldn’t show myself up by pretending Drogba’s last game at OT was anything other than a disaster. Hopefully, he’ll want this game to be all about him for the right reasons this time though. You reckon it’ll go that way or will United stop short of letting us do the double over them tomorrow?
STR: I think we’ll win but a draw will make me happy enough…as long as you don’t score a goal as dodgy as the one you got against us at the Bridge!
TCB: Personally Scott, I don’t care where our goals come from as long as they come in higher amounts than yours!