With a big game coming up on Sunday afternoon, TheChelseaBlog thought a chat with the opposition was in order to see how confident they are ahead of the game at Old Trafford. So, here’s TheRepublikofMancunia.com, winner of Best British Blog in this year’s soccerlens awards, on Berbatov’s form, why we should fear Wayne Rooney, and a 5-0 win……….
1. On the surface, we seemed to have a decent start to the season under Scolari, did that worry you?
Of course it did. Chelsea have been our title rivals for the past few years now, so to see you start so well under a new manager was a worry, particularly considering we weren’t putting in the performances. I did have my reservations over your new manager, considering no World Cup winning manager with Brazil has ever had a success of his domestic career in Europe, but I wasn’t ruling out Scolari to be the first to make a name for himself!
2. There’s been much made of this game in terms of Chelsea’s ability to get results against stronger opposition. How important do you think the game is for United?
The game is more important for Chelsea than it is for United. We’ve already nabbed a point at your place, so a draw at Old Trafford is acceptable. A draw means we’re still able to go ahead of you if we win our games in hand and a win means we’re just one point behind with two games in hand. You haven’t played any of the top teams away from home yet, so following your poor results at home to the top teams, this will be an important one for you.
3. Going back as far as 2000, it’s something like 7 wins each and 6 draws. Do you honestly think we’re that evenly matched?
Going back to 2000 is going back to a time when Chelsea weren’t who they are these days. Recent history shows the ball firmly in your court. We had our win last season right after TNSSO got sacked, then there was Darren Fletcher’s winner a couple of years before that, but Chelsea have had the better results in the Roman era. That doesn’t mean I’m worried about Sunday, but recent history certainly favours Chelsea over United.
4. We haven’t beaten you at OT since May 2005, do you think our away form this season could change that?
Your away form is great this season, but as I’ve already said, you haven’t played any of the other teams in the top 5 away from home yet. Last season aside (where you got totally spanked and didn’t even have a shot all game!), our games at Old Trafford have been very even. Chelsea could get a result this year but it won’t be like it was in 2005. You were far superior to us then but now you’re not.
5. You’ve got a good squad again this season but who has been your best player so far?
I’ve been really impressed with a few of our players this season. Michael Carrick stands out. He gets on with his business quietly, doesn’t attract much publicity, but he’s been playing some beautiful balls forward and has got in a scoring opportunity on a number of occasions this season. Evra really adds something to our attack, whilst being brilliant defensively. I think John Terry was off the mark by quite a distance when claiming Ashley Cole and Wayne Bridge were the best left backs around by far! Berbatov has shown the touch of class we’d all been hoping for and for me is the best signing we’ve made in a while. Only one player in the league has assisted more goals than him this season and has such a cool presence.
6. Who would you say has been Chelsea’s best player so far this season?
Well Anelka has certainly scored you a load of goals, so that has to be recognised. I’m not really a big fan of his but you can’t argue with his goal return this season. Not sure why Scolari won’t play him alonside Drogba though. Lampard, as always, is doing the business for you. Bosingwa looks pretty handy too.
7. Which United player do you think Chelsea should worry about the most in this game?
Rooney. He’s a big game player and has so much passion for the game. He scored at the Bridge last season even when injured and I imagine he’d like to make amends for his unusually average performance against you in the European Cup final.
8. Which Chelsea player do you think United should worry about the most?
Lampard. He’s always ready to ping the ball off a defender or two in the back of the net. Ballack is always a threat too, top player. Joe Cole is your shining light, for me. Wasn’t such a fan when he disgracefully brought down Ronaldo last season at OT (should have been a straight red!), but his ability and desire would make him the pick of the bunch for us in the transfer market. Quality player. Wish he’d ditch the sweat band though. Well gay.
9. I’ve always rated Berbatov but from what I’ve read, United supporters seem to be pretty divided on him. What’s your opinion?
Berbatov has been given quite a hard time from some sections of our support. Generally, we’re all massive Tevez fans so to see Berbatov take his place, despite not always scoring, has irritated a few. Add to that we’ve been spoilt with Rooney and Tevez, two forwards who chase down every ball and come really deep to get a touch, Berbatov is a bit of a shock to the system. But I think he’s total quality. I don’t want to start comparing him to Eric but I can understand why some have. I think he’s a brilliant player and he’s only going to get better at United.
10. Obviously you think United will win the league this season but what do you make of Liverpool still sitting top of the table at the minute and where do you think they’ll finish?
If Liverpool finish 2nd it’s because Chelsea fuck up. Arsenal were further ahead this time last year and look where they ended up. Their players don’t have the bottle to win it and when Gerrard is banged up they’ll be fighting off Villa for 3rd! 😀
11. Jose Mourinho will be watching the game and I’ve no doubt he’ll get a rousing reception from the OT faithful. How do you think he’d be welcomed as a future United manager?
For any red who knows anything, he wouldn’t be welcomed very well. Porto, Chelsea and Inter played the opposite style of football we like to see at United. He had all the money in the World to spend at Chelsea, yet didn’t know how to play an attacking formation or who to buy. He sold off your creative players in Gudjohnsen, Duff and Robben, and replaced them with central midfielders. I bought in to the ‘breath of fresh air’ bollocks when he first came to the Premiership, but by the end he was stale and bitter. He does well when he is given a great team (Porto were one point off top spot the season before he took over, Chelsea were second in the Premiership and European Cup semi-finalists, Inter were Italian champions) which would happen if he took over at United, but I wouldn’t have faith in him buying the right players and playing the right football. Not for me, ta.
12. Fergie and Mourinho had their share of banter in the press although there still seemed to be a grudging respect there. Obviously Fergie and Scolari have history but what do you think Fergie makes of Scolari in the Premier League so far?
I can’t imagine SIR Alex Ferguson is too bothered about Scolari at the moment. He’s refused to engage in the mind games as yet, which will probably irritate Fergie to some degree. Scolari doesn’t seem too engaged with Chelsea though, yet, so there hasn’t been much for Fergie to react to. It could be different if Scolari is still there next season.
13. Before our last game JT had a red card rescinded. This time, he just managed to get his suspension served before our game. How much does that bother you?
I was incredibly annoyed to see his rugby tackle go entirely unpunished. No other player in the league would have had such a remarkable decision made in their favour. With Carvalho going off injured, the game would have certainly been a lot more interesting had Terry been suspended! I wasn’t at Stamford Bridge earlier in the season but I do know our travelling fans had a laugh ripping the piss out of him. I am delighted he will be playing on Sunday though. He will always have a special place in our hearts after Moscow and I look forward to singing our song for him.
14. You won the title and the European cup last season (fuckers), what would you settle for this season?
The league is always the priority. If we won the league every season for the next ten years and got knocked out at the first hurdle in every competition, I would be more than happy. The league is the only competition that proves anything. You win the league and you’re the best team in the country, but cup competitions can be won by any one. Of course I’d like us to be the first team to retain the Champions League but you can’t expect anything in Europe. I want us to win the League Cup, now that we’ve made the semis, but I’d give up on every competition if it meant we won the Premiership.
15. Finally, what’s your prediction for the game?
5-0 United. Ok. Maybe not. It will be tight and given our poor form in front of goal, I can’t imagine us scoring more than one or two. So…… 2-1 United.