116street Soccer

Footballing from a lesser authority...

Location: New York, New York

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

If You Haven't Heard, There's A Team Called Chelsea

Two weeks without posting to this blog, plus I haven't done one iota of Christmas shopping yet; I am a restless mess. Thank god for guest bloggers, such as Paul Kanarek, who has a Chelsea prediction in mind...

I first started supporting my beloved Blues in 1966. I think it was a combination of the blue togs, the cool looking lion and the fact that my father was an avid Tottenham Hotspur supporter. There were two great lessons that the old man taught me from his own errors - don't smoke, and never be a Spurs fan. Every year, he would pore agonizingly over the squad sheets, look at the fixtures and forlornly repeat his mantra of, "Looks like another mid-table finish for the lads but maybe they'll have a nice FA Cup run." The first was always true and the second remained as useless a hope as intelligence in the Oval Office.
But I digress. I said it before the season started and I repeat it here now. My Chelsea will not lift the Premier League trophy this year. If the maxim that "the hardest thing to do is repeat a championship run" is true, then it becomes exponentially more difficult to manage the trick three times on the trot, and while the flesh is willing, I think the spirit is just a little bit weaker this year. This Chelsea team rarely plays the inspired, flowing football of the previous two seasons, and I can see them wilting slightly under the feral and inspired efforts of the rest of the Premiership. Jose, the board and his players have set their eyes on the European prize and you can see it in the level of their play against the continent.
Yes, the Arsenal draw and Newcastle and Everton wins were all brave and showed the grit and determination that any fan loves to see in his team, but I think this is the season where Chelsea finally makes its Champions League run and settles for a solid second in the home league. How wonderfully ironic would it be if the Blues were to fall 2 points short based upon Spurs’ once every 16 years victory? 2-1 and someplace Daddy’s eyes are smiling.


Anonymous Matt said...

I've heard a lot of people say similar things about Chelsea this season. I must admit that, as a Blues supporter, there were moments last Sunday when I had the feeling that Chelsea simply didn't have it in them this time around. Then Lampard and Drogba popped up with those two wonder strikes and got me believing again. When ManU cracked at Upton Park later in the day, I could see the title race opening up wide.

A lot will depend on what, if anything, ManU and Chelsea do in the January transfer window. ManU had been getting a lot of nice breaks and their supposed lack of depth didn't seem to be hurting them much. But eventually the injury bug will hit them (I heard last week that they were the only PL club with no injured players), and when it does I'll be interested to see how they react. Chelsea, meanwhile, have been without their two top goalkeepers and one of their most creative players, Cole, for large stretches of the season, yet they are lurking just over Sir Alex and company's shoulder.

4:25 PM  

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