How Chelsea Can Win the League, and Why They Probably Won’t. (Part 1)

Very excited to be asked by the lads to submit a guest post, let’s hope they will let me hang around a bit. As you can guess, I am true blue all the way through, however, this year’s campaign will be a tricky one for the west London boys. The following is a preview of the Blues upcoming season. I will start with the good.

The Reasons Why We Will See JT and Tubbylotti on the Winner’s Stand Come May:

The Essien factor

The Bison is back! There is no doubt that Michael Essien is a world class player, but the Ghanaian has only played in roughly 50 games for the Blues since 2007 due to ailing knees. When on the pitch he has produced several magical efforts including key FA Cup and Champions League performances, but can Chelsea really count on Essien for an entire season? The smart money says, no. Two major knee surgeries will do that to you. But when fit, Essien is just damn intimidating, see any Essien performance against Cesc Fabregas in the last 4 years. If Essien puts in a full season at Stamford Bridge Chelsea fans have every reason to think that his pace and incredible tackling will dominate any midfield-set that Chelsea will face.

Lampard’s 20

I am, and will always be a Frank Lampard backer. I would even go as far to say that Capello should feature him and Rooney and leave all others to move about the pitch supporting such a potent duo, but that is another argument for another day. Lampard simply puts the ball in the back of the net. Lampard has scored nearly 100 goals since 2006, an astonishingly consistent and prolific mark for a midfielder. What concerns me is when will this lucrative production end. At 32 years of age, surely we are soon to see a decline in his scoring, aren’t we? That being said, I think Super Frank has one more big year left in him.

The New Joe Cole

Is it sad to see Joe go? Yes. Will it be awful to see him sporting such a gross red color? Of course. Did Tubbylotti make the right move here? YESSSS! I love Joe Cole, he plays with passion, flare and was more often then not the necessary key to unlock the stingiest of defenses. Who could not forget his epic performances against Spurs and Pool? I have no doubt that he will excel at Anfield but his time at Chelsea is done. I also have questions about his fitness and Essien-like knees. Enter the Israeli, Yossi. If given enough playing time, I think this will transfer will go down as one of the most successful of the year. Yossi gives you everything Cole provided and more. He is technically gifted and most importantly he has a nose for goal combined with a proven shot – say hello Cottagers. I realize that many will refute this assessment, but most of this refudation (wink) is merely a product of the Joe Cole love-fest that we all fallen victim to, yours truly included. My only caveat to this rather bold prediction is that Yossi may be a victim of Chelsea’s roster strength. There is often too much talent at Chelsea that new hires find it hard to see the pitch,  of course this is not the worst problem to have.

The Double D.

Let’s be honest, his 48 goals were the reason we won the league. He scored in big games and made other around him better. Much like Essien, he is a force to be reckoned with and his positioning off the ball is second to no one. When he moves away from the petulance that he often exhibited two years ago, his direct play opens up trailing runs for Anelka and Lampard. Despite a few layoffs, he has proved his durability over the course of the past five years in West London. I don’t think he will need to score as many goals as he did last season, but a tally in the high 30s for league and cup play will be necessary for success.

Continuity

Unlike the other teams at the top, Chelsea has managed to retain its top talent and form a solid nucleus of players that know each other, like each other, and play like it (Terry, Lampard, Drogba, Mikel, Cole etc.).  As a result, Chelsea knows how to win games they otherwise shouldn’t, the very essence of team play. The top of the league is getting more and more competitive with Citeh’s money and a Spurs resurgence, but winning those games are not the key to winning the league. Grinding out wins against the likes of Stoke, Bolton, and Wigan (well, sometimes Wigan) is the key to the long campaign, and it has been the reason for Chelsea’s success over the last five years. United and Chelsea share this trait. If Chelsea continue this trend, May could be a very nice month for the Blues.

Part II to come later.

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