Friday, 25 October 2013

In the Spotlight: Chelsea

No. 10: The return of Mourinho, Juan Mata and Eden Hazard

By Aaron Leggott

Two wins in the last two away games has put the Blues in a brilliant position going into November. Edging towards a third of the season, we are set to face arguably our biggest title rivals on Sunday as we make the trip to the capital to play Jose Mourinho's Chelsea. I caught up with Chelsea fan Jamie Collett (@jamieberry11) to get a lowdown on Sunday's opponents.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

After a bit of a slow start, Chelsea are starting to really hit some form and are now unbeaten in their last 7. Are you confident of a win against City?

Jamie: We're beginning to hit a bit of form, scoring a few goals in the process. I think it'll be a difficult game but I'm confident of 3 points.

The mood around Stamford Bridge has also changed significantly when compared to the regime under Rafa Benítez last season. How much of a boost was it to see José Mourinho return back to Chelsea?

Jamie: There's a much more positive vibe around Stamford Bridge since Mourinho's return, the fans love him and, as one of the banners at the Bridge says, he's "one of us." There is a genuine belief that José is the right man to nurture the crop of young talent into world-class stars.

Are you pleased with how your new signings have settled in so far? And who has impressed you the most so far?

Jamie: Samuel Eto'o and Willian look like they need time to adapt to the pace of English football, but both look as though they could be good players so far. Willian has everybody's backing due to his rejection of Tottenham! Mark Schwarzer is a capable back-up 'keeper, and Marco Van Ginkel is a signing for the future. 

I've personally been impressed with André Schürrle, his work-rate and quality crossing has made me take a liking towards him, and once he comes out of his shell and finds his goalscoring touch I think we have a star.

Were you surprised to see Mourinho drop Juan Mata at the start of the season considering the Spaniard's unbelievable form since signing?

Jamie: It was a surprise to see Mata dropped, and the team did miss his quality in the final third at times, however, he's reacted and has noticeably got fitter and is working harder defensively, while his quality in possession still remains. I'm still unsure if he'll play on Sunday, though.

Predicted Chelsea line-up?

Jamie: (4-2-3-1) Cech; Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Cole/Bertrand; Lampard, Ramires; Hazard, Oscar, Schurrle; Torres. 

Cole will play if fit, Lampard over Mikel in midfield is what I think Jose will play, as he trusts Frank. I can see Mata missing out due to reasons Jose has cited before in that Oscar, Hazard and Schürrle are more dynamic against better opponents, and after his midweek goals, I think Torres will get the nod over Eto'o.

Who will be your key man on Sunday and why?

Jamie: Eden Hazard is about to, in my eyes, take the Premier League by storm and develop into one of the world's top players. His good form has coincided with our recent good run and if he has a good game, I think Chelsea will win.

Photo: Official Chelsea Facebook

How have you evaluated City's start to the season?

Jamie: I was surprised at City's defeat to Cardiff and the manner in which they were outfought, but generally it's been a good start. I tipped City to win the league at the beginning of the season because of the squad depth. Álvaro Negredo has surprised me the most, he's been very impressive and is well suited to the Premier League.

Who would you rate as your biggest rivals to the title this year?

Jamie: City are our main title threat because of the depth and quality of the squad, I think you'll go on to win it.

Who do you think will be City's key player and why?

Jamie: Sergio Agüero, his movement may cause Terry and, especially Cahill if he plays, a lot of problems, and he's in excellent scoring form. And, if Jesús Navas plays, I feel he could be effective up against Cole, who hasn't been in his best form.

And finally.. prediction for the game?

Jamie: I think Chelsea will win 2-1, both teams have a goal in them, but home advantage may just edge it for us. I can see Hazard getting on the scoresheet, with maybe Terry or Ivanovic from a set play, while I think Negredo (if he starts) will score for City.

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You can also follow Aaron on Twitter: @aaron_leggott

(c) The Sky Blue View 2013

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