The return of Jose Mourinho has really caused a sense of belief and excitement within the Blue side of London. Not only does he command an aura of respect but again his presence alone commands a surety for success. Most of the fans do not really bother about who gets to play or not, especially when the team is winning. His interviews, before and after every match, is as candid and exciting as always and he does not fail to make a dig at the opponent one way or the other- that’s Jose for you! That surely is what every fan would want from his/her coach. The former manager, Rafa, had one hell of a time with the fans even when he had won and played a good game. That disparity clearly shows how likeable Jose is around Stamford Bridge no matter his methods. In a recent interview, he declared his intention to stay with the club quite longer this time and that even makes him more appreciated.
In dissecting the team over the season so far, it is evident that there are a few changes to be made as early as January with the rest to be effected in the summer. The team could be said to be in transition; some players are likely to join with a few others moving out. Some departures will obviously not be surprising while others will definitely cause a stir. One thing that seems uncertain is the recall of some loanees who have had good seasons so far and the upgrade of youth players into the first team. For the benefit of doubt and bearing in mind his ‘proposed’ long stay, the youth can get some opportunity in Jose’s team, maybe.
There are quite some justifiable decisions to be made. Players like John Terry and Frank Lampard have done everything right to earn new contracts but Ashley Cole has done little to justify his claim for a new one. With Azpilicueta’s displays and his adaptability to the left back role, Cole is not guaranteed a spot now. The latter is surely moving on in the summer, probably to the MLS. Talk is also ripe of the young English left back sensation, Luke Shaw, joining in the summer (Metro). Patrick Van Aanholt has been impressive in his second loan spell at Vitesse Arnhem and could also provide some competition there. Bertrand looks likely to move on after failing to impress Jose in the few games he has played so far in the season.
Essien looks likely to be ‘shipped’ off with the club’s continued interest in Matic and Guarin. One of the two, Guarin, looks likely to join; he’s a robust, hard tackling box to box midfielder who passes well too. He reminds most of us of Ess in his prime except that Ess was a beast at the time! He is the sort of midfielder Chelsea need to partner Ramires in the DM role. Mikel has been a good cover and could be maintained in the side but again his indecision on the ball raises a lot of concerns. My bet is that he moves on and Oriol Romeu gets recalled from loan. Marco van Ginkel will surely provide competition in there too, when he returns from his recovery One summer buy who has failed abysmally is Mr. Eto’o and he is surely getting no second chance! Demba Ba will be his partner when they are shown the exit door, likely in the summer. Ba could move earlier in January with the acquisition of a lethal striker on the cards now. Jackson Martinez, Falcao and Diego Costa have been the names making rounds in the rumour mill with Martinez a possibility, at least in January. Lukaku, the boy wonder, will surely return from his impressive loan spell at Everton and fight it out with the big boys. One funny yet serious question most fans ask is ‘will Torres ever leave Chelsea alone!?’ Roman might be the one person who has the correct answer to that question, frankly.
Experience they say is the best teacher but again experience is gained only through opportunities. Thibaut Courtois has a lot to prove that he is the next safest pair of hands for the Blues. Many of the fans cannot wait for his ‘return’ having signed with the Blues and yet failed to play a single game. That sort of competition is needed to keep Cech on his toes after a couple of trivial and elementary mistakes so far in the season.
The loan system needs to be also utilized really well. Piazon, Van Aanholt, Atsu and Kakuta are enjoying their time at Vitesse Arnhem and the club must make that count. Teenagers and talents like Lewis Baker, Loftus Cheek, Feruz, Izzy Brown, Natan Ake, Bamford, McEachran, Chalobah, and Omeruo are all waiting to be the next big things at the Bridge! They need the chance to prove it just like Januzaj, Ross Barkeley, Gnabry and Flanagan are doing at their various clubs.
As we enjoy this festive season, may the same enjoyment and smiles replicate come May as the club wins some silverware!