Eaglesbeak - The Chelsea View
Earlier in the season we had a chat with the team at Chelsea Stats so we got in touch with them again to find out how things have changed since then along with their views on the match up this weekend.
Q. How has the season been for you since we spoke in August before the Palace win at Stamford Bridge?
Ha! A complete disaster so far. I am quite laid back about it though. I have been supporting Chelsea long enough to have witnessed much worse than the current situation, I am not one of those that demands or expects success. I have been very fortunate to have seen us win almost every trophy in my lifetime so a bad run is just a chance for someone else to enjoy their team’s moment. My love for the club will never change.
Q. Was it the right decision to sack Jose Mourinho?
No, I do not think it was. Mourinho spoke to the board and told them he needed new players and warned this would happen. The club took commercial matters over on field success when they organised a post season and then pre season tours after a gruelling season last year when it was clear we were struggling with fatigue and reliant on ‘grinding our results’. The club failed to heed the warning and have paid the price by sacking the most successful manager we have ever had and severing ties of any potential long term plan.
Q. Is Guus Hiddink the right man to steady the ship and who do you want to be appointed in the summer?
Guus is different. Mourinho is abrasive and divisive and you either love him or hate him. He complained about too many things publicly and a lot then backfired. Hiddink is the opposite. Calm, easy going, laid back and will be good for the club and its reputation. Whether he still has the nous to be a big team manager remains to be seen. I hope so.
Q. The sacking of Mourinho was not widely welcomed by Chelsea fans and some of the players received criticism. Is it only right that the players shoulder some of the blame?
Yes, the players are ultimately responsible for what happens on the pitch. They have not performed anywhere near well enough compared to the benchmarks they set out over the last two seasons. They should have been complaining to the club at the end of the season about the tours and scheduling.
Q. How active do you think the club will be in the transfer window and what do you think your needs are?
We need a box to box midfielder, a central defender and with Branislav Ivanovic yet to be offered a new deal, a right back too. We also probably need two or three strikers depending on whether Radamel Falcao and Loic Remy leave (they probably should so they can play), whether Diego Costa heads back to Spain and whether we bite the bullet and give our youth players a go.
Q. What are your thoughts on the Patrick Bamford situation following his decision to cut his loan short at Palace?
I understand his frustrations being stuck behind a bunch of strikers who have not really been scoring goals. He has a contract between himself, Chelsea and Palace so has a right to initiate or activate any clauses, whether he should have done it so publicly is debatable. He is a smart kid, he knows he needs to play to continue his development and he will now probably have to head overseas as it is clear the Championship is not a good enough test anymore. Maybe a Premier League club needs a striker, I am looking at West Bromwich Albion as a candidate, especially given Berahino’s links to Chelsea. Perhaps there is a deal there.
Q. How do you think Palace have fared so far this season and where do you think we will finish in the Premier League?
Brilliantly to begin with, the club has struggled a little bit of late and dropped some points, some of that high energy counter attacking has probably worn the team out a little. I think you will still finish 8th to 12th as I said last time. I am inclined to say top ten now, which is a great season. I am not even sure Chelsea will manage that!
Q. Which Chelsea player do you recommend we buy in FIFA16?
Oooh, never played it. Last time I played FIFA it was the 95/96/97 version that first added curl to shots. Get Willian if you can. He is great.
Q. When we last spoke, you made your predictions for the domestic competitions. How have they fared?
Well, City are still in with a chance of winning the Premier League, Chelsea are still in the FA Cup and, United were a let down in the League Cup so shame on them!
Q. Name one player from each side that the other should be wary of ahead of this fixture.
Diego Costa. I think he has a point to prove and two goals against Watford showed he was back in the penalty area rather than running down the wing. Last time I said Bakary Sako and he ended up getting a goal. This time I think Yohan Cabaye will be key especially against our out of form midfielders.
Q. Your prediction?
A 1-1 draw. A Palace penalty and a Costa goal.
Q. Please take this opportunity to promote any projects that you are currently working on.
Still tweeting at @ChelseaStats and I have recently been working on improving our shot/goal maps. Here is an example from our Watford game.