Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Premier League season guide 2009-10 - Chelsea

The club

Party manifesto

"To roll out a robust, world-class leisure-based model going forward, put an end to boom and bust - balancing the books (by 2010! © P Kenyon), while guaranteeing funding for the (galácticos') wealth service - and restore our international standing. In short, it's the Champions League, stupid!"

Fat cats or hard times

Despite the global financial meltdown, Roman Abramovich is desperate to spend an obscene amount of money on a galáctico to avoid being left behind in the international pissing contest by Real Madrid and Man City. Unfortunately, all the good ones appear to have gone.

Their idea of dreamland

Owner: Victory in the European Cup final (ideally annually) by an avalanche of goals (possibly including a Roy Race hat-trick). Millions across the globe salute the sagacity, beneficence and good looks of R Abramovich.

Manager: Whatever you say, sir.

The table doesn't lie

After dropping to third place for the first time under Russian ownership, improvement is a must. Form under Guus Hiddink shows Chelsea remain serious contenders but a lack of big-name signings hints at stagnation. Ask John Terry.

If they had three wishes

1 Jose Mourinho

2 Guus Hiddink

3 Collection box for Burnley fans to deposit their small change before entering Stamford Bridge.

What a typical fan says

"Refereeing decisions even themselves out over the course of a season. Yeah, right!"

The players

New kid in town Daniel Sturridge

Chelsea's revenge on City for swiping Robinho may prove to be very sweet if the 19-year-old striker fulfils his promise. English and potentially lethal.

English passion v foreign flair

John Terry and Frank Lampard have long been the meat and potatoes amid the cordon bleu canapés and, with Ashley Cole and the returning Joe Cole, that's a third of the England team.

Watch out for

Tony Dorigo lookalike Yuri Zhirkov, who arrived from CSKA Moscow for a mere £18m to a collective shrug. Nevertheless, he had a good Euro 2008, can operate all along the left flank and is more than just a token Russian.

Unsung hero

Raw-boned Branislav Ivanovic wins few marks for artistic impression but the Serb, Nemanja Vidic's international partner, sealed a place in Chelsea hearts with his two goals at Anfield in the Champions League quarter-final.

Do not match the ambition of ...

Didier Drogba has been on the brink of leaving since the day he arrived. A big man in the dressing room and, to his detractors, a big baby on the pitch, his live TV rant means he sits out the first three European games. It's a blimmin' disgrace!

Most likely to date Danielle Lloyd

Ashley Cole says he "crossed into the world of showbiz" with his marriage to Britain's favourite toilet-assistant-thumping, talent-show judge. A date with the orange-skinned one would surely equal freakshowbiz.

National treasure

Chelsea seem to have discovered they had a talent on their hands only after Michael Mancienne, who could have played for the Seychelles, was called up to the England squad before making his Blues debut. Despite an iffy Under-21 tournament, the defender is one to watch.

The manager

Carlo Ancelotti

Put your medals on the table

Won the Scudetto and Coppa Italia with Milan, but for the reason why the Brillo-pad-topped chubster was hired look no further than those two European Cups.

What's his style?

Has tended to adapt his style to the players available. Says Chelsea are a "physical team" who need a more creative dimension. Fielded a diamond midfield in pre-season with Lampard at the tip.

Will almost certainly complain about ...

Being asked if he is the new Special One, or, as he says, "His Specialness Mourinho".

If they want to get ahead they would wear a ...

US Marine Corps' helmet

An effective machine that prefers to steamroller its way to victory and ask questions later as it sings its customary annual marching song: 'We don't know but we've been told, Champions League trophy is made of gold. We don't know but we've heard a shout, Win it this year or the manager's out. Yet again.' To be repeated next summer.

The numbers game

Years of hurt Zero

Last major trophy FA Cup 2009

Title odds 2-1

Relegation odds 1,000-1

Last season

Champions League Semis

FA Cup Winners

Carling Cup 4th round

League discipline Yellow 50 Red 2

Top scorer Anelka (19)

Fair play league 4th

Points per game

against top four 0.67

against the rest 2.47

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