As is customary now before these games, TheChelseaBlog has thrown a few questions at Scott The Red from the Republik of Mancunia to get his take on the game and the season ahead. Have a read:
TCB: Do you think Fergie’s anywhere near ready to hang up his hairdryer?
STR: Nope. Why would he? He wins a trophy every year and gets to work at the greatest club in the world. Like he’s repeatedly said, he’ll go until his health tells him otherwise. He’s in the gym every day and is fit as a fiddle. Like Giggsy said the other day, it’ll be at least another 5 years yet.
TCB: Bearing in mind his ‘trophy every year’ was the Carling Cup for you last season, does your lack of spending during the summer worry you at all?
STR: We did our spending before the summer, signing Diouf, Smalling and Hernandez during the year. I still would like to see another midfielder come in but I can’t see it happening. Chicharito has the potential to be amazing though, so let’s hope that him, combined with an improving Nani and Valencia, and the latest crop of youngsters, can do the business for us. A comfort is our title rivals, yourselves included, haven’t been splashing the cash either.
TCB: Are there any players you’d have fancied signing?
STR: Schweinsteiger would have been sweet. A few months back I wanted Modric but that was dead in the water once he signed his contract. Ozil would have been good too.
TCB: What about business elsewhere, have any of the transfers surprised you over the summer?
STR: I was amazed to see Joe Cole go to Liverpool. He always painted himself as some loyal Chelsea fan but the things he’s said since leaving, ouch. I thought it was nailed on for him to go to Spurs after he chose to leave Chelsea.
TCB: I thought he’d go to you lot to be honest but then you obviously didn’t offer him what Liverpool were prepared to. Still, you must be glad to see the Glazers being so prudent eh? What’s your take on that debt of yours by the way?
STR: I think it’s absolutely devastating. What testament it is to Sir Alex Ferguson and our squad that we’ve been so successful since 2005. Frightening to think what we would have won if not hindered so massively by the Glazers. The most depressing thing about the Glazer ownership is the divide it creates amongst our fans and how so many of our fans have been priced out of Old Trafford or staying away out of protest. It’s just gutting.
TCB: Your neighbours, on the other hand, have probably gained themselves a few glory hunters to go with the billions eh? Not that they’d have ever been your favourite club anyway but has City’s money made you think about them differently, I mean like the rest of us I’m sure you expect them to win the Premier and Champions League too, right?
STR: Definitely. They’ve always been massive in my eyes though. The past 34 years have just flown by.
TCB: Fergie aside, do any other Premier League managers impress you?
STR: Hodgson has done well for himself at Fulham, hopefully he’ll fall flat on his face now. Wenger is obviously a great manager, it’s just a shame, from an Arsenal perspective, that he’s let his stubborn dedication to his vision get in the way of actually producing a team capable of winning the league. Can’t deny what a great job Redknapp has done at Spurs but I really can’t stand the guy.
TCB: Talking of favourites, how much will you miss having Rafa to laugh at?
STR: I’m gutted he’s gone. I was a member of the KRAP organisation – Keep Rafa At ‘Pool. So much for the Rafalution those deluded scouse twats used to bang on about eh?
TCB: Ok, so back to the new season, who can you see finishing in the top four and who’ll be possible relegation fodder?
STR: You could say Spurs will be lucky to finish top four again, given the pressure the CL could add, but the teams below them will have the extra games in Europa. I hope we see a repeat of last season’s top four. Blackpool will go down. West Brom probs. Hopefully West Ham.
TCB: I hope to see a repeat of last season’s top four as well funnily enough! So, whilst you’re going after the runners-up spot again who are you looking forward to playing?
STR: I want to see the same teams in the top four, but I expect us to finish top. Liverpool and City are the games I look forward to the most. They’re the highlights of the season. Derby day is particularly great. The away game last season was probably my favourite day of the season. In the pub before midday, sat around with your mates, having the banter with the few blues who show their face, winning and taking the piss for the rest of the day. Perfect.
TCB: Obviously we know City expect to run away with the league this season and it’s always Liverpool’s year but which club could be the Premier League’s dark horse?
STR: Everton could do well this year. Their injuries last season were crippling.
TCB: I know you thought they’d cost you last season, so how do you think you’ll fare with the officials in this campaign?
STR: Hopefully better than we did last season against your lot. Looking at the pace of Chicharito, I can see him getting one on one with the keeper plenty only to be wrongly flagged for offside.
TCB: How did it feel being runners up last season?
STR: Disappointing. We always want to win, obviously. But it’ll fire the lads up. We didn’t win the league in 98, they went on to win it three years on the bounce and win the European Cup. We didn’t win anything in 2005 and then went on to win the league three years in a row and the European Cup again. Our lads are hungry for success so missing out so narrowly will only make them come back hungrier for more.
TCB: So going on that then, I’m picking up the subtle hint you reckon you might do better this season?
STR: Definitely. I imagine we won’t be forced in to playing Carrick and Fletch in the centre of defence next season. Can you imagine where Chelsea would have finished last season with Hilarious in goal behind Lampard and Ballack? The fact that we finished just 1 point behind your lot should come as a worry to you. But I imagine you were worried about us regardless.
TCB: Finally, give us your prediction for Sunday.
STR: I just hope our lads put in a good performance and those returning from injury get through a run out unscathed. It’s always nice to get one over on your title rivals, which is why I was frustrated with Michael Ballack’s cheating last summer, but all in all, not too bothered. Will say 2-1 to United with Chicharito getting on the score sheet.
TCB: Personally I hope he don’t even get on the bench.
Cheers for that Scott. Wish you no luck at all obviously! 🙂