The second of today’s pre-season interviews sees TheChelseaBlog throwing some questions in the direction of Manchester United blogger Andrew over at Stretford End Arising.
TCB: Have any of the transfers surprised you over the summer?
SEA: Although Smalling and Hernandez were signed earlier in the year I guess the pair can be classed as summer signings. Both are a surprise to be honest. I probably wasn’t the only United fan scratching their head on hearing the announcements of both signings. Very much excited by the potential of Hernandez, he shares similarities to a young Michael Owen – pace to burn; world class movement and can finish.
TCB: Are there any players you’d have fancied signing?
SEA: Central midfield has been a discussion point on my forum and blog during the summer. Many have wanted United to sign an Ozil, Benzema or Sneijder. Personally, I’m not overly concerned by the lack of transfer activity – I’m quite excited by several youngsters at the club. The likes of Cleverley, Obertan and Hernandez have the ability to create or score goals.
TCB: Which club are you looking forward to playing most? And least?
SEA: Really looking forward to playing Manchester City or affectionately known as Meja on my site. After spending vast amounts of money one or two from the blue half of Manchester have become somewhat chirpy. Might sound arrogant, but looking forward to giving them a beating ha ha. Least favourite – can I say City again? If the Noisy Neighbours beat us my life will be hell ha ha.
TCB: Who can you see finishing in the top four and who’ll be possible relegation fodder?
SEA: Very tight this season – possibly the tightest since the inception of the top four qualifying for Champions League. The usual suspects: Chelsea; United, Arsenal will take three of the four positions. Unfortunately, City will claim fourth spot – with players at Mancini’s disposal I’ll be surprised if they fail to finish in top four. If Mancini is unable to mould team/squad there are several teams quite capable of finishing fourth with Everton; Spurs and Liverpool most likely.
TCB: Tighter than the point that saw you finish second last season then? Any dark horses for you this season?
SEA: Tough call… Can City be classed as a dark horse? Not sure… With Hodgson, Liverpool could be a surprise package. Can’t believe I’ve mentioned our two bitterest rivals…
TCB: How do you think you did last season and what are you hoping for this time round?
SEA: With the loss of Ronaldo and Tevez many predicted United would struggle – where were the goals going to come from etc etc. I was less worried – still believed United would challenge for league title. In previous seasons the team was built around Ronaldo with Rooney often played on the left to accommodate the man from Portugal. Might sound clever after the event, but with Rooney in a central position I predicted he would score 30+ goals. Honestly I did ha ha.
Hopefully, I don’t come across as being arrogant, but I believe United will win the league this season.
TCB: Yeh you do, but you all believe that every year! Obviously we all know the sun rises and sets up SAF’s back passage but are there any other manager’s in the Premier League who impress you?
SEA: David Moyes. He is of the same ilk as Sir Alex Ferguson and the man I want to succeed Fergie. He is a tough task master and has an eye for developing younger players.
TCB: If you could have any of our players in your squad, who would you go for and why?
SEA: Essien – the complete midfielder. Enough praise now… ha ha
TCB: Which player do you think will stand out for you?
SEA: The predictable answer would be Wayne Rooney. However, I feel the much maligned Berbatov will make one or two eat their words this season… Perhaps my selection is due to blind faith, I’ve defended Berbatov when others have criticised – overly harsh at times. Has he justified his £30m price tag? No. He hasn’t been outstanding nor has he been poor – somewhere in between I would suggest. Berbatov’s aim should be to score 15-20 goals and 10-15 assists. He scored 12 last season, with many considering he had a poor season. With a tad more luck 15+ goals is a real possibility.
TCB: Unfortunately for us he made a start on that in the Community Shield. If I’m honest though, I’ve always rated him anyway. Anyway, we all know how insignificant that little tea tray is the grand scheme of the Premier League, talking of which, how do you think you’ll do when you play us?
SEA: In the main games between United and Chelsea are very tight – the winner can be predicted by the toss of a coin – the team which has a slice of luck. I’m going to plumb for a draw at Stamford Bridge and a victory for United at Old Trafford.
TCB: Not if the ref has anything to do with it apparently! Won’t wish you luck though.