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Our trip to Derby this week is the perfect opportunity to take the next step in winning the first piece of silverware in Jose Mourinho’s second spell at the club.

 

The Capital One Cup Quarter Final fixture will be held at Pride Park or as it is now commercially demanded the iPro stadium in a game that will provide a reasonable test for what I imagine will be a weakened game that may include some younger players.

 

Derby Form

 

Derby have been on a good run of form recently and were top of the Championship until this weekend, when Chelsea loanee and former Derby player Patrick Bamford inspired Middlesborough to a 2-0 victory over the rams.

 

To earn a game against the Blues they have overcome Carlisle, Charlton Athletic, Reading and Fulham and will be full of confidence in a game in which they have nothing to lose.

 

Key Players –  Midfielder Will Hughes a prodigious youth talent that is being trailed by a number of top clubs and Ryan Shotton a defender with Premier League experience on loan from Stoke, although he is now suspended due to his challenge on Chelsea loanee Bamford at the weekend.

 

Chelsea Team News

Predicting the starting XI and the end result are difficult, but Mourinho is likely to take this game seriously and name a strong team.

 

I would expect Petr Cech to continue what would be a run of three straight games in the starting XI. In defence Kurt Zouma is likely to start and we could see Andreas Christensen play some kind of a role in the team.

 

In midfield, John Obi Mikel may continue his run in the team whereas younger players such as Ruben Loftus Cheek, Lewis Baker and Jeremie Boga, may fancy their chances of being involved at some point during the game.

 

Up front Loic Remy or Didier Drogba are likely to start up front, but Dominic Solanke, would be a good youth candidate to feature from the bench should the situation arise.

 

Predictions

 

With a large run of seasonal fixtures coming up, we should expect to see more rotation for this fixture which makes predictions difficult. However we should be strong favourites to move onto the next round.

 

 

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Injuries to top players are frustrating and can have a real impact on the success of your team. Fortunately for Jose Mourinho one training ground injury this week it turns out to be more of a blessing than a curse.

At his weekly Premier League pre-game press conference Mourinho confirmed that current number one goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois had suffered a slight injury in training and would be unavailable.

The injury to Courtois means that Chelsea will be without two of our best players at the weekend as Cesc Fabregas will miss out due to suspension. This is a great opportunity for Ramires to come into the squad and show his ability.

Cech A Delight

Losing a player of his calibre is never good news, but a Courtois muscular problem means that Petr Cech will make his 2nd Premier League appearance and his first start against Newcastle tomorrow.

This is the equivalent of losing Diego Costa and replacing him with a less bitey version of Luis Suarez as Cech is also one of the top 5 goalkeepers in the world.

Hopefully a little more first team action will help convince Cech to stay beyond January providing the back up to help Chelsea win a fourth Premier League title.

Team v Hull City

Chelsea XI: Cech, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Luis, Matic, Mikel, Willian, Oscar, Hazard, Costa.

Subs: Zouma, Ramires, Drogba, Schurrle, Remy, Schwarzer, Azpilicueta

Hull XI: McGregor, Elmohamady, Dawson, Davies, Chester, Robertson, Meyler, Livermore, Huddlestone, Jelavic, Aluko.

Subs: Rosenior, Bruce, Hernandez, Brady, Jakupovic, Ramirez, Quinn

Facts

  • Chelsea have yet to drop any points at Stamford Bridge
  • We have kept 12 clean sheets in their last 15 home matches in the league.
  • Diego Costa has only scored two goals in his last seven games
  • Hull have played three of last season’s top five (Arsenal, Liverpool, Everton) away from home this campaign and drawn all three matches.

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Ken Bates may look a bit like a cuddly old grandad, but he is anything but. He is a character larger than life who has had a lasting impact not just on Chelsea Football Club but the game itself.

This week he turns 83 and despite his age he remains an active an controversial figure within the football community.  today Chelsea fans have confused loyalties as to what to think about him and his legacy due to the contradictions and character during his time at Chelsea.

His actions saved the club and Stamford Bridge in the 1980’s when debt and property companies circled like wolves. Yet he almost ran the club back into the ground in the years before Roman bought him out.

Ken Bates Events/Milestones

  • Chairman of Oldham FC in the 1960’s
  • Chairman of Wigan 1980 – 1982
  • Bought Chelsea for £1 in 1982
  • Set up Chelsea Pitch Owners
  • Tried to turn on electric fence around Stamford Bridge pitch in 1985
  • Redeveloped Stamford Bridge
  • Involved in the rebuilding of Wembley Stadium
  • Sold the club to Roman Abramovich
  • Bought Leeds in 2005
  • Called Leeds fans ‘Morons’ in 2011
  • Sold Leeds in 2012

Ask non Chelsea football fans and it gets even more diluted, at Leeds the club he controlled after Chelsea, he is hated, associated with mismanagement and complicated ownership battles.

He was and still is a difficult character that had a less than jovial relationship with the fans from time to time. He is the man that ostracised club legends, had furious board room battles with Matthew Harding and tried to put electric fences around the pitch.

Yet without him there would probably be no Stamford Bridge, no Glenn Hoddle, no Guillit, no Zola, no Premier League titles, no European football, just a club that people remembered as being a decent cup side.

Regardless of what you think of the man, he had the vision to pick up the club at it’s lowest ebb and make changes and drive the club forward, as Chelsea fans we owe him everything, even if we don’t like him as a person!

Therefore from FamousCFC.com we wish Ken Bates a happy 83rd birthday!

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After a nervy win against Queens Park Rangers, Jose Mourinho lit the blue light touch paper by suggesting that the Chelsea fans were so quiet it was “like playing in an empty stadium”

These are harsh words, but many Chelsea fans will actually agree with their manager, there is a consensus that the atmosphere in Stamford Bridge is not as good as it could be and is deteriorating.

Chelsea fans are frustrated, so rather than blame the fans, some of the responsibility lies with the Chelsea board for policies that deter atmosphere and have promoted the game more as a tourist attraction than a football club.

The problem is created in part by the club management and even by steps by Jose himself, after all it was his demands that saw away fans moved into the Shed during his first spell at the club.

Our traditional fan base feels marginalised by huge ticket costs, aggressive stewarding and prevalence of tourists. So before people point the blame exclusively at the fans let’s be reasonable and fair.

Chelsea Football Club Does Not Want Loud Supporters

Chelsea Football Club has become a brand focussed on commercial revenues, these has seen a prioritisation in making the club as sanitised and marketable as possible.

Chelsea tickets have never been more in demand, when tickets go on sale to members they sell out within an hour. There are different types of people that go to Chelsea and the club wants it to be people with money, otherwise the prices would not be so high.

So many fans are being priced out of the game as the cost of an average game at Stamford Bridge is £150 once you factor in transport and entertainment costs.

The majority of the fans that go to matches and make the most noise, are not so bothered by the fancy marketing, you can stick them on a terrace, with no facilities and they will be in their element.

Football in the UK remains governed by the findings of the Taylor report, yet the world has moved forward and we now have the ability to police football matches where fans stand up safely. Until this is done we have the militant stewards and stadium bans for fans that try to stand up and create some atmosphere.

This is why support from our fans when they go away is so much louder, the cost is lower,  tourists are gone and passionate fans can stand the entire game unmolested by stewards that do not want the battle.

Shed End Full Of Away Fans

The Shed End was the heart of Chelsea support, however in his first spell at the Bridge, Mourinho got the away fans moved from the East Stand to the corner of the Shed/East Stand. This splits our support base and dissipates the atmosphere.

If Mourinho wants a better atmosphere he should look at how we move the away fans out of the Shed.

The Club Supports The Touts and Tourist Exchanges

Interest from all over the world is flattering, but it is not conducive to atmosphere, whilst there are lots of passionate overseas fans that see Stamford Bridge as a pilgrimage, there are the daytrippers who are there for a fashionable day out.

The tourists in town who view a trip to Stamford Bridge like they do visiting Trafalgar Square, they spend the whole game recording the game on their iPad or using their selfie sticks. The club doesn’t care that these fans do not add to the atmosphere, because these are the fans that spend a fortune in the megastore.

Getting their tickets from illegal websites,touts or ticket vendors in the trendy parts of the city, they will pay over the odds for a daytrip. Then there are the touts that go unmolested about their business outside Fulham Broadway. If the club was serious about wanting to protect fans and the atmosphere it would crack down all the places tourists buy tickets.

They won’t though as that would hurt the brand and megastore takings.

Put Up or Shut Up

The club has to decide does it want loud supporters creating atmosphere, or does it want to keep building the ground by flooding it with tourists. It cannot have its cake and eat it.

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Sunday sees two of the world’s most successful and flamboyant managers square off against each other at Old Trafford. Van Gaal also used to be Mourinho’s boss and helped in his development by giving him more responsibility.

Here are some videos highlighting the relationship and entertainment factor of the pair.

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Proper football returned this weekend as we travelled to Selhurst Park to face a Crystal Palace side that won the same fixture last season.

There was to be no repeat performance though, as Chelsea won to maintain a five point gap at the top of the table and pull further away from Arsenal who are increasingly becoming irrelevant in the title race already.

The game was John Terry’s 500th as captain and he played a captains game as always.

With no Costa in the team there was apprehension about what Loic Remy could do, but he put in a decent performance and despite the scoreline, we were comfortable in the game.

Despite the game being full of drama, the result never really felt in doubt from the moment that Oscar’s free kick hit the back of the net.

The sending off of Azpilicueta threatened to make things uncomfortable in the second half, his challenge was reckless but without malice. Fortunately Palace soon even things up with an ill judged tug on Loic Remy.

The suspension of Azpilicueta will create an opportunity for Felipe Luis to build on his solid substitute performance and lay his claim for more involvement in the team.

Cesc Fabregas had the moment of the match as he finished off some beautiful interplay to get his first Premier League goal for Chelsea.

Solanke Denied Debut

Sadly the last minute goal saw Dom Solanke denied a debut, he was stripped and ready to come on but the goal saw Mourinho choose to go with the experience of Drogba to see out the final minutes.

Let’s hope he gets another chance

Man of the Match – Nemanja Matic (commanded the game)

Highlight –  The pure bliss of that Fabregas goal

Full Team

  • 13 Courtois
  • 02 Ivanovic
  • 24 Cahill
  • 26 Terry
  • 28 Azpilicueta Dismissed
  • 21 Matic
  • 04 Fàbregas Booked
  • 22 Willian (Filipe Luis – 42′ )
  • 08 Oscar
  • 10 Hazard (Salah – 86′ )
  • 18 Remy (Drogba – 91′ )

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The international break means we are all treading water until the action starts up again at the weekend. So we thought we would take this opportunity to look at two great Chelsea teams, the one from Mourinho’s first spell in 2004/2005 and the one today.

Obviously the systems are different, but how many players would get in the current team from the first spell in charge. This is a harder decision than you would think.

So which players would get in the current team (in their heyday)

Goalkeeper

Obviously Courtois is the incumbent against Petr Cech, however his place in history is not yet secure, therefore I would choose Cech as we know he is ready for the fight.

Left Back

William Gallas was not a natural left back but dependable enough, and although Azpilicueta is on the opposite side of the pitch to his natural position, he has made it his own.

Right Back

Ivanovic of Ferreria, well I love them both but I would have to go for the Serbian

Centre Back

John Terry is the only player in both teams so he is a given, however I think in his heyday Carvalho edges Gary Cahill.

Central Midfield

This was a tough one, but the club’s top scorer of all time and the man who had a position named after himself get the nod over Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic.

Wingers

Damien Duff was a great player and Schurrle has his moments, but a combination of Robben and Eden Hazard would dominate the league.

Attacking Midfield

Oscar has talent, but EIdur Gudjohnsen was unplayable on his day and I think he just about gets the nod ahead of Oscar.

Central Striker

This for me is the toughest one, compared to Drogba in 2004/2005 Diego Costa is the better player but he has yet to play a whole season. Drogba is the man for the big occasion and won trophies for Chelsea. For this reason I will go with Didier Drogba.

What would your combination XI be?

Team comparison

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