We struggled at the end of last season and with a little bit more concentration we could have won the league.
We went out of the Champions League to Atletico Madrid, to my mind by an unusually bad managerial decision by Mourinho, simply put he went too soon and our 1 – 0 lead ended in an undeserved 1 – 3 defeat. Arguably the better team on the night won and that is football.
We had to make some serious changes, we couldn’t carry on with players being played out of position, we need to find our style of play and build on it and that is exactly what we have done in this transfer window.
Mourinho seem’s determined to break up the ‘cliques’ that mired his tenure at the club before. He has sold fan’s favourites in Juan Mata and David Luiz, both of whom brought a lot to the club in terms of ability and personality.
Without 2 solid seasons from Mata I doubt we would have won the Champions and Europa League Cups but that is past. Football only moves forward.
Mata and Luiz both had faults in their abilities which at times cost us results and Mourinho obviously felt that these were not things he could help overcome and therefore he decided to let the players leave.
Following Brazil’s performance in the World Cup and Luiz in particular I would say we did incredibly well to sell him for £50m pre-World Cup as I doubt we would get that figure now.
So who did we lose from last year’s squad?
Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard finally came to the end of their Chelsea days flying off to pastures new, the impact both players had on the club can never be underestimated.
Frank leaves as our all time goal scorer and ‘Ashley Cole won the European Cup’ amongst other things, I hope we don’t miss his stellar goal line clearances too much!
We also said goodbye to Demba Ba for £5m to Besiktas, Samuel Eto’o and Henrique Hilario.
So to the big shiny new signings! We brought in Diego Costa, Cesc Febregas, Filipe Luis and Mario Paslic who will be sent out on loan.
Who knows, Mourinho has said our transfer window has closed but we may see more signings yet.
There are rumours that Didier Drogba will be making a year-long return to the club. Personally I would welcome his return in a managerial capacity to help with the Youth Team set up but I would rather his last deed for us on the pitch was winning us the Champions League.
Then we have the Goalkeeping headache that is Thibaut Courtois coming back from his loan at Atletico Madrid. Last year he was arguably the best goalkeeper in the world. We are in a unique position of having two world-class goalkeepers at the same time, both of whom deserve their starting place.
Rarely are you in the position where you have two such deserving goalkeepers, it is usually a case of one nearing the end of his career being replaced by a younger model. Cech still has years left in him but re-signing Mark Schwarzer does pose the question of whether we will keep Petr Cech.
Thibaut Courtois is too good to be benched at the moment and too risky to be loaned out to another team, he should be our No 1 next season. Petr Cech is too good to be benched but still has a lot to offer so it wouldn’t surprise me if either by the close of this window or in January we see him leave the club. Mark Schwarzer proved last season that despite his age he is a capable back up goalkeeper in times of need.
There is also the problem of us not having enough home-grown players to meet the Premier League and UEFA home-grown player requirements. This means we will need to promote some of our youth team players into the first team set up with Lewis Baker being the first to be confirmed. Others will be using the pre-season tour to prove to Mourinho they are ready for the challenge.
I don’t have a problem with promoting youth team players into the first team. We should be doing it anyway, what is the point of having the systems in place if we don’t utilise the players? We can’t just loan them all out.
I liked what I saw of Tomas Kalas last season, although he is now on loan, I have high hopes that whoever is given their chance will make the most of it.
Then we come to the burning issue, Fernando Torres. I never believed that Torres would be leaving the club this transfer window, in fact I believe at times he has shown his commitment to the club and tried his best but he hasn’t always been helped by those players around him, the style of play and luck, which seems to have all but run out for him.
That being said it would have been difficult for any player in his situation to live up to that massive price tag, he wasn’t playing well at the time and was carrying an injury. Chelsea rushed the signing and things didn’t go as well as they could have.
He isn’t the same player he once was and has struggled to cope with the changes in his game but the bottom line is he hasn’t scored anywhere near the goals that you would expect from a player of his status.
I still believe in a two-man attack with attacking wingers crossing the ball we will get goals out of Torres. I know most won’t agree but now we have Diego Costa things should become easier. Although again a lot of weight will be resting on his shoulders to get goals.
I believe we need a complete overhaul of our style of play. We need to bring back attacking wingers and let the central midfield and defence handle the majority of the defensive work so we can become more of an attacking side.
We need to stop trying to be other teams and be ourselves, play our own game. We have got rid of some of the weak links. There are no more excuses. We need to start playing as a team and then the success will come back.
I believe there are trophies in us this season. I believe we will win the league and possibly the FA Cup.
I think we will have a good run in the Champions League and the Capital One Cup but I think our focus will be elsewhere. I wouldn’t rule out the Champions League the following season if we manage to gel.
All in all this is the most excited I’ve been about a new season in a long time. I’m interested to see how the dice will fall and how well the new players will fit in, after the disappointment of England’s World Cup I need something to get excited about and renew my love for the game! 🙂