So the new Premier League season is upon us and as we here at CFCnet awake from a summer spent in the clutches of footballing famine. Weak and deprived of hearty nourishment, frantically scouring the internet for transfer news, seeking no comfort in the endless crumbs of Cesc Fabre-something endlessly dropped in front of us, militantly organizing kickabouts in the park and even conducting pre-season fantasy football fixtures. It was a sorry sight at here CFCnet towers I can assure you, where even the sight of leaked kit photos had us weeping into our hands with sheer joy. But that’s all over now, (although some of us may never fully recover) and after a fantastic pre-season where the Blues actually managed to fit in some rather good football despite being terribly busy ‘growing the brand’. The form of Daniel Sturridge and the fact that ‘El Nino’, ‘Chelsea’s No.9’, ‘FT9’, ‘Nando’ or just plain old Fernando José Torres Sanz managed to bag himself a goal have proved the biggest talking points amongst our staffers.
Pre-season aside, the hottest topic of debate amongst our readers, staff and I’m sure the wider Chelsea fan base has been the Blues activity in the transfer market. There has been movement from Villas Boas and the board with several young talented individuals joining us from across Europe, Oriol Romeu and Thibaut Courtois take a bow.
The recent acquisition of a certain Romelu Lukaku has certainly got us excited. The young Belgian has been on the wish list of many Chelsea fans since he first burst onto the scene and with a fine mentor in Didier Drogba, I’m going to stick my neck out here and say that given time, this guy is going to a real star for Chelsea. There I said it and if he turns out to be Claudio Pizzaro in disguise then I apologize in advance.
So the Blues were back in business last weekend with a familiar looking side and unfortunately were unable to break down a resolute and particularly bullish Stoke side. Although the form of an energetic and engaging Fernando Torres, who was rewarded with the man of the match champagne, if not a goal, was a huge positive to take from the game. His fitness and form will prove decisive in how close this side will come to regaining the title.
The Britannia is never an easy place to play football and I’m sure that our new manager Andre Villas-Boas has taken a lot out of that game. In fact he has probably compiled a dossier of information, spreadsheets and a nifty PowerPoint on the exact amount of times that ball boy handed Rory Delap a towel. I would love to have seen a glorious high definition Sky Sports shot of the manager’s face the first time he witnessed ‘throwing man’s’ talent but I digress.
So yes, despite the relative disappointment of last week’s stalemate up in Staffordshire there is still a renewed sense of optimism, hope, and confidence even as all of us here at CFCnet look out into the vast unknown abyss that stretches out before us at the start of this new campaign.
Perhaps this confidence comes from the manager himself. A succinct, driven and forceful presence at the press conferences we have attended so far at Cobham, the Portuguese tactician clearly has a plan for his Chelsea side and perhaps, despite our recent success’s, the Blues have lacked a clear identity on the pitch for some time. Villas-Boas’ identity is one of success; indeed he has never known failure, though if he can translate that persona onto the pitch through his players remains to be seen. Regaining the desire, focus and hunger of players and fans alike is going to be his biggest challenge.
With the Premier League, FA Cup, Carling Cup and of course that elusive Champions League on the table for Villas Boas, this season is going to be a fine feast of football for all Blues fans.
Loosen your belts now.