After Monday night’s incredible victory over Manchester City Jose Mourinho played down our title chances with his usual mischievousness. Mourinho was at his playful best during the press conference’ talking about how Billy the masseur had given the team talk and how we were just a small horse.
Mourinho’s intentions are clear but are we actually title contenders? For every impressive performance we put in against Manchester City there will be a frustrating draw against a team that park the bus like West Ham did. At this moment in time I’m just not sure that we are clinical enough in front of goal. Samuel Eto’o and Fernando Torres both industrious, the former seems to be growing game by game.
The big test will come on Saturday against Newcastle United. After the crushing 3-0 defeat at home in the derby Alan Pardew spoke about changing his team’s approach now that Yohan Cabaye has left for PSG. I would imagine that means playing less expansively and at Stamford Bridge I’m sure we will see this come to fruition. Newcastle managed to beat us earlier this season at St James’ Park but their form has rather tailed off and we should be winning.
Glancing at our fixtures and we’ve only got three home fixtures against bottom half sides and they come late on in the season. We have to take nine points from these games because you can be sure Manchester City and Arsenal will obliterate the smaller teams at home. Where we will win the title is in our clashes against our title rivals. As it stands the only team in the top seven we have lost we have lost to is Everton at Goodison Park. If that record stays the same between now and the end of the season we might well be celebrating.
At the end of this season John Terry, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole will be out of contract and in a similar vein to Lampard’s saga last year all three’s future has come under scrutiny. The Evening Standard reported that Terry is willing to sign a one year deal in order to stay at the club and it is hardly surprising. The man is Chelsea through and through and although it is well known he wants a longer deal I’d be amazed if he doesn’t resign on a one year deal.
Lampard’s deal is slightly trickier because he is a couple of years older than Terry and by summer he’ll be 36. There is every chance he could be dispensed with but I think that is the wrong decision. He has a lot to offer in cup games and when we want to close games down without mentioning his influence on the young players. We’ve got a lot of talented young midfielders and having Lampard around would be extremely beneficial to them.
Ashley Cole however does look like he is on his way out. Cole has become a peripheral figure because of Cesar Azpilicueta’s excellent form. The Spaniard has been brilliant and thoroughly deserves his place in the first team. We have long been linked to Luke Shaw of Southampton and he is a supremely talented young player and one well worth signing. If he signs then there is a little point keeping either Cole or Ryan Bertrand giving we will have two players capable of playing at left-back. It is tough because they are both English but they are now just not good enough.