Blues v Blues - Eds head to head!
1. What are your hopes for the season? Do you think you can regain the
title from Man Utd?
Hopefully yes! Manchester United have spent big and we`ve been more conservative. We`ve just strengthened our squad with a couple of bargain bucket, solid players. If we avoid the run of injuries we had last year then we`ll be in with a good chance. The secret is to get off to a good start. The year we won our second successive title, we won the first eleven on the spin and never looked back. One thing is certain, it`ll be a closer fought thing this year and perhaps even Liverpool could make it a gang of three!
2. Are you relieved that Roman's Cold War with Jose seems to be over - do you think it had much effect on him and the team?
It`s one of those things that I don`t think we`ll ever know what really went on. I think the press made more of a thing of it than they should. Roman was going through a bad spell in his personal life and because he chose to stay away it was construed as a snub when it fact he was also doing his duties as the governor of that remote Russian region he looks after. Whether it had an effect on the team I`m not sure, I think the injury situation had a far more detrimental affect. At one stage we had no fit centre halves!
3. Chelsea are racked with injuries at the moment; who is/are the biggest worry(ies) for you?
Mourinho has already stated that Ballack and Bridge are not even in contention and that Terry is out. Drogba is currently doubtful but I think it`s John Terry that we`ll miss the most. He`s inspirational and keeps the team going when things are not working out. Malouda is another concern, he suffered a dead leg in the Community Shield and he has really impressed in pre-season.
4. What's your views on the debacle over Frank Lampard - no smoke without
fire, or are you concerned?
If you had of asked me a few weeks ago I`d have dismissed it out of hand but since the announcement of his supposed dalliance with a brunette in America, a little part of me thinks Ellen may well press Lamps to move to make a new start. I guess we`ll have to wait and see.
5. Who is your 'one to watch' for this season amongst your own players - and who's the one that you would happily pay the taxi fare to get rid of?
The one to watch is definitely Joe Cole. Injury deprived him of playing most of last season and he`s now raring to go. Strangely enough he hasn`t looked that sharp in pre-season but the strategy is to peak as the season starts so I have no concerns over that. As for paying the taxi fare - he`s already gone, Khalid Boulahrouz!
6. Are there other signings you would like to see come in before the end of August?
If Arjen Robben is going to leave we need an injection of pace, therefore why not combine that with our short coming at right back and sign Daniel Alves from Sevilla.
7. Any players you're peeved to have missed out on?
Roysten Drenthe, the young Dutch winger who has just joined Real Madrid, I thought he`d be a superb prospect for the future.
8. Do you think Chelsea can get rid of the Champions League hoodoo this year and get your hands on that missing piece of silverware?
It`s all set up ready for us! The final is in Moscow, you can just see Roman applauding the players on their lap of honour, let`s just hope we don`t meet Liverpool on the way and lose again(!), I simply couldn`t take it a third time. Also, let`s hope we don`t get involved in any penalty shoot-outs!
9. Which of Birmingham's players will you be keeping an eye on for Sunday's game?
I`m not sure if he`s set to play but Mikael Forssell. The scene is set for an old favourite to return and blow away our unbeaten record of sixty-three home top flight games without defeat!
10. And finally, a score prediction (I know you think you'll batter us, but we mightn't just roll over!)
It`ll have a familiar feel to it, 1-0 to the Chelsea boys. First fixtures of the season are always difficult and your lot will be up for it.