That was a nice break………now bring it on!

meireles_training

Well well. I’ve had the single biggest break from football and football-related stuff since…ooohhh…….well to be honest it’s just the longest ever. Last year I was, like many, consumed by World Cup Fever, only to find the cure was laying in wait for me in the form of England’s displays. That was enough to kill anything remotely relating to passion or fervour off. Maybe they should get hospital patients sat in front of England tournament performances. That’d clear the bed backlog as people make Lazarus-like recoveries from their ailments.

Enough of that though. After the hope and despair and late resurrected hope followed by more despair of last season I decided a long summer break of holidays, golf and watching cricket would soothe the Chelsea soul, and by golly it’s done my football and Chelsea mojo the power of good. Even ignoring the transfer madness on Twitter and the TV went some way to helping me. But now, refreshed, rejuvenated and re-energised I’m now ready for the new season. I miss the first home game or 2 as I’m often locked up in a bolthole in the south of France with the family and a bunch of friends who support different teams across the spectrum. However, usually we have the ritual Chelsea vs Man Utd opener to look forward to in the Community Shield. Not this season though hence the even more extended football break for me. I have managed to watch all 3 games thus far whilst away and am pleased with AVB’s cool and confident start. Yes I know Manchester blue and red have had flying starts, but hey…remember the tortoise and the hare? Remember our flying start last year and then how visibly the wheels flew off?

Three games in and of course the press are fawning over the Manchester outfits. However, we’re looking like a decent bet at Chelsea. If it was a horse race then it’ d be a good start…back in 3rd, tucked nicely against the railings, keeping pace with the front runners waiting for them to tire or fall. Ready to strike. And let’s remember, it’s not where we sit during the season but where we finish on the last day.

Like many I’d love to think we’d be 15 points ahead by March pretty much guaranteeing a nice calm run in with the title in the bag. It won’t happen though. The bar has been lifted again by Utd. Ferguson looks to be at his canny best in the rebuild at Old Trafford. City have spent heavily and one wonders how you keep such a huge squad happy. Frankly I don’t think you can – ego power wins through eventually. Liverpool will have the luxury of an uncluttered fixture list allowing them to concentrate on getting a top 4 finish. Arsenal look the weakest…sorry…of course not…that’s Spurs. Wenger is a wily old operator and I think he can turn their poor start around. As for Spurs…..well I think they look like a team who know Harry is off to join the blazer brigade after Euro 2012 when Capello leaves. I think Harry knows that as well. They’ll be lucky to finish top 6.

From our perspective some decent buys in Romeu and Lukaku. Both bright talents for the future BUT of course we’ve been hearing about that for years and yet we still didn’t see much progression on the home grown front last year. Carlo seemed to lose faith in Josh, and Studge went on loan where he showed just how annoying he will be if given chances. Gael Kakuta will benefit from his loan but I hope he doesn’t have the individuality and flair drummed out of him. We are crying out for the arrogance and confident talents of the likes of Studge and Kakuta. And I stick by my words. Torres will come good, the man has too much talent to see it go to waste. All he needs is decent service and the goals will come. I’m very happy with the purchase of Juan Mata as well. Meireles looks like the surprise package and a good solid buy without spending the silly sums being touted for Modric. He’s good but not £40m good.  Both look like they could be very dangerous players for us. This season is going to be transitional for us as AVB has no doubt been given a remit to rebuild without the drama. I suspect for some of the older players this is their last chance to bring some silverware home for us, and despite their brilliance in the past, one can’t help wondering how much more we’ll see of Anelka, Drogba and possibly even Lampard. My own thoughts are that each maybe one more season providing they are prepared to accept that a guaranteed start may not be the case. I’d like to see each of them accept, much like Scholes and Giggs, that they can’t go on forever but can extend their careers and have important roles with less appearances.

Was I disappointed that we didn’t see more player exits? A little maybe, but as we saw last season, letting experience go can come back and bite you in the backside. Personally I thought Riccy Carvalho, Joe Cole, Ballack and Belletti were despatched a little too quickly last year. But let’s not dwell on the negative.

The mojo is back, the cafe on Fulham Road is calling me, the smell of fried onions is in the nostrils, the pull of the megastore and the banter in the club room are memories flooding back.  The hugs as old friends met on the terraces, the cheering, the jeering, the chanting, the joy and the pain are all part of the fix that draws me back in.

Lets get it on. We are Chelsea. Keep the Blue Flag Flying High my friends!

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