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Scolari gives Chelsea Brazilian blend

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Phil McNulty | 16:30 UK time, Sunday, 17 August 2008

Luiz Felipe Scolari wants watching Chelsea to become just like watching Brazil - and there was a touch of South American swagger about the opening of the new Stamford Bridge era.

Chelsea have earned a reputation, starting under Jose Mourinho and continuing with Avram Grant, for being functional as opposed to flamboyant. Theirs was a success built on solidity.

Scolari's Chelsea retained all the old hard-nosed resilience as they thrashed Portsmouth, but there were the additional flourishes owner Roman Abramovich wanted when he appointed the one-time World Cup winner as coach.

The performance, however, must be placed in the context of the efforts of Harry Redknapp's side, who will make plenty of teams look like Brazil if they perform as timidly as they did at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea are many experts' tip to regain the Premier League this season. I spoke to BBC Sport's Mark Lawrenson on Thursday and he echoed the views of plenty within the game that they will be the team to beat.

And all the evidence of their dismissal of Portsmouth confirmed that they will be the biggest threat to champions Manchester United in all competitions this season.

The misery of that Champions League defeat to United seems to have been air-brushed away to some extent by Scolari's arrival, and a huge banner brandished behind the goal told John Terry his iconic status has not been diminished by that infamous Moscow penalty miss.

Scolari is clearly intent on adding an extra dimension to Chelsea's game, and this was demonstrated by the performances of their two summer signings, Portugal internationals Jose Bosingwa and Deco.

Bosingwa was a constant threat, while Deco was the star of the show - although he escaped punishment for a shocking challenge on Lassana Diarra in the opening minute.

Deco set most of the charges for Chelsea to fire, and he deserved his late goal, although it was waved in by a shocking attempt at a save from David James.

Luiz Felipe Scolari

He looked built for the role of injecting some fantasy into Chelsea's style, but judgement must be reserved for sterner battles ahead.

Few teams will give Deco or Chelsea as much room as they were afforded by Portsmouth. Their passing and creation was outstanding, but they were aided and abetted by a total absence of tackling and urgency from Portsmouth.

Deco struggled at Barcelona last season, suffering from injuries that took the edge off his game, and it will take more than just one game to underscore exactly what influence he will have on Chelsea.

But as a start this was as impressive as it gets, both from Chelsea and their new midfield man.

Sol Campbell creaked in the Community Shield and did not look much better as Nicolas Anelka buzzed around Portsmouth's back four.

Anelka looked much more of a threat in a central striking role rather than stuck out on the flanks as he was under Grant. It will be intriguing to see how Scolari juggles his resources once Didier Drogba regains fitness.

Scolari's arrival appears, on first sight, to have given Chelsea their self-confidence back. They were always short of being their usual selves under Grant, achieving victories almost by force of will than with the inevitability of the Mourinho era.

The former Portugal coach commands instant respect but he will know the real battle is just beginning.

The true measure of Chelsea and how successful they will be comes against better opposition than Portsmouth. Scolari is both a pragmatist and realist - he will not be carried away by one win, no matter how good it looked.

Deco will get closer attention than he did at Stamford Bridge. Will the 30-year-old be able to maintain his level of performance in the high-tempo Premier League?

And there will be very few occasions when Chelsea will be allowed to effectively have the freedom of the park. Portsmouth seemed in awe of Chelsea, scared of the occasion and of the Scolari factor.

All these factors will be taken into consideration after a first game that will have brought huge satisfaction to Scolari and Chelsea.

Sir Alex Ferguson's predictable pre-season mind games centred on his belief that Chelsea had passed their peak. Nonsense of course, and not one of Ferguson's better jibes.

Chelsea looked in fine working order against Portsmouth, with their animated and experienced new leader conducting affairs from the sidelines.

And the feelgood factor will have increased after Newcastle claimed an unexpected, but fully deserved, point at Old Trafford.

It was excellent entertainment and all was right with Chelsea's world - but full judgement must be reserved for the tougher examinations that will be set in the coming weeks.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    I know you have a job to write pieces no matter what stage of the season .... One game does not provide any insight.

    The departure of Makelele is probably more imoportant than the arrival of Deco, as this gap now means that Obi has to mature and take over tha ball winning role. He had the worlds leading managers chasing him and now he has the opportunity to shown the reason why he was chased by both United and Chelsea from Lynn.

    Obi has better ball distribution than Makelele, and that will empower Deco and give him that split second more to shape the counter attack and attacking play in general.

    Obi is ONE of the keys as he will be the point of transition on many occassions and his superior passing will be AS important as the arrival of Deco, Scoalri and Boswinga.....

  • Comment number 3.

    Yes! it was good display all round, I am not getting carried away, it will be a very long season, was very impressed with Obi Mikel today, break up play and ball distribution from Obi was fantastic. keep it up Obi

  • Comment number 4.

    Phil,

    I must admit to being amazed at how little the english press took notice of deco's arrival. hes been one of the worlds top players consistently for the past 5 years adn him on form I would take over any midfeilder in the world. I feel he will give chelsea that real spark of class they have missed in the midfield. Lampard gets around ok, and links up well enough, but hes no deco. Same for ballack and essien, who i feel is the hardest to replace of the 3. All very good players, but deco goves that little piece of magic.

    Hes also one fo the hardest working players you will find, a fact often overlooked. And to question the high tempo premier league....I would question whether defences more used to direct attack are able to cope with the speed of deco's brain whcn it coems to exploiting angles in the final third. Thats where the real speed of deco will be seen, no when the harrassing stoke's defensve midfeilder

  • Comment number 5.

    I agree, the season is long and there are many different battle fronts yet to come. But today was a joyful sight.

    In regards to "Straeh's" post, I think the departure of makelele came at the right time. He is well past his prime and towards the end of last season, showed brief signs of old age. Plus Obi is not Chelsea's only option in that part of the park. They also have a gem from Ghana, by the name of Essien, who is more than capable of fullfilling Makelele's shoes.

  • Comment number 6.

    All too often under Mourinho and Grant, Chelsea scored the opening goal and settled for the three points. Last years gulf in goal difference was a huge handicap. If we can continue to score lots of goals against the 'lesser' teams, it will create a mind set amongst the Chelsa players and the oppsition.
    Taking the foot off the pedal was clearly not part of todays game plan. Long may it continue!!

  • Comment number 7.

    Phil McNulty
    Since Scholari's arrival, you can only write about him and Chealsea. In your opinion the other teams and coaches in the preamer league are useless. Some times you said you sat next to him, some times you write about his English and now you are just about to tell us that the preamer league season is over. You never mentioned how many players Man Untd lost through enjury and different commitetments. Or may be you are PR for CFC?

  • Comment number 8.

    To Koftanaw...at what point in the article do I even suggest I am just about to tell you the Premier League season is over?

    Absolutely wrong and if I drew the same sort of incorrent conclusions or misinterpreted somebody in such a fashion I would rightly be criticised.

    I have written about lots of other teams and subjects on this blog.

    Chelsea and Scolari is a major subject and deserves discussion, in the same way it will be discussed in other areas of the media.

    On another point made by a different poster, it will be very interesting to see how Mikel Jon Obi grows into the side now Claude Makelele has gone.

    Can he fulfil that role? Is there even a need for it to exist now he has gone?

    Let me know what you think.

  • Comment number 9.

    Scolari didn't sign Boswinga

  • Comment number 10.

    i dont agree with you i didnt see any new chelsea,its funny to me that last year,when chealsea trush city 6:1 in one of the best game of the year,every body gave the credits to the players,and avram grant didnt get any,now it the brazilien stile and scolari,is the best,come on scholari is an older version of raniree,they should have given grant a chance.lets see what will happen after the first lose.

  • Comment number 11.

    I saw a touch of Israeli swagger about Chelsea last year when they stormed over City 6-0, and at West Ham away with ten men when they came away with 0-4.

  • Comment number 12.

    As a Man Utd fan, i`m worried, Chelsea played with a style,much better for the neutral than the get an early goal and hold on for 85mins that both mourinho anf Grant used, however as mentioned Portsmouth were absolutely rubbish, no doubt they will play out of their skin next week, Utd will still win the league though, a slip up on day 1 isnt the end of the season

  • Comment number 13.

    ikolton,

    If chelsea should have given Grant more time that could be the worst decision.
    Look it in this way, it took Scolari two months to change completely Chelsea style. Grant had nine months and couldn't do anything. I remember one pundit who used to write arguing that chelsea can play without manager and Grant was not good enough for Chelsea.

    McNulty, I agree with you that it won't be as easy as it was with Portsmouth but Chelsea is going to the hardest team to beat this season.
    Remember, they signed well-positions where they were short. They are better than previous season

  • Comment number 14.

    I do not think that Obi will be all that Key this season, i think the "makalele role" will belong to essien, who is so versatile, and has been labelled one of the most destructive players in the PL. True as it is that Man Utd had players out, chelsea also had arguably 3 first team players out in Kalou, Drogba and Essien

  • Comment number 15.

    McNulty: "Sir Alex Ferguson's predictable pre-season mind games centred on his belief that Chelsea had passed their peak. Nonsense of course, and not one of Ferguson's better jibes."

    I tire of you, I really do.

    Why is it nonsense - on the basis of this first game of the season? His comments were not that they had passed their peak, merely that they had reached a plateau. I believe Ferguson was making the point that the players at Chelsea over thirty were unlikely to progress in their game - just as Van der Saar is unlikely to.

    That isn't nonsense, it's logical.

    As we've seen with players such as Henry, Shevchenko, Vieira and many others, the footballing 'peak' has mostly shifted south into the mid-twenties (this is for a plethora of reasons, such as the wealth/hunger ratio and the increased athleticism of the modern game).

    Therefore, if three of Chelsea's over thirty's maintain their form, and another three decrease, Chelsea won't be as good as they were last year. Chelsea have more over thirty players than United, so Ferguson's statement made sense, even if it was a pointed remark.

    It's simple, really.

  • Comment number 16.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 17.

    Abromovitz has now spent 750 million pounds .... what ever happened to competition?

    The premiership is predicatable and becoming boring, Chel$ea are just a big bu$ine$$.

  • Comment number 18.

    No actually Laqlouq, he's spent £580m. Firstly get your facts right and then look at how much the United and Liverpool squads cost.

  • Comment number 19.

    Football of today is about money. not alone in England, everywhere*( Even in Africa professional football players gets more than president) Those giants RM Barcelona, Inter AC etc they are giants because they spend big money. We are ready to pay what is takes to buy ticket because we like to watch beautiful football played by best players, who has to be paid big.

    Now if we don't want to involve money in our beloved football, let's create another league which is moneyless. I promise you nobody will be ready to buy a ticket for $ 5 to watch mediocre players.

    By the way the topic is not about money, why we change the thing. DO NOT USE MONEY for your team failure because in one way or another you spend.

  • Comment number 20.

    One player not mentioned instrumental in Chelsea's victory - David James.
    Totally at fault for at least two goals and no surprise he didn't rush to play the cool star in the post match interview this time.
    No doubt he'll still be risking England's world cup campaign in his continuing hunt for glory sometime soon though...

  • Comment number 21.

    Chelsea look much stronger this season. More importantly, they're looking more settled. The circus around Grant undermined the team and potentially contributed to their failure under pressure.

    Scolari will bring fresh ideas and make the most of his superstar squad. I expect a massive push this season and ultimately the title.

    Lets hope Scolari can keep everyone happy a little longer than Grant eh.


  • Comment number 22.

    I was more than impressed with us today as u can see we are different class with Mikel, Deco and Ballack in the middle of the pack. Just wish Scolary will have the Courage to drop Lamps when Essien is fit . I love Frank with all my heart and think he will for ever be our legend but the new style we crave will require skills from God not grit or engine but brains and skills. I want to boldly predict that MIKEL not Deco or anyone else will be our player of the season and will finally show why he was second only to Messi in the under 23 competition which himself and Messi featured in the finals. His breakup play will be as good as Makelele's and his skill in attack will finally be unleashed as i have seen first hand before Mouriho converted him to a holding mid fielder after having tried Yarosic, Scott parker, Smetsin, Sidwell etc unsuccessfully in that possition. The boy has it all believe me

  • Comment number 23.

    Very impressed today and yes maybe obi can be the one....obi-one:P

  • Comment number 24.

    I'm not a United fan, but your comments on Sir Alex Ferguson's "predictable pre-season mind games" appear incorrect. Did he actually say that Chelsea have "passed their peak"??

    I read that he said: "They are at their very peak" and "...that experienced team can easily win the league..."

    Or are you saying that your comments are "centred on his belief", as in you have some other source you can provide to validate this?

  • Comment number 25.

    Mr McNulty,

    Isn't it about time you gained some perspective?

    I know 'Big Phil' is very good looking but to read your comments about his first press conference and now his first game is positively gut wrenching!

    You sound like a schoolgirl with her first crush!

    Yes Chelsea played well, as they have before, yes Scolari can speak english its no need to wet your knickers!

    Personally I think Chelsea will battle it out with Man Utd for the league and so they should given the money they've spent.

    My team will battle it out with Liverpool and Villa for the next three spots I'm afraid unless Arsene spends big on two experienced players (midfielder and centre back) before the end of August.

    Kisses for Big Phil XXX

  • Comment number 26.

    I think straeh is definitely getting carried away, singling out Obi as the key for Chelsea this season. Let's not forget that Essien is a far better player and can just as easily fill that makelele role throughout the season. I think Obi, will remain a squad player just like he did last season, time will tell, but he's def not world class just yet, to be putting him as the key for chelsea's season. He'd be pleased at the end of the season if he features in more than 30 games!

  • Comment number 27.

    jim_matti

    I agree with you, take the Ferguson out of Utd and you remove the dynamite attack, he has given them a distinctive winning style, same goes for other teams (Arsenal, Villa)

    Last year under Grant, Chelsea were an outfit of world class players winning games because that's what world class players do, Grant brought nothing to the team.

    I distinctly remember one high ranking Chelsea player say that around February/March, the players got together and decided to go out and do this for themselves.

    Can you imagine that happening under Ferguson, O'Neil, Wenger, Mourinho etc. Don't think so

  • Comment number 28.

    Portsmouth were so bad that it says more about them than Chelsea. They didn't even turn up- it was one defensive mistake after another. What was Kaboul doing in midfield? He was out of his depth and couldn't pass a single ball. Redknapp had set his team up to get beaten- he showed why he has never got a top job. And to say afterwards that a top half finish would be a push was just like waving the white flag before the season had even got under way. After the money spent in the last three seasons, they should be up there with the likes of Villa, Everton, and Spurs . It is like he realises what a good achievement the FA cup is and has taken his foot off the pedal. An overrated manager, who only won that trophy because of some awful refereeing decisions against Man U and incredible luck in the draw. The guy sent West Ham on the road to ruin with his silly purchases, and whenever he has some cash he wastes it like £11m on Crouch- a good player but not worth that much especially to a team like pompey.

    Anyway to Chelsea- all you can say is that Deco shouldn't even have been on the pitch, what a horror tackle. Let's see what happens when they play a team that (a) can defend, (b) actually have some decent midfield anchors and (c) actually pose an attacking threat.

  • Comment number 29.

    I agree that Mikel played well. one of his better performances, but i still think he is one for the future and not the completed article now. every now and then his concentration slips with some silly passes and diving into tackles that there is really no need to. but i think he will be a great player in the coming seasons.

    For the moment though, we have the perfect replacement for the now departed claude makalele. and that comes in the form of Michael Essien. built like a tank, with a great footballing mind. he drives forward when appropriate and is pretty much unstoppable when he does so. he is also one not to shy away from a tackle. his passing is just as impeccable as Lampard's or Deco's and he is able to use both his feet and head to either put the ball in the back of the net, or to clear the lines at the back.

  • Comment number 30.

    LordCod: i believe it is you that mis-read or mis-heard. Sir Alex come out and said that Chelsea's team was 'too old to win the league' and that they 'have passed their peak'. he then went on to claim that his younger side consisting of the now postively ancient van der sar along with gary nevile, paul scholes, ryan giggs. yes they may have younger players and blah blah blah but the fact of the matter is: experience is a better asset than youth. i mean perfect example here is Arsenal is it not?

  • Comment number 31.

    as a neutral here (well not neutral i admit i find it hard to like chelsea) :D

    i dont see this performance as anything more than a continuation of last seasons form for chelsea. scolari this...scolari that...not really! chelsea were pretty rampant at the end of last season under poor old grant and this seems much the same. since i dont see any difference, how can it be scolari? maybe he will be the greatest chelsea manager ever, its about time they had a great one. i am well aware that money doesnt automatically grant you wins, but it sure as hell cant hurt having the ability and fundings to pick almost any world player you fancy! come on chelsea, put your mouths and results where your (stacks of) money is. game on in the league!

    united in return have looked every bit like a side missing 2 of their best finishers (i would include rooney more as a playmaker, number 10 if you like) and a few midfielders. to be fair newcastle fought well but owed a lot to given.

    come on the villa - ashley young player of the season? or gabby? ;P

  • Comment number 32.

    Its only the first game of the season but one can tell that Chelsea is going to be a team to beat.

    Sir Alex must be watching and feeling the pressure after his one all draw with Newcastle.

    Liverpool....? Interesting times ahead

  • Comment number 33.

    Beating Portsmouth at home isn't a big achievement, if I recall correctly all of the top 4 eased past them last season when playing them at home.

    Utd was 2-0, Liverpool 4-1, Arsenal 3-1 and Chelsea 1-0. They struggle away from home at the top 4 and always will.

    But I must say Deco looked awesome.

  • Comment number 34.

    One game into the season and the media are already hailing Chelsea as being in a new era. Don't get ahead of yourselves Chelsea fans.

    However, it is still refreshing to see an attacking Chelsea side. Despite their dominance at the top of the table, they have never shown flair; which is why it seems that neutrals never really gun for the Blues.

    I think the appointment of Big Phil was a very smart choice and after so much funding since the start of the Roman Era, it seems as though they might finally become a club that I look forward to watch.

  • Comment number 35.

    I hope Fabio (and Jim Magilton at my club, Ipswich, for that matter) was watching that.

    With a dearth of natural wingers (on the left for England, anyway) it’s nice to see someone successfully using a system that doesn’t rely on them.

  • Comment number 36.

    I'm quite sure this boys are all out to win this season. I don't think comparing last season with this season will be a good judgement 'cos virtually every club have new players/coaches etc. Most importantly i think Chelsea's learned from their past mistakes of not scoring goals and not getting 3points when they're suppose to. I could remember they drew 3 games with lower teams and Man Utd won the 3games with same set of teams, which made Chelsea to lose out last season.
    Anyways, let watch as event unfolds.

  • Comment number 37.

    When people talk about how much Abramovich has spent, why oh why do people include the cost of the club in the figure? Then, they come to the conclusion that all of the amount that he has paid is running around the field at any one time!

    Still, when people open their comments with those sort of points, you can usually write off the rest of what they are saying because they have already shown the agenda behind what is being said.

    Anyway, as to yesterday's performance itself, I was very impressed. I was worried about what width there would be. However, broadly the tactic seemed to be keep a solid back four but the full backs can get forward when they wanted. Mikel was industrious in front of them (and disciplined which was good to see) and everyone else could wander where they wanted as long as they made sure their movement was balanced by someone else. Anelka also kept pushing at the front as well.

    Let's face it, most of Chelsea's midfielders are attackers anyway and they are all very good on the ball.

    Shades of the tactic's Chelsea had in the Duff/Robben days.

    Good stuff so far. Hope everyday is like yesterday.

    Come on you Blues!

  • Comment number 38.

    Scolari - "Nightmare to Sir Alex Ferguson"

    What happened to young manu squad???

  • Comment number 39.

    Last season United drew in the opening game and the somehow that made Chelsea favourites in many peoples eyes, the same this season.

    Many managers can inspire a team to win their first proper game in charge, over the course of a season it can be a different matter. Remember Scolari is unproven in European club management and most of his managerial experience has come from the international stage which is completely different to league football.

    One game does not make a season!

  • Comment number 40.

    stuExeterCity

    'One game does not make a season!'
    ---------------------------------------------------------
    No, but it was a wonderful start and that is worth celebrating.

  • Comment number 41.

    I'm interested to see what will happen when Drogba and Essien come back into the side.
    The system worked brilliantly against Pompey and it was like watching a whole new team playing. I've not seen that kind of fluid football played by chelsea for a while. The Midfielders all seemed to be switching and taking up each others positions all over the place, which made marking one person very very difficult.

    Obi did pretty good on the day, but i don't know about him when he's facing tougher opposition. It will be interesting to see. But with Essien in there instead, OMG! what a midfield power house we've got! Yay! lol

  • Comment number 42.

    No # 37

    was the abramovich thing directed at me?
    forget personal agendas, the fact is chelsea have almost unlimited funds. no other club has the same in the world. if you dismiss that then you better take the blue-tinted specs of and wake up. as i previously admitted, money is not a direct guarantee of success but it doesnt hinder it either when you can AFFORD any player you want. i was suggesting its time you showed your worth and won big, i.e. a treble, double or even just the champions league. wake up to reality, you sound very foolish.


    that said good luck to 'em. hopefully phil can try and live up to the hyperbolic praise that he's been given so far.

  • Comment number 43.

    chelsea played great,the way they closed down and got the ball back practically as soon as they lost it,and the way everyone looked comfortable taking the ball it was brilliant.Although portsmouth didnt play great,i think chelsea showed their intentions and first impressions mean alot and i think thats gonna set the tone for the rest of the season.As for the money side of things,chelsea have only spent soooo much because as soon as other clubs see a chairman with that kind of money they double there prices,and unless chelsea dont want the new players they are forced to pay these inflated prices

  • Comment number 44.

    gabbygabbygobbley

    Not sure it was directed specifically at you. I think it was someone with a different name, however, if the cap fits.....

    In respect of the actual figures, it was really a pop at all those who get facts wrong and don't understand the reality of a situation. I don't necessarily think that includes you, but anyway, yesterday's story isn't about money. Anyone would spend money if they had it, just look at the transfers this summer and the clubs in debt.

    As for hyperbolic praise? Let's see. World Cup winning manager arrives in new country, takes collection of very talented players, turns them into a team at the first time of asking and plays very entertaining football whilst they're at it.

    Praise where praise is due for now. I'd rather we started like this than limped home yesterday and all the knives come out from the start (as inevitably they will after one bad performance.)

  • Comment number 45.

    was a (very) good performance yesterday.

    i just think it's odd how the media seem to adore scolari so much...i think it has been very OTT before a ball was even kicked.

    will have to wait and see if the knives come out fast for scolari, all indications so far seem to suggest it wont be fast even after a few bad results.

    it is hyperbolic praise. you would EXPECT a manager of his calibre to do well, and with those players anyhting less is underperforming.

    as you say, he came to a "collection of very talented players" - that says more about them than him. i remember when grant took over and won a few, it was the impetous of mourinho and the players, not his skill that was praised.

    chelsea were entertaining at the end of last season...was that scolari too?!

    i think its far too early to give so much praise beyond "so far so good. well done" instead of the verbal colonic spring-cleaning that much of the media have been giving so far.

    as i have said though, he is a good manager, great team, lets see how he copes with european and english club football, and if by january chelsea are riding high, then start singing his praises.

  • Comment number 46.

    Good result, however its only the first game and Portsmouth were poor. The real test will be on those soggy nights in dec-mar, when the true grit will be tested.

    Good to see anelka giving it a go though, as i think he is due a good season.

    also chelsea's website looks much better this season https://www.chelseafc.com

  • Comment number 47.

    Mikel Obi was the man of the match yesterday. He really combined well with Deco. The competition has just kicked off but the very starting matters a lot. If they win all their matches with Obi making all those fantastic passes to Deco and Deco feeding the attackers especially when the big boy Drogba is around, things will be very rough for the opponents. Obi will make the difference this very season and this Brazilian coach knows it. Did the world not not watch him at Holland? Did Man u and Chelsea not battle to sign his signature? Was there not the accusation from Mikel camp that Man u forged Mikel's signature and that problem made someone to be jailed. Is he not invited by his country Nigeria all time?
    Look out for Mikel this season !!!!

  • Comment number 48.

    gabbygabbygobbley

    'instead of the verbal colonic spring-cleaning that much of the media have been giving so far.'

    Tell you what mate, I'll give you a pat on the back for that turn of phrase alone.

    Yeah, the media took ages to begrudgingly accept Grant and have rather sucked up to Scolari. If only they would reserve judgement until there were some results to comment on rather than deciding if a manager is any good or 'charismatic' just by how he entertains them or gives them good copy in a press conference.

    On a different note, what is you team and how did you enjoy the weekend?

  • Comment number 49.

    thank you

    i am a villa fan, hence my daft name refering to a mr agbonlahor, who had a great game yesterday. great start, and although have no grudge against them at all as teams, was quite happy to see all 4 main rivals (tottenham, everton, city and pompey) flag on first day. long way yet though!

    optimistic for the season, should at least do as well as last.whether we do better depends on whether we score like we did last season (more than you lot i believe!) and shore(y) up our wobbley defence. friedel should help bucket loads, if in nothing more than experience and looking forward to seeing the spanish lad from rangers.

    hows about chelsea? great game yesterday but how you think deco will do? and bossingwas defence agaisnt teams that will attack him? (you cheeky sods, MON had him tagged for ages, but fair game!)

  • Comment number 50.

    Do'h! Perhaps I should have twigged on the basis of your name!

    Anyway, if anything I think Villa can look forward to 5th, over and above the teams you rightly mention as your competitors. And who knows, with O'Neill at the helm and Lerner running a tight ship off the park, should Arsenal or Liverpool slip up (and they were unconvincing on Saturday) then with Villa moving in the right direction...

    I haven't yet seen the Villa highlights. I recorded MOTD2 but having spent the afternoon in a pub, a late'ish night was never going to be on the cards!

    As fro Deco, £8m could prove to be a steal. I think he is clever enough to find space, Mikel can break up attacks and give the ball to him and should any team try to man mark him? Well, that just leaves Ballack and Lampard then. Terrible that!

    I think it might take very, very good wingers to give Cole and Bossingwa problems but with Chelsea having so much of the ball, that is likely to happen less often. Be interesting to see the first real test though.

    Here's looking forward to a good season. No real controversy so far and I think I am right in saying, no sending's off. Who would have thought it?

  • Comment number 51.

    It's nice that the season has started that way and it'll be very misleading for anyone to assume that it'll end that way. Last season Man Utd had 2 points after three games and they rose to take the trophies.

    We will keep our fingers cressed as the season progress

  • Comment number 52.

    Well being honest, i think chelsea will win the league this season, what they were missing last season was a experienced manager who had success and knew how to win. Scolari is a really good manager and sets his teams to play attractive and flowing attacking football, so Abramovich should be happy (as long as they win something).

    Talking about the start of the premierleague, from what i see, Arsenal are going to win nothing!!

  • Comment number 53.

    I think portsmouth did their best,they simply were overwhelmed by this deadly chelsea side.Truly its a new era for the "blues from brazil".

  • Comment number 54.

    I think had Portsmouth been at their dynamic best it would have been a sterner test but I do believe (this is coming from a Liverpool fan) that Chelsea look like the strongest bet to regain the Premiership title. You finally have a great attacking fullback in Bosingwa and Deco has added a spark of creativity which will complement the rest of the midfield. One thing I have to say to the person who said Deco is better than Ballack or Lampard, I might just about agree in Lampards case but when it comes to Chelsea playing us, I know that Ballack will be the player most worrying me, his passing yesterday was simply sublime and he is all round an absolute beast of a player.

  • Comment number 55.

    Chelsea played well Yesterday, but in the two games I've seen Portsmouth this season they've been woeful, they could've lost by 3 or 4 in the Community shield to a team with John O'Shea in midfield and were just as bad Yesterday when even David James decided to join in the slackness, what have they been doing in pre season?

    As for team selection, selling Mendes when it results in playing a centre half as limited as Kaboul in midfield away to one of the chief title contenders seems like a complete dereliction of duty by 'arry, his buying policy is just flat out odd.

    Chelsea will face stiffer tests than this, Portsmouth probably won't but the signs still aren't good, they need to pull their finger out quickly.

  • Comment number 56.

    Nothing to do with the Scolari debate but imo Ronaldo's absence for the start of the season might just be the factor that decides who wins the PL title.
    If United fail to land Berbatov I can't see where the goals will come from and bear in mind their next 3 games are Pompey(a), Liverpool(a) and Chelsea(a).

  • Comment number 57.

    Decomposing Composers,

    Ronaldo's absence would hurt any team but it was the absence of Tevez and the injury to Carrick (as well as Hargreaves) as much as anything that caused us problems Yesterday. Providing we get Tevez back or by some miracle Saha reappears we should have enough to get past Portsmouth, we'll have Nani, Park and Anderson available for you and Liverpool so things should ease up from then on, and we'll have got rid of two of our toughest 3 away fixtures early doors.

  • Comment number 58.

    Phil, you must get annoyed at having to constantly deal with accusations that you're pro-this team and anti-that team, or that you can't ever write a decent article.

    Comes with the territory I suppose!

  • Comment number 59.

    Up Scolari! Up Chelsea!!

    Well as far as this seson is concerned, i just think it will be BLUEEEESSSSS all over the English premier league and all over Europe. I wish Scolari the best of times at Chelski, i have no doubt he definitely with suceed. He's an excellent coach and has also brought in some excellent guys and has inherited some. He's the coach of the season in advance! As well i think other teams must be fearsome to face this 'dreadful' chelski team. I just can't see anything that will stop these guys.

  • Comment number 60.

    Chelsea were always likely to improve on last year ... good additions to squad (no need to play Essien at right back anymore !), no change of manager, no African Nations Cup mid-season, and no change of manager to disrupt side.

    It will be interesting to see whether Chelsea's full backs play this way away from home and if so how other managers respond -- will they gamble and tell their attacking wide to let Cole and Bosingwa go, or will them bring them back to defend ?

    Chances are most sides will now play against Chelsea in the same way they do against Man Utd. That means bringing the almost everyone back to defend all the time so they concede the initiative, possession and with the number of goal threats in the chelsea and man utd. first XIs usually all 3 points to the opposition.

    And that means its a 2 horse race because Benitez hasn't the players or the guts to play this all-out style, and Arsenal miss far too many chances.

  • Comment number 61.

    Its normal human behaviour.
    Chelsea had a flying start and are already tiped to be the fevorites this time.
    I liked one thing about this report/blog that it said about how portamouth allowed the space for Chelsea to roam around.
    If you let a team like Chelsea free they will destroy you,they have got some very intelligent brains all around the pitch.
    Lets see how Chelsea are doing after first few games,if they have the consistancy they will have a better chance of wining the title.
    Champions League is going to Bridge this time.
    United will have to gain as much points as possible and Beat Chelsea.
    This is only the beginning..the end is yet to come..and till then,anything can happen.
    Best of luck to Big Fil.

  • Comment number 62.

    Chelsea looked the same as last season to me - strong. narrow and ultimately victorious.

    Nothing yesterday suggested that this season will be a major departure from last season. They will steam-roller smaller teams and grind it out against the bigger teams. They are set out (4-3-2-1) for a midfield battle and the outcome of that battle will determine most games.

    The idea that Chelsea will play like the great Brazil sides is a bit far-fetched and there is no evidence of it yet.

  • Comment number 63.

    Indeed. I'm more interested in the results from Old Trafford and the Stadium of Light here. Both seem to me to show what happens when the squads are up against actual, you know, challenges. Man U showed that their strikerless formation falls flat when you put them up against good opposition. Their formation depends on having players of the caliber of their first team. They need to get Berbatov and fast so that they have someone who can just do some good old-fashioned goal scoring.

    Meanwhile, Liverpool showed how to bite down and fight out a tough game. Sunderland is knocked, I think, because of their uneven history in the championship, but they fought hard that game, and Liverpool had to struggle their point out. This is usually what Chelsea does in the league - grind out a 1-0 week in and week out. Thrashing a side in style is new to them, and fun. But the fact of the matter is, the league is won on matches like Liverpool-Sunderland, not in a match against a side with a faltering defense and cowardly midfield.

    Of course, last season of the big four Liverpool looked by far the best after the first week. So there is much left to see.

  • Comment number 64.

    Am so Delighted in the play of Chelsea. The likes of Deco,Mikel, Lampard made the game so interesting and also made our opponent less contend able. If we meet the likes of Aston Villa, Liverpool, Arsenal, Man. United and the lots i think we can create better impressions and football expressions. More Blood To Your Veins Big Phil...!!!

    Daniel, Nigeria

  • Comment number 65.

    Phil
    Interesting article and agree that it deserves a debate.
    However, Portsmouth are getting used to a new style of play, and even Harry admitted that he should have stuck with the 4-5-1 and controlled the midfield a bit more. It was also first game of the season where home teams are expected to win except in Sunderland and Evertons case where away teams nicked the points.

    Deco did look very good but when everyone is fighting fit how do you fit obi, essien, lamps, deco and ballack into a 3 man midfield, assuming that malouda and joe cole are first choice wingmen. Thats when Scolari will earn his money.

    It will also be interesting to see how Newcastle go from here on, i only say this because United away is the hardest fixture in the calendar in my opinion.

  • Comment number 66.

    Blimey. I remember last season John Terry being surprised at Man U's poor start and they did rather well in the end, though the margins of victory were gnats-arse tight. I think the departure of Ukelele will force Chelsea to be more attacking and we will do better against the poorer teams than we did for the last few years - the real question is how we will perform against the the other top 3 outfits and after one game against a rather poor Pompey it really is too early to say. Man U need a striker fast and Ronaldo to keep pace while Arsenal and Liverpool are a bit of a known unknown - we all expect them to play well and challenge and then we all expect them to screw up and finish 3rd and 4th. It would be nice to see all 4 challenging to the last but I expect Chelsea and Man U to be the ones lasting the course again.

  • Comment number 67.

    I would just like to make a couple comments in reference to MR. MCNULTY'S assessment of Chelsea's title chances this season...First and foremost we have to point out that it is IMPOSSIBLE to predict the form of a team based on their first performance of the season...If this were not the case then ManU would have already lost the title...
    I'm not saying that Chelsea are not quality but please let us not get carried away with the hype, and bear in mind that Portsmouth in truth were very very poor...They basically allowed Chelsea the opportunity to play like Brazil and as you pointed out in your article the test will come against the sides with genuine title credentials, the ManU's, Arsenals and dare I say even Liverpool's of this world. It is only then that we can make a real assessment of this squad's potential...Secondly I simply do not agree with you Phil on your comments concerning Sir Alex's statements as "nonsense". The fact is that the Chelsea first team does contain a fair few 30 somethings or players reaching this age...Let me just point out Ballack, Deco, Lampard, Drogba, Anelka, Carvalho and several others who are either 29 or older, no spring chickens...And the real test will be their endurance and fitness over a long, hard season...Let us wait and see how nonsensical Sir Alex's comments were come winter time. To continue...
    I question personally the wisdom in Chelsea offering Frankie boy a massive 5-year contract at this stage of his career...Granted, he has been a loyal and fantastically productive servant of this side for several years, but truthfully will he be able to score 15+ goals a season from midfield for much longer, I tend to think not. Secondly, how much commitment does Drogba really have to Chelsea at this point, after a summer of see-saw predictions about his transfer to Inter...Will he have the focus or motivation to score 30 goals again? This is the quesiton...Thirdly I'd like to say how pleased I am to see Anelka doing well, at least for the time being. This is a player who once was undoubtedly a world beater, and frankly were it not for his questionable professionalism, and mentality he would have become the best striker in the world...He still has all the tools of a world class player and he knows this is his last real chance to shine and get hold of serious silverware at a big club...Best of luck to him and let us hope he does not go the way of Kluivert...Fourthly I'd like to say that I agree fully with the positive predictions about Big Phil's appointment, I think he is world class, and more than capable of turning this side into League and European champions...Let's hope he copes with the intense media scrutiny and pressure of the Premiership...Finally, I am overjoyed at the arrival of the maestro himself, the mercurial Deco, who quite frankly would have been considered world class years ago, had someone discovered him before Porto's 04' European triumph...An out an out playmaker, who will offer great balance and allow the Lampards and Ballacks the freedom to move forward and score (hopefully)...Having said this, I really do think Chelsea desperately need a right-sided wide player, unless Wright-Phillips can finally live up to his obvious potential, he is of course 26 and should really be approaching the finished product, we'll see this season I guess...THE VERDICT...Mr. Mcnulty, it is far too early to make any title predictions for any side...Although I agree that Chelsea will be one of the teams to beat this season, the fact is that the Premiership is probably the most competitive in the world and there is no way that Arsenal or ManU are simply going to roll over and let Chelsea walk to the title, It's going to be a great season...GO SPURS!!!

  • Comment number 68.

    RasinJohnson

    You say it is impossible to predict the form of a team.

    Wrong. It is possible, but the earlier the prediction, the less likely it is going to be right.

    On the issue of Sir Alex's comments. Chelsea have replaced Makelele with Mikel. About 15 years difference in age.

    You say about the 5 year contract for Lampard. Well, all we can go on is the past. In one paper today is the following quote

    'Luiz Felipe Scolari is no mug. Like every leading manager he studies the statistics, the ProZone reports and the record book. And it didn't take long to identify the player at Chelsea who scores the most goals from midfield, runs longer, plays more games and is fittest. And that is why, in the end, Frank Lampard got exactly what he wanted.'

    If Giggs and Scholes are still considered regulars at Man U at their respective ages, then Lampard as Chelsea is just the same.

    Chelsea's midfield does not operate a traditional way. You have the back four and Mikel. Everyone else is more or less an attacker.

    The full backs are given license to get beyond the half way line at every opportunity and when they do, Mikel drops back to make it a back three. Ballack, Deco and Lampard then provide the balls to the full backs who provide the cross for Anelka and J Cole.

    Very early days but very encouraging.

    Good luck to Spurs.

  • Comment number 69.

    hii,i am very sure that chelsea is going to make it this season.i believe in the players,the squad,most expecially the winning spirit in each of chelsea player.both man u,liverpool,Arsenal are going to try but the league belong to chelsea this season.Alex Faguson should know that if there is no Cristiana Ronaldo,there is no man united,they should wait till C.Ronaldo recover before they start winning.i wish chelsea best of luck these season.i love the players, the squad,the management crew and coach.

  • Comment number 70.

    As much as it pains me to say it, I cannot see beyond Chelsea for the championship this season. They should have won it last season, but there was the small matter of Ronaldo scoring all those goals and silly results like the 4-4 draw at Tottenham.

    I can't see them making those mistakes again, and like John Terry said, I can't see Ronaldo and the United squad hitting that form quite like that again. Terry must have hit a raw nerve with Alex, because he knows it's true. Unless they get a striker in as soon as possible who can stick the ball in the net on a regular basis and take some of the goal scoring pressure off Ronaldo, I think United will end up too far behind.

  • Comment number 71.

    Its Great to have the chelsea Impress on their game.They made me proud to be a Chelsea fan.

    Slim, Lagos, Nigeria

  • Comment number 72.

    Why does everyone think Chelsea will win the premiership after one game...Yes they have got a great squad but it can be matched by uniteds when everyone is fit. Chelsea fans should never blame injuries for their form as they practically have 3 players covering every position. If united buy a striker it should be a fantastic title race but for now i think chelsea will win it. United never start well in every premiership campaign so its no surprise they will this season...I expect them to drop further points in the next 3 matches but they will be firing on all cylinders in a months time once Ronaldo,Park and Hargreaves are fit, Berbatov is signed and Nani and Anderson get into their gears.

  • Comment number 73.

    My God one game and suddenly Chelsea are the greatest team ever and united are finished!! How do these journalists get these jobs?

    There was a marked difference in the two teams starting elevens yesterday. This is one game in to the new season though. To make a judgement this early on in the season is ludicrous.

  • Comment number 74.

    Phil:

    On another point made by a different poster, it will be very interesting to see how Mikel Jon Obi grows into the side now Claude Makelele has gone.

    Can he fulfil that role? Is there even a need for it to exist now he has gone?

    -------------------------------------------------

    Every club needs a ball winner and defensive midfielder...The difference is that Obi passing is mor direct when having won the ball, Claude looked sideways or backwards - the transition under Obi may therefore be "quicker" which in turn gives deco or who ever recives the ball a little more time.....Chelseas transition in 04/05 05/06 was qucik as Chelsea also had good wide players - Duff, Robben therefore the transition waspushed from wides berths...with a more compact midfield lacking width..the ball winning role combined with better distribution becomes more exagerated and thats where Oni maybe a subtle difference compared to Makelele over the past two season.

  • Comment number 75.

    I think that

  • Comment number 76.

    Phil

    I wrote in on your previous blog arguing that Scolari pretty much 'has it made' for him. He's taking over a half £bn squad and has to introduce two new players who he's already managed. Now, I'm not suggesting that managing 'Abramovich's army' is a cake-walk, just that I'd rather be in Scolari's shoes than Benitez' or Wenger's.

    Big Phil's exaaggerated rep is built on three unconvincing victories over England. Considering the criticism Sven got from all, I didn't notice an awful lot to suggest Felipao is streets ahead of the Swede.

    And, as an earlier post quite rightly acknowledged, last year Chelsea defeated City 6-1. All credit went to the players and none to Grant. Yesterday they beat Pompey by 4 and all of sudden Scolari is a Godsend.

    Sorry Phil, I ain't buying it... yet.

  • Comment number 77.

    I think it's lovely that Chelsea fans are over the moon about a deserved beating of a poor and lethargic Pompey.This all but shows who the Champions are(Man Utd if i may say).SAF always assesses his first games that is why maybe we've intentionally become slow starters.By the way Phil, Ferguson's theory(belief) hasn't been proven wrong,there are still 30 or so games to play.As for the Big Phil,wait till January then we may start pouring all the accolades if the fooball is still scintillating.

    Phil (McNulty) vs Big Phil(Scolari) i sense some biased analysis.

  • Comment number 78.

    MrBlueBurns i admire your passion for your team but i guess you "might" agree with me that there is always an element of subjectivity in every comment. Are you a Statistician because you seem to be implicitly referencing to the law of large numbers in probability on justifying your "rhetorics" against RasinJohnson first point.Don't get me wrong i'm not trying to pick an argument with you. But as far as I know statistically,impossibilty is subject to conceptualisation and contextualisation. What if RasinJohnson scaled the probabilty of an impossible event.then you might have misunderstood his sentiment.

  • Comment number 79.

    I'm wondering if this game can possibly be representative of Scolari's intended tactics this season. He fielded, essentially, a four man central midfield - Deco, Lampard, Ballack, and Obi, with Anelka and Cole striking. It's a potent formation, but it is, as has been oft observed, very narrow. It leaves them wide open on the wings. Pushing Cole and Boswinga forward works, but then they're left with porous defensive cover, leaving them with a harder task in winning the ball back.

    The solution has to be to pull Cole back to midfield, put SWP or Malouda on the wing, and pull the defenders back. But that loses space in the midfield for Ballack, Lampard, and Deco, and takes the tooth out of their attack. It'll still be potent - any one of the three feeding up to Drogba and Anelka is dangerous - but it doesn't have the sweeping attack that this formation had.

    At the end of the day much of Chelsea's bite in this game came from having three central attacking midfielders. That does indeed provide bite, but I can't see how it's a sustainable strategy.

  • Comment number 80.

    Yesterday was great entertainment. Before Scolari's apointment it was stated that he was a great motivator but not a great tactician. I think that was based on his international teams. Modern managerso don't change tactics unless the players have been thouroughly coached to play in different systems. As a club manager Scolari has the time to get players to understand their jobs in different systyms. Yesterday was one system but it wont allways work so don't exspect us to be the same every game. Scolari will keep Mikel in that position because although Essien can play there it curbs his attacking instincts. Ballack has been great but Essien will be first choice over Ballack because Essien is the best all round midfield player in the world. Mikel breaks up play well but Maka was and still will be for PSG the master because he commits so few fouls condidering how often he nicks the ball. What Mikel can do better is his range of passing. Still think we should get Berbatov he would be the awesome in this side. Its going to be an exciting season and Utd have got a tough start. Anderson coming back is key for them because Scholes needs some young legs to aid his infallable footie brain.

  • Comment number 81.

    tgbutd

    Thanks for the comment. In truth though, I think you are guilty of giving both him and me too much credit. I was just picking up on some pretty lazy English, the sort that Jamie Redknapp and many other pundits get paid to spout every time they are on tv. It was cheap of me but it does frustrate me at times.

  • Comment number 82.

    I know you are a Chelsea fan,Can i ask you to put your head on the block for once. what do you make of Man Utd chances this season after Sunday's result. Swallowing my pride i have to say chelsea surprised me yesterday.If it's true that you bought Deco for 8 mil i think you spent wisely because you've got a "player".As for us,Berbatov being tagged around 20-30mil that would be too expensive.hopefully effective.

  • Comment number 83.

    PhilSandifer:

    i agree that pushing the full backs forward coul leave space behind, but considering the ability and the pace of both fullbacks, not to mentions chelsea's sheer ability to keep the ball, i think there are very few teams out there who could really take advantage on that percieved weakness.

    mournotmourinho;

    as a united fan im not too worried about our start, we 've never been great starters and with tevez, ronaldo, hargreaves, anderson park etc all missing, it was always going to be tough against a newcastle side determined not to concede against us like they did last season, though i got to admit i thought we could win that game, but newcastle firmly deserved their point. what im more concerend about is the speed that chelseas midfield seemed to fit together yesterday. ok its just one game so far, but i honestly feel that unless we:

    1) define rooney's position and let him play naturally as a striker rather getting him to do the dogs work all over the place

    2) bring in another quailty striker (personally i'd rather have huntellaar over berbatov)

    i feel we might run second best to chelsea this season, last season it was so close, but chelsea have made to good siginings which look to have given them the edge they need.

  • Comment number 84.

    Just to confirm message meant for MrBlueBurns

  • Comment number 85.

    stonao: You say that SAF came out and said that Chelsea's team was 'too old to win the league' and that they 'have passed their peak'.

    Could you (or anyone) post a link to the transcript you have read regarding SAF comments? (And not someone’s interpretation)

    I have not misread the items I quoted, if you don't believe me, Google the text I put in quotes in my previous post.


    I've not seen a direct quote from SAF were he says they are "too old". Or that they have PASSED their peak. He said AT their peak but is that negative or a mind game?

    Cheers.

  • Comment number 86.

    Deco is a world-class player. He can add a lot of terms to Chelsea's style. He can do somethings other player in Chelsea can't do.

    It seems we can watch a stylish Blues this season ...

  • Comment number 87.

    redthemadsheep2001 - Indeed, there are few teams. Which is why Chelsea can finish in the top four with a deeply flawed set of tactics instead of fighting for relegation. But three such teams - Man U, Liverpool, and Arsenal - exist in the league Chelsea is trying to win, and a fair few others are competent enough to have a shot at getting through.

    That's why I don't see them as league champions. A system that usually works doesn't win the Prem.

  • Comment number 88.

    The EPL is a very entertaining annual football competition on the Planet. Let us wish all the players an injury-free season ahead. Millions of fans world-wide draw plenty of thrill and joy watching the super human feats of footballers on the beautifully maintained turfs all over England.



    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

  • Comment number 89.

    Keep it up Chelsea,stay focused and keep the wolves at bay (the Media) keep winning your games in style and gain just revenge on Man Utd for last seasons awful favourtism towards Man United. My prediction of Chelsea record at the half way stage of the campaign...P19 won 15 drawn 4 lost 0 for 46 against 17 pts 49 ********* this comes from a Man City fan ******** I also agree Deco is an absolute steal at £8M ****

  • Comment number 90.

    People...I'm hearing alot of comments in reference to Chelsea's tactics this season and how their centrally-driven play may cause them problems this season...Let us just get things straight here...First and foremost the job of the manager is primarily to MANAGE the team...That means tactics, formations, training schedules, signings etc...The point is that Big Phil simply will not limit his tactical options to 4-5-1 , or 4-3-3, or even 4-4-2...His job is to alter the formations as and when it is required, either through injuries limiting his playing options, prospective opponents, or other tactical considerations...I am sure he will change the formation for certain Champions League matches, especially against big opposition, and the luxury of having a world-class squad is the fact that these guys are just that, world class. They are more than capable of altering their games to fit into different tactical systems and Big Phil is an excellent man-manager after all...Bottom line is that tactics will not be an obstacle to Chelsea's title chances...The only significant problems they may face will come in the guise of lengthy injuries to key players, loss of form, or indeed fatigue, later in the season in an ageing squad...Chelsea's main issues this season are:

    (1) Sort out Drogba's future - Either ensure that he commits or cash in, a sulking, unmotivated Drogba is of no use to Chelsea.

    (2) Finding another top-quality striker to work with Anelka, Drogba and Shevchenko - any injuries up front at this point will be felt dearly as they seem a bit thin up front. My personal suggestions are Klaas Jan Huntelaar or Berbatov, both absolute quality.

    (3) The form of Anelka and Shevchenko - The goal-scoring form of these guys is going to be ABSOLUTELY crucial to the Big Blue this season...I cannot underline this enough...If these guys don't score Chelsea will be totally reliant on Drogba, who only last month was almost a dead certain to sign for Inter.

    (4) Keeping Ballack, Lampard, Deco and fit - If I were big Phil I would handle these guys with a massive wad of cotton wool...The engines of the Chelsea team without a doubt in addition to the crucial goals they offer the team...Essien vital in the holding role, but without these guys marshalling the midfield it will be like skydiving without a parachute...

    Let us just hope you avid Chelseaites are this optimistic after their first defeat...But all in all I think it is fair to say that Chelsea are in there with a fantastic shout at the most coveted league title in the world, amidst alot of quality opposition from the other 3 and this season is going to be great...

    SPURS FOR THE TITLE!!!



  • Comment number 91.

    Obviously Scolari won't run this system against every team. My point is merely that when he opts to run another system, much of what made the game against Portsmouth so lopsided dissipates.

  • Comment number 92.

    In the last 4 years, that was the best performance I've seen a chelsea team play. It was evident in pre-season that Deco would be at the heart of the midfield and chelsea's fluidity in passing and movement was down to the portugese. Further, their ball retention was superb which meant that fullbacks cole and boswinga were able to push forward and exploit the space by chelsea's narrow midfield. Anelka was superb from the start and considering they still have Drogba to come back from injury, the rest of the league should perhaps be worried.

  • Comment number 93.

    I think that Chelsea will do much better than they did under Mourinho. These are world class players who do not need to be told how to play football. ll they need is peace and quiet to do their thing. Mourinho distracted constantly with controversy and honestly - rubbish talk most of the time. He put unnecessary pressure on his forcing them to play for him.. In my opinion they underperformed big time. If they can play to their full potential. They will blow all the other teams away, and be loved and admired around the world..

  • Comment number 94.

    deco is a fabulous player BUT he went missing in action (supposedly with ronaldinho on barcelona's disco floors) for ALL of last season. will he last a full season in the UK?

  • Comment number 95.

    I reckon that Redknapps missus could do the same as Scolari !

  • Comment number 96.

    See,
    Everyone keep saying its the first game...
    Chelsea's played 5 pre season games and won four, convincingly. The other they drew, and lost on penalties.

    Portsmouth is their sixth game and its only right to say that they're favourites, because it was won by the same kind of play and flair that was seen during the pre season games.

    I was watching Deco, and I see that sometimes he was reluctant in flogging some passes that he's capable of. Against Milan and Zhendu Blades (apologies if the spelling is wrong, can't be bordered 'googling' the correct spelling), he wiped a 70 yard pass. Same thing in Euro 2008 against Germany- they won a corner kick, he was standing at the edge of the 6-yard box, he wiped a pass with his outside foot straight up to Ronaldo on the opposite side of the other end of the pitch- He was kinda reluctant at the bridge, maybe cos the pitch is a bit smaller than Camp Nou. A good instance was when he was pushing one of the first half attacks against Pompey, he was gonna attempt a long-range pass to Joe, but then he detoured one to Ashley. Deco is good though, he's got that flair.

    I saw United V United at Old Trafford. Why does Giggs keep coming in-field, and forcing Rooney out wide? Shouldn't he be the one playing the wide-side? They just keep depriving Wayne, the benefits of a supporting striker, which he was behind Frazier last sunday. He was forced wide and he delivered a nice cross with his outside right foot for Frazier to head straight to Given.

    The only time Ryan decided to go wide, he low-crossed for the equalizer. I think he should ALWAYS go wide, and not come in-field because he'll keep forcing Rooney wide.

    I can't wait for the Champion's League...

  • Comment number 97.

    hi phil
    as i said before chelsea is not brazil,and scolari didnt invent football,i just wonder again what would have been the headlines of the newspapers if grant would have finished 1:1 with chelsea at home.its just show that evrey think is in our mind,and sometimes we need to give a chance to somebody new the same way we want somebody else to give chance to us in our privet life.

 

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