View From The Opposite Stand: Chelsea

View From The Opposite Stand: Chelsea

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Here is a new and potentially short lived feature (depending on whether I can find anyone else willing to go along with it). Before each game I will delve inside the warped mind of someone who doesn’t support Tottenham. Namely, a supporter of the opposition.

Which means that this week, a Chelsea supporter climbs upon the soapbox. Please refrain from hurling rotten fruit at him. Even Chelsea fans deserve the right to the same freedom of speech that everyone else enjoys.

So step forward Kristian Downer, mastermind of EChelseaFC and the soon to be launched, famousCFC.com. You can read Kristian’s interview with Yours Truly, here.

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

I currently live and work in Nottingham, between the two football grounds of the city (I can hear the roar of the crowd from my bedroom on match days). I went to university in Nottingham and have been here for 5 years now, traveling to the Bridge when I can and going to all the away games in the Midlands.

I have been writing about football and Chelsea for about 18 months, trying to educate the ignorant masses to not believe everything they read from a biased media.

How did you come to support Chelsea? How long have you been supporting them? What was the first match that you attended and what was the score?

Supporting Chelsea was not a conscious choice. My Dad has been a Chelsea fan since the late 60s and I have been brought up on Chelsea – they are all I have ever known.

I was seven when I saw my first game, standing in the Shed during the 1992-93 season against Norwich. The game itself lives long in the memory of every Chelsea fan of that era due to the relinquishing of a 2-0 lead. Chelsea collapsed with the aid of Dave Beasant, who let two goals slip through his fingers, almost throwing the ball into the net on one occasion. From a position of unassailable strength Chelsea lost the game 3-2.

What do you think of Chelsea’s start to the season?

6 games, 6 victories is all you can ask for really, I have been concerned by a lack of width but overall the style of football and spirit is higher than this point last season when we were destroying sides by 3 or 4 goals to nil.

Spurs is the first game Chelsea will play against a team that really fancies their chances, I think this will play into our hands as it will be easier to get in behind teams that are playing with more attacking intent. It is also great to see Drogba and Anelka starting together, showing the benefits of having two world class strikers on the pitch and both have been amongst the goals this season. Drogba’s return to form is key to our success this season.

We all had a good laugh at Chelsea’s expense, when you were banned from making any transfers until 2011. Do you expect this verdict to be upheld? What impact will it have on the long term future of the club?

There have been some interesting developments in football over the last few weeks with the FA now introducing the home grown rule and youth development now being firmly in the spotlight. It is obvious that Chelsea are not the only offenders and are being made a high profile example of. The culture of poaching from smaller clubs has been around for decades and exists across all levels of the game.

If Chelsea breached the rules then that deserves to punished, however this is another example of inconsistency in decision making at the highest level.

The incident in question occurred two years ago and the decision to punish the player as well as the club is probably the most disappointing part of the decision, particularly as this may have been the season that Kakuta made his first team debut (albeit in the early rounds of the Carling Cup).

How do you think Chelsea will cope with the exodus of players that the African Nations Cup will bring?

Chelsea have an excellent run of fixtures during the African Nations this year and should have the players left behind to get the job done. If we were playing any of the other top clubs in this period I would be worried but I think we have dodged a bullet this year.

What do you make of Tottenham’s start to the season and what do you think they will achieve this season?

It certainly makes a change from the last couple of seasons; a quieter pre-season with Manchester City hogging the limelight seems to have suited Spurs, who have flopped under high expectations for as long as I have been following football. I think the start to the season has been good for Spurs but a Europa league place and cup run will be the pinnacle of achievements this season, unless one of the other top 6 clubs underperforms and opens the door.

Chelsea were our bogey team until recently, but now we have a very good record against you over the last couple of seasons. How do you see Sunday’s game going?

I think this is Ancelotti’s first big test, however I do think that it will be an opportunity to show what the side can do against a team with ambitions going forward, Anelka, Drogba and Lampard will benefit from having more space to work with, so provided Ashley Cole and Jose Boswinga are still able to offer sufficient width Chelsea will be very strong

Who will be the key players in this encounter? Who do you fear from Tottenham?

I think Tottenham will be reliant on trying to expose Chelsea’s narrow system, so therefore the full backs for Chelsea and the wide men such as Lennon for Spurs will be key. I would say the biggest threat to Chelsea is Lennon, but ultimately the game is Chelsea’s to lose. Tottenham will need an excellent team performance to gain even a draw, whereas Chelsea only need one or two moments of magic to secure the points.

Will Chelsea win the league? What about the Champions League?

I think the league is not impossible and we will finish in the Top 2. As with most Premier League seasons I think that any team that finishes above Manchester United will win the league, regardless of the media speculation following Ronaldo’s departure.

If Chelsea can get to 10 games with between 26 and 30 points then that will lay down a real marker to the rest of the title contenders going into a much tougher October/November period.

As for the Champions League, we have one of the best squads in the competition, but I will not really gain enthusiasm until the group stages are out of the way. This is going to sound like a cliché, but I still don’t rate the Champions League as anything more than a sideshow. Obviously losing in Moscow hurt but, I would still rather win the league.

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