Super Chelsea

A Chelsea Blog For All Chels

Super Chelsea - A Chelsea Blog For All Chels

Europa League Final: Could Rafa Benitez lead Chelsea to glory?

When the season started, we hoped that we would be able to defend our hard-won Champions League crown. We had spent heavily in the summer on the likes of Eden Hazard, freshened up an ageing squad to some degree and looked forward to having a better chance of winning the Premier League. Sadly, the best we can hope for is the Europa League title as we’ve failed on all other fronts.

Europa League Trophy

Our rainbow after a stormy season?

Our surprising decision to sack Roberto di Matteo despite lying in second place in the league meant that we brought in Rafael Benitez as an interim replacement. After a very shaky start under the Spaniard, we have managed to stabilise and could yet end the season with a major trophy, even if it’s one none of us thought we would be challenging for.

 

A final salute

Before Benitez leaves, he knows that he’s steered us to guaranteed Champions League qualification with a game to go; but to try and make us feel a little bit better about his time at Stamford Bridge, he has to lead us to victory against Benfica. It won’t be easy, as the Portuguese giants have some class players in their squad, yet Chelsea are Europa League Betting Favourites at 7/5.

In the Europa League we’ve excelled, albeit against weak opposition. Having failed to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League, we’ve taken apart the likes of FC Basel, Steaua Bucharest and Sparta Prague without playing at our best. However, we’re likely to be without two key men in the form of John Terry and Eden Hazard.

 

Belief in Jesus?

Under manager Jorge Jesus, Benfica have managed to do the same as Chelsea – keep going in the Europa League after dropping out of the Champions League group stages. A talented squad containing possible future transfer targets like Argentina winger Nicolas Gaitan, Paraguay forward Oscar Cardozo and solid former Real Madrid defender Ezequiel Garay is one not to be taken lightly.

Coming into the final, Benfica could still be left reeling by a dramatic title decider in the league. Up until injury time, they were level at 1-1 against big rivals FC Porto, but a last-gasp winner by opposition striker Kelvin could have cost them the league, having led the table for so long. Picking themselves up for the Europa League final will be tough.

For Chelsea to win, we either have to pray that Fernando Torres does what he’s seldom managed to do since he’s been at the club and find that scoring touch or, more realistically, hope that Juan Mata et al can conjure up some more magic. Mata, along with Oscar and the evergreen Frank Lampard are the most likely scorers.

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Seasonal Preview

The 2012/13 English Premier League season is set to kick off this weekend, many will be expecting to see Drama in the opening fixtures as We will play away against Wigan Athletics on Sunday. And here is a preview on some of the hottest talking points towards this new season togetther with some of International football Experts/Journalists.

Its a season where we will have to defend our UEFA Champions League title, and also the FA Cup as we also eye to win other Silverwares, something which has never been easy for any club as far as European football is concerned. Chelsea will play in six different tournaments, and over 60 games.

The Squad and the Transfer Activity

The transfer activity so far has been impressive, bringing new and young talents to the squad – transforming the squad from an aged to a youthful side, adding more pace and creativity.

Eden Hazard, Oscar, Marko Marin are the big names to have been signed so far and many others rumored and may arrive soon with the likes of Hulk, Neymar, Azpilicueta, Edinson Cavani, Victor Mosses to mention a few.

Creativity needs such attacking players, and with a creative squad more goals will be produced, and we will be able to win games.

When it comes to new signings for Chelsea, Eden Hazard comes first. Young, creative, he has got the speed and the technical ability. He is a player who is expected to make a difference in the team, and help the team to reach its goals. Having scored 20 goals and 15 assists in 35 starts appearances for Lille last season in the French Ligue 1 and his performances have been improving now and then.

Fernando Torres
Torres had a very difficult beginning with Chelsea, after his lost his form. But now he has been very impressive scoring braces, crucial goals and even a hat-trick. According to the statistics, there is a huge improvement on his performances compared to the first season when he was under intense pressure from the fans and media, but now we are talking of a confident Fernando Torres whose formed has been brilliant from last season to the Euro 2012 for Spain, and this season he is the man to look after to produces more goals and win games for Chelsea.

John Chapman (Belgian Football Journalist – www.belgofoot.be) gave his thoughts on Eden Hazard’s move and future at Chelsea.

John Chapman: I think Eden Hazard has great potential. He’s quick, clever and explosive. He can make and take goals and should succeed at the very highest level. He’ll probably develop into a central midfield playmaker but may have to play on the wing initially; and fans will need to be patient as it does take time to settle in the Premier League.

Eden Hazard

Eden Hazard

And also John Chapman shared his views on Chelsea’s Belgians youngsters Thribaut Courtois, Romelu Lukaku, and Kevin De Bruyne.

John Chapman: Courtois has great skill that he has shown in a very short career at Genk (champions) and Atletico Madrid (Europa League winners). He’s maturing rapidly, on and off the field, and has the ability to be a top five (in the world) keeper within the next 3-5 years.

With Romelu Lukaku, I have doubts. He lacks the technical ability to
reach the top; his main strength is his strength (very powerful) and that’s
not enough at the very top.

Kevin De Bruyne is another player with a lot of potential. I think the
move to the Bundesliga will be great for him. Like Hazard, he’s spent most
of his career on the wing but he should develop into a central playmaker. I saw him in that role for Genk vs. Anderlecht and he was excellent: good vision, passing ability, speed, enthusiasm.

ESPN Football Analyst and Commentator Janusz Michallik and Daily Telegraph’s Correspondent Henry Winter gave their views on some talking points.

Is there a realistic chance of winning the league or Six trophies?

Janusz Michallik: Winning 6 trophies is an impossible task even for Barca. They did it once but these things don’t happen too often. I would say that Chelsea will have a shot but they still need to add players in key areas.

Henry Winter: Manchester City and Manchester United are too powerful so I can’t see Chelsea winning the league. They may win the Super Cup or the Fifa gong in
Tokyo but it’s not going to be like last season’s successes.

Is there a need for another Striker?

Janusz Michallik: I would say that Chelsea need at least two quality strikers. Losing Drogba does not only mean goals and the fear factor but a target man that can hold the ball with back to the goal and bring others into the game. That is especially important with the technical player like Mata, Marin, Hazard, Oscar. Torres does not offer that. The question of a quality right back is obvious. Need a player that understands the position and will provide pace and width to otherwise very narrow Chelsea team.

What other areas do you think Chelsea need to Strengthen at the moment?

Henry Winter: They need another Makelele, somebody to anchor midfield. They need a right-back as Ivanovic has become slightly indisciplined. They need another centre-forward to ease load on Torres.

Thoughts on Chelsea’s current Squad depth, Creativity and strengths?

Janusz Michallik: We knew that Chelsea needed to get younger and more creative. I think they have addressed these issues very quickly but as we said still have some work to do. Overall very impressive so far.

Henry Winter: Creativity obvious with Oscar, Mata and Hazard. Oscar will need time to get used to pace and pressing of English football. Torres looks in the mood.

 

Tactics and Chalkboards

Janusz’s Chelsea XI (4-2-3-1).

Janusz Michallik’s XI

Henry’s Chelsea XI: (4-2-3-1) I’d have Ramires deep as not going to get in ahead of new stars and more reliable than Mikel.

Henry Winter’s XI

 

Follow on Twitter: @makivic08 @JanuszESPN
@HenryWinter
@Belgofoot

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