Opposition View: A Chelsea fan on this weekend’s London derby

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Ahead of Saturday lunchtime’s Premier League clash between Tottenham and Chelsea at the Lane, we caught up with Nour from TalkChelsea to get the opposition view for what is a massive derby match for both sides.

Who are you and why are you Chelsea fan?

Nour Ezzeddine from Lebanon. I’m a Chelsea fan because when I started watching football, there was a little magician called Gianfranco Zola who made me fall in love with team. Been supporting the Blues since.

Special One or Special Once? Were you pleased at the reappointment of Mourinho?

Sentimentally, I think every Chelsea fan was delighted with seeing Jose back at the Bridge. He’s a man that knows how to get the fans behind him and behind the team. But I was aware that his return will have a down side: The hype around his return means that the expectations the fans and the media have of him and the team this season are so high and unrealistic that he really can’t win; if we don’t win the league then it is a huge failure and if we do win it then it’s only what was expected of Jose. That said, he was by far the best option available and I have been happy with what he has been doing with the team so far.

And, early days I know, how has he been for you so far?

Jose, unlike the managers that we’ve had since his departure (bar AVB), is trying to install a new philosophy within the team. He’s not just making minor adjustments and quick-fixes for one season. He’s building a team for years to come. It will plenty of time so it’s really hard to judge from now. But I do like the glimpses I’ve seen so far. He’s going for a team that will keep possession high up the field, with close lines, but one that will also defend in numbers. We’re trying to defend by suffocating the opposition on the wings and attack by creating space made by the movement of the front four instead of the individual skills of players. That second part will take some time, but it’s coming along.

To outsiders it seems astonishing that the manager would ignore players of the quality of Mata and Lukaku or even Moses, is there more understanding of his plans within the Chelsea faithful?

To some extent. Lukaku is still not ready to lead the line for a club that will play possession football high up the pitch and rotating him with 2 other strikers will only hurt hi development. I genuinely believe that loaning him to Everton was the right call. Moses cannot compete with the other six 4 wingers we have, so he had to go, but I personally would have liked us to have kept him for free instead of splashing 30m on Willian. That transfer seemed very pointless to me. As for Mata, it’s difficult one because he was our best player for the past two years and one of the best in the league, but eventually you have to realize that the “project” (as AVB liked to call it :P) has to come before players and Mata just doesn’t suit Jose’s current system, certainly not centrally. He may be able to have a role on the wings, but, if I’m honest, I say he’ll be gone by next summer, sadly. Of course, not all Chelsea fans agree with all that and a lot are not too happy with Jose for it, but for most fans..”In Jose We Trust”.

I’ve had a soft spot for Samuel Eto’o ever since he dedicated a goal to Spurs fans after nutmegging Sol Scumbell, how has the cheeky lad been looking so far? Up for the fight or just here for the money?

Certainly up for the fight, but he’s obviously lacking a lot of fitness. Hasn’t really come up with big performances so far, but it looks like Jose is willing to give him the chances and time he needs to pick up his form. Expect him to start against you.

And how about the other players you’ve brought in, Schurrle, De Bruyne and the medical-dodging Willian, how are they doing?

Schurrle has really exceeded my expectations so far. His work rate has been immense and he’s proving to be tactically important to the team. De Bruyne is real prospect, I’m a huge fan of his. He looked immense in preseason and the first game against Hull but has struggled a bit since but I’m sure he’ll play a big role for us this season once Jose figures out his best team. The boy is quality. As for Willian, like I said above, I really didn’t see much need for his signing. He looked good in the CL against Basel but struggled with the final product against Swindon. I think we’ll need some time to see how well he fits. Till now he just seems to me as a very expensive way to piss you guys off :P

Spurs were very active transferwise over the summer as I’m sure you’ll have noticed, have you seen much of The Team That Gareth Bought and if so, has anyone particularly caught your eye?

I’m very interested in the team that Andre has assembled, he’s always had a great eye for talent. Honestly, I haven’t been impressed by Paulinho and Capoue before his injury. They’re not my type of central midfielders, tbh. Chadli looks really good; big threat whenever he’s on the ball. I already knew what a huge talent Lamella is as I follow the Serie A closely. I think he will be a very big player for you and will only get better. I would’ve love him instead of Willian, if I’m honest. But the talent that I like the most in your team is the one you signed back January. I’ve been following Holty since he was playing for and captaining the German U19 NT. Physical strength, tactical awareness and technical skill that is second to none. Great, great talent and an absolute steal for the price you got him for.

Gooners apart, we’ve had a relatively easy run of fixtures to start the season, Chelsea will be a big test, should we be worried ;-) ?

Well, I certainly hope so! I honestly believe that you are the perfect team for us to play against. Our main issue this season has been that teams (bar Bayern, of course) has been parking the bus against us and denying our attackers any space because our front four are not used enough to our current system to stretch teams that are defending deep. I think the likes of Hazard and Schurrle will relish the spaces behind your defense. Only worry for us is that Ramires might miss the game which would weaken our pivot.

Will you rest any players given the game against Steaua on Tuesday?

Rest players? I don’t even know who our best starting XI is! lol But I believe that Jose will put out what he thinks is the best side. I don’t think that the game against Steaua will come into the equation when he’s making the selection choices.

You looking forward to the game?

Yeah, definitely. I think it will be an entertaining game for spectators, but I also believe that we have a possibility of putting in a great performance that can go a long way morally for the players. I’ll be fancying our chances with our record against you in the past 2-3 seasons.

And a score prediction please.

I always predict Chelsea wins, so I’ll go with 2-1 Chelsea.

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