We recently caught up with Rowan Farnham-Long, Chelsea fan and editor of www.cfcnet.co.uk to get his opinion ahead of Sunday’s London derby between Chelsea and Tottenham at Stamford Bridge.
Have you been surprised by Tottenham’s start to the season?
I have but only because they haven’t really lived up to their potential in previous seasons, and usually around this point another boss is collecting his p45 as Spurs sit perilously close to the bottom of the table. Spurs have always had it in them to do well, and Harry Redknapp seems to be getting the best out of the squad this time around. I’m not sure if it can last, because the big boys being the big boys will ruin it all for you by continuing that habit of winning more games and possibly poaching your best players come January, but you can enjoy the ride for the moment.
What do you make of Chelsea’s start to the new campaign?
What more can you ask for? A perfect start so far, with the only blot on our copybook occurring off the pitch – as it often does for Chelsea. We haven’t been tested by the so-called big sides but Spurs on Sunday should really be a marker of our credentials this season. If we battle to a result then the it’s happy days; if we draw or even lose, it could show that Spurs are the real deal, and us and the rest of the title challengers may have something to worry about after all.
Which Spurs player would you most want in the Chelsea squad?
You can’t really look past Jermaine Defoe right now can you? He’s unstoppable at the moment, and reminding me a bit of that Michael Owen fella, when he was good obviously. Good news for Spurs and England if he keeps banging them in. Luka Modric is also a good prospect, although I am slightly perturbed that he has not yet reached puberty. Either that or he has just naturally got the build of a 12-year-old girl. And of course, there’s Carlo Cudicini, but more of that later.
Which Chelsea player should Spurs most worry about?
How much space have I got? Seriously, although the usual suspects are in place – Drogba, Lampard, Anelka, and so on until we reach the likes of Ross Turnbull and Sam Hutchinson – our main strength this year is our unity and collective power. There does not appear to be any major weak links – although whilst typing that sentence Salomon Kalou floated into my mind – and we play as a team should. It’s often difficult to pick a man of the match after games as it is mostly our team play which catches the eye, and we attack as a team and defend as a team. All I can say to Spurs ahead of the game is, make sure you bring the bus.
Which Chelsea player would you happily sell to Spurs and why?
Although the image of Kalou is now attempting to ram itself into my brain, head down through the fingers and appear on this very page, I can’t do that to the lad. He is a target of many fans’ ire, but he does a job for the side, as they all do. It’s difficult to pick one as, for us, it is like they have been caught doing something they shouldn’t. Playing for Spurs? How could they? There could be kids watching! They are never really looked at the same, and it does take a period of time before their conviction is ‘spent’ so to speak. Take Gus Poyet in 2001, some fans still can’t forgive him.
Spurs fans seem to be divided on Carlo Cudicini – what is your opinion of him?
I can see why they are perhaps not convinced, as he was slightly fading as a key player before we sold you a dummy, I mean, before you snapped him up. He is slightly suspect on crosses or high balls, and when your number one is Heurelho Gomes who had a similar problem last season, it stops being funny. I mean, for you obviously, we’re still laughing at Gomes. Cudicini is still agile as a cat and likeable as a kitten, and he left Chelsea on very good terms. He’s one who will not be tarnished with the ‘Spurs’ brush as far as we are concerned, because we understand why he left. It was a shame he went to Tottenham, but we’ll continue to see him as a key part of our recent history. Always a gent, and he still has something left in him. Hopefully the doubting Spurs fans will come to see that.
Where do you think both teams will finish in the Premier League this season?
We will win it, you will ultimately finish outside of the top four, but you won’t be far off. In some ways I hope you finish above Man City. Who do they think they are? Flashing the cash, buying anyone they want, behaving outside the rules. Well, they do say familiarity breeds contempt.
Jermain Defoe/Ledley King – should they be in England’s World Cup squad?
Defoe is a certainty for me, although I still don’t think he should start. His key strength is his dynamism, and with England’s system I don’t think he fits in as a starter, unless of course he bulks up to Heskey-size. Defoe coming off the bench could be exactly what we need to unlock stubborn defences, and as I said previously there’s a bit of the vintage Michael Owen in him. He is integral, so I fully expect him to break a metatarsal in April and not make it to South Africa. As far as Ledley King is concerned, it’s a huge no. I think he trains about as often as me and I’m just a writer so it doesn’t really bode well for him at all. He’s still a good player, it’s just I don’t think there is enough selotape in the world to patch him up ready for battle.
Your score prediction?
1-0 Chelsea. Very tight, but Defoe will be shackled by our stodgy midfield and at the end of the day, we’ve got Drogba up front. Who can tie him down?
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