Its certainly a Super Sunday today, as Champions League winners, and Premier League Champions lock horns at Stamford Bridge this afternoon. Whilst Rafa Benitez meets Roberto Mancini in the dugouts in a Spain v Italy clash that Rafa will be hoping ends similar to the Euro 2012 one this summer.
Eyes will also be on Fernando Torres, who looks to end another drab spell in front of goal, whilst opposition strikers Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero are having no troubles.
Hi guys, firstly what do you think of the sacking of Di Matteo, and the hiring of Benitez?
Zaib: I think the sacking of Di Matteo was harsh however, us Chelsea fans are now probably used to the whole process at the Club (WIN or you’re OUT, simple as that). Do I agree with the decision? NO. Do I back the board? YES. You can’t deny recent results and performances haven’t been good enough!
The appointment of Rafael Benitez on an interim basis shows the weight of the job any Chelsea manager has on his shoulders. He is in my opinion one of the world’s best coaches who has proven ability managing a team. I think he is a good appointment in the current situation, Benitez will KNOW that other candidates will be in the frame for the job in the summer, i.e. Josep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho etc. All the more reason why he’ll be extra motivated to turn some heads towards him in the remaining time left in the season.
Ian: I’m not shocked by any means. I’m severely disappointed. In fact, when Robbie was given his contract back in the summer I had a horrible feeling that he would get… well, let’s just say it would be from a great height.
It was announced yesterday that Cole and Lampard are more than likely to be gone in the summer too, are you surprised, or was it expected?
Zaib: I am not surprised, it is time for us to move onto the next chapter of the Abramovich era/Chelsea history. The wages of these players would be an issue too, they would be demanding very high pay slips and age isn’t on their side. I think it was expected due to the emergence of Ryan Bertrand and the arrival of Oscar. We are learning to play with a new style, the world is evolving and we must move with it.. Let’s begin to create the next stars of this team!
Ian: I wouldn’t say it was expected, but I’m not that surprised. I can understand it with Lampard, as much as I don’t want to see it. But with Cole, it’s a huge shock. He still plays every match and never really puts in a bad performance. It’s not something I can make sense of really.
There’s been silly talks of a ‘crisis’ but we face league leaders Man City tomorrow, and a win there puts us a point behind them, surely its realistic to still expect a title challenge this year?
Zaib: Not even going to bother discussing this question much. With the quality we have and the money we have spent, I am in no doubt that we will firmly be in the Premier League title race this year. Even more so if we are knocked out of the Champions League. (We had a better season than both Manchester clubs in a whole last season).
Ian: Crisis is a word used regularly when we lose a few games. I’m sure most teams would want to swap places with us. However, if we fail to qualify for the knockout phase of the Champions League, then maybe it could be considered a crisis, certainly in financial terms.
Like us, City have invested heavily on the playing squad, who do you think we need to watch out for most in their starting eleven?
Zaib: They have many quality players, but the usual ones to look out for would be Tevez, Aguero, Silve and Yaya Toure. These four are the match-winners for the current Champions of England, however, Dzeko looks like he can change a game coming off the bench this season. City have started the season slowly (performance wise) and we will have to be careful. They have been a bit sluggish however in some of the top games this season in the league, i.e. Liverpool (2-2), Arsenal (1-1?) and Spurs even though they won 2-1.
Ian: It’s tough to chose really. Normally I would say Aguero, but Tevez seems to like playing against us, whether it be for Manchester City, Manchester United or West Ham, he always scores against us. They have threats all over the pitch so I think our defence will have to be very aware of the threat we’re up against.
Finally, what do you think the score will be, and who will get the goals?
Zaib: I think we will have a point to prove considering the week we have had (Champions league defeat, RDM, Rafa, Clattenburg). Chelsea will be extremely motivated for the extreme challenge of facing the unbeaten leaders, however, I think with the appointment of Rafa a Torres goal may come! We beat the unbeaten table toppers last season 2-1 having fallen behind first and I expect Chelsea to win the game. It will be an emotional game at the Bridge, hopefully one to remember for the right reasons. Once the whistle blows though, I can expect every Chelsea fan to back Benitez and begin our next adventure with a win. Its going to be a long season and we need to stick together more than ever now.
Ian: I’m not predicting a result because usually I’m well off the mark. What I will say, though, is that I think it will be a close game and be settled by one goal. Maybe now with Benitez on the sidelines we may see the best of Fernando Torres? You heard it here first…
Cheers for your answers guys! Hopefully Torres can get that goal he needs, and that we can end the reigning Champions unbeaten run. The game will kick-off at 1600GMT, and if you can’t watch the game, make sure you follow our Twitter and Facebook, as we will post links on there for the game closer to kick-off.
By Brad Smith