Sunday, 25 December 2016

Rival Lines: We're gonna be hard to catch, says Chelsea Daft

Rival Lines
Match Preview: Chelsea V AFCB

Blogger Interview: Chelsea Daft
Twitter: @chelseadaft

First things, first - Happy Christmas everyone! The season may just get even more special if AFCB can register their second away win of the season tomorrow, but Chelsea are in fine form. In fact, I have been chatting with Chelsea Daft who has a few words to say about how Chelsea are setting the pace at the top of the table.

CC: Is the title race over for this season?

CD: At this point with half of the season to go I would say no. However, if Chelsea open up a gap of more than 10 points then it will be hard for teams to catch us as I cannot see us losing at the minute. There will be plenty of twists and turns along the way still but as you would have seen in the past, when Chelsea establish a lead of double figures at the top of the League, we are often hard to catch.

CC: Is the FA Cup now a competition that the fans at Chelsea want to win with the club not being in European football this season?

CD: Being honest, the FA Cup would be an added bonus. If you asked any genuine Chelsea fan of the target for this season it would be to get back into the Champions League. I've said in recent weeks that if we managed to beat Tottenham and Manchester City then top four is now almost certain.

Let's see what happens.


CC: What do you most like about Antonio Conte?

CD: Everyone knows his passion for the game and his antics throughout the game on the touchline but what I really like and respect about him is the fact that when he came into Chelsea after such a bad year for us last year, he didn't decide to do what Louis Van Gaal did at Manchester United. He didn't walk in the door and demand that the players at club adapt to the way he wanted to play straight away, to try to fit in to what he wanted.

He came in to have a look at all the players, to watch how they have been used to playing and then at the start of the season decided upon what he believed to be his best team for that formation.

As soon as the nightmare against Liverpool happened followed by even worse at Arsenal, only then did he change the shape of the side to what he wanted and at that point, he knew the players he had here that would fit into the system perfectly. The rest is history eleven games later!

CC: Which game do you think has been the best performance by Chelsea this season?

CD: Everton at home was total football and a display I had never witness before in the 35 years I have been going to watch Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Everything came together that night and we blew Everton out of the water. It was that good that in a pub on the Kings Road after the game, My mates and I stood there looking at each other with a pint in our hands almost lost for words. One even said "What have we just witnessed?" as if it was unbelievable.

CC: How has going three at the back made Chelsea a harder side to beat?

It has coupled with the wing backs. If you think about it, we still have the two holding midfielders and the three players in attacking areas but rather than lose one of your defenders and play him through the middle, we are utilising the wing-backs who play right out on the wing and it gives teams something to think about.

CC: Hazard is playing with much more freedom this season but are you surprised that he did not go last summer?

CD: Being honest, yes I was - but if you remember, Hazard was one of those players who reports stated had fallen out with Jose Mourinho and he took a fair bit of flack from the supporters for it (It was never proven by the way). After being named the best player in the Premier League to then have a season like he did, he obviously felt that he had something to prove here and decided to stay.

If we win the title this season then he may leave to go to Real Madrid but I hope that he stays to tackle the Champions League under Conte next season.

CC: Nathan Aké is playing brilliantly with us at AFC Bournemouth do you expect him to play for Chelsea next season?

CD: I would like to say yes, but I think he has another year out on loan before he comes into the squad. We have a player called Andreas Christensen who has played out in Germany who is ahead of Ake in the pecking order at the moment and he will be in our squad next season for sure.

CC: Who will be the bigger miss in the game against AFC Bournemouth – Costa or Kanté?

CD: It's a hard one but it has to be Diego Costa purely because the guy can win a game for you from nothing as he demonstrated a couple of weeks ago against West Brom. In saying that, look out for Michy Batshuayi who will come in as his replacement. He is young, talented, raw and strong with a good eye for goal. He has all the attributes to be the next Didier Drogba!

CC: What do you think of the form of Fabregas this season?

CD: It's been good when he has been involved but he has become a casualty of the 3-4-3 tactical switch along with Oscar who has just been sold. Fabregas is out and out quality and demonstrated that against Manchester City. He will play tomorrow.

CC: How do you think Chelsea will line up for this game?

Cahill, Luiz, Azpilicueta, 
Alonso, Moses, Matic, Fabregas, Hazard, 
Willian and Batshuayi.

CC: A big thanks to Chelsea Daft as I know they have been very busy and it was kind of them to spare some time to answer the questions for us. It is good to hear a Chelsea fan that sounds quite grounded and not thinking too far ahead as if the job is done. I think Conte is like that is well - very astute and working out how the Premier League works as much as what his own players are capable of. He has had some hard tests in the games against Arsenal and Liverpool, but there has not been too much to trouble Chelsea since, and it's up to AFCB to make it a difficult game for Chelsea, especially when they are missing two of their best players. If you want to read some more views on how Chelsea are shaping up do go over to the Chelsea Daft site to get more on their season so far.

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