james debate
james debate

Saturday 23 August 2008

Yes it's true that I am a Chelsea fan. But similarly I think anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that last season I was our staunchest critic. Even early in the season I was vocal about how craply it was all going and I was very pleasantly surprised by our strong end to the season.

However I am very happily starting this season with a different view. I was pretty optimistic about our chances under new manager Scolari, and cautiously apprehensive about the expensive signing of Bosingwa and the rather risky purchase of Deco, a player many had considered to be over the hill; but I still felt we might give a good account of ourselves this season. But I certainly wasn't prepared for that first match.

I've always been a vocal critic of all the hacks in the media who call Chelsea boring and say we can't play exciting football. To be frank we're just like United in that we sometimes play good football and sometimes sit back and counter attack (it's funny how when United do it, counter attacking is 'sexy football' and when we do it it's a negative tactic).

But even I have to admit that I have never seen Chelsea play like we did against Portsmouth. So full of confidence, gelling perfectly, accurate and quick passing, it was an incredible joy to watch. That we have settled in so quickly is nothing short of a miracle from Scolari, and against a very very good side in Portsmouth as well (last season's FA cup winners)

Compare this to Arsenal's and Liverpool's rather soggy and lame openers against poor opposition and United dropping points in a display that reminds us just how mediocre they really are without Ronaldo. It bodes well for the season ahead and will be interesting to watch.

Meanwhile John Terry kept his place as England Captain. And this apparently was a massive 'shock' to the footballing world. To be honest though the only people I know who are shocked by it are people who know nothing about football and just get their opinions from the tabloids, and to be honest that's all that this is.

The media has generally been quite quick to heap fawning praise on United in recent times and so it should come as no shock when they start pushing Rio for England captain upon us. In fact at no point did Capello or anyone else involved with England ever say a single thing to back up this notion that Rio was a cert for the captaincy. This was pretty much just a campaign started by the media in the misguided hope that they could pressure and influence Capello to appoint the person that they wanted to be captain.

I think Capello has known for a while now that Terry would be his choice, they're honestly not comparable as a captain. Rio has never been a good example on or off the pitch as a person, and he's certainly not the best man motivator and does he look like someone with a great tactical brain? To be honest Gerrard would have been a way better choice for captain, as would Lampard, Wayne Rooney (if he could control his temper) and Beckham. Fortunately Capello is a very smart man, and managed to keep Terry as captain, whilst appeasing the average punter with Rio as vice captain.

For any of you out there who don't like this appointment, or his decision to keep Lampard in the England team, just remember that Capello has never been one to make 'popular' decisions, and he's always been proven right before...

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