Chelsea v Sunderland: ‘no, we don’t always expect to win’

ChelseaD is as close as we are allowed to get to identifying the young (everyone, viewed from here, is young) woman in Blue who looks forward to another win over Sunderland on Sunday but benignly offers hope of a tighter margin than last season. What else do we know about her? Well, she runs The Chelsea Blog and, tongue pressed firmly into cheek, enjoys the high moral ground of supporting a club whose players never cheat. No, she’s not the Chelsea fan who took delight that rainy day in January in walking past the away end loudly exclaiming “Appreciate!” …

Salut! Sunderland: Despite your setback at Anfield, everyone assumes Chelsea will win the Premier League with ease this season. Is that how Blues fans see it?

Cheers for the reminder!

I can’t speak for the majority but I’ve never assumed we’d win anything this season. If anything, I’ve thought we’d been sailing by the seat of our pants for a few weeks anyway and needed to play a lot better against Liverpool if we were to come out of it with anything. The fact that we didn’t and were missing Lampard, Essien – and even Drogba for 45 minutes of it – showed we’re no less vulnerable than anyone else when it comes to dropping points.

Salut! Sunderland has not always written approvingly of Chelsea but came out strongly, when last season’s title was far from decided, in favour of your club as deserving champions, Do you think the quality of football you played last season, carried forward as it has been to this season, has helped chip away at anti-Chelski prejudice?

We’re hardly flavour of the month but I guess playing the way we have under Ancelotti and City drawing all the attention when it comes to spending money these days haven’t done us any harm.

And are we in for another seven-goal battering?

You’d have thought so at the start of the season and we’ll certainly have a point to prove after a defeat but I reckon we’ll let you off with a tighter margin this time.

How bad did you think we were that day – don’t suppose it ever occurred to you that of the mini-league of clubs you’d hit for seven we were top of goal difference having scored two!

I think that result was more a case of us being really good than you being really bad. I honestly thought it was one of our best attacking displays of the season, we really were a different class. Having said that, the two we conceded were pretty sloppy, which was disappointing.

Who are the best players you have seen in Chelsea colours and are there any you feel didn’t deserve to wear them?

There’s been plenty I’ve questioned for different reasons but if I had to nail it down to one of each, Gianfranco Zola stands out both for his performances on the field and his professionalism off it, whilst Adrian Mutu was a complete bloody joke.

Chelsea have pots of money, but so do Man City and – to a lesser extent – other clubs with rich owners (and Sunderland fans can hardly claim to be completely isolated from the phenomenon). But what is your honest view of the way corporate football has developed in England?

Of course, as a Chelsea supporter, I have to appreciate that Roman’s money not only saved us but allowed us to go on and win titles but let’s be honest, football doesn’t feel the same anymore. Often paid too much for too little, players have turned into commercial vehicles for everything from Adidas to Armani, loyalty comes in the form of cards and points and contracts might as well be written in pencil for all they’re worth.

You must go to every game expecting to win. Does that get boring or does it just create pressures that are different from those experienced by fans of clubs outside the top three or four?

I don’t go into any game expecting to win and I’d imagine most Chelsea supporters who were around for many years before our more recent successes would know where I’m coming from with that – pessimism pays much bigger bonuses than arrogance for me. We definitely have higher expectations placed on us now though, so from a supporter’s point of view, every defeat brings a lot more flak than it used to.

Have you already forgotten the World Cup or cannot you wait for the next one?

What World Cup?

Has the time come to abandon high-minded principles about cheating – diving, feigning injury, trying to get opponents booked or sent off – and accept it as part of the game? If not, how do we stamp it out?

I’m just glad we don’t have any of that from our players.

Seriously though, the trouble with cheating these days is that it doesn’t stop at the odd stumble on the pitch anymore, managers are trying to gain the advantage through the press more and more and for me, whether official’s are manipulated before or during a game it amounts to the same thing. Stamping it out is the hard bit because for that to happen there has to be consistency from officials and I can’t see that happening in my lifetime.

What did you think about Danny Murphy/s comments about cloggers and the managers of certain clubs such as Stoke and Birmingham who, he felt, encouraged aggressive play?

If he was a manager, would Danny Murphy send his players out with a “tally ho gents” or a “get out there and kick arse”? Enough said.

Do you have any thoughts good or bad about Sunderland, the club/city/fans?

Depends on the score.

Will you be at the game? What will be the score?

No, I won’t be making the game and as for the score…….I’ll leave the predictions to those supporters less superstitious than myself.

* ChelseaD on ChelseaD

I started TheChelseaBlog during Avram Grant’s time as manager because it was either that or Prozac and prescriptions weren’t the cheapest option. I’ve been supporting Chelsea for almost 30 years now, call it a family inheritance if you like although for many of them years it probably felt more like an affliction. Never one to make life easy for myself though, aside from supporting Chelsea, I work as a manager within the NHS – hence the cynical nature. But would I change either? Not a chance!

Interview: Colin Randall

11 thoughts on “Chelsea v Sunderland: ‘no, we don’t always expect to win’”

  1. Agreed Martin. It’s unusual given some of the good (and very good) results achieved against the top teams, that we seem to provide the same feeble opposition to Chelsea, especially away from home. They seem to have a great time against us, to the point where they must expect a waltz around the bandstand against us at the weekend. This may well be their undoing, despite the modesty of this anonymous contributor.

    If we manage a win you’ll not care whether it’s tongs or a Stihl saw!

  2. Hang on a sec. On the subject of Cheryl Cole – is malaria contagious . . because . . . . . . . . . naarrgh – don’t even go there.

  3. You’re right Jeremy – singed limb is undoubtedly off-putting to breath-takingly gorgeous, super-star dating X-Factor judges. Come to think of it, she ain’t going to be interested in a Canada-dwelling hopping Mackem intent on hacking off his body parts in order to be with her either. Does anyone know where the prosthetic shop is?

    I remember the 4-2 at the Bridge – didn’t Clive Walker score a couple against his old club? And I’m pretty sure the police horses were deployed on the pitch that night when Chelsea fans got the royal “hump”! And I remember Super-Kev’s goal when we beat them at the SOL. Best goal he scored for us in my humble opinion! Still, despite our good showings against the “brand” teams, recently we’ve been mullered by Chelsea every time. They seem to enjoy playing us! Their midfield were masterclass against us at home last season, especially after Benty put us one nil up. So – dare I say that in the very unlikely event that we beat them, it will most certainly go a long way to repairing the derby day damage. Or is that wishful thinking!!

  4. I’m not sure how easy it is to reconcile ‘not going into any game expecting to win,’ comment with ‘letting us off with a tighter margin,’ which sounds rather contradictory to me.

    I remember when they were referred to as “The Pensioners” too, and I also remember the hooligans that followed them in great number. It’s not as long ago as people remember. Chelsea seem to have lost that since the Russian’s blood money pured into Stamford Bridge, but at least they got rid of Ken Bates, and the yob element so that’s something we can all be pleased about.

    There have been times despite what the author of this article says when Chelsea’s football has been nothing short of breathtaking. Their first half demolition of Blackpool was one of the most awesome destructions of opposition that I’ve ever seen in this league. OK it was over by half time, and the second period was a damp squib, but the steamrolling big guns of the top flight have found the Seasiders are not such an easy touch despite the drubbing that “The Pensioners” inflicted.

    I don’t expect much from this game, to be honest, but I think that we’ll send out a team that is less likely to be intimidated than in previous visits. This season is proving to some extent that anyone can take points from anyone else on the day.

    If we do get something, might I suggest that you purchase an implement of greater lacerating capability than curling tongs Martin. If you stick with the tongs just make sure that you don’t plug them in first. With all that blood, the smell of singeing would surely put Cheryl off.

  5. We quite often pull something out of the bag, though, against the brand-name teams and I quite fancy us for a point on Sunday. I just hope SB realizes he has nothing to lose and tells the side to seize the initiative and take the game to the Blues right from the whistle. An early goal for us would be such a boost.

  6. Playing defensively is tantamount to suicide. It’s playing into their hands. I would play 4,3,3 with Gyan, Bardo and Anton up front. Play like we did against Man U at OT last season and we might just get a win. Although it’s probably more likely that I end up in a loving embrace with Ashley Cole’s ex Mrs – which incidentally I would sever my own left leg with a curling tong to be able to do.

  7. And even when we are favourites to win, even heavily, we tend to screw up (Brentford.)

    Chelsea, home or away, is always a disaster so I’ll watch through holes in my fingers.

  8. It must be nice to be able to be so low key when actually being out and out favourites to win a match; something as a Sunderland supporter I have rarely, if ever, experienced in 48 years of following the club. However, never say die as we look forward to Sunday and what must be our toughest game of the season. The team seems to pick itself these days, and with Bent being injured, it looks like a 4-5-1 formation will again be adopted. For this specific game, though, I would like to see SB try Mensah (if fit) playing in front of our back four, as he did when snuffing out the late threat from Ashley Young who moved into the space behind Heskey in the recent Aston Villa game. We tend to be vulnerable in the hole, and Mensah’s presence would deal with the attacking threat from the likes of Lampard. Ahead of Mensah I would have four with Welbeck on the right and Steed on the left, leaving Catts and Henderson in the middle and Gyan up front. Although being defensive, the set-up would still allow scope for pacey counter attacks, and could easily be changed to a more attacking set up with Richardson/Elmo replacing Mensah later in the game. A 0-0 or 1-1 and a strong performance at Stamford Bridge would be a real achievement.

  9. A well written and easy to read piece from someone who has supported The Pensioners for long enough to remember the time they’d won nowt for 40 years (and the time when they were still known as the Pensioners.)

    Although I live in hope I’m not expecting anything pointswise from the game on Sunday. Despite my dislike of Saarf Larndan and its environs there’s no arguing with the quality of their side.

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