Date:Friday September 24 2010
With a mouthwatering clash in store the cool, casual Merlin popped in for a chat.
After such a remarkable season last year you brought back the Barclays Premiership Trophy to Stamford Bridge. What did it mean to you to again lift the silverware after United retained it for three consecutive?
Everything, especially when the title run in appeared so close and our last group of fixtures meant we had to visit Old Trafford and Anfield. To win at both and then smash 7 past Stoke and 8 past Wigan provided the perfect end to the campaign. Although the FA Cup Final was a little nervy especially when Portsmouth were awarded a penalty after we`d rattled the woodwork FIVE times in the first half without troubling the scorers.
You face a City side who were the only team to the double over Chelsea in the last campaign, pot luck or can history repeat itself?
City always seem to do well over us when we`re having a trophy laden season. Last year, like you say, you did the double over us but even during Mourinho`s assault on the Premier League title an Anelka penalty derailed our unbeaten start.Whether you can do it this weekend remains a debatable subject. We`re, despite our apparent weak opposition faced so far, on a roll, although our defence has looked a bit rickety at times.Definitely not pot luck - possible Indian sign.
With only the one big signing in Ramires the squad has the same nucleus, do you feel there is enough strength in depth for the whole of the season?
We`ve shed a sack-full of talent in Michael Ballack, Joe Cole, Deco, Juliano Belletti, Ricardo Carvalho, Miroslav Stoch, Scott Sinclair and a few others, but our squad was just too big, too costly in wages etc, etc.We may have only made the one major signing but our youngsters have been harvested and are about to be unleashed on the Premier League. Watch out for the name of Gael Kakuta - the kid is real class!
With Drogba firing on all cylinders, Malouda proving to be the signing you had all hoped for and Essien back fit, who should we be wary of this weekend?
We`re scoring for fun and the great thing is that the goals are being shared around. Malouda and Drogba lead the way but a certain Nicolas Anelka is quiet capable of upsetting your apple-cart. Drogba isn`t quite 100% fit after his hernia operation but he`ll be up for the challenge and having Michael Essien back is like signing another world-class player, despite doing the Double last season, we didn`t half miss him!
If you could purchase any one or two City players which ones would you opt for?
I`ll settle for two!Joe Hart simply because our back-up keeper situation doesn`t fill me with confidence and Carlos Tevez, the lad has the ability to turn matches and he`d love it at Chelsea!
Fortunately Chelsea were gifted a relatively comfortable start to the season. With your first real test coming against us, do you think it`s possible we could thwart the express train or by 3pm Saturday, will Chelsea still be unbeaten?
What`s with this unbeaten lark? We`re the only team in England to have a 100% record in the four leagues! Off course we can maintain it, if 5 wins out of 5 with 23 scored and 2 conceded doesn`t fill you with confidence what will?
City and Chelsea have competed in some enthralling encounters over the years, but which fixture stands out as the greatest to you?
I`ll settle for a fixture back in the 1980`s when both of us were in the old second division trying to get promoted. We arrived at Maine Road desperate for a win that would take us closer to our goal. Two first half goals put us 2-0 up and in the second half Tony Dorigo ran the length of the pitch to score giving us an unassailable lead. You got two late consolation goals but the three points were ours and we eventually went up as Champions! We`ve not looked back since!I`ve even sourced a natty little You Tube video you can use!
Big Thanks to Merlin for participating and producing a Very enjoyable read!
Date:Friday September 24 2010
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