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Posted by Phil Lythell on 08/06/2012

With Olympic fever consuming London as records tumble and gold flows across the nation, the start of the football season has approached with all the stealth of a Lockheed Bomber. There are just days to go until English football’s traditional curtain raiser, the FA Community Shield, yet talk has been at a premium with the advent of the Premier League currently flying under the radar.

The only football news that has hit the headlines recently are exploits in the festival of sport currently taking place in the nation’s capital with Chelsea’s contingent snaring them largely for the wrong reasons. Juan Mata’s Spain side entered the tournament as favourites but instead were eliminated before the knockout rounds without even scoring a goal. While he might not see it in the same way, his early trip home at least means he will get added rest ahead of the new campaign especially given his – albeit small – participation at Euro 2012.

Meanwhile, Daniel Sturridge was the traditional fall guy for Team GB’s exit from the tournament at the quarter final stage, missing the crucial penalty in the shootout against South Korea. His misfortune should not overshadow what was a decent showing at his first major international tournament scoring two goals that included an exquisite chip in the win over UAE. His displays were all the more impressive given that he was diagnosed with viral meningitis just weeks before the start of London 2012 and his return to fitness and form is encouraging. Unfortunately for the youngster, there is still uncertainty over his role at Stamford Bridge where Roberto Di Matteo is clearly not his biggest fan given the sparse opportunities afforded to the striker in the back end of last season. Sturridge’s future is far from certain and will hinge upon any further activity in the transfer market.

Romelu Lukaku’s prospects of first team football look more likely to occur at another club with Fulham leading the chase and should he make the short switch across SW6 then Sturridge’s chances of game time will be greatly enhanced as Fernando Torres’ understudy. But should Roman Abramovich deem it necessary to spend large sums on Edinson Cavani or Hulk then he could be back to square one. Florent Malouda is another who is yet to know precisely what he will be doing in the forthcoming months. Expected to depart the club after a flurry of new creative signings, the France international still calls London home.

Potential targets are also on tenterhooks. Victor Moses has been the subject of much negotiation between Wigan and Chelsea yet remains at the DW Stadium while Cesar Azpilicueta does not know whether he will be playing in blue or still sporting the white of Marseille come the close of the transfer window.

With no new developments regarding squad development, the focus has instead been cast on a markedly average pre-season. Defeats to AC Milan, MLS All-Stars and most notably Brighton and Hove Albion has set many tongues wagging in the press pack. Clearly one would like results to be better and the concession of ten goals in five matches is not something to dismiss lightly but it must be remembered that pre-season is not always the best barometer of side’s impending fortunes. Arsenal’s 3-0 battering of Manchester United in the 1998 Charity Shield – as it was named then – saw Sir Alex Ferguson’s team written off before the season began with new signing Jaap Stam derided by all. As it turned out United went on to win a historic treble with Stam remaining one of the best centre backs ever to play in the Premier League.

That example is not meant to guard against a possible defeat to Manchester City in Sunday’s Villa Park encounter but to pre-empt any hyperbole should a similar fate befall Di Matteo and his men. Eden Hazard and Oscar have been big-money arrivals but they are young men in a foreign land with no previous experience of English football. It is natural that they might take time to adapt to its rigours; not everyone can be an instant success which is why Mata’s performances from the off last season were so impressive. In the case of Oscar, a patient attitude from the supporters will be all the more important. Still involved in the Olympics as the fulcrum of a Brazil side that will surely win gold, he will not meet his new team mates until next week at the earliest unlike Hazard who has had the whole of pre-season to acclimatise. However, the Brazilian’s performances in the tournament have been eye-catching to say the least and once he is up to speed I am convinced we will see a gem of a player dictating play in the Chelsea midfield for years to come.

The new dawn promises much but let’s give the youngsters time to shine. Until then Frank Lampard, Ramires and Torres can show the new boys how it’s done.

You can read more of Phil's opinions at or on Twitter @PhilLythell

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Posted by handsomeray on 08/06/2012

Chelsea reay need right back and a strong striker that can fil in the gap of drogba .for  like cavani.

Posted by Bankole olaniyi on 08/06/2012

All chelsea fans should please be patience with RDM & HIS TEAM coz they are a very good team but needs time to adapt.

Posted by Dave omaji on 08/07/2012

With Torres in our attack there is no hope even my grand mother can do better than him.

Posted by Olamilekan Akeem on 08/07/2012

Chelsea needs to buy a very strong right back and an aggresive striker in the make of my able Drogba.

Posted by okey on 08/07/2012

we dont want to feel the departure of Didier Drogba,RDM and his boys should hasten up

Posted by Michael on 08/07/2012

Why don't they give Romelu Lukaku a chance to see what he can do during the 1st half of the season and loan him out in December if he is not producing. He's looked good in pre-season.

Posted by oros alien on 08/08/2012

torres will be back, i mean their will be his return

Posted by Osita nzeadi on 08/08/2012

I what chelsea bey moses

Posted by Eduwu Briggs on 08/08/2012

I know Chelsea would impress in the Premier League when they bought Oscar, Thorgan and Eden but with three straight pre-season defeats most especially to Brighton, I'm beginning to have some doubts. Too bad pre-season results.

Posted by Megatron on 08/08/2012

My 2 biggest concerns going into the season are not having an elite forward and DiMatteo'd lack of ability to get a team to play at an elite level. Let's be honest, Drogba was a huge reason we won our silverware last season, not Di Matteo. Starting one of the worst players on the team in The UCL Final was mind boggling to me and really soured me on him. Our extremely poor performance in the pre-season is also troubling. I do believe he earned his full-time status as manager, but I'm very apprehensive about him.

Posted by Aasish Arora on 08/10/2012

We need to give Eden/Oscar/Marin time to combine and work together and Torres to be 100% when playing for the Blues upfront.
Even tough Chelsea might loose a few points at the start of the season, it would not be long till the young gun's start shining.

Posted by Martyn McCormack on 08/10/2012

Whilst we may have weaknesses at right back and a striker (possibly operating as a winger when required) within the overall squad, the more important issue is that the new players will need time to acclimatise to the squad and everyone may need to get used to a new playing style. The "media" will be at "our throats" as soon as we record a defeat, but this is the normal pressure that a team of our stature faces. As fans however we must be patient. This is vital period of transition for the team and we must not raise our expectations too high in this first season with a heavily reshaped squad. The best is yet to come! Before we loan out Romelu Lukaku, I would anticipate a new striker coming in to the club. Expect to see 3 or 4 players being shipped out before the transfer deadline day and three new ones coming in, if all goes according to plan. Have faith in RDM to manage what is clearly becoming a squad for the future as much as the here and now.

Posted by Bafa Chelsea on 08/10/2012

Hey Phil,great job u're doing here. Pls, can u kindly get the powers that be to quickly wrap up the Moses deal? The guy I'm sure will prove to be worth every penny of his £10M price-tag. Also,we need a striker,someone like Damiao or Falcao. Debuchy(RB,Lille) should be a better,cheaper and much more dynamic option,as opposed to the ones we're currently being linked with.
Hope u can picture us with these suggested additions. May I reiterate my sincere gratitude to Roman for all he's done so far for this club? And that we see and believe in the grand project he's trying to implement at our dear club? Thanks for the chance. #KTBFFH

Posted by Bafa Chelsea on 08/11/2012

Judging by the caliber of recent buys,I strongly believe/hope that this time around RA is building for the long term. So, it's only logical to assume that he has finally developed the sporting virtue of patience. Buying Oscar,20;Hazard,21;Marin,20;Thorgan,19,and Moses,21,I guess clearly suggests patience,no?

Posted by Megatron on 08/11/2012

Get Hulk!!!!! We need Hulk! The guy is amazing and would dominate The Premiere.

Posted by Megaron on 08/11/2012

Hulk Would be the next Drogba!

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Phil Lythell Phil Lythell is a Chelsea season ticket holder and lifelong Blues supporter stretching back to the sepia-tinted days of Kerry Dixon and Pat Nevin. Author of Chelsea-centric blog, Phil has spent his entire life living within a 20 minute walk of Stamford Bridge which has cost him a fortune but has also kept him from those interminable queues outside Fulham Broadway Station giving him more time in the pub to discuss the latest glorious/calamitous/insipid match.

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