Arsenal take on Chelsea today at the Emirates and CARL ELDRIDGE caught up with LUKE TURNER of our sister site chelseainsider for our regular Ask the Oppo feature…
Luke, Chelsea are being tipped for the title…are you strong enough to win it?
I feel we are again now. The past three seasons have been disappointing in terms of the League but now I feel we are looking like the Chelsea that were so consistent and machine like under Jose Mourinho.
So who are Chelsea’s biggest rivals in terms of jostling for honours and as far as the fans are concerned. I have some Chelsea mates who say they hate Tottenham more than me! (impossible)
First of does anyone like Tottenham? I think that’s definitely one thing Chelsea and Arsenal fans can surely agree on, that both sets of fans have a great dislike for Spurs. I always feel Chelsea’s rivalry with Tottenham is kind of butting in on the North London rivalry that remains Arsenal and Tottenham’s, but it’s still great to beat them.
As for our rivals for the title, Tottenham are absolutely, 100% not one of them, as ever it’s the usual suspects. Manchester United are obviously still the team to beat, but without Ronaldo are weakened immensely.
Moving on to Liverpool who had their end of season party last week, well I don’t really think they should even be spoke about as like I said in terms of honours their season is well and truly over, already.
Arsenal, now they have surprised me this year, they look a much improved side from the past two seasons but as per usual are still playing scintillating football that is without doubt the most pleasing on the eye in the league, whether it be their kids in the cup or first eleven in the league. The test for Arsenal is whether they can go away from home, to the so called lesser teams and maintain their consistency. Beautiful football is great and everybody wants to watch it but can they scrape one nil’s when its backs to the wall.
So as far as im concerned Arsenal and Man United are our main rivals, I really believe today will fully establish whether Arsenal are once again consider proper title challengers.
Would you rather win the league or the Champions League?
That’s a tough question and one I don’t think I can honestly answer. The league is the bread and butter and if we don’t win it this season it will be four seasons. Is that acceptable? I don’t think it is with the squad we have.
The Champions league however is the Holy Grail and every season we seem to come so close but end up so far from it. It’s broken our hearts so many times and like yourselves is the only one yet to find its way to our trophy cabinet. The race is on to see who will be the first London club to lift it.
So to be honest I’d take either trophy and be delighted. But to win both would be an incredible season, if not a little greedy.
Chelsea have a good spine with the keeper players like Terry, Essien and Lampard and Drogba — but who for you is the most significant player?
For me Drogba is absolutely vital for us. His presence alone puts the frighteners on Premiership defences up and down the country and this season he’s been in frightening form, and long may it continue, without the Drog our attacking teeth just don’t seem as sharp.
There was talk of Joe Cole leaving — he must still be a fans’ favourite?
I think I speak for all Blues fans when I say Joe Cole will always be adored by the Blue faithful he’s a local lad who loves the club and gives it his all every time he crosses that white line, not to mention he’s a terrific player. Hopefully he’ll remain a Blue for a long time to come.
The manager has come in and quietly gone about his business. How different do Chelsea play now under Carlo Ancelotti?
I think he’s continued the fine work Guus Hiddink started towards the end of last season but added a bit of style and panache. He’s maintained the solid defence that was created under Mourinho but the football is so much more pleasing on the eye as are the results at the moment, and long may it continue.
If you could have one player from the Arsenal join Chelsea, who would it be?
With our current squad I look at it and don’t think it can be improve a great deal, because it’s simply that strong. However I am a great admirer of Robin Van Persie, I think he’s a terrific player who is technically brilliant but I’d probably opt to nick Cecs Fabregas of you. Fabregas is class, very rarely, if ever does he concedes position. Also he’s starting to chip in with a few more goals this season, could ultimately replace Frank Lampard. But I don’t think there is much chance of that happening do you?
How do you see the game going today?
I see it being an extremely entertaining fixture given the form and confidence both teams approach the game in. It definitely won’t be a nil-nil. If we play at the top of our game I believe we will win two nil. If not then Arsenal are more than capable of taking advantage and really establishing themselves as strong title contenders.
Stamford Bridge is said by some to be too small for Chelsea’s ambition…would you like to move to a new ground?
Ultimately if we are to compete with yourselves and Manchester United financially, without the backing of Mr Abramovich of course, it is something we really have to consider. If any such move does happen any potential site must be a stones throw away from the Bridge whether that’s possible I don’t know, only time will tell but until then I’m more than happy with the Bridge.
Thanks for your time Luke.