After watching the dramatic Manchester United v Liverpool game, my Sunday afternoon Premier League viewing was completed by watching Chelsea cruise past Blackpool. During the later of the games the following comment from my Dad got me thinking.
“Chelsea would put five or six past United or Liverpool at the moment.”
Now let’s get a few things clear, my Dad isn’t the most clued up on football, and his opinion was probably heavily influenced by the Blues four goal first half blitz of a beleaguered Blackpool. And while I don’t think for a minute Chelsea would beat Manchester United 6-0, I do see them being considerably stronger at present than the Old Trafford club.
Yes home games against Blackpool, West Brom and Stoke were never going to be the biggest examination for Carlo Ancelotti’s side, but 12 goals in three games tells its own story of the confidence that the Blues are playing with.
But in truth the season now starts for Chelsea, they face back-to-back Premier League games against title challengers. First up is a visit to big spending Manchester City, before they host Arsene Wenger’s ever improving Arsenal.
This will be a real test of how good Chelsea are. But either way they certainly aren’t a weaker side than last season, and if anything they seem to have only improved. But as I said games against title rivals will be the first real indication of Chelsea’s prowess.
Ancelotti is well aware that despite the good start the City game in particular will be vital. He told Sky Sports: “We wanted to start like last year, we had a good start last year, and we are doing that [again], now we have to look forward.
“We will arrive at more difficult games and we have to be ready for the next game. Last year we lost a big game against Manchester City and this year we want to do better.”
If I was a betting man, I’d be backing Chelsea to emerge from these two games with at least four points. I think an indication of the quality that Ancelotti has available is the fact he can leave out three of his best players and still get a very comfortable win.
John Terry, Frank Lampard and Nicolas Anelka all missed the defeat of Blackpool, and yet it was still all too easy for the hosts. My question is if you took three key players out of Manchester United’s side, would they be able to cruise games like Chelsea do?
I can’t help but think the answer is no, and I think Chelsea’s strength in depth will be the reason for their dominance this season. But as I said, this is all speculation, the real tests for Ancelotti start next weekend. The Premier League throws up surprises on a regular basis, so don’t be surprised to see Chelsea’s early season form means nothing come May.