Sorry this is so late, I was having computer problems this morning
Another week in the Premiership, another Big Four team to face. This week brings Chelsea and ahead of the match we sent a few questions over to SBN's excellent Chelsea blog, We Ain't Got No History. The ever-obliging Graham MacAree stepped up to provide some answers, although they may not be exactly what you want to hear...
The media has highlighted the fact that Andre Villas-Boas and Owen Coyle took their coaching badges together several times since Villas-Boas came to Chelsea. People debate whether or not Bolton play better football under Owen Coyle, do Chelsea play better football under AVB, or is it just a symptom of bad defending that people immediately jump to say they're a more exciting team?
GM: Gosh. They're certainly not playing better football now than they did in Carlo Ancelotti's first season, but well, they're trying, I suppose. Chelsea have long used Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba to play in fairly unorthadox fashion, and Andre Villas-Boas is doing his best to adapt the team to play in a way that suits their personnel these days. So, it's different football, and that takes a while to figure out. I don't think Chelsea have been particularly impressive so far this season, but they've been pretty good. 'Pretty good' isn't any better than what we're used to, though.
Speaking of defense, Bolton haven't had one to speak of, and currently lead the league in conceded goals. Which Chelsea player should the Bolton defense (and I use that term loosely) keep tightest watch on?
GM: It depends who's playing. Obviously, Fernando Torres is out, which means Didier Drogba will start. Y'all are familiar with him, I imagine. Juan Mata is probably going to find himself on the left wing. Imagine if Bilbo Baggins had found a ring than instead of turning him invisible/evil/etc made him an exquisitely good footballer with sublime passing range, vision and an eye for goal. That's Mata, except I'm reasonably sure Bilbo was taller. Finally, if David Luiz starts, he's one of Chelsea's most potent attacking threats. People laugh when I say that a centre half is a huge danger to the opposition, and then they realise that nobody knows who's marking said centre half as he gallops straight through the middle of the pitch and scores a goal. It's not a pretty scene*.
*Except for the fact that said scene has David Luiz in it.
In return, which Bolton player do you think will most worry the Chelsea defense?
GM: I am going with Martin Petrov, because he's the only Bolton player who's looked anything like dangerous so far this season in the games I've watched (which is most of them). That's not very nice, but yeah. Sorry.
Realistically, what to Chelsea hope to achieve this season?
GM: A domestic cup, a top three finish and a Champions League semi-final place. We're not the best team in England and we're certainly not the best team in Europe, but we can give a pretty good account of ourselves.
And a little more short term, do you have a prediction for the match?
GM: 3-0 Chelsea. Gosh I'm not making any friends here, am I? Play Gael Kakuta more and perhaps I'll be more charitably inclined.