The problem with long holidays is that it's hard to get back into the swing of things. After eating far too much on Thursday after a day of fairly panicked cooking, I then proceeded to spend the rest of my weekend eating leftovers/curled up in a chair in front of a fireplace reading books. As it turns out, this isn't the best way to go about keeping up with Chelsea news, so I'm going to attempt to figure out what exactly's been going on in Chelsea-crisis land. Bear with me!
Frank Arneson resigning is obviously the big story, and it's probably not good news for fans of Chelsea's rebuilt farm system (i.e. everyone). Arneson had been with Chelsea for six years and worked hard to develop the academy from a pointless waste of space into something actually worthwhile, and losing him is a rather large blow. Chelsea say it's not a big surprise that he's making his way out of the club:
Frank has spoken to me several times over the past year with regards to seeking new challenges, so his decision comes as no surprise to us. Frank has done an exceptional job here at Chelsea over the last six years and the incredibly strong Academy and youth system Frank leaves behind him is a fitting tribute to his time at Chelsea.
-Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck. Source: Chelsea FC
While that doesn't sound like it's a result of the recent upheaval regarding Ray Wilkins, it's entirely possible that the club is just lying through their teeth about this. Anyway, over the next few years as the club introduces the next generation of stars, spare a thought for Mr. Arneson. Without the Dane's hard work, it's highly unlikely that the likes of Josh McEachran and Patrick van Aanholt would be playing at the top level.
- Our first FA Cup tie of the campaign is against Championship team Ipswich Town at Stamford Bridge. The match will be played in early January, by which point I'd expect Ipswich to have a new manager - they aren't exactly thrilled with Roy Keane down there right now. My one abiding memory of the team is them losing to Manchester United 9-0 at one point in the 1995(?) season, which led to the United fans at my primary school being impossibly smug for weeks. It was annoying. Anyway, a mediocre lower-division side at home is a fairly cushy way to begin our cup defence, and we should actually have a fit team to face them by then. Good draw for us - Manchester United ended up with Liverpool!
- Carlo Ancelotti is hoping to see both John Terry and Frank Lampard fit for action on Saturday in the crucial match against Everton. Both players are back in training with the main team this week. However, Chelsea will be following my helpful advice and sending Alex away to have surgery in Brazil on Friday, which means that if Terry isn't fit, problems may arise with the defence. Different problems than Alex being slow and in pain, I mean. But is Lampard really coming back?
...I hope that both, maybe more John Terry than Lampard, will be able to play against Everton. They are very important, not just as technical players because they have personality, character and at this moment we need this kind of player.
-Carlo Ancelotti. Source: Chelsea FC
- Ray Wilkins had launched a legal fight with Chelsea regarding compensation for his dismissal. The case has now been settled. Exciting!
- Everyone and their mother has been saying Chelsea played a 4-4-2 against Newcastle, which is odd because I really don't see it. Florent Malouda and Salomon Kalou were ostensibly our wingers, which is strange because Malouda was playing the slightly wide central midfielder role that Yuri Zhirkov has used in the 4-3-3, and Kalou was playing like a slightly withdrawn wide striker. If Ancelotti was trying to make a tactical shift, it either didn't translate to what actually happened on the field or it's been rather massively overstated.