Featured Matches
Previous
Aston Villa
Newcastle United
11:45 AM GMT
Game Details
Chelsea
Leicester City
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Everton
Arsenal
4:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Sevilla FC
Valencia
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Borussia Dortmund
Bayer Leverkusen
4:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Guingamp
Marseille
3:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Ipswich Town
Norwich City
11:15 AM GMT
Game Details
Aston Villa
Newcastle United
11:45 AM GMT
Game Details
Chelsea
Leicester City
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Crystal Palace
West Ham United
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Southampton
West Bromwich Albion
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Swansea City
Burnley
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Everton
Arsenal
4:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Malaga
Athletic Bilbao
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Granada
Deportivo La Coruña
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Sevilla FC
Valencia
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Almeria
Espanyol
9:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Eintracht Frankfurt
SC Freiburg
1:30 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Cologne
Hamburg SV
1:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Hannover 96
Schalke 04
1:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Hertha Berlin
Werder Bremen
1:30 PM GMT
Game Details
TSG Hoffenheim
FC Augsburg
1:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Borussia Dortmund
Bayer Leverkusen
4:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Guingamp
Marseille
3:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Bastia
Toulouse
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Lille
Lorient
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Montpellier
Metz
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Nice
Bordeaux
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Stade de Reims
Caen
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Ipswich Town
Norwich City
11:15 AM GMT
Game Details
Blackburn Rovers
AFC Bournemouth
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Brentford
Birmingham City
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Brighton & Hove Albion
Bolton Wanderers
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Derby County
Fulham
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Huddersfield Town
Charlton Athletic
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Middlesbrough
Sheffield Wednesday
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Millwall
Rotherham United
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Nottingham Forest
Reading
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Watford
Leeds United
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Wigan Athletic
Blackpool
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Wolverhampton Wanderers
Cardiff City
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Barnsley
Gillingham
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Bradford City
Peterborough United
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Colchester United
Doncaster Rovers
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Fleetwood Town
Chesterfield
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Leyton Orient
Walsall
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Milton Keynes Dons
Coventry City
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Port Vale
Notts County
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Preston North End
Oldham Athletic
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Rochdale
Bristol City
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Sheffield United
Crawley Town
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Swindon Town
Crewe Alexandra
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Yeovil Town
Scunthorpe United
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Accrington Stanley
Luton Town
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
AFC Wimbledon
Hartlepool United
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Bury
Plymouth Argyle
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Cambridge United
Morecambe
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Carlisle United
Southend United
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Dagenham & Redbridge
Mansfield Town
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Exeter City
York City
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Newport County
Burton Albion
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Northampton Town
Shrewsbury Town
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Oxford United
Portsmouth
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Stevenage
Wycombe Wanderers
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Tranmere Rovers
Cheltenham Town
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Alfreton Town
Wrexham
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Bristol Rovers
AFC Telford United
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Chester City
Halifax
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Dartford
Torquay United
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Dover
Eastleigh
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Gateshead
Grimsby Town
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Lincoln City
Braintree Town
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Macclesfield Town
Kidderminster Harriers
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Nuneaton Town
Barnet
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Southport
Altrincham
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Welling
Woking
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Inverness Caledonian Thistle
Celtic
11:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Dundee United
Ross County
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Kilmarnock
Motherwell
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Partick Thistle
Hamilton Academical
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
St Johnstone
Aberdeen
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
St Mirren
Dundee
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Edinburgh Univ
Hurlford Utd
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Hawick Royal Albert
Newton Stewart
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Cowdenbeath
Alloa Athletic
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Hibernian
Falkirk
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Queen of the South
Livingston
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Raith Rovers
Heart of Midlothian
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Rangers
Dumbarton
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Ayr United
Forfar Athletic
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Dunfermline Athletic
Airdrie United
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Peterhead
Greenock Morton
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Stenhousemuir
Stirling Albion
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Stranraer
Brechin City
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Albion Rovers
East Fife
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Berwick Rangers
East Stirlingshire
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Elgin City
Clyde
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Montrose
Annan Athletic
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Queen's Park
Arbroath
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Osasuna
Barcelona B
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Real Valladolid
Mallorca
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Recreativo Huelva
Real Zaragoza
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Las Palmas
Llagostera
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Numancia
Sporting Gijon
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Atalanta
Pisa
4:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Varese
Virtus Entella
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Palermo
Modena
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Perugia
Spezia
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Bari
US Avellino
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Cagliari
Catania
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Fortuna Düsseldorf
Karlsruhe
11:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Nurnberg
FSV Frankfurt
11:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Dijon FCO
AJ Auxerre
12:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Willem II Tilburg
AZ Alkmaar
4:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Heerenveen
Excelsior
5:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Go Ahead Eagles
Dordrecht '90
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Maritimo
Academica de Coimbra
4:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Paços de Ferreira
FC Porto
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Sporting Lisbon
Arouca
7:30 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Ufa
Spartak Moscow
10:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Zenit St Petersburg
FK Amkar Perm
1:00 PM GMT
Game Details
FK Rubin Kazan
CSKA Moscow
4:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Kerkyra
Panthrakikos
4:15 PM GMT
Game Details
OFI Crete
Panetolikos
4:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Olympiakos
Niki Volos
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Standard Liege
KVC Westerlo
4:00 PM GMT
Game Details
KV Kortrijk
KV Oostende
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Lierse SK
Royal Charleroi SC
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Zulte-Waregem
Mouscron-Peruwelz
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
SK Sturm Graz
Wolfsberger AC
2:30 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Magna Wr. Neustadt
FC Trenkwalder Admira
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
SV Josko Ried
SV Grodig
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
SV Salzburg
SC Rheindorf Altach
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Malmo FF
IFK Norrkoping
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Stromsgodset
Stabaek
1:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Valerenga
SK Brann
4:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Ballinamallard Utd
Glentoran
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Cliftonville
Glenavon
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Dungannon Swifts
Ballymena
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Institute
Linfield
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Portadown
Crusaders
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Warrenpoint Town
Coleraine
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
New York Red Bulls
Montreal Impact
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Toronto FC
Chicago Fire
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Columbus Crew
Houston Dynamo
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
New England Revolution
Chivas USA
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Sporting Kansas City
DC United
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Los Angeles Galaxy
Vancouver Whitecaps
2:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Cruz Azul
Queretaro
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Veracruz
Guadalajara
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Monterrey
Puebla
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Pachuca
Atlas
1:06 AM GMT
Game Details
Chiapas
America
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Airbus UK
Port Talbot
1:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Carmarthen
Rhyl
1:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Newtown
Bala Town
1:30 PM GMT
Game Details
New York Cosmos
Minnesota United FC
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Indy Eleven
Ottawa Fury FC
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Tampa Bay Rowdies
Carolina RailHawks
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
San Antonio Scorpions
Atlanta Silverbacks
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Gimnasia La Plata
Rosario Central
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Newell's Old Boys
Belgrano de Córdoba
8:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Independiente
Vélez Sarsfield
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Sarmiento de Junín
Huracán
6:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Santamarina
Unión de Santa Fe
7:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Argentinos Juniors
Gimnasia y Esgrima de Jujuy
9:15 PM GMT
Game Details
San Martín de San Juan
Instituto de Córdoba
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Necaxa
Lobos BUAP
9:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Zacatepec
Altamira
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
At. San Luis
Mérida
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Celaya
Irapuato
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Atlético MG
Internacional
9:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Botafogo
Chapecoense AF
9:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Palmeiras
Coritiba FBC
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Avaí
Santa Cruz FC
7:10 PM GMT
Game Details
Goianiense
Sampaio Correa-MA
7:10 PM GMT
Game Details
Náutico
América RN
7:10 PM GMT
Game Details
Paraná Clube
Bragantino
7:10 PM GMT
Game Details
Portuguesa de Desportos
Ceará
7:10 PM GMT
Game Details
ABC
Vila Nova-GO
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Luverdense
Joinville
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Universidad de Chile
Huachipato
4:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Ñublense
O'Higgins
7:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Unión Española
Universidad de Concepción
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Antofagasta
Municipal Iquique
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Sud América
Nacional
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Tacuarembo
Fénix
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Fortaleza CE
Uniautonoma
8:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Aguilas Doradas
Patriotas F.C.
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Atlético Nacional
Envigado
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Independiente Santa Fe
Alianza Petrolera
12:45 AM GMT
Game Details
Los Caimanes
Cienciano del Cusco
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Nacional
3 de Febrero
8:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Cerro Porteño
Guaraní
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Emelec
El Nacional
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Independiente del Valle
LDU Quito
Postp
Game Details
Aragua
Mineros
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Deportivo La Guaira
Estudiantes de Mérida
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Deportivo Anzoategui
Deportivo Petare
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Club Petrolero de Yacuiba
Bolívar
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Sport Boys Warnes
Universitario de Pando
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Blooming
Universitario de Sucre
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Shimizu S-Pulse
Kashima Antlers
9:00 AM GMT
Game Details
FC Tokyo
Urawa Red Diamonds
9:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Vantforet Kofu
Gamba Osaka
9:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Albirex Niigata
Tokushima Vortis
10:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Nagoya Grampus Eight
Kashiwa Reysol
10:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Omiya Ardija
Sagan Tosu
10:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Sanfrecce Hiroshima
Cerezo Osaka
10:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Vissel Kobe
Vegalta Sendai
10:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Yokohama F. Marinos
Kawasaki Frontale
10:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Santos
Carmelita
9:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Universidad de El Salvador
Santa Tecla
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Aguila
CD FAS
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Universidad de San Carlos
Penarol
9:35 PM GMT
Game Details
Petapa
Coatepeque
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Vida
Victoria
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
FC Kansas City
Portland Thorns FC
ESPN2 5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Next
Atletico MadridAtletico Madrid
Real MadridReal Madrid
1
0
ESPN3 FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 1
Game Details

WhoScored: Zabaleta-Sterling a key battle

Tactics And Analysis 16 hours ago
Read
Aug 6, 2004

Chelsea Season Guide

Chelsea
Nickname: The Blues
Founded: 1905
Ground: Stamford Bridge, London, SW6 1HS
Capacity: 42,449
Ticket Office: 0870 300 2322
Switch Board: 0870 300 1212; (Non-uk: 020 7386 9373)
Club Colours:
Home - All royal blue with white trim
Away - Black shirts, white shorts and black socks

Top Links
Soccernet's Chelsea page | Full squad and player profiles | Fixture list
Soccernet's Chelsea Correspondent
Official Chelsea Website
Fan site - Chelsea-Mad
Fan site - CFC Net
Fan site - Chelsea-FC.com
Fan site - My Chelsea

Last Season - Wind of change Position: 2nd

Former boss Claudio Ranieri was undermined almost from the off, with new owner Roman Abramovich photographed meeting England coach Sven Goran Eriksson. There was a cloud over Ranieri for the entire season, with barely a day going by without one newspaper speculating over the manager's future. Chelsea looked serious title contenders, especially after their victory over Manchester United at the end of November. But their form stuttered after that point, with Arsenal also getting the better of the Blues in the FA Cup. Chelsea emerged as leading candidates for European glory in the Champions League, and as they booked a place in the semi-finals Ranieri was beginning to look like he could hold onto his job. But a decision to bring on Juan Sebastian Veron in the first leg against Monaco back-fired in catastrophic manner. Frank Lampard was the real success of the season, starring both domestically and in Europe to become one of the world's best midfielders.

Transfers - In and Out
Coming In:
Ricardo Carvalho (Porto) - £19.85m
Paulo Ferreira (Porto) - £13.3m
Arjen Robben (PSV) - £12million
Petr Cech (Rennes) - £7million
Didier Drogba (Marseille) - Undisc.
Mateja Kezman (PSV) - Undisclosed
Nuno Morais (Penafiel) - Undisclosed
Cardoso Tiago (Benfica) - Undisc.











  • On The Move - All the transfers
  • Getting Out:
    Jesper Gronkjaer (Birmingham) - £2.2m
    Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (Boro) - Free
    Mario Melchiot (Birmingham) - Free
    Neil Sullivan (Leeds) - Free
    Bolo Zenden (Middlesbrough) - Free
    Carlton Cole (Aston Villa) - Loan
    Hernan Crespo (AC Milan) - Loan
    Joe Keenan (Westerlo) - Loan
    Sebastien Kneissl (Westerlo) - Loan
    Kevin McKinlay (Ross County) - Loan
    Alexis Nicolas (Brighton) - Loan
    Craig Rocastle (Hibernian) - Loan
    Juan Veron (Inter Milan) - Loan
    Marco Ambrosio - Released
    Winston Bogarde - Released
    Marcel Desailly - Released
    Jurgen Macho - Released
    Mario Stanic - Retired

    First Choice XI

    GK Carlo Cudicini; RB Paulo Ferreira, CB John Terry, CB Ricardo Carvalho, LB Wayne Bridge; RM Arjen Robben, CM Claude Makelele, CM Frank Lampard, LM Damien Duff; CF Mateja Kezman, CF Didier Drogba.

    The Gaffer - Jose Mourinho

    Only 12 months ago few people had even heard of Jose Mourinho but now, following FC Porto's remarkable success in the Champions League, he is a household name in charge of one of the most ambitious clubs in the world. After defeating Celtic in the 2003 UEFA Cup final, Mourinho shot to prominence in March by masterminding the shock defeat of Manchester United in the first knock-out round of the Champions League. Mourinho, once a translator for Sir Bobby Robson, opened up a war of words with Sir Alex Ferguson, and his victorious march up the Old Trafford touchline following Porto's last-gasp victory was one of the most memorable moments of 2003/04. But Mourinho, a man compared to Narcissus, has been left in no doubt that Abramovich expects trophies. He has already spent big in reshaping the Chelsea squad in his own mould and he will have to adapt to life in English football very quickly. The media battles with both Ferguson and Arsene Wenger could be legendary.

    Player to Watch - Didier Drogba

    Drogba became the most expensive striker in the history of British football when signing for a reported £24million from Marseille last month. It's a huge price tag for a player of such limited pedigree, and there are many that believe Chelsea have paid way over the odds. Until 2002/03, Drogba was nothing more than a bit-part striker with a goalscoring record that Diego Forlan would have been proud of. But that season, with Guingamp, he finally hit form, bagging 17 goals and earning a £3.3m move to Marseille. Drogba enjoyed a fine season in the south of France, starring both domestically, in the Champions League and UEFA Cup. But £24m is a huge fee for a player with such a short track record at the age of 26. He will be under great pressure to hit the ground running, alongside Mateja Kezman, and his performances may be the difference between success and failure for Chelsea.

    Young Gun - Robert Huth

    It's increasingly difficult for any of Chelsea's youngsters to make a breathrough, with not one teenager in their first team squad (both Huth and Glen Johnson turn 20 this month). In German defender Huth they have a player who was highly rated by the former coaching staff at the club. If Steve Clark, the only member of the backroom staff still at Stamford Bridge, is one of his supporters then he should get a fair share of first team action. Although the signing of Ricardo Carvalho means he is the fourth choice centre-back, Mourninho is likely to shuffle the pack to provide him with opporunities. Huth started eight Premiership games in 2003/04, and in truth he failed to impress. The left-sided player will need to make progress this term if he is to realise his dream of a long-term future at Chelsea.

    From the Terraces

    Another season, another mini revolution - this year's theme being a little more about desire, hunger for success and a 'squad of players desperate to prove themselves on the big stage' as opposed to last year's slightly more 'we're good on paper but mostly here for the silly money' delegation from Argentina who proved such a disappointment.

    I like the squad, I like Mourinho, he seems intent on letting performances count and with a squad of 23 there is little doubt that most players will get a chance to show him and us what they can do.

    They are young, desperate for medals and I think a more solid looking group of players than we started with last season. I expect players like Cole, Gudjohnsen and Parker to thrive in that environment and I think Kezman could score goals (I haven't seen enough of Drogba to comment but £24million? Christ, they saw us coming eh?

    And here's a question if Juventus offered £12m, why did we have to outbid them by another £12m? I mean that's not how it works on ebay is it? You don't see a figure and double it. It's not like Marseille were going to say 'no, we like Juventus' £12m better.

    Will we win the league? No bloody idea but I hope so. Arsenal are going to be hard to overcome and like most non-Arse fans I kind of hope that a) they won't be able to maintain the form they showed last season b) They won't be so fortunate with injuries and c) Vieira goes to Madrid.

    Manure will be stronger than last season, they always come back hard and frankly people who write Roy Keane off as a spent force are stupid. And Liverpool have perhaps made the best signing of us all in bringing in Benitez, all of a sudden they look like a proper team again if they get a run going will be contenders.

    Other teams have bought well, notably Boro, Birmingham and Newcastle but my buy of the summer goes to Man City who have opted to shore up their leaky defence with Danny Mills.

    As for youngsters to watch? I would have said, before this money thing started, to keep an eye on Huth and Keenan but Keenan -who has had a bad run of injuries and was on loan in Belgium last season - isn't currently fit and not in the squad so instead I'll offer up the much maligned Joe Cole. Yes I know, hes' been brimming with potential for about a decade but he's 22, Mourinho will play him in position and he may just be the difference

  • From Mark Radcliffe, Soccernet's Chelsea Correspondent.


    For the second year running, it has been all change at Stamford Bridge. But unlike last season, when many Blues fans weren't expecting instant success, this year is different. That reason, is a certain Jose Mourinho?

    Mourinho arrives in West London on the back of an unlikely Champions League success with FC Porto. He claims that it could take him as long as four years to bring the title to Stamford Bridge. But when he says things like "At Porto there was God, then after God, me" you expect great things!

    His transfer market dealings have also been fairly shrewd, in the sense that he is got rid of much of the dead wood and brought in some real up and coming stars. He may have spent in the region of £80 million, but the early evidence suggests that it is money well spent.

    If the team can adapt to Mourinho's style of play, it could be a great season at Stamford Bridge. But if things don't go so well, how long can Jose expect to stay in the hot seat?

  • From Rich Godden, editor of Chelsea Mad.


    As another summer winds down, Chelsea fans can look back on a second consecutive break filled with event and news. Only two months ago, we were waving goodbye to Claudio as Leeds trooped dispiritedly off the Stamford Bridge pitch, and now we have another new-look squad, a new manager, and another slice of boundless optimism.

    Roman Abramovich certainly doesn't believe in doing things by halves, and 2004's 'holiday' has given the tabloids yet another excuse to throw vitriol at us. With the spending on players now well past the £200m mark, it's chapter two in the most astonishing story in modern football history.

    Many of the indifferent players of last year have been released or loaned, hopefully giving us a leaner and meaner squad. As for the new purchases, they've already started to make their mark.

    Mateja Kezman has fired in four goals in three games in pre-season. Didier Drogba scored a neat tap-in on his debut against Roma and a towering header against Milan. Arjen Robben has been blistering in his pace and accuracy of passing, while Petr Cech has, by all accounts, had little to do in the Chelsea goal but has looked comfortable.

    Tiago's injury has kept him away from pre-season but Carvalho had a strong game against AC Milan in our final American match: despite the late winner from Andriy Shevchenko, Chelsea had dominated the possession and, most pleasingly to Blues fans given his comments in recent weeks, had kept Hernan Crespo thoroughly quiet throughout the game.

    Conducting training matches in front of thousands of soccer-starved Americans is hardly an ideal way to build up to the new term, but it's all grist to the Chelsea mill as we look to extend our profile worldwide. We fans may sneer a little at these tours, but deep down we understand their importance in developing our celebrity.

    And what of the manager... this self-assured, supremely confident figure who has waltzed onto the European scene after some spectacularly successful seasons with Porto. Not a single Chelsea fan I've spoken to has expressed concerns: they seem to think that he knows how and where he wants players to work, and with the multitude of talent we have at our disposal we certainly need a strong hand at the helm.

  • From Rob Hobson, of CFCnet.


  • Have your say on the Chelsea Message Board

    Best - Champions Worst - Champions League

    Chelsea move into what is essentially a second year of transition with Jose Mourinho at the helm, and while the championship is without doubt the ultimate aim the Blues will have to find a team ethic early if they are to win silverware. In Drogba and Kezman they have a new strikeforce with a fine record on the continent but, as seen with Adrian Mutu last season, that does not guarantee success in English football. Mourinho has seven new faces, all from the continent, to bed in the to side following the departure of several well-known faces. While Abramovich may expect success, it may be too much to ask, in the Premiership at least, this season.

  • Any thoughts? Email Dale Johnson.