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Blue flag flying high - 23/08/2003

Blue flag flying high
   Mikael Forssell
   Gianfranco Zola

Chelsea have commanded a great deal of the summer football headlines – and now the season is underway there seems to be no sign of the media interest slowing down! Yesterday saw the club agreeing a deal with Inter for the signing of Hernan Crespo, and if Christian Vieri wasn’t too happy about it, those at Stamford Bridge certainly are.

With only Carlton Cole moving on to Charlton on a season long loan deal, that leaves, Adrian Mutu, Gudjohnsen, Hasselbaink , Forssel, and now Crespo competing for first team action. I mentioned in an earlier article that I felt both Jimmy and Eidur had under performed last season, but if they can play to their potential, then it’ll be as good as having two new signings at the club. Having a look at the opening fixture against Liverpool, the early evidence suggests that Jimmy looks hungry and up for the fight to keep his place. Unfortunately for Eidur, his early miss when in on goal may have knocked his confidence – but lets face it, it’s early days and they’ll both like to think that they’ll have further chances to prove their worth.

The signing of Crespo is really exciting, and if everything goes through, I’d expect to see him playing as an out and out striker. Adrian Mutu can play a more withdrawn role – in the similar mould to that of Zola. But with all the games Chelsea will play this season, I’d be surprised if the ‘tinker man’ didn’t live up to his reputation. Quite simply, Ranieri will have to tinker with the side as there’re just so many games to be played between now and next May.

With the arrival of every new player, there’s more and more pressure on the players already at the club. And this isn’t just about the strikers. Looking at Frank Lampard, I think the buys of Cole, Veron, and Geremi seem to brought the best out of him. His performance last week and during the England friendly were outstanding. If he’s got anything to prove, he’s well on the way to doing it!

I’m at the Bridge today, working alongside ‘Radio 5 Live’s’ Jonathan Pearce – a real professional. His enthusiasm for the game is there to be seen/heard, and believe me, it’s genuine. He’s into his research, and if there’s any interesting statistics or a new angle to a story – you can bet on Jonathan taking note. I’m looking forward to the game, and although I’ll be commenting from a neutral perspective, you all know who I’ll be urging on.

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