Blue flag flying high - 23/08/2003

Blue flag flying high

Chelsea have commanded a great deal of the summer football headlines Ė 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 wasnít 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 itíll 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 Ė but lets face it, itís early days and theyíll both like to think that theyíll have further chances to prove their worth.

The signing of Crespo is really exciting, and if everything goes through, Iíd expect to see him playing as an out and out striker. Adrian Mutu can play a more withdrawn role Ė in the similar mould to that of Zola. But with all the games Chelsea will play this season, Iíd be surprised if the Ďtinker maní didnít live up to his reputation. Quite simply, Ranieri will have to tinker with the side as thereíre just so many games to be played between now and next May.

With the arrival of every new player, thereís more and more pressure on the players already at the club. And this isnít 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 heís got anything to prove, heís well on the way to doing it!

Iím at the Bridge today, working alongside ĎRadio 5 Liveísí Jonathan Pearce Ė a real professional. His enthusiasm for the game is there to be seen/heard, and believe me, itís genuine. Heís into his research, and if thereís any interesting statistics or a new angle to a story Ė you can bet on Jonathan taking note. Iím looking forward to the game, and although Iíll be commenting from a neutral perspective, you all know who Iíll be urging on.

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