Q&A With Graham of We Ain't Got No History

Julian Finney

You know Graham. He's in charge of soccer, and he likes Chelsea. So let's ask him some things that you wanted to know!

Why the abject hatred for Rafa Benitez? Is it purely because di Matteo won the Champions League and the fan base feels like he got a raw deal from Roman this season, or is there another reason?

Benitez has, in the past, insulted Chelsea fans directly and refused to apologise for it. That alone would be worthy of Chelsea supporters' collective disdain, but on top of that we don't feel as though he's a very good manager -- Liverpool were hardly great for most of his tenure and he drove Inter Milan into the ground upon arrival in Italy.

How has the move to Benitez affected Chelsea’s in game tactics. Based on how it has gone so far, are you more or less optimistic about the rest of the season than you were under DiMatteo?

Chelsea tend to play more conservatively now that Benitez is in. Gone (mostly) are the days where they've used all of Mata, Hazard and Oscar and call it good, which means that the defence is a little less exposed. But with John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses off at the Africa Cup of Nations, the tactics are being rejigged again. I have no clue how Chelsea will line up against Arsenal. And I'm more optimistic about the rest of the season, but only because we've bought Demba Ba.

It had looked like Chelsea were moving in the direction to become FFP compliant...What do you think happens now with the Fellaini rumours and Chelsea’s acquisition of Ba?

Chelsea are going to be FFP compliant. They made a profit last year and they'd have to lose something on the order of £40 million next year to fall foul of the rules in the first monitoring period. With the new TV deal coming in, the future's not a particularly grave concern. Ba's deal's essentially covered by Sturridge's departure -- more than covered for the monitoring period, actually, since we amortise his fee -- and Fellaini wouldn't be a big deal either.


How many of Chelsea's current U21s are good enough to break into the first team in a couple of years? Is this Chelsea trying to go the Arsenal way?

The u-21 team? There are a couple. But most of Chelsea's best prospects go on loan. Thibaut Courtois, Romelu Lukaku, Kevin de Bruyne Nathaniel Chalobah and Tomas Kalas are all excellent prospect who have every chance of contributing to the first team. And both Eden Hazard and Oscar would have qualified for the u-21s last year. This isn't the Arsenal route, mostly because the board is willing to pay huge money for superstars while they're trying to develop talent.


If you had to chose between the young midfielders, would you take Wilshere over Oscar? Hazard?

There is absolutely no chance I take Wilshere over either, mostly because of his injuries. Why take that risk? Injuries aside, I'd probably take his career over Oscar's. But not Hazard.


What are your thoughts on selling Sturridge to Liverpool?

Sturridge wasn't able to get a chance here, and while he's a decent player I don't think he'll ever be elite. £12 million is decent business, and I hope he does well at Anfield.


Do you feel this Chelsea squad capable of challenging the Manchesters for the title? If not, what do you feel is missing?

Not at all, although third place is much more reasonable. Chelsea need help in the centre of midfield more than anything else. The two pivot players just aren't good enough to control the game against tough opposition.

Thanks again to Graham for answering our questions!
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