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Know Your Opponent: Chelsea F.C.

That awkward moment when your boss's boss emails you for an interview and he openly admits to being #drunj.

Clive Rose

What do you do when the chief soccer mucky-muck at SB Nation tells you he's inebriated? Buy him another drink, of course. You might not know it, but Graham Macaree knows Helsinki like the back of his hand. So when he asked me to meet him at the Finnish capital's Bar Sandro for cocktail hour, I immediately assumed he was trolling me. I couldn't have been more wrong. Sure, when I arrived he was three sheets to the wind, but that only made SB Nation's Soccer Editor just that more charming, and it certainly put his answers into context. We bonded over endless Midnight Sun cocktails and talk of Champions League football (or the lack thereof). And in the end, even #drunj he still wouldn't hire me, the bastard.


Uncle Menno: So Jose Mourinho's "little horse" has seemingly gone all Secretariat on the rest of the league and are now favorites win the EPL. Two part question: will Chelsea win the league, and how specifically will Mourinho troll Tim Sherwood before or after this weekend's match?

Graham Macaree: Part One: No. Manchester City have the goal difference and if they win their games in hand they're ahead of us. I also think their squad is better, especially in central midfield and at striker. We have a chance, but it's less than fifty-fifty. Part Two: I'd expect Mourinho ignore Sherwood entirely. He tends not to go after managers who aren't in any realistic competition with him.

UM: The last time these two clubs met, AVB was still mumbling on the sidelines, Fernando Torres got a phantom red card, and a hot-tempered match ended in what was a (probably) fair draw. How should Chelsea set up tactically to ensure that they get the three points this time around?

GM: Tactically, they should just play their usual game. While Chelsea sometimes have problems with the opposition bunkering down against them at Stamford Bridge, that doesn't seem like a very Tottenham thing to do. You'll come at us, which could lead to problems, but we'll be able to reply. 4-2-3-1, get ball to Eden Hazard, try not to let y'all score.

UM: Are there Tottenham players that you are particularly wary of going into this match?

GM: I've been taking the piss out of Roberto Soldado enough that I'm half-expecting him to score a hattrick against us. Karma's a bitch.

UM: Romelu Lukaku and Thibaut Courtois are Chelsea players who are on loan this year. Do you have any idea how much the rest of the league hates you for this?

GM: Yes. Fortunately Chelsea fans use hatred to sustain ourselves, like emotional photosynthesis. It's why we're so healthy and good-looking.

UM: Okay, we don't hate YOU, Graham, honest. But, Lukaku and especially Courtois are players that would seemingly be able to waltz straight into the Chelsea starting lineup. Courtois, especially, has been at least Petr Cech's equal, and likely his superior, in goal. Does the club have a plan for these two players? Will we ever see them suit up for the Blues?

GM: I'd assume they have a plan, because a club with no plan for developing Courtois and Lukaku would probably be starting them already. As to whether it's a very good plan... well, I don't know. And nobody will know until their Chelsea careers play out. As for Cech vs. Courtois, while I accept Courtois is a better keeper, he's also got no Premier League experience and having him start would probably mean losing Cech. Right now (by which I mean this season), I'd rather have both.

UM: Just where the [FUN] *is* Josh McEachran?

GM: He's at Wigan. The other day he did this. It was cool.

UM: What's your opinion on Spurs' summer signings? Is it too early to make any definitive statements about the players that were brought in with the Bale money? Should any of them go this summer?

GM: I liked Chistian Eriksen coming in, and I have trouble imagining Erik Lamela won't get better. But as for the rest... I've never liked Soldado, and I thought that neither Paulinho and Etienne Capoue actually improved your midfield, although both are good players. Also Nacer Chadli is boring.

UM: Will Tottenham finish fourth this season? Why or why not?

GM: Probably not, no. Arsenal are a better side and have a hefty points advantage.

UM: For the benefit of our depressed readership, please say something complimentary and/or nice about Tottenham Hotspur.

GM: You have a nice blog.

UM: Awwww, thanks. Now, for the important question: who would win in a no-holds-barred steel cage death match: theroosevelts (of Cartilage Free Captain's Hoddle of Coffee) or David Pasztor (of WAGNH's Daily Hilario)?

GM: I'm going to say theroosevelts, because I want to see how David reacts to being trolled. BLACKHAWKS SUCK.

UM: Finally, let's have a prediction for Saturday's match.

GM: 2-0 Chelsea. I will throw many things and shout at our midfield for much of the game.


Thanks to Inebriated Graham™ for his spit-take inducing answers to my stupid Chelsea questions. (Hire me, Graham!) Graham Macaree is SB Nation Soccer Editor [i.e. Kevin's boss] and manager of We Ain't Got No History, the SB Nation Chelsea blog and the only SB Nation soccer site larger than this one. (No, really, hire me!) Follow Graham at @macaree.