IT’S amazing how the arrival of a new player can focus the mind. I am a John Obi Mikel fan, but he can be frustrating sometimes.
When, against Wigan, he put that perfectly weighted pass through for Anelka to fire home, not only did his team-mates seem dumbfounded but he looked astonished also.
He’s a talented player, and we went to enough trouble to get him, but now and again, he seems to lose concentration.
Yet enter Ramires and suddenly Mikel is the complete package. His good work continued against Stoke where he provided invaluable link-up play, especially important as Lampard was not his usual outstanding self.
Lamps’ below par performance was caused either by the hernia injury which requires surgery or by the presence of his new love, Christine Bleakley, in the West Stand executive boxes ahead of her GMTV debut.
The schedule for the operation is fortunate as the international break ensures that time missed playing for Chelsea is kept to a minimum.
His absence, and that of John Terry, should at least make the boo boys happy.
In the dying minutes of the canter against Tony Pulis’s team we welcomed Ramires to Stamford Bridge. I hope our good fortune with Brazilian players continues.
Thankfully we have never endured wimps who moan at the sight of rain, miss their mothers, or who whinge that the local women are not up to the standard of those model types on Copacabana beach.
Our boys from Brazil have been robust model professionals who have made themselves crowd favourites by good old-fashioned hard work — the only time we saw their Brazilian tendencies was at free kick time, both Alex and Belletti being quite useful from the old set piece.
Alex and John Terry were imperious on Saturday. For a long time we have had enviable centre back pairings — Leboeuf and Desailly, Terry and Gallas (before Arsenal turned him bonkers), Terry and Carvalho and now Terry and Alex. And we have more than a couple of centre backs waiting in the wings — led by new Dutch international Bruma.
Terry and Alex seem to be developing that understanding at the back which is obviously based on trust. Against Stoke we saw Alex make some perfectly-timed, hard, yet fair interceptions inside the penalty box. He has an agility that defies his size. He has a presence which seems to make strikers, such as Kenwyne Jones, ponder that second too long.
Terry obviously feels that the Brazilian can be left to safely muster the back line as he has once again started making those thundering forays forward. It’s an impressive sight as opposition players see that they have only two choices — either get out of the way or try stop the juggernaut. I hope his injury won’t keep him out for long although happily he won’t have to put up with the nonsense that is the England set-up, unlike another star from the weekend, Ashley Cole.
The Champions League draw sees us return to Zilina — a Slovakian side that we last played six years ago at the start of the Abramovich era which was one of the most enjoyable European trips ever. Marseilles will see an emotional return for Drogba as he still has legendary status there — but Chelsea fans will not have such pleasant memories. On previous trips we were subjected to unprovoked incarceration in underground warehouses and tear gas for those who made it on to the terraces. As for Moscow... the less said the better. Anyway three games gone, maximum points and no goals conceded. Last time we did that, I am reliably informed we won the league.
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