The Premier League match of the weekend undoubtedly takes place at Villa Park this Saturday, with Guus Hiddink presiding over his first match since taking temporary / permanent charge of Chelsea. It’s a pretty tricky opener for the Dutchman, with one of the Villa players claiming that the current Blues team are a shadow of the side that Jose Mourinho used to manage.
Perhaps Hiddy will change that and Chelsea will show they mean business in the Midlands. However, The Guardian reports that while Stilian Petrov is expecting a tough challenge from his team’s weekend opponents, they are lacking a certain je ne sais quoi since Roman Abramovich evicted the Special One from the Stamford Bridge set-up.
“When Mourinho was there they had a special team,” said the Villa midfielder, recalling the back-to-back Premier League titles Chelsea won under the Portuguese in 2005 and 2006 and the winning mentality he instilled in his players. “I think they had more belief in themselves. I don’t think Chelsea are the team that they used to be under Mourinho. A lot of changes have happened there.”
What are Chelsea currently lacking that they had when Jose was manager at the club? Arjen Robben, Damien Duff, Shaun Wright-Phillips and a fit Joe Cole are four things that spring to mind, while the absence of Michael Essien has probably hit the Blues harder than they care to admit. Was Phil Scolari correct in his assertion that the current set of players can only comprise a ‘bureaucratic’ team, or will they be a revitalised outfit against Aston Villa?