Tim Holland speaks to Craig Mead, lifelong Chelsea fan, about Mourinho coming home, West Ham’s poor start to the season and being lumbered with Stewart Downing

How do you rate Chelsea's start to the season so far?

How do you rate Chelsea’s start to the season so far?

We’re struggling for consistency really. It’s always difficult for a new(ish) manager to a club, especially with team selection. We saw that earlier in the season with the benching of Mata. I think Jose needs to find his best XI and we need to play to the team’s strengths.

Last season, you weren’t pleased with Di Mattteo’s sacking, missing out on Guardiola or Benitez’s short term appointment. Are you happy now?

As happy as any other Chelsea fan I suppose. Mourinho has returned home as we all thought he would one day. He’s inherited a team that he still needs to make his mark on but the omens are quite good. I think the loans moves were strange at the start of the season and that might damage us in the long run. Lukaku is a definite starter for me.

The club spent big in the summer. How have your signings settled into life at the Bridge.

I’ve been impressed with Willian but for the money we spent on Schurrle I hoped he would’ve hit the ground running a bit more. Eto’o has been ok which was to be expected because of the standard he’s been playing in for the past few seasons. Van Ginkel has been very unlucky with his injury so it’s hard to pass judgement on him yet.

John Terry is out of contract at the end of the season. Can you see him extending his contract?

There are rumours of Galatasaray offering a big contract offer for him but personally I think he’ll stay. He’s been playing a lot more this season and he has a good relationship with Mourinho so has no reason to leave.

Ex-Hammer Frank Lampard’s future at Chelsea looks steadier this season. Can you see him staying at the club for the rest of his career?

Last season I said he was definitely off for one final pay day to the U.S but now I’m not so sure. Playing in the MLS means that he would have to turn his back on his England career. Perhaps he’ll play on until he’s 38 or 39 and get a few seasons elsewhere.

Ashley Cole is under pressure at left back with Azpilicueta pushing for his place, how long do you think he’ll be able to keep his place?

Ashley Cole has been a great player for club and country for many years but like every player he needs competition for his place and I think that will keep him on his toes for the next couple of seasons.

Chelsea has a number of young players coming through the ranks and out on loan. Who is your pick of the bunch?

The player that fills me with excitement is Thibaut Courtois. He’s out on loan and is Athletic Madrid’s No 1 ‘keeper. I think he’s got a very bright future with the us. Bertrand Traore, the 18 year old, Burkino Faso international who played some games for us in preseason is also quite a talent

Who should West Ham fan’s be wary of in the Chelsea first XI when the club’s meet?

Torres has fortunately come back into some form as has Ramires. Everyone knows how well Mata and Hazard can play from last season but they need to recapture a bit of that form to start unlocking defences a bit more.

What’s your opinion of West Ham this season?

I think you’ve had a poor start to season with strikers and midfielders not scoring, You’ve got Andy Carroll out until who knows when and you’ve been lumbered with Stewart Downing! It’s been miserable really. In fairness, I’m not sure the 4-6-0 is working for you but what else can you do?

Which West Ham players would you have in your squad?

Last season I said I liked the look of a few of your players, this year it’s like a completely different team has showed up. I like Diame and I think in a different team he might be a bit more consistent. Reid would be a decent back up I suppose.

What’s your prediction for the match and for both clubs this season?

I’ll go for 3-0 to Chelsea for the match and Chelsea 2nd, West Ham 19th

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