Tim Holland speaks to Craig Mead, lifelong Chelsea fan, about Mourinho maturing, a new signing in Michael Essien and Demba Ba the mercenary.

How do you rate Chelsea’s season so far?

How do you rate Chelsea’s season so far?

After last season and the flurry of transfers, I think it’s gone as well as it can do. I think we’re playing good football and have added some consistency that wasn’t there at the start of the season. My only gripe is that our strikers aren’t being as effective as they should. It’s also annoyed me that Lukaku is scoring at Everton and for me I think he should’ve been given his chance this season.

How have you rated Mourinho’s time back at the club?

I’ve been impressed with Jose as not only has the style of football improved but he’s also seemed to quieten down a bit. Perhaps he’s maturing.

How have your summer signings settled in?

I’ve liked Willian and have been surprised just how composed he is. Schurrle has done ok but I don’t think we’re playing to his strengths. Eto’o needs to be scoring more and being a bit stronger on the pitch. It’s also felt like Essien has been a new signing after having him back from his strange year on loan.

Demba Ba has been linked with a move back to West Ham. Can you see that happening?

I’ve always seen Ba as a mercenary so I can’t see it happening apart from if you offer him a huge deal. In fairness he’s flattered to deceive this season so I wouldn’t be surprised if Jose did want to get rid. Perhaps he’d come back to you and not help you to avoid relegation again.

Do you think Mourinho will be busy this transfer window?

I have a feeling that we won’t be that busy in the transfer window but it depends on whether any players exit. If Mata and Ba go then we need to replace them. I would love to see Diego Costa at the club but I’m not sure Athletico Madrid will let him go.

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

I think I mentioned him last time but I have high hopes for Bertrand Traore, the 18 year old Burkino Faso international who played well in some games for us in preseason. I think he might a great player in years to come.

Which Chelsea players should West Ham fans be wary of when the club’s meet?

We’ve been scoring goals all over the team this season. Torres, Hazard and Lampard have been scoring goals recently. Willian and Oscar have also popped up with important goals as well.

What’s your opinion of West Ham this season?

I felt for the fans during the cup games. It’s seems like you’ve turned on Allardyce and quite rightly too but I think when you get back some of your injured players you might be in a better position for the relegation battle.

Which West Ham players would you have in your squad?

The more I’ve seen of you this season the less I think I’d want any of your players – perhaps Reid or Tomkins for cover.

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

I’ll go for 5-0 in keeping with your recent results and I’ll stick with my prediction of 2nd, West Ham 19th.

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