Battle of the Blues: fans face off

By Sameer Naik16 February 2024

Battle of the Blues: fans face off

They find themselves languishing in 10th position, having succumbed to ten losses in the season already. But can Chelsea put a dent in Manchester City’s title aspirations when they face off in this weekend’s Battle of the Blues, streaming live on Showmax Premier League on Saturday, 17 February 2024?

Cape Town-based die-hard Chelsea fan Leesharn Rose isn’t giving her team much of a chance, while Johannesburg-based Man City die-hard Xolani Dube believes his team is on course to continue their lengthy winning run.

Showmax caught up with the two to chat about this weekend’s big battle.

Leesharn Rose: Chelsea fan

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Does Chelsea stand a chance of beating Manchester City?

The realistic answer: Absolutely not. The unrealistic answer: Yes, 1-2 to Chelsea sounds about right. I don’t like to think of myself as a delusional fan. I am as realistic as they come. Chelsea have been terribly consistent in producing a poor run of results. Not all the time but too often for my liking. We have struggled against the likes of Wolves, Liverpool, Manchester United, Everton, the list goes on. Truthfully, I don’t think we have a chance of beating Manchester City; however, I do think if we play like our lives depend on it we could cheekily gain a point.

What have you made of Chelsea’s performance this season?

One word comes to mind when I get asked this question: painful, excruciatingly painful. The run of poor results, the absence of our owners at matches, the lack of urgency from the players, has made this season almost unbearable to witness.

Where has it gone wrong for Chelsea?

The issues at Chelsea started with the exit of our beloved ex-owner Roman Abramovich. A very sad and dark day in Chelsea history. The day the club was sanctioned, was the day all of us Chelsea fans knew very well what to expect and it really wasn’t going to be pretty, as one can now see as the current depressing situation continues. We have Todd Boehly and the consortium Clearlake Capital at the helm, who, as expected, know nothing about British football, let alone how to run a football club.

Is Pochettino the right man to take Chelsea forward?

No one is the right person to take Chelsea forward now. Once again these are not Pochettino’s players, how do you expect a coach to work with players that he either did not select or overall, just was not involved in?

What does Chelsea need to change their fortunes around?

The unrealistic answer: Chelsea Football Club have owners that do not understand the football culture in England, and this is evident. I am in favour of Boehly and Clearlake Capital selling the club to someone that understands how to run a football club and what it entails. To give the club back its proper football status it had before Roman Abramovich was forced to sell. We are going nowhere as a club with the clueless owners that we have currently.

Which players in your opinion have done well for Chelsea this season?

Cole Palmer, Dorde Petrovic (GK). Robert Sanchez must never return or Kepa Arrizabalaga. Thiago Silva (nothing negative can be said about him, he has paid his dues many a time).

Does Chelsea get into the top 4 this season?

No, definitely not. I don’t think we’re even getting top 10!

Who wins the title this season?

Liverpool, they are a joy to watch. They are more convincing to me than Manchester City. It’s also no secret that they will be going all out to make Jürgen Klopp’s farewell extra special. A league title will achieve that.

Xolani Dube: Man City fan

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What do you expect from this weekend’s Battle of the Blues ?

I expect a fired-up game. Players got a lot to prove to their respective teams but it’s going to be a game full of drama!

Do you expect City to be too strong for Chelsea?

Of course! We have a fully fit squad now. Kevin De Bruyne is back, Erling Haaland is back, Phil Foden is on fire!

Any nerves ahead of the game?

Listen, I’m more amped than nervous!

What have you made of City’s season so far? Do you believe that your team is on course for yet another title?

Not to be arrogant, but I think it’s well documented that the second half of the season we just become unstoppable. I love the hunger, the drive! The title is actually ours to lose.

Do you think the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool will push City till the end?

Liverpool, maybe. Arsenal? Not a chance! Not while their key players play week in and out without rest.

How big of a boost is it to have the likes of Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne back for the remainder of the season?

Massive! I mean, results since their return, especially KDB ,speak for themselves.

Who do you see as potential threats from the Chelsea team ahead of the game ?

Cole Palmer and Raheem Sterling play to prove themselves. We saw it the last time out.

What do you predict the score to be ?

2-1 to Man City, of course! Tempted to say 3-1 because there’s no middle with Chelsea, they are either bad or good and their bad is baaadd!

Do you feel like Pochettino has done a decent job as Chelsea boss so far ?

Nah! Even the stats show he’s no better than their previous manager. But I hope they keep him for longer… for our benefit.

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