Fergie thinks so…Â do you agree with him?
Alex Ferguson thinks Chelsea have too many thirtysomethings to challenge his squad of young bucks this season. The Man Utd boss said of Big Phil Scolari’s team: “How can they accelerate beyond what they’ve done? I don’t see outstanding progress in a team that is in their 30s.”
This must be the earliest ever start date for Fergie’s mind games.
Ferguson continued: “I’m not saying necessarily that they’re old because, with the modern-day training methods, you should be playing in your 30s. What I’m saying is I don’t see outstanding progress in a team that’s in their 30s.”
Spain showed the value of youth at Euro 2008, and United did the same in the Prem last season. So I actually think Ferguson is simply being honest in his assessment of Chelsea’s squad.
Let’s look at the facts. Chelsea’s squad contains no less than nine players over 30: Ricardo Carvalho (30), Andriy Shevchenko (31), Frank Lampard (30), Didier Drogba (30), Michael Ballack (31), Deco (30), Carlo Cudicini (34), Juliano Belletti (32) and Hilario (32).
Whereas United have just five players the wrong side of 30: Edwin van der Sar (37), Gary Neville (33), Ryan Giggs (34), Paul Scholes (33), Mikael Silvestre (30).
Thing is, most of those Chelsea oldies are only just into their 30s, so it’s not like they’re past it. I was surprised to discover that Drogba is already 30 – no one would claim he’s an old man. Deco, Ballack and Lampard are experienced, but not old – they’re all in good shape.
Football used to be more about experience than talent and potential, but I think that is changing – kids do win things these days, and I have to agree that United will finish above Chelsea in the league this season. Whether or not Arsenal or Liverpool – who also boast relatively young squads – can finish above United is another debate entirely.
Do you think Chelsea are too old to win the league? Vote below, or leave a comment…