Opening Thoughts

Last updated : 17 June 2009 By Andy Beill
Chelsea have won on the opening day for the past 7 seasons. Do you always go into the first game with confidence?
I go into this game with plenty of confidence. Chelsea do have a remarkable group of players but Hull proved to be, in the early part of last season, a very difficult team to beat. You had impressive victories as well.

But Stamford Bridge is a very difficult proposition for any side and I expect a Chelsea victory, as I suspect many Tigers' fans would too.

Chelsea v Hull City was the end for Luiz Felipe Scolari and now it will be the start for Carlo Ancelotti. Will he be happy with the fixture?
I don't think Ancelotti has even heard of Hull. He will be told to liken them to a mid-table Serie A side. That's the only way he will get a handle on them.

His English management team, in particular Ray Wilkins, will have to brief him quickly. And if he has any sense, he will already be reading up on all the sides, not just Hull City.

Would a failure to beat Hull City on the opening day put doubts over Ancelotti or are the club and the fans expecting him to need time to settle in?
The club and the fans expect a victory. When Chelsea buy a player they demand he hits the ground running in terms of on-the-pitch performance. They will expect similar of their manager.

Any side he puts out will expect to win, so a defeat will be very damaging to morale and could undermine those players who lack self-confidence. But the opening game of the season is unique in that everyone can, publicly at least, write off a bad result.

Truth is no one knows yet what kind of manager he will be and thus it's difficult to judge him.

Paul Lagan is editor of Chelsea Mad