Exclusive Interview With Emmanuel Petit
Speaking to KingCasinoBonus.uk in an exclusive interview, World Cup and Premier League winner Emmanuel Petit shared his thoughts on 2023’s highlights in football. The former French star has given his view on Chelsea’s season so far, and Arsenal’s chances of winning the Premier League. Stay tuned to discover his insights on England’s top football clubs!
What did you think of Chelsea’s win? Why do Chelsea always make it so hard for themselves?
EP – ”I think, with everything that’s happened over the last few months, it’s been difficult for the team to achieve serenity. That’s evident on the pitch. The expectations for the season aren’t great at the moment, but I think they are coming back step by step. We’ll see the real Chelsea in 2024, I’m pretty sure about that. I think it’s been much better over the last few games, even if they were thrashed against Newcastle.
I think the reaction was very good yesterday. They’re starting to win games at home, and the scenario yesterday was great in terms of fighting spirit. The combinations were great, even if the player captaining the side was sent off for the second game in a row! I think Chelsea showed character against Brighton, who looked tired and sloppy after playing in the Europa League midweek. That’s not an excuse, though, as Chelsea needed a reaction, and they showed great character and personality in the last 20 minutes. They did everything to win. It wasn’t easy, but it was very important to get the three points.
There are a lot of things Chelsea to improve on, both individually and collectively, and that goes for Pochettino, too! They’ve shown improvements in their home games this season, especially against the big sides like Arsenal and Liverpool, but if they want to climb the table, they have to be unbeatable at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea need confidence, but we’re starting to see that in certain players. I liked a lot of players’ performances yesterday as they showed a lot of character.
Chelsea aren’t in the same situation as they were at the beginning of the season, but I didn’t expect them to play perfectly from the start. It takes time to get the links between players both on the pitch and in their heads. I think Pochettino was very angry after the Newcastle game and he was expecting a strong reaction yesterday, and that’s exactly what happened. I’m pretty sure that with the players they have, Chelsea will bounce back from everything that has happened.
“This is the only issue facing Chelsea as far as I’m concerned.”
What do you think of Pochettino’s start to life at Chelsea and why do you think Chelsea are struggling to find consistency?
“Nkunku will be back with a point to prove. He’s been injured for months now, and he hasn’t been able to show his true quality since he signed. It’ll be like a new transfer! He has a winning mentality and he has the quality to become very important for Chelsea.”
Raheem Sterling produced another great performance yesterday. Do you think he’s been Chelsea’s best player this season? Or would you say Cole Palmer has been? How impressed have you been with both of them?
EP – ”I’ve been impressed with Palmer’s mentality since he signed. It’s never easy leaving Manchester City!
“A lot of players who were at Chelsea last season know they weren’t brilliant and they need to bounce back. This is especially true for international players like Sterling, as the Euros are only six months away and he’ll want to be a part of the England set-up!
“Sterling is one of Chelsea’s best players, in my opinion. He knew that he was booed by his own fans, especially at home, and he was one of the most criticised players last season and I could tell he was upset about that. Sterling has pride, and he’s shown this season that he’s bringing back the real Raheem Sterling and getting back to his best.
“Sterling is playing with a new level of motivation and ambition this season. He’s not playing in European competitions or with his country, and those things are very important to him.
Sterling is a senior player, and he’ll know that he has to show character and responsibility on the pitch. Ambition is what drives players. Without it, you’ll just be an average footballer! Sterling, like Cole Palmer, has set an example at Chelsea and other players have to follow that.’’
As a Chelsea fan, it’s weird to watch Mykhailo Mudryk as you know there’s a player there and you’re desperate for that to come out and be as explosive as he was at Shakhtar Donetsk! Do you think he has the ability to turn things around and become a really good player for Chelsea?
EP – ”We can all see that Mykhailo Mudryk has a lot of quality. We can also see that he’s not playing with 100% confidence at the moment.
“Mudryk sometimes looks nervous when he takes the ball and tries to take players on. He also doesn’t look confident in terms of his movement and linking with his fellow forwards.
I think he’ll do ok. I was watching the Brighton game yesterday and I was wondering why, instead of being a left-winger, he doesn’t play behind the striker. I think he has the ability, vision, and personality to take the ball and dribble. If I were Pochettino, I sometimes use him in the middle of the park.”
You’ve said in the past that Chelsea should stop signing players as it’s upsetting the balance of the dressing room. There is, however, talk of a striker arriving in January. Victor Osimhen and Ivan Toney have been linked, with the former likely to cost £100 million and the latter costing at least £50 million. Is that completely stupid?
EP – ”I wouldn’t describe any transfer rumours as stupid as it’s always good to consider players who can bring a different edge to the team. Chelsea have so many players, however, and I think they should stick to what they have.
“Chelsea have a lot of defenders and forwards, but I would say that Chelsea are missing one player who can play in the middle. Jackson is getting better step by step as a center-forward, and I think people should wait a bit and see how this team develops. We’ll see the real Chelsea in a couple of weeks!
“They already have Jackson and Nkunku is coming back soon.”
I agree. Signing Osimhen would just mean bringing in another £100 million player who has great pressure to perform straight away.
EP – ”More arrivals would mean more problems for Pochettino to decide on a fixed starting 11! I also have no idea how you’d manage Jackson, Nkunku, and all of the other attacking players if another striker arrived. They’d all be fighting for the same position!
Chelsea should keep their money and stick to their team. They have so many quality players and they have a big season ahead.
“The club should be patient and stop trying to achieve overnight success! That will just add more problems in the dressing room and add more egos into the team! Chelsea have the players to get them out of their situation, but they need time for that to happen.”
I agree. I was watching the game yesterday, and every single player, bar one or two, was a new signing! Getting more players in January will cause more disruption. Let’s move on to Chelsea’s match with Manchester United on Wednesday. How do you think that one will go?
EP – ”I feel very sorry for the Manchester United fans. It’s hard to watch them sometimes! You never know what’s going on with them.
“Manchester United can be 3-0 up, but you’re never sure if they’ll go on to win the game! It seems as if it’s easy to turn things around against them. There have been on and off-pitch problems for years now, and I still can’t understand how a club of this size can be in this mess. It’s a pity to watch them. I don’t recognise them anymore and I can’t see the DNA.
I used to play against Paul Scholes, Paul Ince, Roy Keane, and Ryan Giggs. These players were competitors and they were very hard to beat. Not just because of their quality, but also because of their soul.
“Chelsea are capable of winning at Old Trafford with no problems at all. If they have the right spirit and set up the team correctly, they can leave with three points.”
Do you have a score prediction?
EP – ”Manchester United vs Chelsea is a big game, and I can see Man United going out there with a point to prove, especially after all the criticism they’ve received from fans, pundits, and former players.
“It’ll be a tough one, but I can see Chelsea winning. I’ll go for 2-1 or 3-2 in Chelsea’s favour. Neither team is great at stopping the opposition from scoring.’’
Chelsea seem to concede every game!
EP – ”Manchester United have a poor record against the top teams over the last few seasons. Chelsea need to be unbeatable if they want to hit the next level.
“If Chelsea can get a result away at Old Trafford, it’ll be a huge boost, especially after their win against Brighton. It’s a very important game for both teams as they’re fighting for the same position in the table. I think Chelsea have a better chance of winning that game in my opinion.
If Man United lose, will Ten Hag be finished? Do you think he needs more time?
EP – ”Man United have not had much stability in the dugout this season and I still don’t understand the protection surrounding Ten Hag. You can see that he has issues with several players, and that has a great impact on the confidence of the team.
“These aren’t recent issues – it’s been the case for months now! I don’t know what the board are expecting, but I think a loss to Chelsea could spell the end for Erik ten Hag. They have huge months ahead of them with massive fixtures in both the Premier League and the Champions League. They could be out of the latter competition very soon, which is crazy considering the stature of the club.”
Moving on to Arsenal – they seem to be really good at getting wins, and they never used to be! They would have lost the Wolves game two years ago, but they’re grinding out results now. How impressed have you been with Arsenal this season?
EP – ”Let’s not forget that Arsenal had a strong mentality last season. They were eight points ahead of City, but they dropped off at the end of the season.
“I was very happy with what Arsenal produced against both Wolves and Lens last week. I wouldn’t say I was surprised, either! The link between the players looks a lot better this season and they look like a group of friends. You can tell that by what they’ve done with Ramsdale and Havertz. Arsenal look like a real team.’’
Arsenal all look like real mates, and there’s a real camaraderie between them. Do you think Arsenal are Man City’s biggest threat, or would you say Liverpool are?
EP – ”There’s still a long way to go this season, and I think Tottenham will have something to say as well.
“Spurs have shown great character against the top teams this season. They’ve lost a few games this season, but the game against City will have a huge impact on their spirits! I think Liverpool, Arsenal, and Spurs will all fight City for the title. It won’t be easy, but it’s looking like a fascinating season. We’ll have to see what happens.
“It’s very difficult to predict the winner at this moment in time!”
Gabriel Jesus recently said that scoring goals isn’t his strong point and that he’s more of a creative striker who likes to link play. What do you think about these comments as a World Cup winner?
EP – ”I’m happy with Gabriel Jesus’ comments as we all knew that he wasn’t a typical striker before he joined Arsenal. He may not get 25 goals a season, but he’s so important in linking play and getting others involved. We saw that with Zinchenko’s goal yesterday – which was fantastic in terms of movement and precision.
“Jesus is very important in these scenarios. He can score his fair share of goals and deliver assists, but his real strength is in his movement. I think he’s very important.
“However, Arsenal need to reach a new level if they want to win the league. I think they’re doing that. I remember City winning the league without a number nine, but they had a variety of players scoring around 10 or 15 goals throughout the season, and that’s exactly what Arsenal need if they don’t have a prolific striker. Jesus, Odegaard, Saka, and Martinelli are all capable of that!
“The goal tally is my only question mark around Arsenal. If they score enough, they can push City all the way.’’
David Raya was very solid against Wolves and didn’t make any notable mistakes. Do you think Ramsdale will be out in January, or should they keep hold of him?
EP – ”I would be having a word with the manager and the board if I was in Ramsdale’s position. I’d highlight that I had a great season, but I was dropped to the bench without explanation. I’d also showcase my ambitions to play at the highest level as well as how the Euros are coming up!
“Ramsdale needs to play if he wants to be considered for England. I thought he was very good in his last game. I love how his teammates treat him, but friendship won’t be enough to keep Ramsdale happy! You could tell he was sad as he sat on the bench. It’s very difficult to cope with these situations, and I would go and see the higher-ups and discuss and exit if I were him.
“I think the situation is very harsh. However, Arteta did the same thing with Aubameyang, and look how that turned out! Arsenal are first in the league and they topped their Champions League group, so we can’t say Arteta didn’t do the right thing.”
There was talk of Ramsdale becoming the England number one, but that’s looking unlikely now. Do you think he’s in danger of losing his place in the England side by sitting on the bench?
EP – ”Nick Pope is injured, and if he’s out for a few months, then it could be a great opportunity for Ramsdale. He will, however, need to play for Arsenal more.
He’s not playing domestic football at the moment, and that doesn’t bode well for his international ambitions. He needs to go and see what else is available to regain his confidence. In my opinion, his only option is to leave Arsenal.’’
Let’s talk about Kai Havertz. You said earlier this season that you weren’t sure why Arsenal signed him.
EP – ”I said that Arteta isn’t helping by putting him straight into the starting 11 right away. It was hurting his confidence. I said that if I was Arteta, I’d bleed him into the side slowly so he could find his best level. We’re starting to see that now.
Some fans were questioning why he didn’t start against Wolves, but I think Arteta was right. I think Havertz is starting to find his confidence.”
Is Havertz starting to change your mind?
EP – ”I already knew that Havertz had great quality, but he looked lost. He played as a left-back for Germany a few weeks ago, and he plays in a variety of positions for his club. That can’t be easy! He has no idea where his best position is. It messed with his head. Stability is the most important thing, and if he gets that, he’ll regain his confidence.
Havertz has quality and I think he’s a great guy. I have excuses for him, but he needs to improve his character and personality. This is the definition of a professional sportsman in my opinion – they must accept the reality and fight to bounce back. I still haven’t seen that in Havertz.”
Where would you strengthen Arsenal in January?
EP – ”I’d say I’d like to see Arsenal strengthen in midfield. It’d be great to see another attacker, too.
Arsenal have enough central defenders, but I’d like to see more options in midfield. They’ll need to rotate a lot this season, and midfield options worry me. Arsenal’s bench is not as strong as City’s, and that can make a huge difference toward the end of the season.”
Jorginho’s contract will run out at the end of the season. He’s proved to be a useful signing this season, especially when they’re looking to close games out.
EP – ”Jorginho is very important in terms of rotation, especially in a specific game when they’re up against teams who control the game.
He’s always useful against teams who aren’t particularly physical. I’d say Jorginho is an important player for Arsenal, but not in every game. He doesn’t give them the fuel or energy to change every game, and he seems to struggle against teams who are very physical.
I’d say he brings a lot of important experience, though.”
Declan Rice has been phenomenal for Arsenal and he delivered another outstanding performance on Saturday. Has he been the signing of the season?
EP – ”I’d say Rice has definitely been the signing of the season. I’m not just saying this because I’m a former Gunner, it’s just reality.’’
Moises Caicedo looks to be struggling for Chelsea. He was doing reckless tackles and he was lucky to stay on. Why do you think Rice has settled so well, whilst Caicedo has struggled?
EP – ”Rice has settled so well as he’s a natural leader. Arsenal have so many players who can be captain, and I think Rice will become the captain one day.”
Are Chelsea missing a reliable leader? Reece James is one, but he’s injured regularly.
EP – ”Chelsea are like any other team – they need some players who can be leaders and symbols of the team. They need players who embody the character of the club, and Declan Rice is a great example of this, both as a player and a person.
“Rice arrived for £105 million, which is a lot of money, but he’s a player who can do everything. He’s so important to the balance of the team and he never gives up.”
If there was one player who you’d compare Declan Rice to, who would that be? Who was that warrior-type player who you played with?
EP – ”I’d played with and against so many important English players in midfield. Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, and Paul Scholes, all come to mind and they all had winning mentalities. Declan Rice is one of them. ‘’
Arsenal have William Saliba, should he be starting for France at the Euros?
EP – ”France have so many quality centre-backs at the moment and Deschamps has his starting 11 already set. It’s not hard for him to replace one player with another of the same quality!
“It’s not been easy for Saliba to get into the national team, but I think he deserves to be included. However, it’s too soon to say if he’s good enough to start every game for France. I think the ones already in place have been very good. France don’t concede many goals, and I think Deschamps is doing the right thing.
“The only advice I’d give to Saliba is to be at the same level for every game, especially in the Champions League, as the level is very close to national tournaments. If he keeps doing what he’s doing, he’ll send a strong message to Deschamps. The other centre-backs are doing very well, too.
“I’d say there are still better French defenders at the moment. I think he’s very good, though.’’
You played with some great defenders in your time. Do you think Saliba can be as good as Marcel Desailly and Lillian Thuram?
EP – I hope Saliba can become as good as Marcel Desailly and Lillian Thuram! He certainly has quality, and he’s only 22.
“I remember when Desailly was playing at Marseille and Thuram was at Monaco. They, like Saliba, improved step by step and kept their level throughout their careers. You need to do that to stay at the top. It’s f*cking easy to get to the top, but it’s very hard to stay there! ‘’
Do you have a score prediction for Arsenal vs Luton?
EP – ”Arsenal will definitely win against Luton. I’d say with a three-goal difference.”