Super Chelsea

A Chelsea Blog For All Chels

Super Chelsea - A Chelsea Blog For All Chels

Why Fernando Torres will shine under Mourinho

Fernando Torres has been coached by many world class managers at Chelsea. Ancelotti, Villas-Boas, and Di Matteo all failed to get the best out of him. While he did show some flashes of brilliance under Ancelotti, Villas-Boas, and Di Matteo it was the arrival of Rafa Benitez –hate him or dislike him -that brought more consistency from him.

Torres failed under Ancelotti because our style of play was completely different to that of Liverpool, he joined mid-season and the media pressure and scrutiny surrounding his record-breaking transfer was overwhelming. Our attacking players also made his task frustrating and difficult. Coming from a Liverpool system which relied on counter attacking and most chances falling perfectly for him (through balls and cut-back crosses), adjustment ended up being a herculean feat.

Torres came to meet a slow build-up style of football at Chelsea, which was the preferred method of attack in Ancelotti’s second year. This suited Drogba, who could be marked closely by a defender and still get a goal and not Torres cause it makes it easy for defenders to mark him out of the game.

Man-marking Drogba is an exercise in futility

 


Torres’ team mates created few chances and many of those few chances were not suited to his abilities as a striker. For example, there is little sense in lobbing the ball towards his chest and expecting him to score.

When he wasn’t getting clear chances, he tried to create his own. I would watch games and see Torres pass the ball to Kalou or Malouda and enter into good goal-scoring space expecting the return pass. Torres would never get the return pass, Kalou or Malouda would shoot for goal instead. It did not matter to them that Torres had moved to a better goal scoring position than they were in; personal glory came first for them as they were both fighting/competing heavily for a place in the team.

The situation didn’t change much under Villas-Boas, who made Chelsea play a highline defense. By doing so, Chelsea would maintain constant pressure on opposing teams and this forced them to defend deeper and counter attack. This leaves little space that can be exploited on the break and Torres performs better when such space exists.
The first half of Di Matteo’s reign was similar to Avram Grant’s reign as Chelsea manager in that he made little changes to the system but had highly motivated players who were keen to prove a point. We all know the first half of his reign ended fantastic.

The second half however brought Hazard and Oscar. These new players were able to link up well with Mata and score a lot of goals between them. They also created more chances for Torres than previous midfields had. If Di Matteo was able to create a balanced Chelsea team, maybe he would have been manager today. The team was fantastic in attack but terrible in defense which is surprising because Di Matteo brought us the FA Cup and Champions League on a foundation of solid defense. “Attack wins you games but strong defense wins you trophies”.

Torres had his best goal tally for Chelsea last season. I believe he could have easily gotten more than 23, maybe 35-40 goals if he played his old game. By old game, I mean passing to attacking midfield, running into space, receiving the return pass and scoring. However, this did not happen because Torres would often move wide of the goal when he could score more by being at center and that benefited Mata the most. I believe he moves wide to avoid being manhandled by center backs.

The reason why Torres will shine under Mourinho is because Mourinho loves counter attacking football. In 2005/06 season, Mourinho’s Chelsea scored 42% of its goals from counter attacks. 44% of goals came from slow build ups. The remainder of the goals came from set piece situations. 38% of the goals came from counter attack play of less than 10 seconds. 53% of the counter attack goals involved 3 passes or less. [Stats taken from Dick Bate, Future Game Presentation (2012)]

In the Super Cup game against Bayern Munich, Torres scored the first goal and it came from a defense-to-attack transition. When Hazard got the ball from Bayern, at that moment, a transition occurred. In order to prevent Bayern from organizing themselves making it difficult for us to score, Hazard quickly unleashed the ball to Schurrle on the right wing, who also doesn’t waste time and crosses the ball in which Torres finishes without taking a touch or thinking.


Most counter attacks that turn into goals are made with less than 6 passes and Chelsea scored against Bayern with 3. Bayern could do little about it because it took all of 5 seconds to occur. That is the type of football Mourinho likes to play.

Transitions have become crucial. When the opponent is organized defensively, it is very difficult to score. The moment the opponent loses the ball can be the time to exploit the opportunity of someone being out of position. Similarly when we lose the ball we must react immediately. In training I sometimes practice keeping a minimum of five players behind the ball, so that when we lose it we can still keep a good defensive shape. The players must learn to read the game – when to press and when to return to their defensive positions. Everybody says that set plays win most games, but I think it is more about transitions. – José Mourinho

If you still doubt Mourinho’s love for counter attacking that suits Torres, listen to him lament Chelsea’s failure to take advantage of opportunities to counter attack at Old Trafford.

That’s all I have for you Blues. Keep the blue flag flying high!
Twitter: @super_chelsea
Facebook: Super Chelsea

LAMPARD: 99 CAPS, 100% COMMITTED.

Frank Lampard vs Moldova Sep 2013.

Not the long-range belters nor the perfectly-timed runs into the 18/6-yard box nor the goal records. None of these are what are I admire most about Sir Frank Lampard (as he is called by many nowadays, Chelsea fans and otherwise) – rather, It’s the constant defiance of critics. Doing what they say he can’t do and going beyond the limits they set.

Without trying to dish out a history lesson, this unending criticism has existed since he was playing under his uncle and dad at West Ham.

A behavior I noticed during/after the 2006 world cup and have often pondered the reasons for, it seems to edge him on and has contributed hugely to the player he is today. From West Ham fans saying he wasn’t good enough and only made the team because his uncle was manager, to English fans saying he wasn’t good enough (despite voting him player of the year back to back), to rival club fans claiming he will be shown up for the terrible midfielder he is with arrivals of Ballack, Deco and the likes (quality midfielders/managers have come, gone and he still remains first choice), and finally to Chelsea fans saying he’s “too old and past it” as far back as 3 seasons ago (still starts and performs for both club and country today).

The inspiration for this post is Lampard earning his 99th England cap on Friday in a qualifier vs. Moldova at the ripe age of 35. With 29 goals, 2 Player of the year awards, 1 ghost world cup goal and thousands of boos/jeers it is definitely a career of ups and downs. While he is set to join fellow teammate Cole as a centurion, a moment that should erase some of his mixed-feelings about playing for his country without getting due respect for the most part – it baffles me that people could write off a footballer who broke the record for outfield appearances with 164 as being too old to play top-flight football at 32.

A player who went on to do this at 34…

… and also this.

A goal that would’ve had over-the-top media festivity had it been scored by a certain Manchester United ‘incestor’. I’ve seen a lot more respect accorded recently with the man becoming Chelsea’s top scorer ever in astounding fashion, a feat not many could ignore and forces you to look back on an illustrious career with slight or much more admiration.

Before you think I have a stick in my eye and still consider Frank to be peak footballer, I would like to state that I’m well aware of the fact that he’s past his best – but still I know he’s not past top-level football. He put in performances last season that shocked me at times (only because he is/was playing in a deeper position than used to). His strongest traits don’t require so much physical effort and he still has the stamina to play forty 90-minute games in a season. To be frank (excuse my pun) he could go on till he’s 40-42 if he would accept playing in the MLS or a lower English league but until then let’s enjoy what a great footballer has left to offer (a lot, clearly).

In the end, all we’d have is adulation and accolade for a great career and a great gentleman. Congrats, Sir Frank.

Cheers
Toye

UPDATE: This article just published by Henry Winter of the telegraph rhymes with my thoughts http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/england/10295103/Frank-Lampard-so-proud-to-play-for-England-as-he-prepares-to-reach-100-cap-milestone-in-Ukraine.html

THE VIEW FROM THE WINDOW SILL.

So the summer transfer window was shut last night and for the first time in quite a while we weren’t involved in the deadline rush. Something I usually enjoy but don’t necessarily believe in. I like the seat I sat on, watching from afar as our rivals struggled to hustle in their targets at hiked prices. A seat that’s not squeaky when you feel your team has improved where needed (if you’re not bothered by the loans out). Being the glamorous club that we are I enjoy the spotlight but stealing Willian from the spu*s was more than enough fun for me. And yet myself I ask, “was it worth it?” to which I unconsciously reply “time will tell”. Before I evaluate our rivals’ dealings a look at our team is key.Chelsea Squad 2013/2014

In

  • Eto’o
  • Willian
  • Kevin De Bruyne
  • Essien
  • Van Ginkel
  • Schurrle

Out

  • Lukaku
  • Moses
  • Marin
  • And everyone else that left early.

 

 

 

Where did we need improvement?

  •  Midfield – Numbers

Signed a young energetic box-to-box  man in Van Ginkel. He’s very balanced and I like such players at the base of the 4-2-3-1.  Essien returned and I see that as merely cover and won’t complain at all. Looks much fitter than last season when he departed from Madrid. Its nice to still have Mikel (look no further than his presence vs Bayern last Friday) as he, Ramires and Lampard would easily be the mainstays in those positions. I also like that the 2 cover players are a mix of young and old (mvg and ess). 5 players. 2 positions.

Rating: ***’

  • Attacking Midfield – Numbers

Why numbers? Last season:

Player 2012/2013 Starts (Subs) – Club + International
Mata 60 (15)
Oscar 71 (21)
Hazard 61 (15)

A few cameos for Marin/Bertrand and Ramires/Moses’ several  appearances on the right wing didn’t stop our brilliant three creators from being overworked. We did play in 8 competitions but the ones that weren’t our usual didn’t amount to a total of 10 games and so shouldn’t be a factor. These positions were our strength and we relied on these players over and over but they are only humans(duh) and we really needed to acquire cover over the summer to bring out the best in them

10 goals + 10 assists makes kevin de bruyne an easy recall and he is definitely not in want of quality as a creative midfielder. It also helps that he’s at home on the right side of the pitch, an area we’e struggled with.

Willian is a brilliant footballer  and it’s great to have him after missing out on him a few years ago. He’s comfortable across all 3 positions (not unlike de bruyne, both excel even in deeper roles) and always wanted to play for us. There isn’t much more could you ask for.

Schurrle. I can be cliché with the pace, width and hardwork he offers because that’s about it. And yes, that football intelligence expected of a German.

Marin and Moses? Two signings proposed/supposed to offer more natural width than the brilliant 3 being replaced by players more similar to those 3. Bad decision? No. Neither seemed like cutting it (yes I know Moses had a few decent games/important Europa league goals but doesn’t compare to the quality of WILLIAN?).

Quality wingers are a rarity in our current football world. And while everyone is raising/chasing attacking midfielders across Europe, we have six of such who are QUALITY competing for 3 positions and you have to love it.

Rating: *****

  • Center Forward – Quality.

From Torres-Ba to Torres-Ba-Lukaku (who everyone was hoping would be our main striker after a solid stint at WEST BROM – an opinion I quite loudly never shared) to Torres-Ba-Eto’o. Do I like this forward line? Yes. Do I love it? No. With strikers, you aim to have diversity in style (skillful, target man, poacher) and age/experience. At the mention of target man Lukaku’s frame lights up immediately but is it worth keeping him just to have a strong player to bring on when you can’t break down tough defences? Is he better off at Everton where he would most certainly start 30+ games? Lots of questions I can ask, but if Mourinho felt that a strong target man was integral to his season plans he would’ve kept him.

Why don’t I love it?

Simple. The striker problem is still there. We merely added a 32 yr old on a 1-year contract.

If Samuel can hit full fitness, I trust his killer instinct to put him in the 20’s by the seasons end. Why? Diverse finishing (something Niño lacks).

Of all our forwards Torres understand our players best and we generally play better when he’s on the pitch. The conundrum for me is why this hasn’t been reciprocal for the most part (topic for a different day).

Ba? I think he’s lucky to still be here. Not a bad 3rd option to have and I hope he improves and seizes his opportunities.

Rating: ***’

PS: I think Schwarzer for Hilario and Turnbull was perfect.
The Rivals

Ozil to Arsenal takes the cupcake. Why will a player who is one of the best in the world by any standard in his position move to a team with far less ambition/ quality? Not playing time cause barely any footballers should start ahead of him. Potential? Certainly not THIS Arsenal squad. I have to believe he didn’t realize how unsure his position at the club was until late and at the end he made a decision. I don’t see why Madrid will reject a 42m with the amount of talent they’ve brought in (looking from their perspective because footballing-wise the transition makes little football sense). Let’s talk about 42m. Why will a team with Giroud and Podolski as strikers, Flamini, Diaby as defensive midfielders, a maximum of 3 decent centre backs and Wilshere,Ramsey, Arteta* and Cazorla as creative options choose to spend practically all of their transfer kitty on a position they seem to be doing best at? If we see more of such in the near future it’ll make sense. Yet, I still don’t see them as realistic title challengers. Yet.

Why Ozil left?

Arsenal midfield problems, will he solve them?

Rating: ***** (My mind screams 4 (fee + position) but just because its Mesut I gave a 5. He’s THAT good)

Fellaini to United. I really don’t know what Manchester United is looking for in midfield. Creativity? Grit? Balance? The bilbao lad whose clause they almost released was set to be one of the worst knee-jerk buys in recent history and luckily or unluckily they dodged that peel. It bothers me (not really) that with all the midfielders across Europe they’ve gone for Marouane. Tottenham Hotspur can sign Christian Eriksen for 10m* but UNITED have to settle with Fellaini. Is it because Moyes wants be reunited with his boy or they actually need him in the team? Questions.

Rating: ***

Worthy Mentions
Moses and Sahko to Liverpool. Moses will offer little by way of improvment. Sahko, is a good defender and will certainly do no harm to an already great defence. IF Livepool can keep either Sturridge or Suarez firing they won’t find it hard to gain points.

(I know nothing about the other guy.)

Rating: *****
Eriksen and Lamela to Spurs. Eriksen, all things being normal, is set to be a huge star in this league. He has and is surrounded by all it’ll take him and I can’t overemphasize how big a deal this is barring the dutch injury plague. I may be very wrong but, Madrid in 2-3 years? Lamela, on the other hand, is another decent technical wide player and would be more of a difference maker than Chadli on the other flank. Quailty dealings potentially, but I’m not worried at the moment.

Rating: *****

In conclusion I ask 2 questions. Does any other team in the league possess an outright better team/squad on paper? Does any other team posses a better manager than Mourinho? If the answers are no, what then could stop us from winning the league? I hope I never find out.

 

PS: The ratings evaluate the transfer dealings based on my opinion of the players’ worth vs fee, potential and tactical fit into the team.

Europa League Final: Could Rafa Benitez lead Chelsea to glory?

When the season started, we hoped that we would be able to defend our hard-won Champions League crown. We had spent heavily in the summer on the likes of Eden Hazard, freshened up an ageing squad to some degree and looked forward to having a better chance of winning the Premier League. Sadly, the best we can hope for is the Europa League title as we’ve failed on all other fronts.

Europa League Trophy

Our rainbow after a stormy season?

Our surprising decision to sack Roberto di Matteo despite lying in second place in the league meant that we brought in Rafael Benitez as an interim replacement. After a very shaky start under the Spaniard, we have managed to stabilise and could yet end the season with a major trophy, even if it’s one none of us thought we would be challenging for.

 

A final salute

Before Benitez leaves, he knows that he’s steered us to guaranteed Champions League qualification with a game to go; but to try and make us feel a little bit better about his time at Stamford Bridge, he has to lead us to victory against Benfica. It won’t be easy, as the Portuguese giants have some class players in their squad, yet Chelsea are Europa League Betting Favourites at 7/5.

In the Europa League we’ve excelled, albeit against weak opposition. Having failed to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League, we’ve taken apart the likes of FC Basel, Steaua Bucharest and Sparta Prague without playing at our best. However, we’re likely to be without two key men in the form of John Terry and Eden Hazard.

 

Belief in Jesus?

Under manager Jorge Jesus, Benfica have managed to do the same as Chelsea – keep going in the Europa League after dropping out of the Champions League group stages. A talented squad containing possible future transfer targets like Argentina winger Nicolas Gaitan, Paraguay forward Oscar Cardozo and solid former Real Madrid defender Ezequiel Garay is one not to be taken lightly.

Coming into the final, Benfica could still be left reeling by a dramatic title decider in the league. Up until injury time, they were level at 1-1 against big rivals FC Porto, but a last-gasp winner by opposition striker Kelvin could have cost them the league, having led the table for so long. Picking themselves up for the Europa League final will be tough.

For Chelsea to win, we either have to pray that Fernando Torres does what he’s seldom managed to do since he’s been at the club and find that scoring touch or, more realistically, hope that Juan Mata et al can conjure up some more magic. Mata, along with Oscar and the evergreen Frank Lampard are the most likely scorers.

Give me a follow: @super_chelsea

KTBFFH

Roman: Put Rafa out of his misery.

Rafa Angry

Rafa Angry

Good morning Blues. I hope you are all coping better than Rafa. Wedneday night went well for Rafa until Rafa decided he had to screw it up.  I will begin with what went well that night for Rafa. Rafa picked an inspired lineup for the Middlesbrough game. The lineup had some fringe players, few regulars and a new starter.  There was a lot skepticism on my twitter time-line about the lineup’s ability to win us the game. Many were concerned that Juan Mata was not on the bench to rescue us should the game not go according to plan. I had my reservations about the lineup too but I always hope for the best.

The lineup did very well. Nathan Ake impressed. The boy has good technique; he was constantly aware of what was happening on pitch. He moved around and positioned himself intelligently. He played as if he was a first team regular. Mikel may soon have real competition. Back to Rafa, Rafa was proactive against Middlesbrough. When Middlesbrough started putting pressure on us, he did not wait till we conceded to perform a substitution. He brought Hazard on and Hazard helped us keep the game in Middlesbrough’s half. We scored a second goal and it helped calm Chelsea nerves. It was good game and result. What is even fantastic is that we achieved it without using all our key players. Wednesday night had gone Rafa’s way.

Then Rafa screwed the night in his post match interview by launching a scathing attack at our management and at us the supporters. Here is Rafa’s statement and my comments:

“A group of fans, they are not doing any favours for the team when they are signing and wasting time preparing banners.

Many supporters don’t like being told what to; you made your situation worse by saying, we are wasting our time.

“It’s because someone made a mistake. They put my title ‘interim manager’, and I will leave at the end of the season, so they don’t need to waste time with me.

Many would prefer you leave before the season ends.

“Why put interim in the title? Why did they need do that? Maybe they thought: “He was at Liverpool”, so put interim in”.

“I have been in charge in football for 26 years. I have won the Champions League, won the FIFA Club World Cup, the FA Cup, the Italian Super Cup, the Spanish league twice, nine trophies, all the trophies you can win at club level.

You have won one out of three FIFA Club World Cup competition you have been in. You seriously damaged an Inter team that had won a treble the previous season. Inter saved your reputation by dismissing you. You took part of Liverpool’s demise. Sometimes I wonder how you won all those trophies.

“The fans have to concentrate on supporting the team, that’s what they have to do.

We support the team. True support is being real and honest when the club is not moving in the right direction.

“In the end, they are not doing any favours to the club, to the rest of the fans and to the players.

If the club wanted favours, they wouldn’t have appointed you. Especially after sacking Di Matteo, a Chelsea legend as a player and manager.

“Every game they continue singing and they continue preparing banners, they are wasting time. What they have to do is support the team.

Again you’re not endearing yourself to your ‘haters’.

“If we cannot achieve what we expect to achieve, that is to be in the top four and be in the Champions League for next year, I will leave; they will stay in the Europa League.

Tells me you really don’t give a damn about us.

“They have to take responsibility too. If they put players under pressure, they don’t create a good atmosphere at Stamford Bridge, they have to realise they are making a big mistake because the rest of the fans would like to see the team in the Champions League next year.

We always cheer the players on. Are Rafa ‘boo boys’ to blame when we lose away like we did at Manchester City?

“I’m the manager and I will be managing the team. I like to manage players and not names, so I will pick my team, and I will make decisions and at the end of the season, I will leave anyway because I am interim like they said.

That’s great. I am sure there will be special send-off parties in your honour.

“Again, they are wasting time, they are wasting time. I have proved in these three months that I want to win every single game.

‘Want’ doesn’t cut it at Chelsea. You need to win every game. Dictating to us how to spend our time won’t help you.

I am a professional and I am sure if we win, I will be the happiest man in the world.

I guess ranting is part of being a professional. I thought you would be happy after we won at Middlesborough. This rant is not coming from the happiest man in the world.

“But if a group of fans continue with their agenda and they continue not supporting the team and wasting time with these things, it’s their decision, but they are not doing any favours to the team, to the club, anyone.

“I have a very good group of players who are working very hard. It’s a top club, so it’s not a problem.

“The problem is a group of people who think they can say what they want instead of supporting the team.

“Again I will say I have won nine titles, all the titles that you can win at club level, in three different countries, so I think I have enough experience and enough quality as a manager to hear a group of people with an agenda carry on.

“They don’t realise that I will leave at the end of the season. They don’t need to be worried about me, but what they have to do is support the team.

“If they don’t do that and we are not in the Champions League at the end, they can blame whatever they want, but we will see the next year the Europa League.

Rafa as manager of Chelsea, you must not flirt with the idea of not qualifying for the Champions League. The thought itself is criminal.

“This group of fans, they have an agenda, they say ‘We are right’. They can be right at the end of the season, it’s simple.

“They put me there with the title ‘interim’, so why do they have to bother about that? Just carry on supporting the team.

Di Matteo had the title ‘interim’ in his job description, it did not bother him. Di Matteo gave his best and won the FA Cup and the Champions league.

“It’s a team in transition – they don’t realise.

“In the past, we had Drogba, Essien, Kalou, these players, it was a very strong squad, players with experience in the Premier League.

Di Matteo’s team was a team in transition too,  he wasn’t blessed with the quality of Hazard, Moses, Ba, Oscar, and Azpilicueta. He faced Napoli, Barcelona, and Bayern with our worst team in a decade and still did the job. This season Di Matteo lost the community shield, super cup and failed to get us out of the champions league group stage. It is a serious ‘crime’ to lose trophies at Chelsea and he was not pardoned for it. He was dismissed. Rafa has also lost two trophies and has done worse than Di Matteo in the league. It amazing how he is still in the job.

“Now we have a group of players with talent, really good players with talent, but they need time.

Rafa you don’t get it. There is no time when it comes to Chelsea. There is no waiting 8 years to get a trophy. Every manager that stays beyond a season must win something. You must deliver.

“It’s a time of transition. But they don’t realise it was a time of transition when I came here.

“The team was not in the Champions League, the team has lost some trophies, so I am trying to do my best and I will try to do my best until the end, until the last minute.

It looks like your best is not doing it for Chelsea because we have lost two more trophies and there is a possibility that we might not make top 4.

“It doesn’t matter what they say. I am a professional, I have experience and I will do my best.

“But if they carry on in the same, they have to take responsibility because they are damaging the image of the club and the rest of the fans because people think all the fans are the same.”

The club damaged their image by sacking a champions league winning manager and by appointing you. I no know not one Chelsea supporter who likes you, it is either indifference or strong dislike.
Rafa was brought to steer the club in the “right direction”. All Chelsea supporters know this is not the right direction. Rafa believes many Blues dislike him because he was successful with Liverpool. This is not the case. Many of us dislike him because he called Drogba “a diver”, he said Lampard was ‘overrated’ and he said Chelsea fans were ‘plastic’ and lacked ‘passion’. If Rafa took one of his initial press conferences to apologize sincerely for those hurtful comments,  he might have gotten a different reception. Instead he further alienated us by stating we dislike him because he was successful at Liverpool against us. Mourinho was successful with Inter against Chelsea but there are many Chelsea fans who will welcome him back in a heart beat. Pep beat Chelsea with Barcelona but Chelsea supporters wouldn’t mind him here. It is called respect; it is something that is earned.
The pressure has gotten to Rafa and I believe he is drowning under the pressure. We might not make top 4 if we do not dismiss him. After all, previous Chelsea managers have gone for much less. When I hear Rafa mention his trophies, it only tells me how bad a manager he has become. All great managers relish pressure and when they do not have pressure, they create it for themselves. The best way to silence your critics is to deliver results. If Rafa had won the Club World Cup or Carling Cup, no matter how much vitriol he receives, his name would be included to the list managers that have won Chelsea a trophy. History would look kindly on him. I think his rant is his way of telling Roman to dismiss him. He won’t resign as it would look bad on his CV and because he won’t walk away with the compensation he would get if he was dismissed.
Roman put Rafa out of his misery. Sack the man.

Give me a follow: @super_chelsea

KTBFFH

Seasonal Preview

The 2012/13 English Premier League season is set to kick off this weekend, many will be expecting to see Drama in the opening fixtures as We will play away against Wigan Athletics on Sunday. And here is a preview on some of the hottest talking points towards this new season togetther with some of International football Experts/Journalists.

Its a season where we will have to defend our UEFA Champions League title, and also the FA Cup as we also eye to win other Silverwares, something which has never been easy for any club as far as European football is concerned. Chelsea will play in six different tournaments, and over 60 games.

The Squad and the Transfer Activity

The transfer activity so far has been impressive, bringing new and young talents to the squad – transforming the squad from an aged to a youthful side, adding more pace and creativity.

Eden Hazard, Oscar, Marko Marin are the big names to have been signed so far and many others rumored and may arrive soon with the likes of Hulk, Neymar, Azpilicueta, Edinson Cavani, Victor Mosses to mention a few.

Creativity needs such attacking players, and with a creative squad more goals will be produced, and we will be able to win games.

When it comes to new signings for Chelsea, Eden Hazard comes first. Young, creative, he has got the speed and the technical ability. He is a player who is expected to make a difference in the team, and help the team to reach its goals. Having scored 20 goals and 15 assists in 35 starts appearances for Lille last season in the French Ligue 1 and his performances have been improving now and then.

Fernando Torres
Torres had a very difficult beginning with Chelsea, after his lost his form. But now he has been very impressive scoring braces, crucial goals and even a hat-trick. According to the statistics, there is a huge improvement on his performances compared to the first season when he was under intense pressure from the fans and media, but now we are talking of a confident Fernando Torres whose formed has been brilliant from last season to the Euro 2012 for Spain, and this season he is the man to look after to produces more goals and win games for Chelsea.

John Chapman (Belgian Football Journalist – www.belgofoot.be) gave his thoughts on Eden Hazard’s move and future at Chelsea.

John Chapman: I think Eden Hazard has great potential. He’s quick, clever and explosive. He can make and take goals and should succeed at the very highest level. He’ll probably develop into a central midfield playmaker but may have to play on the wing initially; and fans will need to be patient as it does take time to settle in the Premier League.

Eden Hazard

Eden Hazard

And also John Chapman shared his views on Chelsea’s Belgians youngsters Thribaut Courtois, Romelu Lukaku, and Kevin De Bruyne.

John Chapman: Courtois has great skill that he has shown in a very short career at Genk (champions) and Atletico Madrid (Europa League winners). He’s maturing rapidly, on and off the field, and has the ability to be a top five (in the world) keeper within the next 3-5 years.

With Romelu Lukaku, I have doubts. He lacks the technical ability to
reach the top; his main strength is his strength (very powerful) and that’s
not enough at the very top.

Kevin De Bruyne is another player with a lot of potential. I think the
move to the Bundesliga will be great for him. Like Hazard, he’s spent most
of his career on the wing but he should develop into a central playmaker. I saw him in that role for Genk vs. Anderlecht and he was excellent: good vision, passing ability, speed, enthusiasm.

ESPN Football Analyst and Commentator Janusz Michallik and Daily Telegraph’s Correspondent Henry Winter gave their views on some talking points.

Is there a realistic chance of winning the league or Six trophies?

Janusz Michallik: Winning 6 trophies is an impossible task even for Barca. They did it once but these things don’t happen too often. I would say that Chelsea will have a shot but they still need to add players in key areas.

Henry Winter: Manchester City and Manchester United are too powerful so I can’t see Chelsea winning the league. They may win the Super Cup or the Fifa gong in
Tokyo but it’s not going to be like last season’s successes.

Is there a need for another Striker?

Janusz Michallik: I would say that Chelsea need at least two quality strikers. Losing Drogba does not only mean goals and the fear factor but a target man that can hold the ball with back to the goal and bring others into the game. That is especially important with the technical player like Mata, Marin, Hazard, Oscar. Torres does not offer that. The question of a quality right back is obvious. Need a player that understands the position and will provide pace and width to otherwise very narrow Chelsea team.

What other areas do you think Chelsea need to Strengthen at the moment?

Henry Winter: They need another Makelele, somebody to anchor midfield. They need a right-back as Ivanovic has become slightly indisciplined. They need another centre-forward to ease load on Torres.

Thoughts on Chelsea’s current Squad depth, Creativity and strengths?

Janusz Michallik: We knew that Chelsea needed to get younger and more creative. I think they have addressed these issues very quickly but as we said still have some work to do. Overall very impressive so far.

Henry Winter: Creativity obvious with Oscar, Mata and Hazard. Oscar will need time to get used to pace and pressing of English football. Torres looks in the mood.

 

Tactics and Chalkboards

Janusz’s Chelsea XI (4-2-3-1).

Janusz Michallik’s XI

Henry’s Chelsea XI: (4-2-3-1) I’d have Ramires deep as not going to get in ahead of new stars and more reliable than Mikel.

Henry Winter’s XI

 

Follow on Twitter: @makivic08 @JanuszESPN
@HenryWinter
@Belgofoot

KTBFFH

 

Why Chelsea should sign Seydou Doumbia

Morning beautiful people! I woke up on the right side of the bed today and I’m buzzing with excitement for no apparent reason. I have to admit there’s been a lot of quiet around the club as regards summer signings.


We have been linked with many attackers this summer, the top names being Lille’s Eden Hazard, Porto’s Hulk and quite recently Wigan’s Moses. We got Eden as you already know, so Hulk was expected to follow suit. As I write, he is nowhere close to being a Chelsea player.


I won’t say I’m surprised Hulk has not signed for Chelsea. I mean…the relationship between Chelsea and Porto does not exactly rival Romeo and Juliet’s. The Porto management must still hold grudges given how we took Mourinho, Carvalho, Ferreira, and Villas-Boas away from them.


They are the second biggest club in Portugal and do not want to be seen as a feeder club for Europe’s top teams. They want to challenge for European honors and as a result, they tag outrageous prices to their players just to keep bidders off. Last season, Porto informed Chelsea to pay ₤26 million to sign Álvaro Pereira. Pereira is decent at best shouldn’t cost more than ₤12m. Hulk is worth ₤20m in my estimation but given he is a Porto player I expect them to demand close to ₤40m. I’d be gutted if we caved into their demands. Last season, we spent ₤18m on Lukaku and there are little signs to show that it was a good investment.


If there is anyone I think will be good value for money, it is Seydou Doumbia. I honestly believe we should be chasing Seydou Doumbia and I have my reasons.

Seydou Doumbia vs. Lokomotiv defence

 

He scores lots of goals. He was top scorer in the Ivorian league in 2005, he was top scorer in the Swiss super league in 2008–09 and 2009–10 and Russian premier league top scorer in 2010/2011. Seydou has been top scorer in three different leagues and top scorer for three consecutive seasons.


Seydou is African (d’oh). Drogba contract has expired and he chosen to move to China to promote the Chinese game. Salomon Kalou has been released by the club. This leaves us with only two Africans, Mikel and Essien in the first team. We have three Brazilians in Piazon, Ramires and Luiz; three Portuguese in Meireles, Hilário, and Ferreira; four Belgians and many English men. If we add another African to keep Mikel and Essien company, it wouldn’t be bad at all. Especially an African with great talent like Doumbia.


Samsung will be happy. Samsung sells tons of electronics in Africa and they use Chelsea players in almost all their adverts. Samsung uses Drogba the most in their adverts followed Essien and then Mikel.  Samsung loses a great marketing tool with Drogba gone to China because the Chinese league is not popular in Africa. If we signed Seydou Doumbia, Doumbia could be the new face of Samsung in Africa.


Samsung: It’s Drogba’s Choice


Seydou will give Torres and Sturridge competition. Many Blues want Torres to automatically be our main striker next season. I have to say I disagree; competition for places is good for any team. Torres scored many goals for Liverpool but won nothing with them. Van Persie fired le Arse to third place last season but his prolific scoring couldn’t earn them a trophy.


It takes more than one good striker to earn a trophy. I doubt we would have won anything if we did not have Kalou, Torres and Sturridge to rotate with Drogba (and also the many goals from our midfielders).


Man United despite not winning the league ended the league with the same points as Man City. They wouldn’t have gotten there without goals from Rooney, Welbeck, Chicarito and Berbatov. Man City won on goal difference because they had four quality strikers in Tevez, Aguero, Balotelli, and Dzeko. They even want to add Van Persie. Le Arse has signed two strikers in Giroud and Podolski because they know one striker is not enough to win titles. Adding a proven goal scorer in Seydou Doumbia increases our chances of winning the league.


It’s been a couple of years since we won the Premier League title, and I would extremely happy if we make it our priority next season. I mean…now that we have secured the Holy Grail, we can go back to being champions of England again.


Finally if we sign Doumbia, we would have a player with a different playing style to Sturridge and Torres. This will give Di Matteo the chance to change our tactics occasionally to prevent us from being predictable. In our double winning season with Ancelotti, we scored the most goals that season because Ancelotti had the players to prevent us from being predictable.


That’s all I have for you today. Thanks for taking your time to read. Have an amazing day wherever this post meets you.


You can follow me on Twitter: @super_chelsea

Keep the blue flag flying high

Cheers!

Preview: Bayern Munich v Chelsea

Bayern v Chelsea - Munich

Bayern v Chelsea – Munich

A preview of the UEFA Champions League final 2012 between Bayern Munich and Chelsea.

Road to the Final
The moment that we have been waiting for has finally come, now we are counting hours and minutes to the finale in Munich.

Didier Drogba says: “Nobody expected us to be there at the beginning of the season, but I think we did everything to reach the finals”

Comparing our start to this season, no one can believe that we are in UEFA Champions league and by eliminating such top class clubs like Barcelona, Benfica and Napoli in the Journey.

There is always a room for a change, and it always happen when we make the right choices. Chelsea made the right choice to give the job to Roberto Di Matteo, and now we are one hand on a historic Champions League victory. To win trophies of such top level, you have to defeat the best teams and Chelsea have managed to do it, so we deserve to win it and we are going for it.

Di Matteo talks on the final: “I do believe our players have all the
qualities you need to win this
competition those qualities have taken us to this event here and I am very positive and very confident.”

Head to Head Stats
-Chelsea is undefeated in the last five matches in UEFA Champions League.
-Chelsea have scored first in all 11 previous Champions League games.
-Chelsea have won one and drawn two of our seven away European matches against German teams.
-Chelsea have now join the list of English clubs to have made 2 or more European Cup/Champions League finals appearances. Liverpool, Manchester United and Nottingham Forest together with Chelsea are only teams to make the most appearances.
-Bayern have won seven consecutive home matches en route to the final.
-Bayern have won one and lost two
of three previous finals against
English clubs.
-Bayern win would make Jupp
Heynckes the 19th coach to have won the Cup twice, after his 1998
success with Real Madrid.
-Bayern have won 13 of their
last 14 European home games.

Match Facts
- This is the sixth European Cup
final between German and
English teams. And only once have the Germans won.

-The last four European Cup finals between English and German teams
have been won by the English club. The most recent was in 1999, Man Utd 2-1 Bayern Munich.

-Five Champions League finals have
gone to penalties – the most recent
being the painful one in Moscow in
2008.

-The last time Chelsea and Bayern met in the Champions League was back in 2005 quarter finals when Chelsea won it 6-5 on Aggregate, Petr Cech, John Terry, Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba all featured.

Team News
A defensive boost for us towards the final, as our defenders David Luiz and Gary Cahill took part in all training sessions this week and they are available for selection after the recovering from injuries. Meanwhile, Malouda is also expected to make a return after he was assessed in the team’s final training session in Munich on friday.

Chelsea will be without Captain John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, Ramires and Raul Meireles who all are suspended.
And options for Di Matteo on who to put in front today, both Drogba and Torres available. Also Michael Essien and Mikel could start on the defensive midfield role with Frank
Lampard, Juan Mata Kalou on the attacking role.

Bayern will be without Holger Badstuber, Luiz Gustavo, David Alaba who are all Suspended.

Bayern’s Diego Contento is likely to play at left-back with Lahm on the right. While their attack will be lead by Mario Gomez, Ribery and Arjen Robben with Bastian Schweinsteiger and Muller on midfield.

Probable Line-Ups
Chelsea team: Cech, Cole, Cahill, Luiz, Bosingwa, Mikel, Essien, Lampard, Mata, Kalou and Drogba.

Bayern team: Neuer, Contento, Tymoshchuk, Boateng, Lahm, Schweinsteiger, Kroos, Ribery, Muller, Robben and Gomez.

The game will be played today on 19 May 2012 (kick off at 20:45 local time, 18:45 GMT) at the Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany. And the referee is Pedro Proença (Portugal).

Keep believing wherever you are. Up the Chels!

Twitter: @makivic08

Munich 2012

Munich 2012

Is RDM the right man?

Is Di Matteo the Right Man?

After sacking of Portuguese Andre Villa-Boas as the Chelsea manager, interim coach Roberto Di Matteo has brought that lost belief back to the hearts of the blues.

 

Since his take over, Roberto Di Matteo has managed 6 wins, 1 defeat and 1 draw in 8 games in all competitions. Having a 75 winning percentage, taking us UEFA Champions League quarter-finals and one step close to the Semis, also in FA Cup Semi-final at Wembley. All this has just been a great achievement to what has proved to be a disappointing season so far for Chelsea.

 

Di Matteo’s tactics;

Squad Rotation Tactic
Now they call him “The Rotatovator” due to the tactic he uses of rotating players, so far the tactic has proved to be working and bringing good results. The importance of this tactic is that it helps to keep each player on form hence it improves team performances week in and week out.

 

Di Matteo says: “I just talk to the players, give them my opinions and explain the reasons behind my team selections”

 

Maybe the reason for AvB’s failure at Chelsea was that, when he tries to give out his opinions and explanations – the elder players don’t even listen to him due to the fact of Age difference, no one knows exactly.

 

Players Torres, Kalou and Mikel, are now on-form players and most important players in the team, playing week in and week out.

 

Fernando Torres – I say he is back, the El Nino is back!!! 3 goals and 4 assists in the last 5 games. He has now developed the belief and he more of a confident player, his perfomances get higher and higher each week. With such a form, we expect goals to rain from our big man.

 

Di Matteo on Torres: “I have always said it does not matter who scores, and Fernando has been providing goals for his team-mates, its great that he is scoring as well”

 

He is likely to be in Spain’s squad for Euro 2012 tournament and as Spain coach Del Bosque said: “If Fernando improves his form, I will select him for the Euros”.

 

Kalou and Mikel among the players whose futures at chelsea have been a concern, still they have been improving on daily basis. They have both find their places in the first team playing match to match, included in overall Chelsea’s top performers so far.

 

Kalou is out of contract at the moment, the rumors say “Kalou wants to play in the central role, or else he will be forced not to renew his current contract”.


The central role is occupied by on form Fernando Torres and Didier Drogba, in order for Kalou to get his place on the team and keep on his brilliant form, he has to hang on as Wing forward to secure his place in the first team. Ac Milan and Galatasaray reportedly to be linked with Kalou, who could be available on a free-transfer in the summer.

 

Mikel has completed 833 of 910 attempted passes (91.54%), his best at the club. He lost his place in the first team but now he is enjoying playing match to match, Mikel has been a solid player in our midfield and his presence makes it more stable. Rumored to join russian side Anzhi managed by Guus Hiddink (Former Chelsea Coach), but at the moment he is not going anywhere.

 

Back to the question, Is Roberto Di Matteo the right man?
1. Coach to Player Relations.
A good coach is the one who has good relationship with his players, the one who speaks and his players listen a respond positively.

 

2. Manager tactics.
His tactics are working at the moment, rotating the players and keeping them in firing form. And bringing good results.

 

3. Objectives.
His objective is to put the team in a Champions league qualification position, currently seems difficult. But as we continue to win our games, it will be secured. On the other hand, he is in a position to lead the team in Fa cup and Champions league glory. Something that may look impossible, but all he needs is to give the team maximum belief and every thing will be possible.

 

Have a productive day and always be carefree.

Twitter: makivic08

NO MEN WENT TO MOW, STILL HOPE FOR TOMORROW

First Team
One person said I was delusional to think we would get anything in Naples. I would agree, if I didn’t make my predictions based on numerous assumptions. Lineup, formation, strategy and certain players like Didier turning up in the flesh that can actually make a difference.

Football is midfield, defence and attack. I don’t think we should sack AVB but I’m afraid he makes tactical errors, albeit errors related to the players we have. Some managers are good at building a team that suits their plans (right positions, right styles), some are good at shuffling and making the best of what they have, some others are good motivating a team regardless of these factors.The first needs a bit of time if you don’t splash cash, and is much easier if you actually choose to reward the investment put into your youth system. Yesterday the Chelsea youth team came back from 3-0 down to win 4-3 in the FA youth cup. A day after the first team lost 3-1 in Naples.

I digressed, back to midfield, defence and attack. 4-2-3-1. Three attacking midfielders, lone striker, the ever critical holding midfield pivot and a regular back four. I’ll start from the back. Having to lose Bosingwa and put in a half-fit Ashley Cole is just part of the unexpected you expect in football. My problem however was the positioning. We had a slower,calmer right side of defence (Brana and Cahill) and a faster but more erratic left side (Luiz + Cole/Jose). I’m not a real manager, but surely you want to balance the speed of your back four, most especially when you go against a pacey front three. You see, Lavezzi will attack the space  between RCB and RB, Hamsik will attack that between LB and LCB and try to playing in Maggio (a right midfielder that makes byline runs), while the potent Cavani picks either of those pockets or the main one between both center backs. Lavezzi scored 2 goals and Cavani scored one by losing Brana. Right side of defence? YES. Might have been slightly better with JT around cause he will always play LCB. To digress, some of the best defence we played this season was when we had Brana-Luiz-JT-Cole. I know Brana loses his left winger/ left back a lot but its better when he has a fast defender like Luiz right next to him.

The midfield pivot of Ramires and Meireles is, simple, stupid. Ramires is a runner, Meireles is a … floater (i really cant find a word to describe him, thinking about it makes my head hurt). Better combinations would have been Essien-Meireles, Mikel-Lampard, Romeu-Ramires, anything with a DM. The more attacking the second MID is, the deeper the DM you want to play. Even though its a pivot(meaning both players share responsibilities in attacking and defensive transitions), you have to play with what you have. Secondly, Ramires and Meireles are relatively bad passers, possibly the worst amongst all our midfielders. On Tuesday, Meireles was unsurprisingly as bad as he has been in recent weeks, Ramires was shockingly abysmal maybe due to the fact that he’s just back from injury. Together, they conceded the 1st goal.

The attack. I said in my match preview that there are 2 Drogba’s which we all know. The bad one turned up, and I don’t know why he finished the game. Firstly, he’s more suited to 4-3-3. Secondly, any manager should be able to see when Drogba is having a horrible game. It never changes. He just gets worse,and worse and we hardly ever win. The fact that he had a poor game just made our attack impotent as a unit. Mata didn’t receive the ball enough cause the poor pivot weren’t making the right transitions and passes to draw Napoli’s midfielders out to free him. Sturridge was occasionally selfish but he made things happen despite hardly having runs to pick out. Malouda was Malouda, no explanation needed. Mata was decent and might have been more effective if he had a Torres in front of him. No Didier/Nando debate here, I’m only saying Drogba had an off-day you can spot from miles away and the 4-2-3-1 is El Niño’s forte.

I can complain about schoolboy errors we made on each goal even though that’s how we got our goal. But the main problems right now are confidence, and managerial decisions. AVB doesn’t seem to know his best team and keeps trying experiments. Confident and motivated players can still manage to win games in a bad tactical setup, but two things are working against us right now and it’s sad. We just have so many players out of position and they aren’t even happy. So much pressure from the media and things are looking blue for the fans, the players and the manager. But there is the future to look forward to, more on that later. Way out of this slump? A couple of lucky wins (even though you create your own luck), improved confidence and a small streak can return us to winning ways, and help AVB determine his first team.

 

The Youth Team
For the last 2-3 years, I’ve been following our youth team actively and there is one thing that shines through them. Spirit. When you talk about playing for pride of the badge and the club, they know what it’s about. Not to mention a bunch of real quality players we ignore to sign hyped players (e.g. signing Lukaku instead of keeping Borini). Practically every great win I’ve seen in the FA youth cup have been comebacks. The 2010 final, every round last year and the last 2 rounds this year have been proud moments for me as a Chelsea fan. But what they did yesterday was even more awesome than the last minute comeback from the previous round.

Feruz is a real gem, looks even better than Borini was at the same age. Piazon has acclimatized and is performing at such a high level. Amin Affane is so good for his age you wonder where we found him. I could go on and on. I don’t buy into this bullsh** that you shouldn’t put young players under pressure by playing them in high profile games. Why? Because they are young players and you have to invest into their future, with games. They have to make mistakes at the highest level to get to that level. It’s the club’s duty to have faith in some of these lads and not just dish them 4/5 year contracts for reserve games and random loans to Vitesse Arnehem and championship clubs. We don’t have a Pep Guardiola nor a La Masia, but this needs to be soaked into the roots of the club, regardless of the manager in charge. It helps, having a long-term coach but when a club has a proper plan, it flows through the whole club.

If we didn’t have quality young players, that would be another discussion but we’ve clearly invested a lot into these young lads, scouting them, signing them and training them. Just to think Brendan Rodgers worked with Josh McEachran at youth level should put into perspective the quality down there. We have some players that have been here since ages less than 10 that are quality on the pitch and have desire to play for this club, the kind of desire you can’t just fake or find elsewhere. Play them. Throw them in the deep end. What you sow is what you reap. Some might fall off, but some will definitely make it. The reward is the sweetest and it’s a cycle that will continue. There’s nothing fans love more than committed players and watching our very own wear the first-team shirt. I continue to watch the Youth Cup in hope that someday our very own, will remain our very own.

PS: 10 Men went to mow (the song behind the title)

Win or Lose, Up the Blues
Over land and sea, Chelsea chelsea carefree.

Toye