Penalty to Chelsea, Frank Lampard sets the ball on the spot, waits for the referee’s go-ahead, missed penalties this season flash before your eyes, you squint and murmur “Please Frank don’t lose this one”, he smashes it down the middle and you… (Insert your personal celebration here). At this point all blues felt several emotions rushing all at once. Relief that we were beating the best side in the league this season against all odds and ‘aggressiveness shown towards us’, proud of a wonderful comeback by a team that was smothered in the early stages of the game, pessimistic we might not hold on to the lead (Until that point where Drogba ‘nutmegged’ two City players and tried the most audacious shot ever and you knew it was going to be a blue day) and excited, excited by this never-ending roller coaster ride that is supporting Chelsea Football Club
‘Chelsea are in crisis’ was the talk in all the papers 2 weeks ago, due to 5 losses in 9 games that weren’t taken into perspective, all goals wrongly blamed on a high line, players deemed to be past it or rubbish and then praised again whenever they put in amazing shifts (Lampard, Terry, Luiz etc). Three Three-nil wins and an ending of the only unbeaten run in England later, everyone thinks we’re back.
The truth is, the only outstanding performance in all those wins was against Valencia. Don’t get me wrong the rest were very decent, but nothing much different from what we’ve been playing all season. A little luck with refereeing decisions and it would have been a different story. I accept that it is a results business but when you see that a team’s losses are a slight margin away from being victories, never call it a crisis. The results often come eventually, bar a mental breakdown. AVB understood this; I understood this, a few Chelsea fans – also understood this. But Journalists don’t, they write what people want to read, a team in crisis, manager to be sacked soon, team to be overhauled, outrageous transfer fees, and sadly some ‘Chels fans’ buy into this ‘hocus pocus’ instead of staying focused on their team and supporting forever. I kept the belief and I’m happy to see the team winning again, as I knew would happen.
I won’t dwell on the Man City game as it is just another 3 points albeit one that closes the gap between us and 1st to 7 points. It’s been a great week and a half, back to back wins in the league and Champions League qualification in 1st place.
· Oriol Romeu
8 starts, 7 wins. 1 loss in the Carling Cup. He averages 93% passing and at least 5 interceptions-plus -tackles. Has made the holding midfielder position his in recent weeks, and we’ve been winning. Stalwart.
· Daniel Sturridge
Improving in every game. Adjusting to the RW position. Better late runs into CF position. Better tracking back. Raping Left Backs. Better at beating his man on the outside. Better passing on counter attacks. Now switches play. Better squaring of the ball when on the outside (Raul vs City). Now does heel chops to switch feet faster. Livewire
He’s benefitting from an extended run of games and confidence shown in him, won’t be the first nor second time either. Great to have a striker who can lead the line, crucial to our recent form. Talisman
The Bison is back soon!
· The rest like Mata, Ramires etc are very obvious, not directly related to our recent form(as they’ve been great all season) and don’t need any highlighting from me.
Negatives and After-thoughts
We still need to get him firing, and I suspect this would happen when Didier leaves for the AFCON. He should get the same treatment DD is getting and now and only injury can stop him. From what I’ve seen this season, all he needs is a consistent run of games, to find consistency and avoid scrutiny.
· Alex, Anelka and Kalou
Kalou not confirmed yet but these players need to be replaced this January. We’re doing good with injuries now but what if to say Sturridge and Torres get sidelined during the AFCON? Imagine our front line then? I certainly don’t want to.
Thought of the week
We’re doing fairly badly in the youth department. Kakuta, Van Aanholt, Ulises and Delac are getting no games. Ulises and Delac will have to wait till season end. Van Aanholt, we can find another club for in January although I feel he can’t usurp Bertrand anymore. Kakuta, needs to come back here now that players like Kalou and Anelka are leaving, he’s best at right wing, a position we clearly lack in. Josh needs to go on loan as we’ve all concluded.
Bruma is having a decent season, in fact so much that he won’t come back to Chelsea without being guaranteed games. I foresee a permanent HSV deal in the near future.
On the upside, Lucas Piazon and Islam Feruz are having great starts to their careers. Islam is the real deal and Lucas is improving with every game, showing class all the time.
So forget the title of the post, Chelsea are not back, we were never gone, nor down, but rather we are forging forward.
Keep the Blue Flag Flying High and Up the Chels!