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.
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
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.
Kevin De Bruyne
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.
Attacking Midfield – Numbers
Why numbers? Last season:
2012/2013 Starts (Subs) – Club + International
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.
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.
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.
Brilliant though the Ozil signing is, it remains ridiculous that we end the window with £100m in the bank and no new striker, CDM. #AFC
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.
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.
6-7 new players in your first team. doesn't work like that!
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.
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.
Prelim Here we go again. We’ve been here before, not too long ago. Sometime in December, after losing to the red scousers twice in 2 weeks, and capitulating to an away loss at Leverkusen. Despite handing 3-0 drubbings to both Wolves and Newcastle, (a lucky result according to the media who ignored five Studge one-on-ones and focused on the fact that they managed to hit the woodwork about 3 times compared to us doing that once, 4-3 win for us, no? I digress) we were the underdogs, in a Champions League ‘win or go home’ home tie. The outcome? Another 3-0 drubbing. This time there was no doubt we deserved the win. But what did the media do? They said it was vintage Chelsea, AVB had ditched the high-line and gone back to Mou’s framework with his job on the line. Bollocks. Anyone can decide to play counter attacking football, and it worked – on the day.
That was a different Chelsea. You could identify the strengths (possession, control, chance creation, attacking gung-ho football, energy), and the weaknesses (the ‘mythical’ high-line, Torres issues, Drogba’s fitness, conceding late goals etc). This Chelsea, facing Napoli tomorrow – I don’t get them. I can’t see their style of play, cause there’s no clear style of play! They hardly create any clear chances and just appear so dour every time. They don’t even have any recent 3-0 drubbings, plus it’s an away game. I still feel as deeply confident as I did before Valencia. To quote Walter Mazzarri:
but their team is one of champions, who are all used to the atmosphere of great international events. I’m sure that they will regroup for the occasion
I expect no less from this team.
The one link we have with this team is the legenda that is Zola who came as close as anyone ever did to recreating his mentor, El Diego’s exploits in the great Italian city.
So I did some quick research and I could hardly find any trends. They seem to do well in big games in the league, but their form is too mixed. Home or away, big team or small fry, no streaks. Is that a good or a bad thing, considering they’ve won their last 2 games without conceding? I wouldn’t know because a team can always continue in form, but I certainly do hope some of that inconsistency kicks in today.
Its all about the Hamsik, Lavezzi and Cavani trinity. Also worth noting that Lavezzi and Pandev have the same no of league goals (5), so the latter could be dangerous off the bench. They defend pretty well at home and will be solid at the back despite Campagnaro being out. Can his replacement, Grava, handle the Drog?
They shouldn’t change much in shape, expect to see a similar lineup to what we’ve seen recently
Chels JT is doubtful. Ash is back. Lamps is back. Drogs is back? ‘Spine minus John Terry’, is back. Add Ramires to that.
Formation 4-3-3 or 4-3-2-1?
Need all 3 midfielders to match Napoli’s hard midfield and cut off supply to the attacking 3.
With Mata drifting in, and Sturridge naturally running into the box, it might look like a 4-4-2 diamond in some attacking transitions, but by default a 4-3-3 would match itself, if that’s what they go with.
Another alternative is a 4-5-1 with either Ramires on the right, or Malouda on the left. That would surprise signor Mazzarri, and give us more control of the midfield, possibly leaving Edinson et al lost upfront.
Drogba or Torres? Didier. Why? Because we’re better off playing to his strengths in an away Champions League knockout game. Meaning: Targetman, Studge and Rami counter attacks, Mata drifting into middle occasionally but primarily creating from the left. And also because we are not playing any crisp football nowadays and nino has nothing to feed on.
But we all know there are 2 Didiers. The up-for-it-unplayable one(a la Valencia) and the give-fuck-all one. Doesn’t take you 10mins to spot which one is playing. If the latter turns up I won’t mind him being taken off early cause its all about the team. Defence I would say the strongest back four we have available is Brana-Luiz-Cahill-Ash. AVB would go with either that or Bosingwa in for Cahill with Brana at center back. Doesn’t really matter to me that Cahill has never played in the Champions league, I’m not ready to see ‘How Ezequiel raped Jose part 1’.
If JT passes a late fitness test, then I’d like to see him play where I put Cahill. We’re just so much better in games like these with JT in defence, even when he’s 70% fit. You can’t recreate the leadership and organization he brings to the defence, and the team as a whole.
Midfield Remember one thing those 3-0 drubbings had in common? Oriol. Naturally I should go for Romeu-Lamps/Raul-Ramires. But I haven’t seen him perform recently and would like to see Essien-Lamps-Ramires in the mix of things.
The rest of the team picks itself: Cech, Sturridge and Mata.
We have no excuses not to turn up for this game. The boys need to stand up and be counted, not underestimate our opponents, and play for that shirt. Great nights in Italy like ‘Dennis Wise at the San Siro’ spring to mind, hoping we can add to that.
I’d take a score draw, but if i know my Chelsea – which I certainly do – It’s not farfetched for them to follow up a loss at Everton plus a draw at home to Birmingham with a resounding, critic-bashing drubbing.
Carefree. Means much more than nonchalant to a proper Chelsea fan aka one who is ‘proper chels’. The pride you feel whenever a fellow blue says to you “You are proper chels” cannot be faked, assuming you actually are ‘proper chels’ of course. Sorry to digress there, but back to the word carefree; a major chelsea chant, synonymous with ‘proper chels’ and the best word to describe Fernando Torres now that the Drogs has gone off to the AFCON and given him some breathing space.
With Drogba gone, Torres starts, plays 90mins, and is the main striker upfront. Its a bit of responsibility on his shoulders as he was the only striker when Sturridge was injured, (not counting Lukaku who will hardly play) but its a responsibility that is more welcome to him than either sitting on the bench, or coming off at the 60th minute when things aren’t going too well. Three man of the match performances later – that included 3 nino assists (including a match-winning assist’s assist vs Wolves) and ultimately 3 wins – journalists, fans, coaches and players are talking about Torres returning to his best form. I honestly felt this way back in October when he scored against Utd, then against Swansea cause he was looking sharper than he has ever looked since his move to West London. Even without scoring in the last 2 games I can honestly say he is playing his best football in a Chelsea shirt and he seems to have improved his all-round game. Even the cliched ‘yard of pace’ that he seemed to have lost is back. We’ve been quite poor with Sturridge out and Ramires playing the RW role but Fernando has been a bright spot in these last few games, playing a huge role in the goals, and consequently goals. A consistent run of games, with this current form, and the goals will come.
Enough of our disappointing 50m striker from last January, lets talk about this current transfer window.
Kakuta to Dijon
Some of us still believe in the 2009 UEFA u-19 golden ball winner to make it big, either at Chelsea or somewhere else. So he’s had a few bad loans, some have survived such to become starts, some have had their career die from the same. The talent is there, and just needs to be honed. Back in his home country, in a team that has guaranteed him first-team football, I fully expect him to impress in the league where his one-time mate Eden Hazard is attracting worldwide interest from.
I have nothing to prove. When it is my time, I will show what I am capable of. – Gael
Pat Van Aanholt to Vitesse
And another Arnhem acquisition. I’m not really looking forward to this for 3 reasons. 1. Only Rajkovic appeared to be decent of all the players we’ve sent here. 2. Matej Delac didn’t get games, likewise Ulises this season. 3. They’re a poor side and I doubt they’ll do more than give him some games.
Josh McEachran to Swansea Rating: 4.5/5
The most important of them all. Joshy’s chances me this season have been severely limited and it was all too important that he moved to a Premier League side to gain quality experience. Swansea is the team we wanted, and we hope it turns out to be right one.
There was interest from a number of other Premier League clubs, but I wanted to come to Swansea because of the style of football they play. I think it will suit me. – Josh
At the mention of the name I just picture a 4-2-3-1 with him on the left, Studge on the right, Mata in the hole behind the main striker. That picture is obviously a snapshot of a dream. The rumors fuelled by twitter and journos about we landing him for 28m euros may very well be false.
AVB has been very honest about players we go for from day 1, and I believe he will confirm if we indeed have a genuine interest in Eden.
We’ve also been linked to Jovetic, and previously Di Maria. Its good to see the club being linked with wingers, whether that is a result of the general belief that we need wingers or the club actually going for players in that position, we won’t know until the manager says so or one of them signs.
Finally we have our man. I wasn’t too pleased with how long this dragged, almost like a saga. Anyone who follows me on twitter would know I don’t really like Cahill but I will focus on the positives and ignore my negative bias. We need a replacement for Alex. He’s a good defender. He partners John Terry for England. He’s used to the premiership. He’s English. He cost 7m. That settles it and we shouldn’t see Bosingwa at center back again, maybe even at all.
The squad is boosted as Brana, Cahill, Ess and Studge are all available to start. I can guarantee Studge back in the XI, and either one of Brana or Cahill. Our proper 4-3-3 shape should return, with a better defence and attack. Norwich have been pretty decent of recent, but shouldn’t pose too much of a problem after the first goes in. I predict a 3-1 win to the Chels. Lampard and Sturridge the only goalscorers. El nino with a triple assist man of the match performance. Bosingwa with an own goal that concedes him to the bench for the rest of the season (tongue-in-cheek). That’s a joke by the way, please don’t rape my twitter mentions.
That’s it. I will be watching Chelsea, Swansea and Dijon this weekend, and updating you all on twitter. Do have a lovely weekend, keep it carefree and keep it proper chels.
So our Captain has been charged with ‘a racially aggravated public order offense’. Oh wow, the horror! We are all terribly surprised and trembling. Right after the FA decided to ban Suarez and thereby render Liverpool even more toothless than they already were, we blues were defiant and believed that the England captain wouldn’t suffer anything near the same fate. Surely not, if anything I expect him to get a longer ban, just because, he is John Terry.
Ever since he started getting involved in bar fights and the likes as a kid, I feared he wouldn’t make it at Chelsea, a needless feeling, in hindsight. He’s had more than his fair share of bad press which I feel is down more to his image than his actual character or conduct. That image has continued to haunt him and the man we see today is a very strong character still trying as hard as possible to divert attention from that perspective by doing what he does best, playing football. The latest ‘scandal’ is surely not the least, and maybe even the most severe, of JT’s list of ‘crimes’ and I fear only the worst. However, i would like to state that while I believe JT is not racist, I cannot defend his action as ‘not racist’, and if found guilty, he would have to serve his punishment. Uncle Sepp would like to bring forward the ‘heat of the moment’ point, and yes while that is true, lots of other players get in the heat of the moment without using such words. I agree that players shouldn’t be easily labeled ‘racist’ based on such events as I find it extreme, but they should be judged by the law, like anyone else. Unlike Dennis Wise in ‘95 who got arrested for an overblown argument with a cab driver, I expect him to remain Chelsea captain and anyone that can find a better captain,leader or legend should please step forward. By the way, Wise was reinstated when his case was dropped due to the Cabbie exposing his hidden motives a.k.a greed. (we are watching you Anton) His England captaincy on the other hand is as good as gone, and it’s that the national team has to go through so many change of states, or armbands.
The next questions raised are obviously related to replacement. We already need to sign a new center-back as Alex is leaving and we don’t have any youth player ready for promotion. There was a rumor of AVB mentioning a buy-back option on Rajkovic, (please confirm this in the comments section) but it is more likely that we sign two defenders (one permanently and the other on loan). Don’t be surprised if one of them is an experienced Premiership defender as JT still gets to play in the Champions league. Another option we could see is Romeu at center back and a midfield that looks like what we’ve had before Oriol owned his position.
While we await the final verdict, I say support the Chels’ most successful captain through it all. I know I will.
06/07, 2-1, Maka opened with a sensational volley, looked like an easy win
07/08, 4-4, Enthralling game, we led 3-1 at some point.
08/09, 1-0, Modric strike from a lennon cross
09/10, 2-1, JT got a red card, Bale murdered ‘fewewa’
10/11, 1-1, Drogba missed a late pen
Tried to paint each game as graphically as I could remember, funny I actually watched them all. Last season we could’ve easily ended this run, now we need to. We can’t afford to lose to another top 6 team. Plus, we used to call this place 3-point lane, when we were only decent (not shit)
Team News Ramires is back! Luiz is still out, meaning Bosingwa, meaning Bale can rape, but he is also out injured and even if he plays will be partially fit but, its Bosingwa and he might still rape. Your captain has been passed fit and will start and hopefully scores a winner unlike ‘Cannibalez’ who choked in his last game before his octo-break. That’s Suarez for those of you who fail at puns. The Sp*ds have Lennon out, Adebayor and Defoe doubtful, and that’s enough bad luck to translate to a win for us but these games don’t usually pan out that way. I only hope their lower attacking impetus doesn’t result in a tougher defensive unit that’s harder to break down. In plain English, a draw or a sweaty win (it’s a draw and then Ivanovic scores a 90th minute own goal, or Cech repeats what he did at Wigan, or Modric scores a pen and the whole of twitter goes mental with “We should’ve signed Luka”.
With Lennon out, Spurs would be looking to attack down the left with either Modric or Bale. Modric would be a dangerous option as he would look to drag Bosingwa inside, and release Assou-Ekotto, but will the left back overlap? Our right winger is a certain in-form striker called Danny Sturridge that is getting even better at his position so I expect that to not be a problem. With Luka playing left wing their threat is limited as they don’t have another creative midfielder to take his position nor one that can make piercing runs. Pienaar should start and that is a player that can hurt us if underestimated, but I’m going to believe Ashley Cole cancels him out as usual. Pavlyuchenko should start upfront, I’ve already given him a goal on the official site’s score predictor. The midfield will be a little weird, expect a surprise from Harry, but nothing Rambo,Rombot and Meireles cant handle. I expect Mata to have a better game than his last 2, just cause they were average in my opinion. Sturridge will be up for it, might not see a lot of the ball like the City game, but he will have a hand in our goals. Yes, I am sure we will score. If the Drogba from the Valencia game turns up (you will know 15minutes in), place your money on a Chelsea win, else, just expect a nervy exciting London derby, which is a given.
Following on from last week’s theme, the youth team beat Doncaster Rovers 2-1 in the FA Youth Cup. It was a classic Chelsea youth game, in that they went down a goal early, recovered, dominated and came back. These boys are a joy to watch, even with newcomers like Piazon, Feruz and promoted schoolboys, the spirit is still there. I’ve been watching this team for over a year now and anytime they suffer an early setback I’m calm because its the same script. Piazon scored the winner vs Doncaster and followed that with a brilliant goal in a 4-nil win at Arsenal for the reserves. Seems to be acclimatizing well now, but the real star in recent weeks has been Chalobah. He’s been exceptional, playing both center back and holding midfield, scoring 2 goals against Arsenal including a peach free-kick. He became the youngest ever Chelsea player at the Asian pre-season tour because this lad has bags of potential. He’s only 17, but with the way things are going, maybe we’ll see him in the first team earlier, but ultimately I hope his fate is more JT than Mancienne or maybe Bruma, whose fate is undecided.
Here’s to renaming the lane to its proper name.
Stay Carefree and Proper Chels.
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.