Super Chelsea

A Chelsea Blog For All Chels

Super Chelsea - A Chelsea Blog For All Chels

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.

Essien Aims to Promote Peace in Africa with Africa 11 v World 11 Game

Essien’s Africa 11 v World 11 game comes off this Wednesday in Accra, Ghana. Drogba, Kalou, Cole, Terry and Malouda are the Chelsea players that will likely feature with Essien in the game. Essien will captain Africa and Ashley Cole will captain African 11. The following players will also likely feature on Wednesday: Kanu, Tony Baffoe, Kolo Toure, Sammy Kuffour, Yaya Toure, Samuel Eto’o, Stephen Appiah, Paulo Maldini, Abedi Pele, George Weah, Tony Yeboah, Kalusha Bwalya, Jermain Defoe, Roger Milla and Shaun Wright-Phillips. Essien is remaining tight lipped on the remaining players for the game.

 

Essien called into a popular radio station, Joy FM in Ghana this morning to explain why he arranged the match.

“the whole idea is to create awareness and to promote peace in Africa, as you can see what is happening in some African countries.”

“Hopefully through football we can spread the message across and I think Africans love football and it is easier to use football to spread the message,”

 

Essien spoke briefly about our season.

“It’s been a very disappointing season for us (Chelsea). Now the season is over we are going to go for a break and hopefully come back and hopefully have a good season.”

The proceeds of this game will go to peace initiatives across Africa.

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Rooney & Co Finally Break The Bridge.

Well, how does that make you feel?
We allowed finally allowed the ogre to seize control of the Bridge. It was annoying watching Shrek score but painful to see that we couldn’t bounce back. So what went wrong? Who do we point the disapproving finger at? Do we point it at the referee, Carlo, Roman or the players?

The referee
This probably the best referee we have had for an important match like this in years. I know you are disappointed that he denied Ramires a penalty. I understand but it happens in life. We can’t keep blaming referees forever. If we play our best football, no amount of poor refereeing will be able to deny us a result.

Carlo
Carlo had most of his tactics right that day. Zhirkov for Malouda was sensible given Malouda’s lack of pace and recent poor form. On Bosingwa, he no choice given Alex isn’t back for Ivanovic to play as right back. Hence the back four was okay. Moving on to midfield, we have one problem. The problem was Essien, Essien hasn’t played well lately (and that’s being generous). He has grown slow and as a result is often pressed when he has the ball. What aids Essien is his strength and ability to quickly switch play to the flanks. I expected Mikel to start ahead of Essien. I expected this because Mikel has been well rested from missing many of our recent games. Mikel is better than Essien defensively. He has a better pass completion ratio than Essien. He is equally strong and I doubt he would have been pressed as often as Essien was in the game. If Carlo knew he wasn’t going to start Mikel, why didn’t he play him against Stoke? If he had played him against Stoke, Essien could have had some rest to make a real impact on the United game. I’m sure Mikel wouldn’t have played if Bosingwa hadn’t given Carlo enough heartburn to try Essien at right back. As for the strike pair, I did not understand it. Drogba scored two goals for Ivory Coast during the international break and scored the equalizer against Stoke. I have no problem with Drogba starting. My problem is with Nando starting. Nando has played games against lesser opponents and he is yet to score. What inspired Carlo to believe it was going to be against a very organized United defense? Meanwhile, our leading Champions League goal scorer was sitting down on the bench. Moving on to Carlo’s substitutions, I understood the Mikel for Bosingwa one but I didn’t understand the Malouda for Zhirkov one. Malouda has never proven to us that he can come off bench and change a game; I felt Kalou should have come on instead. The substitution Carlo made that got me livid was Anelka for Drogba. It is not that I was disappointed Anelka on, I was disappointed that it was coming at Drogba’s expense. Unlike Torres, Drogba wasn’t waiting to be fed with the ball. Drogba was creating his own chances, he holding up the ball well for our players to get in position. He tested Van Der Sar and amongst all our players on the pitch, he looked most likely to get us a result.

The Players
I won’t criticize the players much. We know their abilities and we should not expect it to change simply because it is a champions league game. I believe our best three players were JT, Lamps and DD. Our worst three were Ashley Cole, Torres and Ramires. I know you might be surprised that Bosingwa is not in it. Bosingwa is not in it because of how good he was on the attack. Bosingwa made me wonder where Ramires was on the right wing. With that said, Bosingwa poor defending would put him fourth from the bottom.

Roman
I wonder sometimes if Ancelotti choosing to play Nando even when it doesn’t make sense is because he truly believes in him or because Roman wants to see his new signing play. Since Roman signed Nando, we have had the Toy Story scenario here at Chelsea; the only difference is that Nando’s falling in style only got him a yellow card. I hope Roman reasons and come to the conclusion that Drogba is still the star striker of our team. We have to give him the respect he deserves. If Nando wants to make an impact, Nando has to find a way to blend with the team, not the team with Nando.
If you don’t agree with me, I would love to hear your opinions in the comments.

Follow me on Twitter @super_chelsea

Up The Chels!

Lessons From Britannia

What did you think of our draw against Stoke? Did we deserve a win, draw or loss? I asked fellow Blues these questions after the Stoke game.    Some Blues felt we deserved the draw and some felt we deserved to lose.  A few Blues felt we were unlucky not to have won. In my view, we deserved the draw only because of the excellent saves Petr made that day.

Although you might want to burry this Stoke game in the past and move on, it is important we draw some lessons from it. These lessons may help us against United this coming Wednesday.

  1. No Time for Drogba-Torres Experiment: Since the arrival of Torres, Carlo has been trying to find a way to make him gel with Drogba and the rest of the Chelsea team. So far, it does not look like we are making headway with the gelling process since we are still waiting for Torres to score his first Chelsea goal. We have reached the stage of the season where there is no room for experimentation. Carlo has to decide between Drogba and Torres. If I were Carlo, I would stick to the tried and tested Drogba who also recently scored.
  2. Essien: As you know, our Bison missed significant portions of our recent seasons through injury. Every time Essien returns from injury, he performs miracles because his legs are fresher than that of his mates. Essien is not used to playing as many games as he has played this season. As a result, Essien is experiencing a natural drop in form. I suggest we play Mikel against United, as he should be fresher and in a better shape than Essien.
  3. Malouda: The man needs a break. He started this season firing and has been involved in many of our goals this season.  However, the long season seems to have taken its toll on him; this is evident in his drop in form. If we want the best from him soon, we need to rest him and play Zhirkov or Kalou in his stead until he is mentally and physically ready.
  4. Ramires: He is currently our most important midfielder. He builds our attacks and helps in defense. When Carlo substituted Ramires off against Stoke, we could not build any more attacks.
  5. Bosingwa: Since my previous post on Bosingwa, the man has done little to inspire me to believe in his ability. I just hope he does not make any costly mistake in our upcoming match against United.

If there is anything, you learnt from the Stoke game that you want to share, please feel free to post it in the comments.

Up The Chels

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Give Essien Time

Ghana national team deputy coach, Akwasi Appiah says calls by some Ghanaians to drop Essien from the national team due to Essien’s self imposed exile are misplaced.

Essien has not played for Ghana since his second half appearance against Cote D’Ivoire in the group stage of 2010 African Cup of Nations (CAN). During that match Essien was injured (by Drogba) and was forced to sit out the remainder of our double winning season.

Mr. Appiah told GNA Sports: “Essien is a great player which every coach or country will love to have in a team.

“This is one person who has served the country very well and if he has asked for time off, it is unfair to accuse him.

“The least we can do for him is to allow him the space until such a time that he feels psychologically and mentally strong to come back.”

It was generally expected that Essien would be back for Ghana’s friendly against England at Wembley on the 29th March, but Essien issued a statement last month that he was not ready for a return.

Ghana’s new national coach, Goran Stevanovic has continuously voiced his desire to meet with Essien to convince him to rejoin the Ghanaian setup.

For now Essien has the support of the Ghanaian national team staff. How long that support will remain, I don’t know. What I know is that Essien faces stiff competition for a midfield position from Kevin Prince Boateng (AC Milan), Kojo Samoa & Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu (Udinese), Andre Ayew (Olympic Marseille) and Sulley Muntari (Sunderland).

If Ghana maintains the positive performances that took them to the final of the CAN and the quarter finals of the world cup, Essien might soon be forgotten.

My advice to Essien is that if he still dreams of playing for his national team, he should return quickly. In football, absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder to see you; it makes the heart seek a replacement for you.