Lacklustre. An adjective that is increasingly being associated with Chelsea at the moment.
It was my original plan to write a piece on the disappointing recent performances of Chelsea in a retrospective manner having watched them string together three or four wins on the bounce. This doesn't look as though it is going to be any time soon so I will share my thoughts now.
So Chelsea went down 1-0 away to Wolves yesterday evening with a level of performance that is becoming more and more frequent at the moment. One thing that wasn't fitting with recent performances though was the fact that Ashley Cole was arguably at fault for the goal. As the defender on the near post of a corner I accept that your job is to protect the post but as soon as you see that the ball is coming towards you and not "into the mixer" you have to attack it and clear. Worse still, as a left footer he would have been well positioned to hook the ball clear yet seemed to get his feet completely mixed up. Worrying times indeed if our most consistent, and arguably most gifted, player is failing to meet his usual exceptional standards.
Thankfully last night, Liverpool lost 3-1 away to Blackburn which means, temporarily at least, the intense media glare surrounding the managerial "sack race" is focused on Roy Hodgson and away from Stamford Bridge. Inevitably though the time will come (most likely sooner rather than later although a Spurs loss last night may have bought some more time) when people will start to question Ancelotti's position within the club. I personally feel as though sacking Carlo would be a backward step. This is for a number of reasons:
1. Who else is available at the moment that could do a better job? This also couples in with the fact that it has been proven that continuity contributes towards success. A sneaky look towards Old Trafford confirms that (don't let them see though).
2. Is it all the managers fault? At the start of the season Chelsea were on fire, whether they had an easy opening set of games or not they were scoring goals for fun and looked tight at the back. Then you take out Lampard completely and, for a certain number of games, Alex, Terry, Essien and Drogba and any team starts to look weaker. The loss of Ray Wilkins will have had some effect although I doubt very much if the base of the team and the club as a whole meant they were as badly affected as some outlets of the media reported. Then there is the entirely grey area that is a loss of form and this is the hardest area to explain. Ultimately that is where the manager needs to earn his coin. For my two pence worth, I would be having a look at how we have become such slow starters and also addressing the matter of increasing our tempo. Arsenal at their free-flowing best move the ball about with pace and accuracy. There were times at the start of this season and for large chunks of the last when this was the case at Chelsea. Now it all seems too pedestrian and lethargic. Ramires certainly has work to do with his distribution too. Whilst his energy and ball winning are starting to increase his reputation, there is no excuse for passing a ball straight to an opposition centre half. Especially when you cost £18m.
3. Carlo Ancelotti was bought into Chelsea to win the Champions League. Lets be honest. That is the trophy that the owner wants the most. Whilst it is undoubtedly true that qualification for next season's competition is a must, I would suggest that our chances of winning the competition with a new manager (whoever he or she may be) at this stage of the season are approaching nil. Let's just see how we get on. I just hope that the owner and the board have the patience to stick with it.
On the issue of patience, I think that everyone involved with the club will be impressed with some of the talent coming through. Josh McEachran looks to be an excellent player with exceptional technical ability, something that must surely bode well for Chelsea and England in the future. Maybe part of the problem at the moment is the lack of "inbetweeners", and by that I mean people in the 24-28 bracket? There is only really Essien and Malouda in there, and either side we have numerous people in the sub-22 or 30+ brackets.
Anyway, Sunday in the FA Cup against Ipswich has turned into what could and should have been a nice day out for the club into an almost must win game. Being knocked out of the FA Cup in the 3rd round against a Championship club may prove too much to stomach for some fans, possibly even the owner.
- Tom F
- Hi I'm Tom, a 24 year sports fan. I like almost all sports but in particular football, and in particular Chelsea FC. Other favourites are F1, golf, rugby union and cricket. In this blog I will attempt to cover any football topics that tickle my fancy including reviews of the past weeks action and any big stories, and I will try to be as un-biased as I possibly can (although we all know how hard this is when talking about your own team!). It is not my intention to provide updates on football news as this is readily available, but rather to provide some in depth review of the English Premier League (games, players, transfers) as well as praising excellent performances, decisions and games in general. I hope you enjoy!