Michael Essien partner
The future of Chelsea under Frank Lampard
2020.07.08 15:42 mozang The future of Chelsea under Frank Lampard
Many of us will have started to notice patterns in the players we have recently been linked with, Frank’s responses in press conferences, and our new tactics since the restart. I thought it’ll be interesting to join the dots, so I am sharing an interpretation of what we can expect from the team under Frank Lampard, i.e., what tactics we will play, what personnel will fit, and what kind of recruitment will be made to plug the gaps. [This is just an interpretation
based on bits and pieces of evidence I have collected; feel free to share your thoughts. Long piece, I know, but worth the read, I hope!] TLDR
: Frank’s tactics draw significantly upon the Chelsea side he himself played in, most significantly from Ancelotti’s Chelsea, with shades of Mourinho’s pragmatism when necessary. He favours a defensive-minded midfielder (Makelele/Essien, and Kante) to protect the centre-backs, the pair of which should have the ideal mix of tactical intelligence, physical presence, aerial dominance and communication (Terry-Carvalho, and almost but not quite, Zouma-Christensen). He prefers two box-to-box midfielders ahead of the defensive mid (Lampard-Ballack, and almost but not quite, Mount-Barkley), and full-backs who can similarly balance attack and defence across the touchline (Ivanovic-Cole, and Azpi/Reece-but not quite Alonso/Emerson).
The players we have been linked with — Ben Chilwell, Kai Havertz and Declan Rice — all provide missing pieces to the tactical puzzle, with similarities to their past counterparts — Ashley Cole, Michael Ballack and John Terry, respectively — but also with very important differences, both positive (their flexibility) and negative (their inexperience at the top level). If these transfers go through, however, it could come at the expense of both experienced players (Willian, Jorginho, Kovacic, and potentially, Koulibaly and Tagliafico), and exciting young players from our academy (Tammy, RLC, CHO, Tomori, Ampadu and Billy).
We could hence lose some of the promising progress on academy development from this season, and nevertheless fail to mount a serious title challenge in the immediate future. That is the price we must pay, however, in order to build a solid foundation of a team who can be serious challengers in England and Europe for many years to come, much like we had in the decade after Roman took over. There are very good reasons to be excited about our football in the near future, especially with Frank’s impressive first season as manager, and the club working towards a coherent long-term vision for the first-team.
The Kante conundrum
There was a huge debate on this sub in pre-season about Kante’s best position. The “box-to-box midfielder” camp felt vindicated when Frank picked up where Sarri left off, playing him ahead of Jorginho. Since the restart, Frank has unexpectedly done a volte-face, with Kante sitting ahead of the defence and Jorginho frozen out. Anyone who has followed Frank’s tactics at Derby will understand why: he always preferred a mobile defensive-minded midfielder to protect the space in front of the centre-backs in transition. This is very similar to Fernandinho’s role at City: he has basic capabilities to keep, rotate and progress the ball, but his main advantage is his tactical intelligence in snuffing out counters at their origin, leaving the centre-backs free to physically contest the forward during hold-up play, intercept passes, and track back to guard the box.
City’s shift from Fernandinho to Rodri, and Chelsea’s experience with Jorginho under Sarri, exposes the defensive weaknesses in playing a technical player in that position, especially in the PL, where teams at the bottom are experts at defending with low blocks and hitting back with strong hold-up play, efficient long balls (and second balls), and speedy runners — neither of which players like Rodri and Jorgi are well-equipped to cope with. Sarri and Guardiola are quite fixated on their possession-based tactics, however, and they have tried various workarounds (like inverted full-backs) to fit a technical player in the pivot, with mixed results.
Sarri himself relied on flanking Jorgi with Kova and Kante: both players are inclined to sit deeper, which meant we were much
less effective in the forward play, and almost useless without Hazard to break the lines. Neither did this strategy help much, as Kova and Kante would often join the forward play when the low block wouldn’t break, fail to contribute much going forward, only to leave Jorgi stranded in transition when long balls would bypass the protecting midfielders. We were ultimately outscored by all other sides in the top 6, with half of our goals either scored or assisted by Hazard, and we nevertheless had to suffer the ignominy of those defeats against Bournemouth and City. In the Serie A, Sarri has had better results with this approach: Bentancur, Rabiot, Matuidi and Khedira haven’t scored a single
goal between them, but they have supported Pjanic well enough for Juventus to have the best defensive record — even
better than Conte’s Inter.
This shows that sacrificing cover in transition for incisive build play in the pivot is clearly not feasible in a league like the PL, and Frank has no doubt reflected much on this dilemma during the break — particularly the fact that only Villa have conceded more goals than us from counter-attacks
. Frank initially stuck with Jorgi in the pivot since the team was used to it (not to mention Kante was injured) but the break finally allowed him to ingrain his tactical vision into the team — which is mainly inspired from his playing days under two of the modern game’s best managers, Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti.
The false three-at-the-back
The main debate on Kante’s position has revolved around whether he has the ball-playing capabilities to operate in the “Makelele role”. While our sharpness in ball progression from the back has clearly declined, Kante has silenced the naysayers by maturely managing every minute of the restart in that position until his injury — even a hugely demanding game against City. His role is now somewhere between Makelele under Mourinho and Essien under Ancelotti: he is not as proficient at playing the ball forward as the former, but he ensures that we effectively have at least three players to defend at all times.
Several teams use different configurations of such a “false-three-at-the-back”. Apart from Fernandinho at City, United have recently plugged Matic in between the centre-backs to allow the Pogba-Fernandes duo to flourish, to great effect
. Even Conte’s Chelsea used Luiz in a free role somewhere between sweeper, centre-back and DM. The logic is simple: if it is a sitting/central player like Matic or Luiz, then the centre-backs drift wide to operate as ad-hoc full backs in transition (made more effective with players like Azpilicueta). If it is a mobile destroyer like Fernandinho or Kante, the centre-backs drift back to cope with the forward, while the destroyer moves into the zone where either the counter is being initiated, or runners are bursting in (both, if the player is as tactically intelligent as Fernandinho or Kante).
Almost all these teams rely on two additional players to support the three-at-the-back: Pep was most successful with inverted full-backs in Walker and Delph; Conte had Kante and Matic ahead to make defensive triangles and give time for the wing-backs to track back; Mourinho was famous for using defensive full-backs in the season we only conceded fifteen goals: Paulo Ferreira wasn’t the most adventurous right-back, Gallas was effectively a centre-back, but he played on the left in lieu of Bridge, and when Huth played right-back, we actually had four
centre-backs in an impenetrable defensive line, protected by Makelele ahead.
The box-to-box eights
While Frank occasionally resorts to Mourinho’s pragmatism in certain situations (like the City game), the system he draws upon most is Ancelotti’s Chelsea. Cole and Ivanovic were reliable trackers, but even Frank and Ballack were effectively box-to-box: this meant that the two players to support the three-at-the-back were fluid, which worked because the four tasked with that responsibility were amongst the most tactically intelligent players, who each had a strong understanding of each other’s movements by then.
Although this was not the most reliable strategy defensively, most teams would sit back against us, so the game was to overwhelm and outscore them. Our points total was lower than Mourinho’s title-winning seasons, but we routinely scored 4+ goals, not just winning the title but entertaining greatly while we were at it. The system started to crumble as the players aged, however, and it suffered greatly from Essien’s recurrent injuries.
Frank no doubt remembers his best playing days in midfield alongside Michael Ballack, who was an advanced goal-scoring midfielder before shifting to a deeper playmaking role at Chelsea to enable Frank’s forward runs. It’s no surprise then that we are being linked with Kai Havertz, a German midfielder with many similar attributes. Havertz has been used as a number 8, a number 10 (centrally, or on the right-wing), and a false 9, but wherever he is formally deployed, he invariably operates most on the right side of zone 14 (outside the box). He has excelled previously as a free 8 in a 4-3-3
, progressing the ball elegantly with his link-up play and expansive long passes into space, before arriving between the lines, where he combines deft short passes, intelligent movement, swift runs in behind, late runs into the edge of the box, and clinical fishing, to great effect. Havertz could potentially line up alongside Mason Mount in a similar German-English number 8 pairing (although there are still questions over the former’s defensive work-rate). Mount hasn’t dazzled in terms of goals and assists per se, but his spectacular performances of late have shown just how much he brings to the team beyond statistics, making it clear why he has featured in every game this season. He is not just the ideal box-to-box number 8 in Frank’s system, but his tactical intelligence and industry would enable Havertz’s forward movements.
Frank’s recent comments
corroborate this preference for two box-to-box number 8s in front of a defensive number 6:
“I spoke of it the other night after the game about teams with low blocks who make it difficult for you. To be able to get players who can arrive with technical ability high up the pitch and around the box and find a pass and take someone out of the game with a skill or finish... It’s big in those games if we feel like we’re going to have a lot of control.
Generally, with the midfield, I do like midfield players who can perform, not all the roles but can play high, can play on the side, can do the defensive duties and Mason really has that. His work off the ball is fantastic for us and if I feel like getting him high up the pitch to put more pressure on the other team if they want to play out, that can help us off the ball. Sometimes I’ll ask him to do a slightly different role with the ball where he comes deeper to make sure he’s not missing out on the ball because he’s a good player and needs to be on the ball deeper.
Himself and Ross [Barkley] can perform that kind of role. Kovacic can perform that kind of role. Ruben Loftus-Cheek can perform that kind of role. N’Golo Kante can perform that kind of role. Billy Gilmour can. Jorginho also can but his role predominantly in his career has been from a deeper position. I had those good problems within the team. I like to work on the midfield, making it as fluid as it possibly can be so we give teams problems. Some performances recently, Watford being one the other day, Everton before lockdown I saw a real fluid movement of the midfield which I really liked. We have to continue to work on that.”
The fluid full-backs
This further explains some interesting trends we’ve recently seen in the full-back department. Alonso’s instant omission after the debacle against West Ham is noteworthy, especially since Frank chose to sacrifice his aerial presence after a game when he himself stressed the need for taller players. Gary Neville summed up Alonso’s main weakness in the commentary box: “He has two speeds, one running forward, and one running back”. His failure to track Yarmolenko back during the final West Ham counter was the dealbreaker for Frank: you can be hugely effective in the attacking phase, but the system entirely fails if full-backs fail to manage the transition reliably.
That’s exactly why the links with Chilwell make a lot of sense: he is young, he has pace, he understands the English game very well, and most importantly, he balances going forward with tracking back well
. It’s no surprise that he got a testimonial from Ashley Cole
, who himself struck the balance between defense and attack expertly in Ancelotti’s fluid system. Frank surely believes that he can train Chilwell into a top full-back to meet his tactical demands perfectly, otherwise he wouldn’t be pushing so hard for his transfer. His full-backs don’t have to be creative playmakers like Trent and Robertson, neither do they need to be defensive rocks like Gallas and Ferreira — they mainly need to balance ball progression along the flanks with recovery runs in transition.
On the other side, in Ancelotti’s system, Ivanovic loved to stay deeper (as a converted centre-back) and drive in crosses from deeper positions. Azpi is not just brilliant defensively, he is our top assist-maker this season, but the similarities to Reece are even greater (notwithstanding his shaky performances of late). Reece’s crossing is quite obviously his greatest asset, but the most interesting development in the Watford game was his occasional shift to support Billy as an additional defensive midfielder / inverted full-back. It’s exactly this kind of tactical fluidity that Frank wants to see from his players: the ability to move into spaces depending on the run of the play.
The alternating movement of the full-backs and the 8s has another advantage that makes it appealing to a manager who likes to adapt his tactics game-by-game: it can be customized according to the opponent’s strengths and weaknesses, depending on where they are most dangerous, or the most vulnerable, i.e., from the middle or the wings. In an ideal situation, the team can be highly compact when defending a lead (think: our solid defensive structure versus City), and highly dangerous when trying to overturn a deficit (think: Ivanovic’s winner against Napoli, and Chilwell’s recent banger against Watford).
Leading from the back
As far as the back two are concerned, Rudiger’s replacement with Zouma in the past two games shows that Frank would prefer to partner a tactically intelligent centre-back like Christensen with a physically strong, aerially dominant, and commanding centre-back, similar to the Terry-Carvalho partnership. All our centre-backs are poor communicators though
, so it is no surprise that Declan Rice is being considered as the Terry counterpart, as it is unsure whether Zouma has the leadership and quality to hold a first-team spot in the long term, in spite of his excellent defensive performances against Watford and Palace.
In fact, The Times recently noted that Frank sees Rice as a successor to Terry
. The Athletic too ran a piece on why Chelsea are interested in Rice as a centre-half
: “He is commanding, has an aura about him and importantly talks/communicates really well… He can play at the back really well because he has played there all his life. He’s a good passer of the ball too… He is young and English too so you can see how he would fit in with what Chelsea are building there. A young squad that can play together for years to come.”
The added advantage of Rice is his ability to play as a defensive midfielder. After Kante's injury from being overplayed after the restart, along with Jorginho’s calamitous fall down the pecking order, Frank had a huge selection headache for the Palace game: who could possibly replace Kante? Billy got the nod, but much like many of the other younger players, he has struggled for consistency without a proper period of preparation. The huge space in the centre of the park where the Palace players combined before Zaha unleashed his rocket testifies to the need to play a defensive-minded player in that area of the pitch. While Jorginho definitely calmed the tempo down to dampen the onslaught towards the end, we still gave away sitters. The lesson to be learnt is simple: we need
a replacement for Kante.
In fact, we haven’t ever had a reliable replacement for Kante, which has consistently resulted in him being overplayed and subsequently injured (Conte’s second season, and then the Europa League final). Frank himself noted that Kante is 29 and he needs to manage his fitness differently
, but clearly he can’t afford to make the same mistakes as his predecessors, so he needs to find a solution. Rice’s talent in delaying and breaking up attacks during transition
could be crucial in providing a much-needed option in that position.
So it’s clear then: Ben Chilwell, Kai Havertz and Declan Rice are all players we have been linked with, mainly because their attributes provide all the missing pieces to the foundation that Frank wants to build at Chelsea for many years to come — a foundation built from the pieces of our best memories of Chelsea under Mourinho and Ancelotti, during Frank’s peak playing days. Many of our (potential) new additions are capable of playing in different positions, fitting well with Frank’s own flavour of versatility in his tactical system. After the outlay on Werner and Ziyech, would we have the budget to sign all three of these players?
Each of their present clubs could find themselves in a precarious situation, leading to a cut-price deal. Leverkusen have already missed out on the CL; Leicester have fallen behind us to fourth place after last night’s draw against Arsenal, and they face another challenging game in North London before a final day showdown against United; and West Ham must battle it out in six-pointers against Villa and Watford to avoid relegation. Moreover, these additions would almost obviate the need to re-invest in subsequent years, especially if the cost is staggered in installments. It’s also expected that for each addition, there should be a departure to counterbalance it: for example, it looks as though Emerson is heading out to Inter
, which could offset the spend on Chilwell.
In spite of his cameo last night, it looks like Jorginho is on his way out as well
, as he doesn’t fit Frank’s new midfield system. Much like Pedro and Emerson, Frank seems reluctant to rely upon players who are set to be playing elsewhere next season, and it’s entirely possible that he has had honest conversations with Jorgi about his reduced role in the first-team after shifting Kante deeper in midfield, with Jorgi indicating that he would prefer to leave for regular football elsewhere. His potential loss should not be underestimated: he is our current vice-captain, an important leader in the dressing room, an experienced professional, and a clinical penalty-taker.
Many of these qualities would be equally lost in Willian (and Pedro), signalling an exodus of much-needed experience to balance a young team. Moreover, signing Rice and Chilwell precludes us from going for more experienced counterparts in the market, such as Koulibaly and Tagliafico. If that is the case, we are unlikely to mount a serious title challenge in the immediate future. After all, look at the current champions: the ideal blend of youth and experience, with key players at the peak of their careers.
But their example should teach us another thing: as Klopp himself said recently, it was their experience of losing a CL final and a title race that spurred them on to win the next one. Frank knows this better than anybody else, after enduring through our long journey to the CL trophy. And so, this is exactly what he intends to build: a team that bleeds together for the coming few years, until it learns what it takes to win, setting the foundation for a team that can compete at the highest tier of English and European football for many years hence. We gain experience in the long-term by sacrificing it in the short-term: we don’t get the assurance of Jorgi or Willian stepping up to take a penalty at key junctures, only for the younger players to learn how to cope with the pressure.
The academy and the warchest
Frank’s trust in the academy graduates this season has given us much to feel optimistic about, and still, it is our new transfers that may alienate them yet again. Rice’s transfer will likely mean that Tomori will have to be loaned out
. It would further foreclose any opening for Ampadu, who can similarly play across defence and midfield. His difficult spell at Leipzig means he would be loaned out again to a team that can promise him first-team action, which is probably for the best. While Billy might be expected to go out on loan in any case, the key issue here is whether he has the defensive ethic to play number 6 in Frank’s system. Especially after last night’s shaky defensive display against Palace, one would expect Rice to be ahead in the pecking order.
Frank indicated earlier that Billy can play in the number 8 position as well, but with Havertz’s addition, that position will certainly be crowded. Mount and Havertz would stake the strongest claim, which would effectively render Kovacic, RLC, Barkley and Billy as squad options. While most of this sub would be happy to see the back of Barkley, some of our best performances this season have come when he has played, as seen in our superior win percentage with him in the team. He is a more than capable squad player: bought at a bargain, happy to take the opportunity when coming off the bench, and moreover, he executes Frank’s tactical instructions expertly.
There is a reason for that: he has matured immensely over the past couple of seasons under the tutelage of Sarri and Frank, into a well-balanced midfielder. I read a piece earlier this season (can’t find the link now) on how Frank has transformed Barkley from a player who would struggle to make decisions in the final third, into a repurposed Kovacic, using his ability to drive from deeper positions to great effect, which we first saw in the emphatic victory against Burnley. Alongside Mount, he perfectly balances the box-to-box movement of the number 8s, more than happy to do his defensive duties, which worked out well against City, Leicester and Watford. Setting aside the caricatured “Rooooossss” for his recent performances then, he makes the best claim to be a squad option in number 8. There was a great hype around the return of RLC, especially after it was reported that he had a great pre-season before the restart
. But he’s looked like a shadow of the player we saw towards the end of last season before his injury, and now Frank has suggested that we might only see the real RLC next season.
If he returns to his levels, as we all hope he will, he should be pushing Mount and Havertz for a first-team spot; but without regular first-team action, the addition of Havertz may just make it harder for him to establish himself once more.
Prior to the suspension, few would have disputed Kovacic’s claim to being our player of the season. After just a few rounds of fixtures since the restart, there are suddenly new candidates for the position: Pulisic, Mount and our veteran captain Azpilicueta (who gets my vote, for sure!). I would argue that this has everything to do with the change in tactical system: Kovacic is the ideal foil for Jorginho
, as we saw in Sarri’s reign and earlier this season, but he fails to carry the forward threat that Frank demands from his number 8s. Sadly, the only player in the squad who played at the necessary level against Bayern (in Frank’s assessment), may in fact face a similar fate as Juan Mata did once his talents failed to fit a new tactical system.
Apart from displacing many a potential number 8, Havertz can also
be expected to deputize for Ziyech on the right-wing, which we might earlier have expected from CHO. This means that our bumper contract young player will too have to go out on loan — quite the fall from grace after having the pick of elite clubs not so long ago, especially with Frank questioning his contribution to the first-team recently
. His contract has cast uncertainty on Tammy’s contract situation as well, and the future of yet another academy graduate could remain unresolved. Until his goal last night, Tammy’s season was looking uncomfortably similar to Morata’s first season: a prolific start to life, a struggle for consistency as the games came thick and fast, a fall in confidence, and then a distinct shift in body language for the worse. Just when we thought the curse of the number 9 had finally been lifted, it started rearing its ugly head once more.
Confidence is everything for a striker though (see: Vardy’s run-up to his 100th goal and his form thereafter), and Tammy’s interview after last night’s goal
betrays shades of the player we all know he can be once more. As we all salivate over the prospect of an attacking trio of Pulisic-Werner-Ziyech, and as Giroud refuses to outlive his usefulness, can Tammy still prove that he is the successor to the King, as he indicated he might be after his iconic goal against Arsenal? Hopefully, his goal last night will set the pace for him to compete with our new additions. But apart from him and Mount, the others may have a much longer wait in their road to the first-team — if they arrive there at all.
The way forward
And so, the lessons from this season are mixed: just as we began to be excited about the academy finally getting its chance, the warchest has returned, and we are still caught between the conflicting desires to blood home-grown youngsters and compete at the level of the elite. The one thing that is clear though is that Frank is certainly the best manager to balance these contradictory pulls. He has defied all expectations this season with his resourcefulness and astute game-management, going head-to-head with the managerial elite and coming out victorious. He has given the academy a flavour of the first-team, and now he is challenging them to be worthy of it. The message is clear: I survived the original warchest era, can you? Some, like Mount, have responded with bravado, while some others might need to step it up a notch.
However things turn out, only the very best of our academy and our new signings will stay on to play in a tactical system that brings the best of Chelsea’s past together with the ever-changing demands of modern football. The future is fraught with challenges, but it certainly looks bright.
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2017.01.05 11:24 intheinaka Why Jurgen Klopp won't win the Premier League this season
As a long-time reddit user and lurker of many subreddits, I'm not sure why I hadn't thought to check out soccer subreddits before now. Here I am though -- I'm not sure if this is what people really do here, but having perused the rules I can't see anything suggesting that it isn't.
I wrote a thing about why I don't think Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool are going to win the Premier League this season. It was written before Chelsea lost to Tottenham last night, but I don't think that has any impact on the arguments I make.
As a disclaimer, I will just say here that I have no personal feelings regarding any of the teams at the top end of the Premier League this season (I'm a Portsmouth fan, for my sins), and as long as we have a good race, then I'm happy. Certainly, Liverpool have been the most exciting team to watch this season, in my humble opinion. (This was originally posted on Medium: https://medium.com/@intheinaka/why-jurgen-klopp-wont-win-the-premier-league-this-season-922c08290916#.ijmfjdb63
In the aftermath of Liverpool’s 2–2 draw with Sunderland on Monday night, manager Jurgen Klopp bemoaned the fact that his side had conceded two penalties, ultimately costing Liverpool two vital points in their attempt to hunt down table-topping Chelsea. Though Klopp took issue with referee Anthony Taylor’s decision to award a free-kick in the build-up to the Sadio Mane handball which brought about the second spot kick, he contested neither penalty decision — the other a result of a clumsy challenge by Ragnar Klavan when Liverpool were leading 1–0. Both penalties were, as the phrase goes, ‘stonewallers.’ Klopp claimed that he couldn’t remember ‘when a side of mine last conceded two penalties,’ but defensive fragility has become as much of a characteristic of the German’s Liverpool side as has its attacking verve.
Just last month, neutrals were treated to a footballing feast when the Reds were overturned 4–3 at Bournemouth, having lead 3–1 with less than 30 minutes to play, but the implication was the same: Klopp has not yet found the balance required from a team with genuine title-winning aspirations. Antonio Conte’s Chelsea machine are as formidable at the back as they are going forward; as a result, they have established what appears to be an almost-unassailable five point gap at the top of the table, with a game in hand. If Klopp wishes to transform his team from thrilling challengers into fearsome champions, there is much he could learn from his Italian counterpart.
At the beginning of the season, few would have made Chelsea their favourites for the title. Indeed, after their 3–0 humiliation at the hands of Arsenal in September, some fans were even calling, somewhat prematurely, for Conte’s head. Though the manager has, rightfully, taken great credit for the formation switch that followed this result and provided the catalyst for their record-breaking winning run, their success would not have been possible were it not for the intelligent augmentation that the Chelsea squad underwent during the summer.
At first glance, the current Chelsea squad has changed little from the one possessed by Jose Mourinho at the time of his sacking. At the heart of midfield, however, is one crucial addition: N’Golo Kante. Kante’s virtues have been sung so widely and eloquently there is no need to cover them again here, but what should be emphasised is that Conte recognised the importance of having an effective ball-winner at the base of his midfield. Nemanja Matic had been a shadow of his former self, and Cesc Fabregas was neither mobile nor tactically aware enough to provide an effective buffer in front of the defence. Kante’s recruitment was rightly identified as a priority. Defensive midfielders can come in many shapes and sizes: tough-tacklers; hard-running defensive screens; deep-lying playmakers; and so on. Whatever form they take, though, their importance to a team cannot be underestimated.
Looking back at various title-winning teams over the past decade or so, a pattern of top-class defensive midfielders becomes clear: Kante at Leicester; Toure at Manchester City; Carrick at Manchester United — and so on, all the way back to Michael Essien and Claude Makelele in Mourinho’s first spell at Chelsea. Jordan Henderson and Emre Can are players with many admirable qualities, but neither have the required level of defensive discipline (nor, crucially, is it asked of them) to consistently break down attacks or dictate the tempo of a match. The Liverpool side resembles something of a Frankenstein team, with six interchangeable forwards (eight, if we count the full-backs, who are certainly more concerned with bombing forward than minding their defence) bolted on to a fragile and unconvincing backline.
To return to the Chelsea comparison, then, when sizing up centre-halves Liverpool come off decidedly poorly against the league leaders. The varied talents of Gary Cahill, David Luiz and Cesar Azpilicueta bring steel, skill and pace to the West Londoner’s backline. With Kante roaming in front of them, it is hardly surprising that Chelsea have kept 10 clean sheets in their past 13 games. Liverpool, on the other hand, have struggled to establish a first-choice centre-half pairing. Variously partnering Dejan Lovren, Ragnar Klavan and Joel Matip at the heart of defence, Klopp has yet to hit upon a combination that suggests it can strike fear into the division’s top strikers. Each of these men — and let us not forget that Mamadou Sakho remains on their books, such a liability that he has been consciously removed from the equation — have become more synonymous with defensive rickets than with solidity during their careers at Anfield thus far.
‘Offense wins games; defense wins titles.’ It’s a cliché often trotted out during analyses of title winning teams; be it Vidic and Ferdinand, Terry and Carvalho, or Adams and Keown, there is hardly a Premier League title-winning side that doesn’t sport a famous defensive partnership. Though Lovren, Matip and Klavan may grow into their responsibility, the evidence thus far suggests that Liverpool are not genuine contenders just yet. Jurgen Klopp must recognise that aesthetically-pleasing, free-flowing gegenpressing football does not preclude defensive nous. This is his squad now; these are his players. It sometimes seems, listening to managers in their pre- and post-match interviews, that they are constantly searching for that ever-elusive holy grail, ‘balance.’ Though it is undoubtedly easier to recognise balance than it is to achieve it, for a manager who desires to win the Premier League title, achieving it is essential.
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2015.12.22 17:46 bobbytambling55 An impossible goodbye - The end of Jose at Chelsea
I'm new to writing so would appreciate your feedback on this post.
I know it's very long but this is a very powerful topic for me and felt it required the length.
An impossible goodbye - The end of Jose at Chelsea
The dust has settled after a very difficult few days. The club once again hitting the headlines for the wrong reasons. We have had far too many of these dark days recently, but Thursday was rock bottom. Unless you've been living under a rock, you will be very aware of the news that Jose Mourinho has been brutally axed as Chelsea Manager by Roman Abramovich and his Chelsea board. This story has dominated global news despite its horribly predictable and familiar nature. Jose Mourinho is simply a unique character and the biggest manager in world football. He is an obsession (good and bad) for many. An event such as this could never happen without fanfare.
The dreaded news filtered through after 3pm on Thursday 17th December. Chelsea fans worldwide we're seeing what they had long feared. The end of The Special One at Chelsea. A cruel and heartbreaking end to the reign of our most successful manager. A man who embodied our club. He understood what it was like to be "proper chels".
Despite very poor results, most Chelsea fans supported our troubled boss wholeheartedly. The stands at the Bridge echoing his name as he sheepishly acknowledged what he described as "incredible support". He never believed he deserved it and wanted us to focus the love on the players. This was the man who brought so much success and joy to us. He created a devastatingly effective side that dominated opponents for a decade. He was surely the man to rescue us from the lull.
He was one of us.
This frustrating season was surely down to the underperforming and complacent players.
Why was our Jose the one to pay the price?
Why does the manager always have to get the bullet?
Why now? A week before Christmas? A fortnight from the opening of the transfer window.
Why does he have to go in such a cruel and disgusting way?
Sitting in 16th place after 16 games, only a point above the relegation zone and being outclassed by Claudio Ranieri's table topping Leicester. Is this a sick and twisted fantasy created by an evil lovechild of Rafa Benitez, Chris Foy and UEFA?
The reality of the situation is that things on the pitch were a disaster. The team looked a mess, a shadow of the side that stormed the Premier League last year and not even resembling a poor half baked impression of a "Mourinho side".
The sacking was not unexpected. Roman had called for the chop in much rosier situations. However this is one that hurt the most. Surely he won't be back as our Manager again.
This must be the end.
He was meant to create a dynasty here. He's as young as Sir Alex Ferguson was after his first Manchester United title. He will be back but in opposing dugouts for at least a decade. This thought alone is sickening.
Fans, experts and so called experts (the Jamie Redknapps etc.) have almost unanimously attributed this shocking season mainly to the players. The champions showing a stunning lack of hunger and complacency for protecting their title. They arrived back from pre-season in woeful shape and most alarmingly an apparent lack of obedience to the instructions of a world class lieutenant.
Eden Hazard dazzled the football world last year with his velvet first touch, magnetic close control, gravity defying balance and lightening quick feet.
Diego Costa snarled at opposition defenders, swotting them aside like flies and steathily moving inside the box like a Special Ops Commander.
Cesc Fabregas raced to more than 15 assists with an instant telepathy with our forwards. Passing the ball with the precision of a needle and with the weight of the pass defining perfection.
None of this has been on show this year. Whilst obviously same blame must be attributed to Jose for not being to able motivate and get the best out of these players but all I, and many who watched our matches, could see was a man doing all he can to fix things. Surely the players themselves have to take the blame for this. They're world class players who are paid insane amounts. Surely the board can see this.
No Chelsea fan believes that Mourinho is without blame of course. His lack of rotation and over reliance on the same 9 or so players last year is clearly a major factor in the reasons the players look a shell of their former selves. They were clearly overused and have paid for it. This is coupled with a disastrous post season and pre season schedule which Mourinho was surely part of constructing.
However, the board and Michael Emenalo specifically have to also shoulder some blame. The process for buying players at Chelsea is that the Manager and Michael Emenalo will draw up a list of targets. This will then be discussed by a transfer committee of which both men are a part of and then the most powerful woman in football, Marina Granovskaia wields her magic wand and makes it happen.
Failing to buy a fast, young, ball playing centre back to play alongside Kurt Zouma in a future defence of a high pressing side is unacceptable. Let's not get started on the signings of Papy "Didwereally?" Djilobodji and Michael "Fresh Prince of East Ham" Hector. I may smash my keyboard.
What about a midfield partner to Matic and Fabregas to help us dominate the big games and allow a realistic and acceptable version of a 4-3-3? Or was the Champions League domination by the PSG midfield after they were a man down an occurrence in an alternative universe?
How could we a defend a title with the same squad minus two incredible leaders in Cech and Drogba and a failure to fix clear deficiencies?
The fact that only Jose is the one to suffer is a disgrace. Managers all too often are the ones discarded after a bad run of results. But this was different.
This was our most successful manager ever.
Chelsea have always been a club that did things the unconventional way.
From our inception being caused by a dog, to nearly having an electric fence being put up, to being the first club to get a Billionaire to bank roll huge spending sprees and to winning the Champions League against all odds. Jose's rise to fame is also unconventional. This is a man with limited playing experience going from a translator to one of the most successful managers of all time.
We were a match made in heaven.
In more recent times, Chelsea have often felt a sense of injustice. We believe we have been unfairly targeted and always having to do things the hard way.
Our captain becoming the most hated player in football for a lesser crime than Golden Boy Giggsy and being as good as deemed guilty for racism by everyone despite the court of law determining otherwise.
Our club being hated for having the riches of Roman helping us compete with clubs like Manchester United that have always been far richer than us and were similarly bankrolled by Louis Edwards. Yes, they grew enormously in the 1990s organically, but that's what we are trying to do now too!
Our club suffering from many on the pitch injustices. Namely that night at the bridge in 2009 against Barcelona when a horrific and suspiciously biased refereeing performance robbed us of the chance to exact revenge on Manchester United in the final.
The furore surrounding those idiot fans racially abusing a Frenchman on the Paris metro. Whilst this deserves to be recognised and stamped out, a similar story occurred with Man United fans recently. Haven't heard of that story? That's precisely the point.
Injustice is of course what also drives Jose. From hating being called "the translator" from Barcelona fans, to the Anders Frisk episode as well as many other incidents, Jose has often felt injustice and employed an "us against the world" siege mentality in his teams, to incredible success.
We were a match made in heaven.
Jose understood us like no other. He came back to Chelsea in 2013 despite being sacked in 2007 because he wanted to be home. He wanted to be somewhere he was loved. He recognised how grateful we were for his work and that we would back him whatever he did as he had earned our trust, respect and adulation. In a sport where many disagree with Jose, at Stamford Bridge there was simply no doubt. He was one of us. In the biggest of games, he always showed us that. We knew how lucky we were to have one of the world's best managers. A man addicted to trophies who loved being part of Chelsea.
This desire to win every game, every trophy led a young Jose to study the game to its finest detail. He worked with the best and learned from them whilst creating his own identity.
One of his biggest strengths was undoubtedly his ability to motivate players to run through walls for him. He treated his closest staff and players like family. He was the commander of an army with fiercely loyal generals. The fact that so many ex-players registry talk about his impact speak volumes. Legends of the game such as Ibrahimovic, Sneijder, Drogba and Zanetti all believe he is the best manager they worked with. Similarly at Chelsea, he created a spine that lasted a decade with all of them becoming leaders with captain and vice captain roles galore.
Cech, Terry, Lampard, Drogba.
These four names our amongst Chelsea's top ten players of all time. Jose inspired them to greater successes. He was their catalyst. Will we ever see players as good as them again? Let's not forget the influence he had in Carvalho, Makelele, Joe Cole, Essien and Ashley Cole. Without Jose, that seems unclear. I am certain that players such as Courtois, Zouma and Azpilicueta could reach these heights. Jose has had a big impact on these players too and I'm sure they are gutted to see him leave.
Big games against the top teams were Jose's arena. His record in finals is unparalleled. His record against the Manchester clubs, Arsenal and Liverpool is sublime. For example, he never lost to Arsene Wenger in the league and had a great record against Sir Alex, losing only once. This is something where Chelsea struggled in the period that Jose wasn't our manager post 2007. Remember that 3-5 loss against Arsenal? That Liverpool loss where Torres scored twice and convinced us to buy him, The games at Man City where Yaya Toure would crush our midfield? I feel that our board in particular have taken this for granted but this is truly a special quality to have.
Part of the reason for this is his ability to inspire and motivate the players to raise their level in the big games. The other part of the reason is tactics. The Anfield win which denied a high-flying Liverpool the title with a second string eleven was a masterclass. As was the win at the Etihad when Ivanovic scored. What about the games against Barcelona with Inter and Chelsea. He is one of best tacticians in football and this is something we will truly miss.
Mourinho's personality in the media has often been discussed as being vastly different to the real him. However his media personality is one I will miss greatly. I used to watch every press conference ad post match interview and the memorable moments were aplenty. His honesty his passion and his tactical use of the media was refreshing. He is a captivating personality that the British media will miss. They know they pushed him to the edge many times and will know the lack of Mourinho in the Premier League for the rest of this season is a huge shame.
Chelsea fans will miss the passion of Mourinho. His celebrations always showed how dedicated he was to Chelsea. His actions in that Liverpool 2-0 when Willian scored and telling our fans to chin up when we lost the title to United in 2007 will live long in the memory. I also fondly remember his celebrations after we won our first title in 50 years. Unlike a year ago when winning the champions league with Porto, it was clear he was ready to win a lot with Chelsea and wanted to be here for a while. He enjoyed our triumphs like a fan would.
The biggest shame of all is that we will never see Jose Mourinho lift the Champions League for Chelsea.
Many people are surprised by Chelsea fans reaction to the sacking. Why are we so angry they ask. They point to the fact that we're 16th, players seem unmotivated, his involvement in the Eva Carneiro situation. There are many reasons why we are angry. This is not just any sacking.
Firstly, it is the nature of the sacking that irks us. Why must our legends leave Chelsea in sour circumstances. First the Lampard and Cech travesties and now this. Haven't they earned a find farewell from our fans? Even Roberto Di Matteo suffered a humiliating departure, after all the miracles he performed for this club.
Jose was sacked in a ten minute meeting and had to leave Cobham under disguise, I suspect, with a cunning Kevin Campello stunt double ensuring the cameras caught him instead of a distraught departing Jose. This is once again disgusting. Surely our greatest manager of all time deserves more respect. We are a laughing stock. The aluminium wars in Russia may have required such ruthless departures but in football this is unique. He believed he could turn things around. Why sack him when our league hopes our diminished. Top 4 is a dream. Let him work and fix things in the next two transfer windows and then we can bounce back stronger.
Once again we have proved we have no managerial stability. When things go wrong, it's the managers fault. The players get a fresh start. That's what that clown Emenalo admitted in that awful interview with Chelsea TV. In 2007, Jose left us with an incredible spine, who could effectively manage themselves. What do we have now? Going into the future without a Terry, and a Lampard is scary. Not having players who understand what it is like to be part of the Chelsea fabric is worrying. Whilst players like Cech and Drogba became part of it, how much of that was due to the influence of our English duo? I suspect, a great deal! Keeping Jose was our chance to prove people wrong. We were going to show everyone that we are not a circus. Whilst the sackings in the past may have worked and we won trophies, they were without class and has made managers think twice about joining Chelsea. Also, we had that spine.
Then there's the youth. Jose hasn't been the best at this admittedly. But can you blame him? A bad three months and you know you can lose your job. It's hard to trust the young players when so much is at stake. This season with the first trainers suffering, many fans were shocked to not see more of Ruben Loftus-Cheek particularly after Jose promised so much and spent last season talking him up. Obviously Ruben has not impressed him since and we are not privy to know what has happened behind the scenes.
One thing for sure is that with a new manager appointed every year and the threat of sackings will never help youth. I'm very worried that Ruben's best chances may already be gone. We have to hope that Guus Hiddink will give him chances and the next long term manager allows him to develop and get game time.
The biggest reason for anger is the thought of Jose at another English club. We all remember his quotes in February of this year. If he leaves Chelsea, he wants to remain in England. As Louis Van Gaal toils in his never ending process , the prospect of a Mourinho managed Manchester United seems inevitable. This is a sickening thought. With his quality, he could create a dynasty for them. It is likely he will be our nemesis for years to come. Our Jose. This hurts a lot. Everything he has done for us and now he will be against us. Can we blame him for joining a domestic rival ? Of course not. He has to consider his family's needs. After the way our board have treated him at his lowest points, it's possible he will be thirsty for revenge. Mourinho fueled by injustice in the opposing dugout.
What have we done.
The frustrating aspect of all of this is his long term replacement. There are very few managers that exist in the same league as Jose. When I say long term I mean not labelled interim. I am under no illusions that the next permanent manager will stay more than 2-3 years. This is simply how our club operates. The next guy better start off well! The identity of this individual is likely to be Guardiola or Simeone if we are fortunate. These are our best options considering Carlo is Bayern bound.
Let's start with Guardiola. He is likely to have Man City as suitors and surely he will choose them over us. Firstly he's got his two pals there but also they offer more job security. Not too much more but definitely more than us. He seems to be an incredible manager which gets his very disciplined team to play with great energy and working together seemlessly. He has been hugely successful and is popular with the neutrals. He is also famous for intergrating youth, therefore he's someone we should aim to get if we want to continue to win trophies. I believe he could appease our fans anger eventually if he could combine winning and beautiful football and could provide bonuses that Jose might not such as youth integration. However, I am not completely sold on him. Whilst many eulogise about his teams' beautiful football, there are times when I find the pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, dive aspect of his football tedious at times. One of his weaknesses is also the lack of a plan B. When his style works, it works emphatically. When it doesn't, his team can look broken. He's not really the man to adapt when things aren't going well. There's also the fact that I don't think he's ever been truly challenged. He understood Barcelona inside out and could create a devastating force. I always wondered how he would do with another team. Whilst he has won leagues with Bayern, I feel this is almost mandatory. I wonder if even Tim Sherwood could do it with the team Pep inherited from Jupp Heynckes. I suspect he could. He will need to win the Champions league with Bayern to truly answer the doubters. Another major concern is also his deep Barcelona connections. I would love our next manager to understand the club like Jose and become a fan. I can't really see that with Pep. I feel that he will do a professional job but he will never be "proper chels".
Then there's Simeone. His work with Atletico is nothing short of miraculous. His teams are very tough to play against and consistent. He plays a similar style to Jose and has a passion to match. He seems like the ideal candidate. But... If he's like Mourinho, why didn't we just keep our version? There's also the fact that he doesn't speak English fluently. This could be a major issue and his availability isn't certain considering his loyalty to Atletico.
The rest are not worth talking about as anyone other than the two mentioned above are massive downgrades on Jose or not available.
Again, what have we done.
This whole episode has left many fans with a very sour taste. However we have to remember that we are Chelsea. We are bigger than one man. We need to get behind this team and Guus Hiddink and eventually the new manager. We need to voice support for Jose so the board know that what they did was unacceptable but not voice negative vibes on the team. What does booing achieve? I would much rather we supported them and we won games. Obviously, we feel betrayed by some of the players but like it not, they have won vs. Jose. We now need to support them to improve dramatically so that they have a chance to earn back our respect. I think the booing of Fabregas and Ivanovic in particular, is bemusing. I find it very hard to believe either was against Jose considering his backing of them and their constant public support for him. We will probably never find out who the dissenters are, so should aim to move on immediately.
There is one thing, I believe we should address negatively, however.
How on earth has this man kept his job. His transfer failings are obvious and the man reeks of the bad times we have had. From his involvement in the Benitez saga to this sacking. He appears to be a suit who doesn't understand the fans. I think his brain has a palpable discord with what the Chelsea fans want.
If we are going to boo and chant about something negative, it should be Emenalo's influence.
I think it's dangerous that he remains a close advisor of Roman. If our board wants to understand our fans more, we can't have people like this at out club.
Speaking of Roman. We can't be negative about this man after all he's done for us. His sackings in the past have worked and we have to trust it. Obviously, we all wish he wasn't so ruthless but maybe that's what has spurred us to be so trophy-hungry all these years. I just hope he learns to not give in to the players when things go wrong. One thing for sure, the Hiddink appointment and talk of Drogba coming in as assistant is a smart PR move. Maybe he's learned from the Rafa Benitez disaster.
This has been an awful week for us fans and we now have to continue on in the knowledge that the Jose Mourinho and Chelsea Era is over.
We have to remember the positives.
We are incredibly lucky to have had the privilege of being managed by this legend. Chelsea fans will never forget what he has done for us. Jose Mourinho. One of us
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2015.10.20 13:13 bobbytambling55 Opinions on where Ruben Loftus-Cheek should eventually play
This is something me and my fellow football fans have hotly debated.
We are in possession of an extremely rare and unique talent. He has the technical abilities perfect for a central midfielder with great physical tools.
The tactical side of the game will come with help from the game's greatest tactician.
The leadership skills and big game mentality will be thrust upon him by the skipper, the serb for the big occasion as well our raging bull diego.
The question is, where is his best position?
Let's look at our most succesful era where our midfield consisted of the following players used in a 3 man midfield;
Lampard, Makelele, Essien, Ballack
Firstly, Matic is perfect in the Makelele role. I don't see us changing that anytime soon therefore Ruben would be better playing alongside him. Matic may have struggled this season but hes been effectively covering two positions with Cesc's poor performances and lack of discipline in tracking midfield runners. Whilst Ruben could eventually develop into this role, i think that (and I think this also with Matic) it can mean we lose out on his box-to-box and final pass abilities as he will often be too deep (as his midfield partner will be further forward) therefore his main role in setting up attacks is through quick passes in the transition. However a midfield duo of Matic and Ruben could mean that both players could effectively dovetail for each other.
Lampard is our greatest player of all time. Trying to get a young player to be like Lampard is hard because he wasn't the most technically gifted but became a world class player through sheer hard work and determination on improving the basics of a midfielder's game. His finishing ability was practised so much that he was always a threat to score anytime he had the ball.
His passing was vastly developed (not laser like precision like a fabregas) to a point where he wasn't the best passer in the world, but he was so consistent that he would always create chances.
His greatest attribute was his mentality. His training regime was insane, his tactical learning was incredible with an improvement every season and his never say die attitude on the pitch made us win so mnay trophies. He may not have been the most naturally gifted but he made up for that by making himself great. If Ruben could replicate Lampard's attitude in training, we have one hell of a prospect.
The role that most excites me for Ruben and i think is best suited to him is the Ballack role. The complete central midfielder with vision, physicaliity and tactical discipline. Although vastly underrated in his time at Chelsea, he was a key cog in our double winning side and made our midfield the strongest in the league. His deparature after that season without an adequate world class replacement (sorry ramires) harmed us and I still don't think we have replaced him. Moulding Ruben in this role would be ideal for Chelsea and Ruben himself and if he could develop a penchant for arriving late in the box, he could be a useful goalscorer for Chelsea a la Super Frank.
I know I haven't mentioned Essien, who in my opinion was the best midfielder in the world at one point. This is becuase I find it hard to describe Michael Essien. How do you become a Michael Essien? A beast of a player who on his day would completely dominate the midfield and score ridiculous goals.
I would greatly appreciate all your opinions on this
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2015.07.14 16:59 arrogant_conqueror Unpopular Summer Opinion
OK, with all the noise surrounding ManUre's signing of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin, I would like to voice out my opinions in the hopes of calming you lot down. Now I realize some of you may not need it, and some of you may not accept my opinion, but let's keep the discussions civilized for once, and I would like to make it clear this is by no means a sour grapes post.
With regards to Bastian Schweinsteiger, no doubt he is a great player, a proven winner, and a fighter. In his time, he was so very versatile, and finally found his niche in the center of the park as a box to box midfielder, with a good eye for a pass and the range to back it up. Complement that with his great attitude and work rate on both ends of the pitch, he is a good, actually make that great all round player. However, he is 31 years old, and since 2011, he has not completed a full season yet, and has been playing with a broken body for the best part of 3 years now. What is my point? yes he is a great player, but I am still reserved as to how he will do in the Premier League, since no matter what people say about the Bundesliga, the Premier League is still the fastest, and most physical league in the world, add to that the reasonably lax referee-ing that likes to let the game flow, both physically and momentum wise.
Moving on to Morgan Schneiderlin, many people on this subreddit already pointed out, we were never in for Schneiderlin, Koeman said so supposedly. However, even if Koeman did not say that, lets be reasonable and take a step back here, are we really in the business of paying 27 million pounds for somebody who lets face it will be Coquelin's back up ? On paper I feel Coquelin and Schneiderlin's skill levels as a footballer are marginal. However, when we talk about about their skills specifically, it becomes and apples and oranges debate. They are two completely different players. Schneiderlin as a player does not dominate that centre circle, yes he is sound defensively, but his playing style is not that of a Coquelin. Schneiderlin can win the ball back, but he does not recycle it, he can instantly create an attacking situation for his team. Coquelin on the other hand, sits on that semi-circle in our half, protects the back four, and when he wins the ball, he recycles possesion quickly and efficiently. Think of Coquelin like Makalele, Essien, Geremi, and Gilberto Silva. Although he is not quite at that level yet, he can and I believe he will be if he keeps his head on straight, and his foot planted on the ground. Players like these has proven they add that final piece to a winning team and allows the team to elevate to the next level. Think of Brazil 2002's world cup winning squad, take a look at that midfield, and you see you will not be able to name one player who is sound defensively, except for ? you guessed it....Gilberto Silva. How about Real Madrid's 2002 Champions league winning squad ? Makalele was there locking it down for them. My point is, as good as Schneiderlin is, I have reservations about him influencing a team without a proper defensive midfielder partner like the one he had at Southampton last season, which was none other than the Messi cancelling Victor Wanyama. At this moment in time, Manchester United do not have that kind of player who sits at the semi circle, breaks up opposition play, and recycle the ball to the more efficient ball playing midfielder. Bastian is NOT that player, and Michael Carrick is definitely not either. Wanyama arriving at Southampton has proven one thing to my eyes, which is Schneiderlin having a better season.
TL;DR Bastian Schweinsteiger is aging, and it remains to be seen how will he cope week in week out in the Premier League. Morgan Schneiderlin is the player he is because he had Wanyama, how will he fare now he doesn't have that partner who breaks up play?
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2014.05.17 17:35 jonman247 Marin, Moses and the forgotten loan crew
Much has been made of the loans of Romelu Lukaku, Thibaut Courtois, Lucas Piazon and, in recent weeks, Thorgan Hazard. The former two are likely to come back to Chelsea and the latter two will probably see another season out on loan, perhaps in a more competitive league like the Premier League.
These seem fairly straightforward but we haven't really talked about the loans of our other 20+ players on loan and what happens next for them.
Most of them are youngsters like Traoré, Bamford, Chalobah and Perica who we have to assume aren't ready for the first team and are probably going to be sent out on loan again.
That however leaves us with some players (some more high profile than others) whose futures are a bit less clear. These players are probably going to leave Chelsea but I'd like to know your opinions of the following players, whether you'd like them to stay, go or just generally your thoughts:
Ryan Bertrand- Champions League winner on his debut, purported air to the Ashley Cole crown at left-back until Cesar Azpilicueta ruined the party by being as bloody brilliant on the left as he is on the right. Reports have Bertrand saying he wants first-team football week-in-week-out (which he won't get at Chelsea) and with the blues apparently in the after Sevilla's Alberto Moreno, it looks like Bertrand's played his last game in a blue shirt. Having signed from Gillingham at the ripe age of 15, Bertrand spent the next 5 seasons out on loan and it's a shame that it looks like he'll never truly fit into the Chelsea team.
Victor Moses- an apparent luxury signing in the summer of 2012 from Wigan into an attacking midfield that already consisted of Juan Mata, Eden Hazard, Oscar, Marko Marin (more on him later) and Kevin DeBruyne. He had his moments in his first season with an iconic goal against Shakhtar Donetsk but he always seemed as though he wasn't up to the impeccable standards set by the deadly trio of Mata, Oscar and Hazard and found his chances in the first team limited. Having spent a less-than stellar season on loan at Liverpool with even less chances Moses probably hasn't developed in the way that he or the club would have liked him to. While it is clear that he has potential to be a good player, Victor Moses is the kind of ambitious player who won't be happy to be a back-up and at the age of 23 his best chances at a somewhat prolific career are probably away from Chelsea. Personally I think that he'll be particularly suited to a high-mid table club like an Everton or even (gulp) Sp*rs that are aspiring to break into the top 4.
Marko Marin- The German Messi, they said. A skilful and quick dribbler, they said. An injury prone liability they didn't say. Like Moses, Marin was signed into a midfield that was already packed with quality attacking options. It probably didn't help his chances that the transfer was agreed before Chelsea won the Champions League in 2012. Marin was the King of the pre-season friendly as he looked a superb signing in Chelsea's tour of the USA and similarly in this season's testimonial for Rio Ferdinand. Good for him he looks to have become a cult favourite in Spain (with the fans trying to find him a wife) even though he has been mostly sidelined with injury and unspectacular when on the pitch. There's no doubting that again, like Moses, Marin has the potential to be a good player but, considering how happy he seems in Spain, I wouldn't be too sad to see the move to Sevilla a permanent one.
Oriel Romeu- The signing of the young Catalan in they heyday of AVB was a curious one. Signing as a 19 year old from the Barcelona B team for a paltry €5million in 2011, the player looked like one we didn't really need with Mikel, Essien, Ramires, Benayoun, Raul Meireles and the newly positioned Frank Lampard all making up the 'holding' aspect of the manager's favoured 4-3-3 formation. Surprisingly the player did get quite a lot of game time with injuries to everyone's favourite Ghanaian and Villas-Boas' obvious dislike of the club vice-captain, notching a few appearances in between the managerial reigns of AVB and Di Matteo. The following season was to be his, with RDM even stating as much due to the departures of the Portuguese Raul Meireles, Benayoun and with Essien linking up with "daddy" Mourinho on loan at Real Madrid. In December 2012 Romeu was sidelined with a knee injury that would see him miss the rest of the Europa League winning season. This past season saw the Spaniard, now 21, have a mostly unsuccessful loan spell with Valencia notching 13 appearances. A bad knee injury is potentially enough to ruin the career of a promising young player destined for greatness and this, unfortunately, looks like it might be the case with Romeu. While I myself am not so willing to say that Romeu's career with Chelsea is fully over, it looks like the club have made a decision with the signing of the far superior Nemaja Matic and constant talks of a potential holding midfield partner for the serb. Perhaps Mourinho will take a look this summer to see whether that partner could be Romeu as it would save the club a considerable sum. There was much talk a couple of years ago about a buyback clause for Barcelona of €10-15million but if he was to leave the club it would be very unlikely that the West London club would see anywhere near this fee. Of the players on this list he's probably the one I see with the highest chance of staying at Chelsea.
Gaël Kakuta- The Frenchman that split the gates of Hell open when he signed from RC Lens as an 18 year old in 2009. Kakuta's signing saw the club at the centre of a fresh tapping-up scandal with a fine and a two year transfer ban that was later lifted. This of course meant that the player was subject to an enormous amount of hype that he would never be able to live up to. He showed initial signs of promise, quickly outgrowing the youth team and making waves with fleeting appearances in the first team. In 2010 Kakuta had a widely criticised loan move to Fulham and the following season saw the club try to emulate the success of Daniel Sturridge by shifting him over to Bolton to vastly different results. In the time since Kakuta has been on loan to Dijon, Vitesse and most recently Lazio where he has made 1 appearance all season. Kakuta is the classic example of a young player who believed their own hype and felt that a few flicks and tricks would make him into the next Ronaldinho. A player who's athleticism didn't grow at the same rate as his ego, Kakuta is a player whose legacy at Chelsea Football Club will be solely down to the whirlwind of controversy he brought with him.
The loan system that Chelsea has employed over the past few years has seen varying degrees of success but I trust that Michael Emenalo is good enough at his job to make the right decisions for the club in regards to a lot of the ins and outs.
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2012.08.12 13:40 cech_mate Match Thread: 2012 FA Community Shield - Chelsea FC vs Manchester City [13:30BST/8:30am EDT]
2012 FA Community Shield - Final
- Chelsea FC v Manchester City
Kick-OFF: 13:30 BST (8:30 am EDT) Venue: Villa Park
Location: Birmingham, England Weather Forecast
74°F (23°C), Scattered T-Storm ☾, Humidity 72%, Precipitation 60% Referee: Kevin Friend
Sideline assistants: Michael McDonough, Richard West
4th official: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire) Join the /soccer IRC chat
Match Hashtags: #Communityshield, #CFC, #MCFC
Live comments feed for this thread: reddit-stream
Manchester City Won The 2011/2012 FA Premier League
Chelsea FC Won 2012 FA Cup and the 2012 Uefa Champions League
FA Community Shield The 2012 FA Community Shield is a football match to be played on 12 August 2012 between the winners of the previous season's Premier League and FA Cup competitions. The match will be contested by the 2012 FA Cup winners, Chelsea, and the champions of the 2011–12 Premier League, Manchester City. The 2012 Community Shield will not be played at its usual venue, Wembley Stadium, as the stadium is due to host the final of the 2012 Olympic football tournament on the same weekend as the proposed date for the Community Shield. Instead it will be played at Aston Villa's home ground Villa Park, in Birmingham. It will be the first time since the fixture was played at Maine Road in 1973 that the Community Shield has been hosted at a venue other than Wembley (old and new) and the Millennium Stadium
Winners (4): 1955, 2000, 2005, 2009
Runners-up (5): 1970, 1997, 2006, 2007, 2010
Winners (3): 1937, 1968, 1972
Runners-up (5): 1934, 1956, 1969, 1973, 2011
Man City: WWWWWW
Man City 6/5, draw 12/5, Chelsea 9/4
Opta stat: Since the start of the Premier League, only seven of the 20 Charity/Community Shield winners have gone on to win the league title
The First Row
Coach: Roberto Di Matteo
Possible Starting XI: 4-2-3-1
|# ||Pos. ||Name ||Club || |
|1 ||GK ||Petr Cech ||Chelsea FC || |
|2 ||DF ||Branislav Ivanovic ||Chelsea FC ||RED |
|4 ||DF ||David Luiz ||Chelsea FC || |
|26 ||DF ||John Terry ||Chelsea FC ||© |
|3 ||DF ||Ashley Cole ||Chelsea FC ||Yellow |
|12 ||MF ||Mikel Obi ||Chelsea FC || |
|8 ||MF ||Frank Lampard ||Chelsea FC || |
|7 ||MF ||Ramires ||Chelsea FC ||YELLOW |
|10 ||MF ||Juan Mata ||Chelsea FC ||OUT |
|17 ||MF ||Eden Hazard ||Chelsea FC ||OUT |
|9 ||FW ||Fernando Torres ||Chelsea FC ||Goal |
|# ||Pos. ||Name ||Club || |
|22 ||GK ||Ross Turnbull ||Chelsea FC || |
|25 ||DF ||Gary Cahill ||Chelsea FC || |
|34 ||DF ||Ryan Bertrand ||Chelsea FC ||IN |
|16 ||MF ||Raul Meireles ||Chelsea FC || |
|5 ||MF ||Michael Essien ||Chelsea FC || |
|35 ||FW ||Lucas Paizon ||Chelsea FC || |
|23 ||FW ||Daniel Sturridge ||Chelsea FC ||IN |
Coach: Roberto Mancini
Possible Starting XI: 4-4-2
|# ||Pos. ||Name ||Club || |
|30 ||GK ||Costel Pantilimon ||Manchseter City || |
|15 ||DF ||Stefan Savic ||Manchester City ||YC' OUT |
|5 ||DF ||Pablo Zabaleta ||Manchester City || |
|4 ||DF ||Vincent Kompany ||Manchester City ||YELLOW |
|13 ||DF ||Aleksandar Kolarov ||Manchester City || |
|42 ||MF ||Yaya Youre ||Manchester City ||Goal |
|34 ||MF ||Nigel De Jong ||Manchester City || |
|7 ||MF ||James Milner ||Manchester City || |
|7 ||MF ||Sami Nasri ||Manchester City ||Goal |
|32 ||FW ||Carlos Tevez ||Manchester City ||Goal |
|16 ||FW ||Sergio Agüero ||Manchester City || |
|# ||Pos. ||Name ||Club || |
|63 ||GK ||Eirik Holmen Johansen ||Manchester City || |
|22 ||DF ||Gaël Clichy ||Manchester City ||IN |
|28 ||DF ||Kolo Toure ||Manchester City || |
|62 ||MF ||Abdul Razak ||Manchester City || |
|11 ||MF ||Adam Johnson ||Manchester City || |
|21 ||MF ||David Silva ||Manchester City || |
|10 ||FW ||Edin Dzeko ||Manchester City || |
|CFC ||HT Statistics ||MCFC |
|2 || Goals ||3 |
|5 ||Shots ||5 |
|2 || On Goal ||4 |
|2 ||Corners ||6 |
|7 || Fouls ||7 |
|0 || Offsides ||0 |
|2 || Yellow ||1 |
|1 || Red ||0 |
|45% ||Possession ||55% |
|# ||Pos. ||Name ||From ||Amount |
|21 ||FW ||Marko Marin ||Weder Breme ||£6.5 million |
|17 ||MF ||Eden Hazard ||Losc Lille ||£32 million |
|00 ||DF ||George Brady ||Cannes ||£0.25 million |
|00 ||MF ||Thorgan Hazard ||Lesn ||£0.88 million |
|11 ||MF ||Oscar ||Internacional ||£25 milllio |
|# ||Pos. ||Name ||To ||Amount |
|11 ||FW ||Didier Drogba ||Shanghai Shenhua ||Free Transfer |
|17 ||DF ||Jose Bosingwa ||Un-Attached ||Free Transfer |
|21 ||FW ||Salomon Kalou ||Losc Lille ||Free Transfer |
|53 ||FW ||Marko Mitrovic ||Brescia ||Free Transfer |
|60 ||GK ||Rhys Taylor ||Southend United ||Free Transfer |
|# ||Pos. ||Name ||To ||Amount |
|20 ||MF ||Owen Hargreaves ||Unattacched ||Released |
|35 ||MF ||Gai Assulin ||Racing Santander ||Released |
|12 ||GK ||Stuart Taylor ||Unattached ||Released |
Wiziwig.tv have every streams on the net so check it out first
|# ||Pos. ||Name ||To ||Amount |
|- ||DF ||Wayne Bridge ||Brighton & Hove Albion ||Free |
So, football, welcome back. Here we go.... **
2min Good early break from City as Nasri looked to weave his way through Chelsea's back line but an errant touch allows Ramires to bring the ball away.
4min Luiz gives away a free kick and from it Tevez nearly profits. Nasri turns the ball back in and Lampard clears.
5min Lampard is caught late by De Jong - the latest in a steady line of fierce tackles.
8 MIN, Milner intercepts a Mata pass that was meant for Torres. Chelsea haven't quite got going in an attacking sense yet.
11 MIN, Savic booked for the earlier challenge on Hazard.
31 MIN' Ramires is carded for a blatant trip on Nsari. Yaya Toure all the while chirping at the referee
40 MIN' GOAL Torres strikes! VIDEO
42 MIN' Kevin Friend has sent off Ivanovic for a lunging tackle provoking familiar scenes as both sets of players surround the ref. He went in two-footed but his feet weren't high. Unfortunate I'd say. VIEO
49 MIN' Torres is in the mood here, as he charges at City again and draws a block from Kompany. Yellow for City's skipper.
52 MIN' GOAL Yaya Toure slots it home.
GOAL Tevez with a stunner! What a strike! He took the ball from Nasri, cut inside and laced a shot into the top corner past a motionless Cech. Man City 2-1 Chelsea.
Now Cole is booked for a petulant kick on Tevez
79MIN ' GOAL Bertrand pulls one back after Pantilimon spills Sturridge's low shot.
90 MIN' FULL TIME - An entertaining game and a deserved win for City. The game changed on Ivanovic's sending off, which was harsh to say the least. Tevez and Toure looked very good indeed, while Mata and Hazard failed to fire for the Blues. City will beat the team to beat in the Premier League on this evidence. As curtain raisers for the season go, this was a good Run.
Im stopping the live feed for only important updated it taking up most of my viewing time, Sorry
GIF: Yaya Toure kicks Fernando Torres in the face
David Luiz is ruining the damn game his fault for both Tevez and Nasri goal. Tevez goal he should have pressure him to pass or simply don't let him drive in from the wing. Nasri goal who was he marking. Gary Cahill was the best choice to partner JT. And what is it with this it just a friendly. It's also for the bragging right and also a huge boost for your squad. Fans pay good amount of money to see them play and this is what we're seeing a very unprofessional Chelsea team making all types of unprofessional tackles. and come on Luiz
Im sorry for using the thread to vent my anger
submitted by cech_mate
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