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Chelsea Terrace Talk – Irish Examiner Article By Trizia

CHELSEA taught Wigan not just one, but several lessons on Saturday – and in the process, those of us watching could see what Chelsea had learnt under Ancelotti.
 
Wigan found out the hard way that their fitness is not at the standard required to test a top Premiership side for a full 90 minutes. They also discovered that should you try and kick or bully our players they will kick back — twice as hard.
 
This game saw a role reversal in our starting striker partnership with Drogba playing the unfamiliar role of provider and Anelka and then Kalou taking advantage of Didier’s benevolence. This was to perhaps remind Ancelotti that should Torres be available after all, Chelsea’s prudence could continue as we obviously had plenty of permutations up front, all of whom could do what was necessary.
 
The Drogba of old would have been frustrated at his own personal blank score-sheet and would have become surly and increasingly selfish and we would have no doubt have seen some infantile tantrum but instead we saw a player revelling in his benefactor role. Although he was the very personification of modesty when collecting his man of the match champagne, he positively glowed to have had the role publicly acknowledged. Has Didier finally grown up?
 
This has to be Ancelotti’s influence.
 
The team as a whole also looked more patient and less panicked even in that first 20 minutes where Wigan went for the jugular. Chelsea weathered the storm and patiently and calmly let the Latics run out of puff. Once they did that, they then methodically and deliberately took Wigan apart.
 
Perhaps the team would perform better if they had a passionate crowd behind them but Dave Whelan is flogging a dead horse in what is a rugby town. Wigan has a population of over 300,000 people; a ground with a 25,000 capacity; the away team taking around 5,000 tickets and season tickets cost an average of £250. If even with those numbers you can’t get a full house to watch Premiership football (or indeed even Championship football) then there is no hope.
 
Whether Chelsea score one goal or six, I go absolutely mental I jump up and down cheering my head off so hard, that sometimes I actually go a bit dizzy. A goal leads to that uncontrollable joy that just makes you lose it for a few seconds. It produces such a high that I’m sure it must release some feelgood endorphins or something scientific anyway. For me, its part of going to football — this total abandonment amongst others in the same state of euphoria is just an amazing feeling, but in recent years I have noticed that football fans just don’t celebrate the way they used to.
 
Indeed, sometimes you “come to” after a goal celebration to find some other “fans” looking at you with a mix of puzzlement and more than a hint of wariness. I thought initially that this was a phenomenon bought about by the amount of success that Chelsea fans have seen in the last few years, but having studied opposition crowds it looks like a sport wide malaise. With the exception of last minute winning goals or technically exceptional goals, crowds can barely haul themselves out of their seats and applaud or cheer for more than five seconds. It really is a sad state of affairs.
 
A snippet from Ancelotti’s forthcoming autobiography describes the traditional post match drink with Alex Ferguson in the United manager’s office. Following the Chelsea win old red nose refused to acknowledge Ancelotti or Wilkins, nor even look at them, preferring instead to watch a horse race with his back to the Chelsea pair. Ferguson being a bad loser is hardly news is it? It was a critical game — ultimately a league defining game and it must have hurt to be done by a first time Premier League manager . . . again.
 
Ancelotti seems a very calm individual — I can’t imagine him delivering the asciugcapelli (hairdryer) treatment at half time. But however he puts his point across, it seems to work and the players seem to respond.
 
He has stated that he encourages the senior players to speak to the team and this of course will not only make them feel valued and respected but would I believe encourage them to work even harder to maintain this level of co-operation for the good of the team and the preservation of position for all concerned.
 
So Ancelotti has, in his own way, harnessed the previously much maligned, “player power” that was always thought of as a negative situation, and used it to make the Chelsea team a stronger, more united unit – and with that many egos at Stamford Bridge, that’s no mean feat. No wonder players like Gattuso were distraught to see him go and yearned for a move to work with him again.
 
But the other thing that Carlo seems to be, is level-headed and hopefully he will not have allowed the team to get too carried away with our start to the season, phenomenal though it is.
 
We will have increasingly sterner tests and with a smaller squad than last season he will need to get more out of each player and pray to the footballing gods for an easy time with injuries. It’s the Stoke City Bruisers on Saturday. Six goals for the third week running anyone? Come on Chelsea!!

Discussion

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  1. Surely 6 would be nice, but win is a win and I’ll take 1-0 😉
    Shall we see our latest signing in starting 11? I’d love to have a peak at him.

    Posted by Emigre | August 25, 2010, 7:16 pm
  2. Id prefer to see us hit em for 7…..lol
    No, I agree 1-0 will do fine. C’mon the Chels!

    Posted by Dave | August 26, 2010, 7:50 am

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