Cautious is one word that can be used about last Saturday’s performance against Villa. Dull is another. Obviously the memory of the loss at Villa Park last season, prompted Ancelotti to remind us that he is Italian and as such, catenaccio is a system that we will see in his repertoire from time to time. I suppose, considering our last few showings at Villa Park and the injuries we have, I should be happy with a point, but once again we had failed to take advantage of United’s wastefulness. What made it worse of course were the Arsenal and City results which saw our lead cut.
City remind me alot of our first season under Mourinho – doing what it counts to win – even when we perhaps don’t deserve it. They have a good squad with a few exceptional players and are keeping up the pressure, sitting on our shoulder waiting for us to slip up. Christmas has often been the undoing of Chelsea and our smaller squad – as it is we are already facing difficulties and we haven’t really got into the heavy, wet perilous pitches just yet. The youngsters who have been blooded so far are doing well – showing their naivety at times but that will only improve with first team match time.
I’m hoping the Kakuta to Bayern Munich rumours have no substance, considering the hell and high water Chelsea went through to get him. The downright libellous press that we endured even being compared to child traffickers was never really fully withdrawn despite Chelsea being proved to have done nothing wrong. It probably cost a fair few thousand to dispute those allegations too. Kakuta should be pleased at the confidence shown in him by Ancelotti as he has had quite a bit of first team action. Some have suggested that his inclusion has been appeasement on Chelsea’s part, but I can’t believe any Premiership club of Chelsea’s standing would do this. The 19 year old certainly has talent, but is still finding his feet in the first team – which is totally understandable and most of us are prepared to wait for him to find his comfort zone. Not all players can demonstrate a seamless transition from reserve and youth football into the big time. One of the tests of a manager is to manage that transition – maintaining what is best for the team, as well as ensuring the youngster concerned understands the process of integration.
The precautiousness of youth often dictates that these kids are impatient for their “big break” – they often yearn for the fast track and that is why period is the most dangerous in terms of being poached by other clubs. Kakuta needs to understand that a club like Chelsea is exactly where a player like him needs to be.
It is evident that Chelsea will not be buying players wholesale again. They will still get the big money out should the team require it – but the justification will have to be robust. Talented youngsters are in a prime position to be given their chance and to establish themselves in the first team should they impress. Of course the influence of agents is also a minefield for talented youngsters.
How does Mr. Fifteen Percent earn his money if a youngster stays at a club through his formative years and into early playing career? Parents should be involved at this stage as hopefully their interest should be for the well-being of their sons and the long team gain rather than the short term windfall. As always these are shark infested waters and it’s often hard to determine who the good guys are.
One thing is for certain, we will need the youngsters while we are suffering by so many niggling injuries and perhaps beyond, should they prove more worthy than the player they are standing in for.
A testing period coming up for us now with matches against much criticised Wolves and Blackburn coming up as well as Champions League games which hold their own pressures. I suppose we should count ourselves lucky we’re not facing that other dirty team Arsenal in the next few weeks as more injuries would insue I’m sure!
But seriously, Danny Murphy hardly told us anything we didn’t already know. The more physical teams are just another hurdle to be negotiated by those seriously seeking the ultimate prize in what is now considered the best league in the world. You can sit in the “also-ran” seats and whinge about it or you could pull your sleeves up and get in the mix. No team with an ounce of competitiveness is going to sit back and admire the beauty of the game while being thrashed. I think even Arsene Wenger is finally realising that now. So message to Mick McCarthy and Sam Allardyce – come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough.
Come on Chelsea!