SO you have injuries which mean that your first choice centre backs are both injured?
But, luckily, you have in your armoury a young, highly-thought-of central defender who has already won full caps for the international team currently ranked second in the world.
Do you a) play him; b) put him on the bench but bring him on when your makeshift back-line gets caught static and flat footed to concede a woeful goal or c) leave him on the bench for the entire match meanwhile watching your team get totally humiliated by a team of journeymen and cloggers?
Obviously that is a rhetorical question but one that no one has been able to make even an attempt at answering. Just what was Ancelotti thinking?
At the end of the game on Sunday, the Mathew Harding stand were defiantly singing “top of the league, we’re having a laugh”.
I’m certainly not having a laugh; perhaps it was irony – if it was, it was certainly lost in the red mist that had befallen me and those around me in the East Upper. Questions have been asked since the wholesale departures of Deco, Ballack, Belletti, Cole and Carvalho regarding the depth of the squad. Many of us predicted that this cost cutting was going to come back and haunt us should we encounter any key injuries and here we are only three months into the season in dire straits (top of the league or not).
If it hadn’t been for Cech and Mikel, we could have been on the end of a truly embarrassing score-line as well as an embarrassing performance. Last week I was bemoaning the fact that we have recently only been playing for half a match on average – half a match last Sunday would have been fantastic.
It’s early days but ourselves and United are in danger of handing this title to a wholly average Arsenal side. You cannot build a world class squad then sell a quarter of the senior squad with little investment and not see a downturn in fortunes. This is another back-room master stroke from the people who gave us Avram Grant.
The centre-back situation is especially bizarre given Terry’s recent injury history. He has had regular back and knee issues for the past four years or so and it was a fair assumption that there would be recurring injuries this season. Centre backs are always in the mix when it comes to the physical stuff, so it would have been no great leap to predict that Alex too was going to pick something up at some point. Why then sell Carvalho if you are not going to replace him and evidently do not trust Bruma to step in, even when in a desperate situation such as Sunday?
Most people do understand that Abramovich could not carry on funding the club as he was, but famine following the feast is not the way to go either – the squad requires regular attention and that is simply not happening. The January window is not traditionally a time when players of quality are available (Anelka excepted) but we are in a position when we need anything we can get at the moment.
As bewildering as the Bruma situation was, the introduction of McEachran and Kakuta when the game was lost and the team an utter shambles was a mistake too, and puts too much pressure on them. Generally, Ancelotti’s substitutions are often found wanting. He often just swaps like for like and his policy seems to be based on seniority of those on the bench rather than changing anything.
The discussion on the futures of the likes of Kakuta and Borini could be academic to a certain degree as the rumour that I have heard is that both are refusing to sign new contracts as the money they are being offered is less than Scott Sinclair was on before he was deemed not good enough for Chelsea.
This cost cutting seems to have taken on a life of its own and is like a runaway train hurtling to certain doom.
Worryingly I can see Birmingham this weekend playing just as Sunderland did, and on last Sunday’s performance, I can’t see how we are going to contain them. Tottenham also are coming up and they will utilise their speed – which is something else we lack in spades. It really is bad when a Chelsea fan is dreading encounters with Birmingham and Tottenham isn’t it?
In respect of the Ray Wilkins business what is there left to say, other than, as usual, the Chelsea hierarchy have made themselves look a bunch of thoughtless clowns bereft of any class or clue of how to do the right thing. In the grand scheme of things, Wilkins’ wages are pennies – how about having an off the record chat and agreeing to part company at the end of the season – a natural break – where Wilkins could have left with some dignity and as far as the outside world was concerned, on his own terms. It’s the least he deserves.
Rumour has it that Butch’s replacement could be Michael Emenalo – another Abramovich stooge – all sounding a bit too Avram Grant for my liking. Someone really should produce a handbook for all these new breed of football owners who seem to not be able to leave well alone.
Oh well, onwards and hopefully not downwards.