ANCELOTTI has said that, with hindsight, stating that we would not lose at Wolves was a mistake. Of course we fans knew that already. Such a blatant provocation of the Gods of Football could not go unpunished; you would have thought that Carlo would have known that, but I suppose a reminder will do no harm.
In fact it was all so utterly predictable — not only to lose but to lose by our own hand, on a night when we could have made up some ground. Most fans didn’t even have it in them to be angry after that result. It was more resignation to our current plight.
We can see that Carlo is suffering with us, and the vast majority of fans I have spoken to do not blame him for the predicament we currently find ourselves in. Most look at Abramovich or the players themselves.
We are led to believe that the owner, fresh from partying with rock stars and Hollywood actors, will be flying back to London this week and will be meeting with Ancelotti to discuss the team, the form and the results.
Oh to be a fly on the wall. Will Ancelotti dare tell it like it is? I doubt it – not because I don’t think he has the balls – but I imagine Carlo is a diplomat. I can’t imagine that laying the blame even partly at the door of the owner will achieve anything more than a speedier passage to the exit.
For what it’s worth, I think he will go in the summer anyway. His stock is still pretty high in Italy —and elsewhere I would imagine — last year’s Double has not yet been irrevocably tarnished by this seasons woes.
But I do think he has realised the frustration of working within a set up such as Chelsea’s — and I think those frustrations have been manufactured to a certain degree. The removal of Ray Wilkins, the lack of funds, the removal/reduction of win bonuses. It’s relatively easy to get rid of a manager these days — but not without paying hefty compensation — just ask Liverpool.
I am of the opinion that if owners interfere enough a mutually beneficial parting will more easily be reached when the time comes. Abramovich does seem fickle when it comes to managers, and I do think his head has been turned by Guardiola so we shall see.
The papers have hinted at divisions in the dressing room —citing the French-speaking players altercations with the English-speaking players as the cause of our terrible run of results. We supporters have also seen the players bickering on a number of occasions when leaving the pitch in recent weeks. But I think this is yet more mischief making by the press. I think the bickering is a consequence of the form, not the cause. Success brings team spirit and team spirit brings success —they are inextricably linked — just as poor runs and poor team spirit.
Sunday’s game against Ipswich will have certainly done no harm, but neither should it be heralded as the end of our “difficult moment.” The opposition were woeful. However, Carlo and a couple of players could do worse than take some lessons from that game. You take enough shots and some of them may go in being the most relevant I think. It’s best to have a player in the midfield actively looking for the ball and thinking about where it would be most advantageous to pass it (McEachran) — rather than a player who always looks to play back and often fails even to complete the most basic of passes (Essien).
Kalou basically confirmed what the great majority of supporters think of him. I hope Carlo is coming round to our way of thinking. Sturridge seemed to split opinion last Sunday. I think he did really well.
He made a couple of mistakes but then which player doesn’t? And given the lack of first team football he has had I think he should now be ahead of Kalou in the pecking order. He at least looks interested which is more than can be said for Drogba at the moment. He is also scoring lots of goals in the reserves and this I think should be rewarded.
Blackburn is probably a good game to be playing next as they will be tough and we need to understand whether these players are up for the fight. The own goal conceded so early at Wolves almost left the players in shock and the result in the end was totally predictable. But the excuses pot has now run dry and a game against Blackburn will be very telling in who is up for the fight and more importantly, who isn’t. Some tough decisions may need to be taken after this game and Ancelotti needs to be prepared to make them, because this is something that IS in his control.
Strap yourselves in, this could be a bumpy ride…