SO WHAT if wasn’t the most convincing win? The three points were very welcome whichever way they came about. Ancelotti, too, looked relieved which was good to see given his recent run of stony-faced misery.
That said, I still don’t understand Ancelotti’s substitutions and the treatment of Sturridge in particular. At 1-0, and given our recent run, I could understand the manager’s reluctance to put the youngsters on. Perhaps he considered it too much pressure, and should we have conceded while he was on it could damage his confidence. OK, we can live with that. But once the second went in on 76 minutes, I expected Sturridge to arrive. Instead we were subjected to Kalou again – why? What was the point? What could it tell us? Indeed, what kind of message must it be sending to Sturridge – and then almost to rub salt into the wounds, he sends him on with three minutes to go. Completely pointless.
Josh McEachran came on to the kind of rapturous ovation that is giving me cause to worry. Lesser players heads have been turned by such adulation. He looks the part and slots seamlessly in when he comes on, but let’s not treat him like he’s the second coming just yet. I am preaching moderation to the supporters for Josh’s sake. The pressure on such a youngster at a Premiership club must be enormous as it is without spontaneous riotous applause every time he completes a pass!
Ivanovic demonstrated once again why he is the front runner for Chelsea’s player of the year this season. Granted, he has had little competition, but when times are hard you just wish you could clone his fight and determination. I hope the rumours of a stalling of new contract talks is simply an agent’s mischief making to get the best deal for his client.
Speaking of mischief making . . . apparently if we sign Steven Pienaar it shows how far we’ve fallen to sign such a mediocre player. Yet if we don’t sign him, it shown how far we’ve fallen that we cannot land such a player. Me, I’m not bothered whether we sign him or not, which tells its own story. However, should we really be signing yet another player who we would lose for up to four weeks for the African Cup of Nations along with Essien, Drogba, Mikel and Kalou?
Equally as worrying as our recent form is the impending unemployment of one Avram Grant. It seems to be a commonly held belief that Abramovich would slot him back in as Director of Football at the club. Which is total madness if true; the man is a serial loser.
Would it surprise me? No. I sometimes think that Abramovich does things just because he can – especially things that fly in the face of public opinion. Either that, or he simply makes bad decisions. Some people will point to his successful business career as “proof” that his decision making is sound but football is no ordinary business.
I’ve heard a number of fans state, that should Grant come back to our club, that they would stop attending games. Although I wouldn’t go that far, I understand what can cause such an extreme reaction. Football fans have to put up with a lot; generally treated poorly wherever they go, asked to pay stupid amounts of money to see a sport that was once the working man’s game while players act like prima donnas and earn the kind of money that most of us only dream about. But then to know that your hard-earned money will also be contributing to a large salary to one of the biggest frauds in the Premiership today is galling to put it mildly.
And while I am in rant mode: Bolton away on a Monday night, Sunderland away on a Tuesday night and now Blackpool moved to away on a Monday night? Someone should tell the FA/Sky that to afford today’s ridiculous ticket prices we have to work. I know it’s an old theme, but there’s not even scant regard for supporters any more, they do not enter the equation at all. More days off, more money, more disruption.Sometimes I think that the authorities want to stop away fans travelling altogether.
So Bolton this Monday night – one of the few clubs we did manage to beat in our recent appalling run, but we should not get complacent. That was at home and it’s away that we have seen some of our very worst performances. I also rate Owen Coyle so I imagine he will have done his homework. We are still on our way back, but every win will gain us that bit more confidence. Being back in the top four will also have steadied the nerves of both supporters and players for the time at least. No one ever said it was going to be easy.
Come on Chelsea.