Chelsea Terrace Talk – Irish Examiner Article By Trizia

For a few years now press, pundits, opposition fans etc have been banging on about how we have an aging squad and that was going to do for us. Up until now, we have been able to not only counter this claim, but absolutely destroy it – especially by winning the double last season. But we are now badly creaking & I don’t think we are going to turn it around this time.

As has been discussed a million times, had we strengthened the squad in the summer, we probably would have been able to get a few more years out of our players in their thirties. But when you are rushing the likes of Lampard & Drogba back from major calf strains and malaria then you are simply not going to get the best out of them. And of course with them not at their best, everyone else is stretched too and before you know it, we look like an average mid-table side. The poor form then leads to a crisis of confidence which is evident through the majority of the team and as I have previously said, I’m not sure that Ancelotti is the man to provide that boost to tear them from this current malaise.

His substitutions (or lack of them) on Saturday had me screaming like a banshee from my seat in the East Upper. His commitment to allowing players to play through their bad form is commendable but it is a luxury we cannot afford. The game against Everton (as many of our recent games) was crying out for someone to run at the opposition – especially as we currently have no width to speak of. Josh McEachran is that player – it’s one thing having world class players delivering the goods in front of you, but what must he be thinking watching pedestrian desperate performances week on week and still not getting a game? Ancelotti really has nothing to lose – I think there is a general consensus that he is out in the summer anyway.

Ancelotti is an isolated man. He faces the cameras as is his duty, but he looks a beaten individual who like many of us fans, just want this season to be over. Despite everything that has gone on, I still like him. I think he is an honourable man & a decent manager, but he has been undone by circumstance, injuries but also his own stubbornness to a degree.

Has there ever been a more pathetic defence of the cup to follow on from such a pathetic defence of the title? I doubt it.

People will say that penalties are a lottery but we had ample opportunities to kill of the game before we got there, but we failed time and time again. As for the lottery analogy – penalties for us are like trying to win the lottery without actually buying a ticket. We have won one penalty shoot outs in the last eight attempts – absolutely shocking.

And while we are on the subject of those penalties – I was shocked to see Ancelotti do an Avram Grant and just stand there like a spare part when it came to the penalties – no words of encouragement, no imparting of wise words – no nothing – stood there like a spare part – not what I would expect. Secondly why was Anelka taking a penalty – especially so early on?

After Moscow he publicly came out and said he didn’t like taking penalties and would rather he didn’t so why???

But what is done is done & now we can only hope that we can make those clichéd 6 pointers against City & Tottenham count & that they drop points elsewhere – what a depressing place to be at the moment. Bet Torres isn’t too pleased either – didn’t he say he came to play in the Champions League?

I’m waiting with baited breath for the punishment meted out to Gattuso for his behaviour during and after the Champions League game against Tottenham; when one thinks about what Drogba got ( and he didn’t hit nor touch anyone), I imagine that the fiery Italian can expect at least an 8 game ban – possibly longer. But we know he won’t get that.

Equally, Fabregas’s comments to the referee (screamed I believe) asking him how much he had been paid – seemingly warranted no further action. That’s odd – did Moyes lie then? Obviously not, as that surely would have seen him up in the dock. You need to look at Orwell for why there is such inconsistency in disciplinary matters – i.e. we are all equal, but some are just more equal than others and Chelsea sadly are not in the latter group.

By the time you read this, you will know whether we have managed to at least partially blow the last competition we are still challenging for. Winning the Champions League is slowly becoming our only route into it for next season; that said, UEFA’s questionable fair play ethos would probably mean that the same courtesy that was extended to Liverpool would be denied us anyway. Win or lose – up the blues.

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