I think we saw a glimpse of the new order at Chelsea in the final stages of the game last Saturday and I have to say I am liking what I saw.
Lukaku has endeared himself to the Chelsea faithful already by his sheer enthusiasm & exhilaration, and the fact that he has always been a Chelsea fan has obviously helped too. In his younger days he vowed to play for Chelsea – he even held a mock press conference once when visiting the stadium as a youngster pretending he had just signed for the club. The comparisons with Drogba will be unavoidable – he is a big, strong, physically imposing striker (with dreadlocks!) but I think the characters are very different. Drogba has his amazing days where he is simply unplayable – and then he had his “off” days where he just doesn’t want to know (although, to his credit, there have not been many of those of late) – I can’t imagine Lukaku having that latter attitude at any time.
He was instantly involved when introduced on Saturday and was a little unlucky not to mark his debut with a goal. He was confident, energetic and determined – it can only serve as a bit of a wake-up call because I think it demonstrated exactly what had been missing of late in the team.
And that is before we even get to Mata; since the departure of Robben & Duff, in every pub in SW6, on every tube carriage that goes through Fulham Broadway, you will hear Chelsea fans bemoaning our lack of width. It has been evident to anyone with even a modicum of footballing nouse. So it was hardly surprising that Mata got such a rapturous welcome when he made his debut late into the game. It’s not as if he is a worldwide name or comes with a huge reputation – all Chelsea fans needed to know was that he was winger – that was enough for them to go into rapturous over-drive and he didn’t disappoint. We immediately looked a more attacking team, the mid-field immediately had an outlet and the strikers immediately had service (shame Torres was already off by then!). And then just to cap it off, he shows some nifty footwork and scores on his debut – you can’t ask for more than that.
The new players have arrived not a moment too soon as we have struggled and really have been fortunate not too have a worse start to the season. The team has looked lethargic but unlike most I do not think that our core players have had their day, I just think they need some younger players to complement their experience. I have read a lot recently about how slow John Terry has become – speed was never really an integral part of JT’s game though – his defensive awareness and pin point tackling were his strengths and as far as I am concerned – still are.
Lampard too has come in for a lot of criticism but the formation we have been playing has simply not allowed him to play his normal game. We were so used to seeing Lamps marauding up the middle with just his eye on goal but our game has become so narrow that he hasn’t been able to do that as it is just too crowded. Lampard’s future will depend on whether we get the likes of Modric and also how AVB ideally wants to set out the team, but as far as I am concerned there is no one better than him for Josh MceEachran use as a role model.
But back to more immediate matters – hopefully the break will allow Drogba enough time to recover from his concussion. Having happened right in front of me, it was evident that he was out cold before he even hit the ground (he actually bounced!!). Neither keeper nor player did anything wrong – it was just one of those unfortunate clashes.
Even with Lukaku we need Drogba at the moment as Anelka seems to be a bit hit and miss and Torres seems to be showing signs of his head going down, which is unfortunate but understandable in the circumstances. Despite all his hard work previously, his good showing in pre-season and his vitality in the first few games, it just doesn’t seem to be happening for him and I think he has done well up to now to keep a positive attitude. I thought this changed last Saturday – he seemed tetchy and ill disciplined – getting booked and lucky really not to get a second booking. He lacked concentration and generally his body language looked off – he also walked straight down the tunnel when substituted – for the first time since he signed for us I am beginning to worry whether he will do it for us. Would have liked to have seen him with Mata swinging in those crosses – hopefully that will make the difference.
Couple of weeks off now which will be useful in terms of bedding in the new players and we will finally see a conclusion to the transfer situation which is becoming more than a little dull now!!
Also with United away looming large on the immediate horizon we need all our players at the top of their game as Fergie’s spawn will be riding high confidence wise after administering such a thrashing to Wenger’s team (still, I bet the accountants are happy eh?). It’s very early in the season but even at this stage we need to keep pace at least – come on Chelsea!!