If ever there was a game that was not reflected by the final score-line, then our clash with United was it. We obviously didn’t help ourselves with some spectacularly poor finishing, but we not only gave them a game but looked by far the better team in parts – and I am not a sore loser – really I’m not, but do United REALLY need the help that they get from officials?
AVB demonstrated that not only does he have a wealth of ideas in his locker, but that he is unfazed when it comes to substituting big names – stalwarts of the side. I am not going to jump on the Lampard bashing bandwagon – it is evident that that particular carriage is well over-packed already. Our style of game is changing – as it should and as with any new style, players take time to adapt – especially those that have played for a fair few years in more or less the same style with the same players – add to that the fact that with age comes a “reluctance” by the body to do the brains bidding and it is no great surprise that Lampard isn’t as influential as he once was. That said, he has already proved once this season that he can come on at any stage of a game and make a difference. AVB understands this and I believe Lampard will be once again making headlines for all the right reasons this season as he has still so much to give. A legend in every aspect.
Those of you laughing at Torres – go ahead – after all he is the only player ever to miss an open goal in the history of the game isn’t he? Or that’s what you would have thought seeing the headlines the next day – I ridiculously imagined that such a great advertisement for the game would have given the papers plenty of column inches on the beauty and excitement of the game, but why focus on the good when there is a cheap shot at Chelsea to be had eh?
I think the ridicule is an attempt to hide the nagging feeling that he looked like Torres of old in that game didn’t he? The goal was very reminiscent of his hey days at Liverpool and his movement was the best yet in a Chelsea shirt – it must have given him a lift and hopefully the belief will shake of the shackles once and for all. Also would have done him no harm to watch a currently rampant Rooney fall on his arse and miss a couple of easy chances – a reminder that they are human – not machines.
Difficult to ignore the score-line obviously, as that is the only stat that really counts but the game really demonstrated that we’re not as far away from United as I initially feared. I still maintain that we perhaps were unfortunate to meet them so early in this campaign – given another couple of weeks for our new boys to settle and AVB’s theories to be fully taken on board and I wager that the score-line would have more reflective of the calibre of both squads. Many (including myself) underestimated the calibre of our signings – they look now to be shrewd buys and I am far more optimistic than I was even a couple of weeks ago.
All of that said there are some issues that need to be addressed quickly – our defence looked, well, calamitous at times. Individually I think our defenders are some of the best players in the country but even I had to check that Basil Fawlty wasn’t among them at times on Sunday. The problem as I see it is that rotation is all well and good in most areas of the park – but not in defence. In the last couple of decades Chelsea have had settled central defensive partnerships and these have been integral to our success. The current instability in the make-up of the partnership is manifesting itself in a lack of trust and suspect positioning – needs to be sorted – fast!
But all in all I am happy with the way things are going at the moment. I think I am finally accepting that we will now be seeing the gradual phase out of some of the players who bought us previously unimagined success – but I am not of the baby out with the bathwater types who seem to want any player over the age of 28 banished from the squad. As supporters, I believe that Chelsea fans are some of the most loyal you can find. We take players to our hearts and it’s difficult to admit to their frailties when they begin to manifest themselves – sentimental I know and sentimentality is a trait not much seen in football these days but I think that’s what makes many players remain Chelsea fans well after they have played for us.
There is still a lot of football to be played and I’m not so sure many of the early season predictions are as cut and dried as they seemed initially. Chelsea’s mix of experienced warriors and talented young blades will have a say in that I’m sure. Come on you blues!