Makes me laugh that some of the usual Benitez apologists are trying to sell us the idea that given our come-back against United that the Spaniard is some sort of tactical genius. Anyone with half a brain will tell you that all he simply did was put right some of his starting line-up mistakes.
But to be honest I’m sick of talking about the loser & would rather reflect on a cracking cup-tie which got the blood pumping like we have rarely seen since he took over. In this game we saw the very best & the very worst of this Chelsea team. The first half demonstrated our defensive frailties – and we have a few.
I’m not sure about Cahill – I’m not sure whether he will ever be a defensive stalwart for a top 4 team or merely a perfectly respectable squad player. Perhaps his development has been hampered by having Benitez leading the coaching but currently he certainly is not a replacement for Terry.
Then we come to the enigma that is David Luiz. He splits opinion at Stamford Bridge like no other player at the moment. Some fans welcomed him being given the occasional role in the midfield – I am not one of these fans. I think the early criticism of the Brazilian was unfair. Seemed to me the odd mistake was blown up out of all proportion – not helped by Gary Neville’s “Playstation” comment. He is young and the English league is very different to the kind of football they play in Europe or Brazil. Most players including some of our most successful have had a difficult start in the Premiership. Many of Luiz’s outstanding performances have simply been glossed over & playing him in random games at midfield is actually hindering his defensive development in my opinion. I can see Luiz being another Frank Le Boeuf if he is coached properly, as a central defender and not as a midfielder. He will never be as good in midfield as any of our current midfielders so what is the point anyway?
But the real issue that we currently have in terms of our defence is that despite his age, despite his physical limitations, despite his lack of pace – Terry is still head & shoulders the best central defender we have – both in terms of reading the game, bravery & commitment – yet Benitez seems determined to put him out to pasture with no viable replacement as of yet. I’m not sure whether this is of Benitez’s own doing or whether he is following orders from above – but either way, it is a risky strategy and one that isn’t really working for us at the moment.
And all this on top of the fact that Cech is looking increasingly questionable month on month. He still pulls of some quite amazing saves, but he equally has some issues in pretty basic areas and most will agree that he has not been the same since the incident at Reading.
Our spending policy in the last couple has been fundamentally flawed – buying a number of average players from lower league sides & the odd owner whim trophy buy is no way to keep a top four team in contention going forward. There seems to be no succession planning in place – we over buy in some positions and leave ourselves woefully short in others – gone is the Mourinho tactic of having a minimum of two decent players for every position. Once again this is the result of not having any football people running this club.
But back to the game. Thankfully what we saw yesterday is that this team still has some fight – it was up against currently the best team in the country & looked in danger of total humiliation but it knew when to stand up and be counted roared on by Chelsea fans who also chose not to throw in the towel despite being two nil down so early on.
If we play with the commitment that we witnessed in that second half we could & should qualify for the Champions League – be it with Benitez at the helm or not. The players need to demonstrate that they are willing to fight in every game until the end of the season – especially as the interim coach has now confirmed he’ll be gone. The kind of performance we witnessed in Bucharest is simply not acceptable – nor is this “tired” excuse being bandied about at the moment. The players need to think of next season and lay the foundations for us to get back on track – and hope that the current madness of the owner is just a temporary state of mind.
Not many games left – we need to make them count – come on Chelsea!!
Posted by Trizia