Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Let's change managers again!

A football team is like a stock on the equity market - when things are going well, analysts are always bullish and gloss over the odd indiscrepancy... when things are not going so well suddenly those who were so eager to back the stock become extremish bearish and trade with hindsight. So it was with Chelsea fans, some of whom disgracefully booed the team off at half-time. There is no doubt that there has been a lot of discontent from the fans with the club in recent years - never really replacing our most successful manager of all time adequately and finding it hard to encourage players to perform better when you would have thought it was a given considering their vast salaries. On top of that you have an influential media which easily sways the opinion of a minority of fans when things aren't going so well. Whereas I understand the frustrations of some Chelsea fans, booing the team will not help. Again, Mikel seemed to get the most stick when Cole, Kalou, Ballack and Lampard produced far inferior performances.
There is no particular reason why Chelsea should be playing any worse than they did since the team's annihilation of Arsenal, but the general lack of confidence in the side since the exit in the League Cup to Blackburn should be blamed squarely on the shoulders of Ancelotti who again made some strange tactical decisions.
I am one of Paulo Ferreira's biggest fans - whenever he has had to come in for injured players he has been exceptional - but to start with him instead of the generally impressive Ivanovic was puzzling. Even more peculiar was leaving Ashley Cole on the bench and giving Zhirkov a run on the left - the Russian looks promising but was afraid to take on the Fulham defence.
With Anelka out it was odd that the manager did not revert to the 4-5-1 formation that was so successful under Mourinho - maybe he could have dropped Kalou-less and played both Ashley Cole and Zhirkov on the left with Ivanovic and Joe Cole on the right leaving the midfield with some room to push up... or maybe with Mourinho in attendance he was afraid he might have been sued for copyright.
The first half was truly desperate with uncharacteristically poor defending for Fulham's goal and Chelsea limited to only a few chances from outside the box. Although Fulham had just three chances on goal all game  they could have easily scored with all of them and it is extremely worrying to see how shaky we are at the back when a ball is pumped into the box.
Drogba reverted to the mean as he does when Chelsea go through a bad patch. Back came the falling over from every tackle (especially poor when at one stage the side was gathering some real momentum to square things up before half time) followed by a typically brilliant goal set up by Ivanovic. Drogba will unfortunately never be seen as a legend at Chelsea despite the best striker I have seen to play for us... neither will he gain the same plaudits reserved for the likes of Messi and Ronaldo who also embellish any small challenge against them; perhaps it is because he plays for Chelsea and not a traditional, established powerhouse in Europe.
Fulham played well although they will probably regret their naivety by not holding the ball for longer when they had possession. Chelsea were rejuvenated in the second half and deservedly won.
The next four league games on paper look like three point bankers... but that is what I thought all our games over the Christmas period would be. Although it looks like the league champions this season will struggle to gain even 80 points to win it, Chelsea should be sprinting far ahead by now especially considering how much we will miss the ANC players. Ancelotti needs to be more flexible with his team formation and with Sturridge realistically likely to play the sole striker role until Anelka returns to full fitness means we need to revert to Mourinho tactics in order to obtain maximum points from our league games in January. The manager has lost some of the fans and he needs to regain their confidence quickly.

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