Sunday, 14 March 2010

Lampard 4 Pikeys 1

Before we begin to wax lyrical about Chelsea, let's get one thing straight: West Ham are a very poor side. They only mustered two shots on target throughout the whole game and the goal they scored came from a foul throw.
It is always nice to beat the Irons - I actually have no qualm against any of their players or manager but simply detest their fans who see no problems with aiming vitriol at Frank Lampard (even though they didn't want him at their club) but are then happy to show their support for Joe Cole - who is actually a Chelsea fan! I am guessing the IQ level at the Boleyn is even lower than that of the average Millwall fan and it won't be too long until those two clubs are battling it out in the lower echelons of the English leagues again.
The club is an oxymoron in itself with such a decent bloke as manager and yet also having a bunch of bitter and twisted fans who used to put the knife into our club because of our lack of success and now can only resort to the personal abuse of Chelsea players.
The scoreline did not flatter Chelsea - there was always only one team in it but at half time there was a big question again about Ancelotti's tactics. Carlo favoured a lop side 4-4-2 formation with no right wing... he obviously listened to me when I suggested he actually play a defender in the left back position rather than the excellent Malouda and maybe this time he can listen again and start Joe Cole on the right. Even when he is playing poorly he adds balance to the side - we don't need both Ballack and Mikel in defensive midfield roles if we need to provide supply to our strikers. Thank the Lord that Malouda had one of his best performances in a Chelsea shirt tormenting West Ham all afternoon.
Turnbull had a decent game - solid kicking, a good save towards the end but there was little he could do with Scott Parker's fluke effort in the first half. Ferreira was solid as per usual but why did it have to take a solo run from John Terry to set up our second goal? We should be thankful we have a player like him who has the footballing intelligence to know what to do when the side is struggling.
One of my big worries is now with our strikers. Anelka in particular looks exceedingly glum (not that he smiles much in any case) and will not be happy to play out wide into the run-in. Ancelotti seems to be a manager who does not like to drop big name players even if it is to the advantage of the team as a whole, so I have to give him credit for taking off Mr Glum and replacing him with Joe Cole. Our play immediately looked more attractive and we had more shape: Lampard could now roam free and was unlucky not to score.
So as West Ham look forward to playing the likes of Scunthorpe in the Championship next season, we now look forward to welcoming Inter. I watched "The Damned Utd" for the first time last night and it is amazing to see how many similarities there are between The Special One and Brian Clough. Both managers succeeded with unfancied teams, were quite outspoken and unpopular only with their own boardrooms and most of their rival managers. In an amazing game on Friday, Jose's side lost 3-1 to Catania after Muntari received two bookings having only been on the pitch for three minutes.
There is no doubt that the Italian league is not what it once was, but when it comes to the game on Tuesday it will all be a matter of tactics. Jose knows his side is not as strong as Chelsea's but he will also know that if he floods the midfield then Chelsea will struggle to create clear cut chances. Will Ancelotti have the guts to drop Anelka so that we have a more balanced 4-5-1 formation or will he pander to the view that games involving our club in Europe have to be pleasing on the eye to the neutral? It seems obvious to me that the focus is on the Champions League rather than the Premiership so let's see how our manager copes with Roman breathing down the back of his neck. Whatever he chooses, this is a game that Chelsea should win and I am extremely looking forward to having Jose back at the Bridge - and there is a part of me that wishes he was still here as we would not even be mentioning Arsenal as possible title contenders if he were in charge.

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