Sunday, 15 December 2013

Chelsea 2 Palace 1

Performances like this are simply astoundingly poor considering the alleged talent we have on display. The MotD experts will probably argue that we played average and still won while remaining a few points off the top. However, some of the unforced errors (apologies for the Yankification of this blog) where simple passes go astray, tackles are missed and chances wasted are so basic that it makes one wonder if this marks a general end to football. During the first ten minutes there was at least one mistake every minute under little or no pressure.

The tinkering of the side to represent some kind of Brazilian 1970 dream team is not going to happen and as reluctantly as it hurts to say it you have to look at sides such as Liverpool and Everton (and to some extent Arsenal) to see how you build sides for the long-term. To have home fans booing even before full-time... and when you are leading a match more or less sums up our club at present.

Mourinho does take a lot of stick for this and perhaps you could argue this is a side that he has not had time to build yet. Some of his comments again this week seem odd - saying that mannequins used on the pitch during training could score for us... it is difficult to understand how this kind of reverse psychology can work positively on our team.

We are playing Arsenal at a good time and knowing our side we will probably play out of our skins against the better opposition... but this is not what we want to see in the long-term. Give youngsters a chance. Take a couple of steps backwards in order to progress. Instant success is not what our club needs right now. There is something missing in the heart of the side and perhaps in football in general. The omens are there for a big blowup not only at Stamford Bridge but several other big spenders. And again... the upside is that if I am wrong then at least some positives will come of it.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

West Basle Hampton

Basle is a beautiful city and it was with this in mind that my brain thought perhaps something poetic could be written about the match out there. Instead, for the second time this season I left the stadium early on in the second half. Usually I am that football purist who scolds those who do not stay until the bitter end but the performance was so deplorable, the atmosphere so dire and the temperature so cold that I simply felt no desire to stay. On the way back to the hotel I stopped at a bar with five minutes of the game left only to witness the opposition score while sipping my final beer.

The game against Southampton had a different tone to it. An odd 4.10pm kick-off but one that followed a lovely curry and chat with my father and some friends from Stockholm - AIK fans but here to watch what was set to be a good match. We sat down in our seats in the West Upper and as we approached kick-off I loudly said, “I have a good feeling about this game”. Then twenty seconds in we are losing 1-0 and yet again I wonder if my footballing knowledge is even lower than that of the average Arsenal fan.

There are lies, damned lies and statistics. The Basle game reflected the balance of the game perfectly – we had no shots on target and deserved to lose. But there was something different about the game against Southampton. The performance in the first half – the drive and determination – was simply excellent despite only yielding one shot on target. Yes – even Torres resembled that man we want him to be. JT's header was sublime and it was good to see even Ba get on the scoresheet.

Much has been said about Essien and although the bison will always be a Chelsea legend it was odd to see him play against a side that has had so many results go their way this season. It was sad to see him substituted but the second half performance was even better and Southampton fell apart.

A mixed week for Chelsea. We have been a side that has had some luck and at Upton Park up until a silly back pass there was not much to choose between the teams. Let’s hope Mourinho galvanises the side because there is not much consistency and unlike at Basle airport there are not three different countries one can easily enter should one get stuck on choices.