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Posted by David Kyle on 08/22/2011

I've blogged on many an ocassion that all that matters in football is the final result, so after a weekend of worry at an indifferent performance it is useful to remind yourself of the fact that Chelsea still won the game.

Improvements are needed, AVB is surely aware of this. £25 million and a 35 minute appearance from Kalou later we have hopefully purchased one piece of the jigsaw we have been needing for some time.

AVB, trying to steer us in the right direction ©AP Photo

I did vow to myself that this would be a piece to try and avoid the usual moaning that has been commonplace since Ancelotti's "bad moment" of last season but it is concerning that the result was the only (still most important) thing to be cheery about this weekend.

None of this blame can be placed onto the manager's shoulders, in fact praise should be placed on those same shoulders for showing awareness of our deficiencies. His passion displayed after the second goal was also a great sight, it always means something when it means something to your manager too!

The substitution of Kalou after just 35 fruitless minutes was a gutsy move, it wasn't an essential one because Kalou hadn't been atrocious - but in the same vain, he had also brought nothing to the game - which is his primary job.

A fantastic, yet possibly harsh, analogy I read of Kalou this week was that he is just like the scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz. All heart, no brains.

Unfortunately in football, endeavour alone isn't enough.

The addition of Malouda in hindsight can be hailed as a match winning one, if he wasn't there on the 83rd who knows whether we would have been assured of the victory.

Even the 60th minute substitute of Torres was the more tactically astute decision, Anelka had just scored from nowhere and was probably more of a threat to the West Brom defence.

Not that Torres had a bad game, once again his work rate was laudable and he created himself some good space at times, but disturbingly again the supply to him was well below par.

In a footballing world where judgements are formed after just 90 minutes (Aguero currently the world's best, whilst De Gea is already a risk) people need to sit back and shift more blame onto teams themselves.

It is fair enough that Torres is expected to score, he is a striker and that is his currency, however if he was put into positions of opportunity more often and was missing sitters left, right and centre I would be more damning.

My new best friend, and a must purchase for any iPhone users, the Stats Zone app showed me exactly the gulf in supply to Torres for 60 minutes compared to the passes Drogba was on the end of in his 30.

Passes in the box? Drogba 3 - 0 Torres ©Opta Stats Zone App

Drogba meanwhile looked like age could be taking its toll, I don't truly think he will be playing as instrumental a role in our team this season, but if he hangs around will more than likely prove a defining one. Our depth in squad is increasing by the signing, so much so that we could do with offloading some dead wood (no names named, no preferences).

Aside from substitutions, AVB has also showed he is willing to spend to change the way that we play. Juan Mata is a signing that will hopefully change this supply issue, it isn't just pace that we require - it is inventiveness too. Plus it helps to lower the average age of an end-of-an-era squad.

It would be nice to think that Mata will be able to take on some players a bit better than the current offering, the picture below shows that Malouda's two successful take ons were in positions he shouldn't be in, whilst his unsuccessful ones were in positions he should be getting himself in to.

Which one is the Left Back?!? ©Opta Stats Zone App

Away from Chelsea though, West Brom deserve some credit. They have had the most difficult of starts to their season and put on great showings in both. Long and Tchoyi were a far more dangerous proposition than our own attack, and their work rate was exceptional. Neither deserved to be on the losing side.

Defensively we were poor, the same back four as against Stoke looked like they had been replaced by impostors. A far less physical and imposing side than Stoke, West Brom caused them issues. Alex was on the wrong end of one of these issues and can be held responsible for conceding a poor goal.

Ashley Cole put in a rare indifferent performance and Terry didn't look as assured. Bosingwa though was again looking like a completely different player to previous years, his pass to Malouda for the second was sensational. If there was a pass of the month award, that was the winner.

Mikel, again should be applauded for having the mental strength to play, and for the second game in the row played the most passes - and for once not all short and to players around him, there were a couple of instances where he played some great long balls.

Last and almost solely deserving of some plaudits would have to be Hilario, he was great at the weekend and we can thank him that we didn't leave without the win. Nothing he could have done about the goal either, I don't think even De Gea would've been getting stick for conceding that one.

In the end though it all comes down to points, if we won the league by underperforming and scraping a 2-1 win in every match that would all be forgotten about. The history would always show Champions, not Champions* with the * indicating an underperforming season!

My one concern at this time is that if we were to face better opposition we may well be caught out, but our tie against Man United is not until the middle of September, and by then we will have Mata, possibly Sturridge starting and hopefully a firing Torres.

Time is certainly on our side, and I have a feeling that AVB will be dipping his toes in the murky seas of the transfer market once more. Modric appears to be suffering from a severe case of Transferitis, as previously seen in the cases of Fabregas and Tevez. Spurs seem to be worried that an injury could cost them dearly in a season which has already seen them lose their Champions' League windfall.

New regimes and new players all need time. If we manage to steal all the points along the way we should be satisfied enough.

Keep The Blue Flag Flying High.

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Posted by Alastair Weston on 08/22/2011

In terms of departures, i belive it should be, Ferreria, Alex, Mikel, Kalou, Drogba, thats now. Next summer, Lampard and Anelka.

The midfield looked awful on the weekend, allowed the opposittion to dominate and we have not truly managed it well since Mourinho,

Posted by Igahsity on 08/22/2011

I luv AVB. I think juan mata is a gud signing. Chelsea should deep there hands into pocket and go for more signing.I luv AVB. I think juan mata is a gud signing. Chelsea should deep there hands into pocket and go for more signing.

Posted by Edwin sheriff on 08/23/2011

Torres is d world best #9.We love his style of playing.his jersey is african highest sale.he need 90min. on d pitch.pls coach.

Posted by Damian on 08/23/2011

With Mata n Modric, n then Neymar in January,we would do exploits.With Mata n Modric, n then Neymar in January,we would do exploits.

Posted by Sam on 08/23/2011

Great blog ,not dos dat ar praising ramires 4 running d whole field bt for identify mikel as our only midfider ,even afta the incident of mata

Posted by OMOGAGA WILLIAM on 08/23/2011


Posted by Imadiyi vincent on 08/23/2011

The season is still young,at september with mata and modric in the squad,we could dismantle every other team in a 4 4 2 diamond formation and a back four of ashley cole,terry,Luiz and ivanovic/bosingwa.Midfield-mikel,mata,ramires,modric.Attack-torres,sturridge/drogba, lukaku/sturridge,lukaku/torres,lukaku

Posted by ChelseaDC on 08/23/2011

Wanted to add various comments but will break it up for discussion sakes. I am very happy to see your software has proven what many of us knew to be true- Torres difficulties in scoring came from a severe lack of support from the midfield last season 2d half and it will continue as long as we lack assists from the MF. Lampard will still be Lampard but not the one of 2 seasons ago. Ramires and Mikel are not assist-men or playmakers so how can a front line of Malouda-Torres-Anelka or any other substitutes be expected to score unless they create 100% on their own. If that is their only option, then defenses like that at WBA will close the middle and shut us out like they did in the 1st half. Why is it no surprise that our 2 goals came on developments from the wings, especially a great rare cross from Bosingwa. AVB can bring new ideas and such which we all hope but if we do not generate assists/attack in the middle then Torres, Drogba, Anelka an Malouda will not score much.

Posted by @CiaranMcMonagle on 08/23/2011

Good piece David. I wrote a more negative assessment on Life's A Pitch, but agree with a lot of what you have said above, especially with regard to Torres. I am slighly concerned by what AvB said and how he appeared on ESPN after the game on Sunday - senior players such as these should not be so 'anxious' after concession of an early goal to a team like West Brom when playing at home. AvB appeared like someone who had just won a relegation 6 pointer than an early season clash. While AvB can be praised for making the Kalou/Malouda switch after 30 minutes, he also should take some criticism for getting it wrong in the first place - Kalou has never looked worthy of a starting place when others are fit and didn't impress at Stoke, so why was he starting? I'm also disappointed that 2 games in and we haven't seen any McEachran yet. I don't think performances will be much better than last season if it's the same XI. At least we now have Mata, Lukaku and Romeu - let's hope they are used!

Posted by Blues on 08/23/2011

Yeah right...DROGBA over Torres ANY DAY OF THE WEEK!!!!

Posted by Sam on 08/23/2011

Love your work. So right, on all fronts. The pass from Boss to Alex put him in a bit of trouble, yet I was disappointed to see Alex outmuscled and outsprinted in conceeding the goal. Something tells me D. Luiz would never have let that happen. Up Blues! I see Sturridge and Torres achieving big things if Lampard allows Mata some freedom instead of just being an akward presence. How within himself he (Lamps) continues to play amazes me.

Posted by Chris on 08/24/2011

You sound a bit like you'd be happy if Chelsea would just hold on to a spot in the top 3. Me too. That and a solid run in the CL where anything could happen.

Posted by Slim on 08/24/2011

Get off Lamps' back u fictional Chelsea supporters - greatest player the club's ever had. Maybe he sure just be rotated a bit more, bring him off the bench occasionally - Utd never sold Scholes and will never sell Giggs - that's loyalty

Posted by oby1 on 08/24/2011

i just hope this season ends like AVB's season with porto, with chelsea not losing any match and iould like to see the midfield more involved in the game, right now it
looks like Mikel is the only playmaking midfielder.

Posted by EMMA on 08/24/2011

Those who are calling for Mikel's exclusion are simply myopic. they fail to appreciate his defenses and wonderful passes. apart from malouda, two players were so outstanding and they are mikel and bosingwa.

Posted by Godwin augustine on 08/24/2011

Pls torres & sturridge is a best den pls buy modric to work weet mata i love u all up blues up chelsea

Posted by Godwin augustine on 08/24/2011

Pls torres & sturridge is a best den pls buy modric to work weet mata i love u all up blues up chelsea

Posted by Godgift zifaye on 08/24/2011

I need luka in the team

Posted by francis on 08/24/2011

i believe things will get better as the season progresses,mikel hv being fantastic and lampard is coming up,we should'nt forget that,experience still matters not youthfulness alone as in the case of united where they never discard their agey players.

Posted by Dario on 08/24/2011

Nice piece... nice sense of humor! A thought for those who advocate for disposal of the old timers like Ferreira, Anelka,Lamps...I think they still have a great part to play in the team as there are so many competitions still to come like the CL, FA, Carling besides the league. Kalou can be loaned. On thing, am glad AVB has great foresight.

Posted by DeepBlue on 08/24/2011

When Torres was signed I made a comment in your blog - it would be interesting to watch how a Spanish striker will cope with a French speaking attack. I had a doubt over CA's future then, which eventually came true.

Drogba has tremendous contribution to Chelsea Club for many years. But for the sake of Chelsea Club he should go now. Two positive things may happen after his departure - firstly, Torres may find life more easier and play with little pressure, there will be none to be compared with and secondly, that will allow Sturridge and Lukaku to have more time in pitch.

Posted by ameze okeh cornelius on 08/24/2011

I think at this point, Alex should prove himself or be up for sale. Chelsea is yet to get a perfect replacement for positions previously manned by Micheal Ballack and (Iron) Makelele. It is high time Coach AVB did something urgent, for the season surely will lie in the hands of those teams that saw possibilities before they became obvious. Without good and committed players, the Coach cannot effect much.

Posted by CHUKA JOE on 08/24/2011

The signing of mata is one of the best things to have happened to our blue army. Lampard is a shadow of his old self and AVB had better watch it cos if he continues to play an underperforming Lampard when Mata finally settles in, it will be to his peril,he should ask Ranieri,Mourinho,Grant,Scolari and Ancelloti what Roman does to underperforming coaches. We have a glut of talented players that can deliver the goods but I also hope we can get Modric in the bag as well. We are Chelsea Fc not a bunch of under achievers or mediocer performers. AVB, we are counting on you to take us back to the glory days. You have Lukaku,Romeu,Mata, Drogba, Sturridge,Torres,Bosingwa,Mikel,Malouda,Ashly Cole,Essien,Cech,Ramires,JT,Ivanovic,Hilario at your disposal.What else can you ask for? Sell anyone who is not adding value and who is not pivotal to our ambition to get back to the top where we belong. It is time to take our pride of place at the very top of world club football. Go Chelsea...

Posted by m.s. ismail on 08/24/2011

Mr AVB, please lampard should only play 45min. game becouse age is counting on him now.if not him will be spoilling your game in second half.

Posted by aLVin loh on 08/24/2011

A brillant blog with technical analysis to show that Torres was not well supported with the telling passes, if fact he played too deep in order to get the ball. Poor Torres, is there a conspiracy against him just because he came in with a hefty price tag?

At the moment, the weakness is in the midfield with the exception of Mikel who played deep as a defending midfielder. Lampard was all over the place but could not string in any good passes. Ramires did a lot of running with the ball but came to naught. Fortunately, Anelka, Malouda and Bosingwa had a good game, but the rest were moody, especially the back four. The three points were hard earned with a ordinary team like AWB. AVB has a lot to do with his new replenishments to get the Blues to fire with all their cylinders, if they want to be a championship team.

Posted by Alex on 08/24/2011

Interesting analysis, per usual.

Two thoughts: Why not play Bosingwa in Kalou's position as a winger? He's basically what we want there anyway, and everyone bemoans his defense. Then, you could have Ivanovich covering at RB.

Why no call for McEachran to play a larger role in the starting line up? It seems like his passing could turn into what we want MOdric for anyway. Everything I've see of the kid (which is pretty limited) suggests that he has a knack for the pass and isn't always looking to score. I guess what I'm saying is, why is buying Modric considered a better option than playing our own youth squad? McEachran wouldn't even need time to "adust to the team" as a new player would.

Then again, I am an American, so my insights are based off of an anemic supply of mediocre MLS football/soccer and the occasional game on ESPN 3

Posted by patrick on 08/24/2011

Frank Lampard is not deliverin n-tin,pliz wi need a replacement........

Posted by Jacob on 08/25/2011

I think Chelsea need to get rid of kalou, anelka, Ferriria we need a right winger and luka modric someone like Walcott or Lennon to add pace down the right flank and whipping in crosses and modric to provide good balls in to torres

Posted by ssebakka on 08/25/2011

We should resort to wingers mostly like the way Man Utd guys do their thing. many crosses, many headers, own goals etc will happen to our opponents. Midfield can always be out numbered so lets use less of it.

Posted by takadiwa on 08/25/2011

I would like to see more of the youngsters getting game-time, its high time we develop them further. Compare them to the likes of Cleverley, Wellbeck and Jones... it frustrating.

Posted by Yassar Matte on 08/25/2011


AVB Will shine with the peak of Torres coming to a full moon!

Posted by Ojo on 08/25/2011

I advice avb dat he should let droga stay.

Posted by Ojo on 08/25/2011

I advice avb dat he should let droga stay.

Posted by brandon on 08/25/2011

@Alastair Weston does mikel go because we have soo many DMFs ad does drogba go because torres scored so many more goals then drogba?

Posted by karl on 08/26/2011

It's really good to see my team signing new young talents to the squad.
Lamp's one of our greatest players ever and we should give that to him but I'll suggest he comes of the bench more often and probably make the starting line up for certain matches where experience is highly required. That way there'll be room for promising young talents like Josh to develop.
Mata's a very talented virsatile creative winger, Lukaku's a marvellous *two footed* stricker, Sturridge never ceases to amaze me. All these are a great players that have something in common. They're all leftfooters that may not be a problem if AVB does his juggling well. But I still suggest we sign a standing central mid-fielder#10.
Mid-fielders feed strickers, strickers breed goals
CHELSEA FC. Welcome to a new dawn!!e winger, Lukaku's a marvellous *two footed* stricker, Sturridge never ceases to amaze me. All these are a great players that have something in common. They're all leftfooters that may not be a problem if A

Posted by Kieran on 08/26/2011

I swear some of these fans have no loyalty Frank Lampards been here for ten years and has the most appearances for the club and over a 170 goals for the club bobby tambling has the record of 202 or something and i dont want lamps to leave until he breaks that record! He's been the spine of our club in the past years along with JT and then came drogba and cech and those 4 players are club heroes and should be allowed to stay as long as they want for all they've done for us all you people saying its time for drog or lamps to go are insane i want them to stay at least another 2 years! they dont have to play every game but they can be like giggs and scholes!

Posted by ticoxavi on 08/26/2011

pls avb try and buy modirc then lampard should pray only 45 mins. Mikel is a great prayer let him pray free rule and see what happens i hope in you avb thanks. pls avb try and buy modirc then lampard should pray only 45 mins. Mikel is a great prayer let him pray free rule and see what happens i hope in you avb thanks.

Posted by Brad on 08/27/2011

A win is a win. Bringing in Mata is a excellent choice. I think he's ultimately a bigger signing than a Modric. He will completely change the style of play with Chelsea. This should allow Torres and Drogba to be on the pitch together. However, if we are going to continue to play with a Defensive midfielder, we have to find someone to replace Mikel. I'm not impressed this season from him and even in today's match there are passes he should have made that we almost rifled way too hard. I believe with Mata here we need to drop the DM and unleash another attack/playmaking midfielder. Maybe bringing in a Modric would allow avb to make the decision to sit mikel. Bc his play to me is not on par. He's a good talent, but not in our system.

Posted by kingsley on 08/27/2011

Jacob i agree with you. Kalou and Ferrira should go. Anelka could be used as a subtitute. There are some contributions he give at times. If we want to be champions and win every thing, you have to remove such players. Drogba could go also, age is telling on him an give space for the new boy. We need more creative midfielders.

Posted by Travis on 08/27/2011

--Bosingwa---Terry---luiz---- cole


Subs:Malouda, Sturridge, Lukaku, McEachran , ivanovic,Drogba

with Sturridge, Lukaku, and McEachran pushing for starting opportunities.

my Armchair GM Assessment!

Posted by naanzem .p.samuel on 08/29/2011

Lampard and Alex shud not b played always.Drogba's presence on d pitch scares d oponent to an extent.Torres wil do well wit time.Josh is wasting on the bench,he is a good player.

Posted by Jim T on 08/29/2011

Where is Gael Kakuta these days? Not that he's a solution to everything, but he gives us an option at right wing...

Posted by Anton on 08/30/2011

Great comments

We all know what are our problems the questionsis how do we fix them.. In the midfiels area we are very weak as we are being bullied of the ball too easily by mediocre teams wat will happen when we meet the stronger teams. everyone is quick to judge Torres when the truth is he has no suplliers in the midfield. Torres is not a striker like drogba who could pick up a ball in midfield and power his way to the goal. So we already paid 50 million pounds for him so give him the pieces around him so he can perform which is the supplires from midfield.

Posted by Arinze on 08/31/2011

Chelsea have got the best strikers in the world.All that needs to be done is to strengthen the mid field.start LAMPARD from the bench,play JOSH,MIKEL,JUAN,BENAYOUN,REMIRES more often than LAMPARD.Defensively,avoid using ferera and ALEX as much as possible.Ashly cole should also be careful the way he overlaps.

Posted by Ben on 08/31/2011

I think , lampard can't drive in the mildfiled well like before . Chelsea should seek one good midfield player . All of the time , lampard give normal pass only here and there . He totally can't do attack or creat any space .

Posted by hooher tod on 09/05/2011

Yes there should realize the reader to RSS my feed to RSS commentary, quite simply

Posted by VINSIN on 12/20/2011


Posted by joshkuk on 01/04/2012

i think Chelsea problem is about the choice of players and i think AVB must keep drogba on the bench. and allow kalou, torres and daniel s as our attacking foward and then play mata ,ramires and meireles in the mid. then at the back play what u play. is about time u know EPL is almost like SPL. if u want to use experience please bring them second half of the game where they can match up with the speed. to practice this it must start trainning. this is just a suggestion. and please work on the speed of our defenders.

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Phil Lythell Phil Lythell is a Chelsea season ticket holder and lifelong Blues supporter stretching back to the sepia-tinted days of Kerry Dixon and Pat Nevin. Author of Chelsea-centric blog, Phil has spent his entire life living within a 20 minute walk of Stamford Bridge which has cost him a fortune but has also kept him from those interminable queues outside Fulham Broadway Station giving him more time in the pub to discuss the latest glorious/calamitous/insipid match.

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