First, full disclosure: I am a Chelsea supporter and have Mata and Sturridge on my fantasy team. Now my blast at the Chelsea skipper:
AVB ‘s player management today against Wigan was awful. Granted Ramires was injured and hopefully would have been in the starting XI in place of Meireles; however, AVB’s last two substitutions were mystifying. With the score 0-0 at the half, I can understand bringing on Kalou and the need for an attacking mindset. While Romeu is a solid addition to the Blues, he was consistently being beaten in midfield and Wigan’s style of play meant Chelsea did not need a holding midfielder.
My gripe with AVB came after Sturridge scored to give Chelsea a one-nil lead just before the hour mark. Six minutes later AVB brought in a stiff in the form of Mikel for Mata. What was he thinking? Chelsea needed Mata’s field leadership and also the opportunity to seal the victory with a second goal.
Then in the 80th minute, AVB took out Sturridge and replaced him with Malouda, a player whose role and productivity are beyond muddled. Sturridge looked fit and was dropping back defensively when needed. He also had the potential in his boot for the second goal.
AVB’s moves went sour in the 87th minute when Chelsea’s defense turned squishy. Bosingwa was beaten like a rented mule and then Cech did his best impersonation of Huerelho Gomes, spilling a limp toe tap by Rodallega and watching helplessly as Gomez (with a Z) slotted the ball in the open onion bag for the equalizer.
Stoppage time only gave fantasy managers who own Mata and Sturridge four minutes to grumble about the moves of AVB.
In Sir John’s opinion, the jury is still out on AVB.