Friday, February 25, 2005

Farcical Times

Barcelona 2 – 1 Chelsea

The final score line bellied a far worse state of affairs of the team. If one cares to observe carefully, and collates all related facts intelligently, all does not bode well for the first cup final in almost 3 years…and for the final run-in to the season.

The danger with an arrogant person, no matter how successful, is that it is always possible for him to step out of line and start f**king things up without knowing any better…even with people around him to knock some sense it will not make a difference.

Jose is a very intelligent person. He is also arrogant and he knows that. But for Chelsea’s sake as well as my own well-being come May, I hope he is still in control of himself. The last few days has seen some wildly erratic behaviour.

In chronological order:
the letting go of Baba,
the lack of change in system after the loss of Robben,
the omission of Lamps from the starting line-up against Newcastle with JT suspended,
the triple substitution (although I could understand the lesser priority of the FA cup but he smacks of wanting to win desperately),
the ranting about Rijkaard,
the naming of the line-ups and the inclusion of Duff,
the ‘non-appearance’ of the team against Barca,
the slow reaction to Drogba’s send-off,
the post-match commotion of not talking to the media, and
accusations of dubious play by Barca…

I’m tempted to say ‘Jose, grow up!’ but his antics has been a source of amusement for me from the start due to the sheer contempt shown by Arsenal, Man Utd and Liverpool fans, in that order… :) but seriously from the above-mentioned events its not very funny anymore. If by some clever reason he is simply play-acting as was shown by his former protégé Deco on some occasions during the game, I do hope he lets the players in on it. Because if not even Claudio’s wacky moments of the past would pale in comparison due to all that is at stake.

To be honest I don’t really want to win much this season as it is only his first in charge. I have mentioned this many times before. The Premiership would do just great, more so with the centennial season coming up. He was the one who built up all the hype about the quadruple and lent credence to the nonsense by commenting that it was not impossible. Like Wenger in the season before last it exploded in his face dramatically. Now he is under tremendous pressure to deliver, and more importantly to his overly-massaged ego, to save face. Yes reading into all this would lead you to question the actual direction of my loyalty but I am a great believer in moderation, in most situations at least (as long as it doesn’t involve tiramisu).

We have only set us up for the worst possible run in to the season. Injuries are something unforeseeable and have to be dealt with. On the other hand, letting your other left fullback go when you don’t fully trust your 1st choice, and the cover is a centre-half who, between himself and two others take turns on the croc list just throws the whole idea of having a completely covered squad in the 1st place. Lamps isn’t playing as well as he used to, Tiago’s early season form has dipped, Drogba is just shite, Ferreira doesn’t bomb forward as much as he used to, Kezman is just unlucky and Eidur needs to play off a partner. There, I’ve said it. Without Robben we’ve lost our counter-attacking ability that’s been yielding all the 3-4 goals-per-game results previously.

The absence of a proper right winger or right-sided midfield is costing us the flexibility to alter the formation. Jose has to come back to the diamond that has contributed so well during the start of the season. The team has to relearn passing from the back to the front and build up play. Lamps has to be allowed box-to-box play.

But since the Pool game is just too close I wonder will he risk changing the system? I suppose not. The team has to continue to belief. And so must the system continue. But Drogba has to go, no matter how highly Jose regards him (a mix between Ronaldo and Henry he claims) and Eidur should come in. And so must Tiago to give way to Smertin. Knowing Jose, pigs will have to fly first…


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