Andre Villas-Boas

A 3-0 whitewash of Newcastle on the 3rd of December, followed by the tricky but convincing 3-0 win over Valencia in the Champions League all the way upto the FA cup thumping of Portsmouth 4-0 followed by the 1-0 win over Sunderland in the EPL courtesy, hold your breath, another Frank Lampard goal, Chelsea has had a roller-coaster ride.

The win against Valencia was followed by the Manchester City win, with three 1-1 draws against Wigan, Tottenham and Fulham and the disappointing loss to Aston Villa on New Year’s eve. The New Year opened up with victory against Wolves, a not so convincing one I must say.

Not-so-convincing performances have been the order of the day for us for some time now. I cannot sit and watch a Chelsea match anymore thinking that we will come away with an easy victory.

Given the circumstances and given the squad at his disposal, I think AVB is doing a good job. Talks of dressing room unrest were always part of Chelsea when performances are found wanting.

He has also rightly identified the type of players he wants to see in blue – a wing back, a central defender, a creative midfielder and the persistent interest in a forward, the last one I believe coming due to his frustrations with the goal-less Torres.

I do not think we will get all of these guys in the current transfer window. Gary Cahill is a strong possibility. Milos Krasic on loan cannot be ruled out. Moutinho in the summer looks a possibility rather than now.

With two good results albeit against not so strong opposition in the new year, let’s hope Chelsea can build on the momentum. However I have not seen an EPL in distant memory where competition for the top four spots are amongst no less than 7 clubs! That will make our attempt for a top 3 finish all the more harder. A 4th spot, if you remember, does not translate into automatic qualification for Champions League.

Fingers and toes crossed for some good results in the second half of the season!!

 

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A string of good results powered by a subtle but effective change in tactical play letting off the high line that Chelsea used to rely on, to one that sits back a little, and then relying on quick counter attack has seen Chelsea’s and AVB’s fortunes change for the better. Take a look at the results below:

Meireles scored the equaliser set up brilliantly by guess who, Daniel Sturridge, after Balotelli had put City in front in the second minute. Clichy was sent off in the second half and with City reduced to ten men, Chelsea upped the ante and a brilliant Lampard through ball to Sturridge resulted in a penalty to Chelsea and Lampard slotted home for the second.

But there is still work to do and the transfer window will be very critical for Chelsea. A central defender in the form of Gary Cahill, a creative midfielder in the form of Modric and a right back will suit Chelsea very well.

We have Wigan up next, who sits third from the bottom followed by Tottenham.

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Chelsea-flag

To be honest, I have been watching Chelsea play with one eye closed off late. While I love to admire the fast passing game with my open eye, I am put off by the schoolboy errors creeping into Chelsea’s game.

Let us try to be a bit saner with the analysis. A free flowing, fast passing, open style attacking football is entertaining, is fancied by Roman and is a treat to watch. I would like to believe that from that respect, Chelsea is still not a finished product. They are a free-flowing-fast passing-open-style-attacking-football team in transition.

It is not easy in the space of 15 games, across EPL, UEFA CL and the Carling Cup, to change a team’s philosophy. Quite often managers have a challenge in this department with some players not suited to the new style, either due to a lack of technique, or due to the simple fact that they have not played like that before or that some are not pacy enough.

Having said that Chelsea and AVB need to strike a balance between attack and defence, the latter often found wanting in the last few matches. So the question suddenly pops up. Do we have the right set of defenders? Do we need to buy again? Well, I don’t think we need to buy. We do have quality in defence. It’s just a question of getting our positional play right. This is where AVB will be tested to instill a philosophy of play that strikes an effective balance between attack and defence. This is not evident at present.

Can AVB do this?

Going further down the path of weaknesses, our right back is not solid enough when defending. This is a real cause for concern. If we are buying early next year, we need a quality right back. Or Ivanovic moves into that role and we buy a new defender. Either way, we need to shore up that side.

And we need to stick to some fundamentals. Pass early, find spaces to run into and the goals will come. Too many players are guilty of holding onto the ball long enough to lose it. One can only set this right on the training ground.

One of the most improved players in this new Chelsea style is Frank Lampard. He was written off by I and many due to his age and lack of speed. But look at what he has been doing off late – picking up forwards on the turn, the quick bursts into the box and chasing down balls in midfield. Way to go Frankie!

We have also come to rely too much on Mata producing the goods in a freely floating role. The moment someone puts a stop to that, it remains to be seen how Chelsea fares. We need more “Matas” on the pitch.

We need to stop trying to score all the time from outside the box with long range efforts. The art of finding free players in the box and the art of making yourself free needs to be perfected. How often have we said that had he passed instead of taking the shot, we would have had a goal. If you want to see this perfection being enacted out, watch Barca play.

So if the first phase of our transition under AVB has been to play attacking football, then our next phase should be rightly enough to strike that fine line of balance between attack and defence. It’s not easy. But if we want to win trophies, then you have to get this right.

What more do you all think in the light of our recent defeats and our performance away at Genk?

 

 

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Andre Villas-Boas

Horrendous decisions, two red cards – one justified(Drogba for a two footed lunge), the other a rather soft one (Bosingwa)- and the worst penalty decision in my opinion cost us the match against Queens Park Rangers by a solitary goal scored from the spot.

If AVB had an ‘aggressive’ rant against Chris Foy, it is completely justified. You cannot expect every manager to have the highest level of emotional quotient, especially in situations like these where almost every critical decision went against your team.

Yes, we lost. But the manner in which we lost is totally unacceptable from a referreing point of view. There were several appeals for penalty at the other end of the pitch and Chris ‘foy-led’ those again.

But with the side reduced to 9 men, AVB’s organization and the team’s work rate deserves a salute. It was one of the best tactical display of defence combined with attack that we saw from Chelsea in the second half.

A decision is due from the FA on Wednesday whether to punish AVB or not for his rants. Let’s hope the FA shows some sense of understanding.

 

 

 

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Dubbed the “Scottish Wayne Rooney”, Islam Feruz became a Chelsea player in September this year having got transferred from Celtic. He scored one of the two goals in Chelsea youth’s match against Portsmouth youths which we won 2-1.

Why should we be excited about this? Though he will get a professional contract at Chelsea only next year when he turns 17, he is one player who could make it into our first eleven as early as next year. He is a real talent with great dribbling skills often seen in players originating from countries who either speak Latin or Spanish or Portugese!

I am excited about our future, ladies and gents. Hit a search on the internet for ‘Islam Feruz’ and you will know what I mean.

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