I don’t know the exact word for Chelsea’s kind of good form. You can neither say we are in dazzling form nor can you say we are only decent. To call our form ‘average’ would be wrong and at the same it’s not the kind of form you’d describe with superlatives. By whatever name you call it, we’re only three points off the top spot.
Everton has been our bogey team of late. I could hardly remember a good league win against Everton from recent times. Acutally, only Drogba’s screamer at Goodison in 06-07 comes to mind (one of my all time favourites goals). They have been difficult opponents – nicking points of us at the Bridge and blanking us at Goodison.
This time though, no shocks, surprises or heartbreaks. We needed a professional performance for all 90 minutes with no slip in concentration. We almost achieved it. The match actually turned out to be comfortable for Chelsea, especially in the second half.
Performance: It was a very complete performance. I thought we were good in all departments. There was good balance between attack and defence. There was good control in the midfield. All this after a slighltly sluggish start that you’d come to expect of Chelsea.
Lampard’s midfield play: The man’s back. Yeah, he officially returned to form as soon as he started scoring again but for me, holding that crucial midfield position, I also expect him to do more. And he did that yesterday. He was quite alert and nimble. Made some lovely passes and created some interesting opportunities. Quite clearly, his confidence is back.
Sturridge’s form: Right wing is not where he wants to play. That’s not where we can see his best. But still he had one great game. Constant menace for the Everton defence. His pitch awareness is really impressive. With all the debate around whether or not to take Rooney to the Euro, let’s remember that there’s an explosive Sturridge that Capello has not really made best use of.
Mata resumes normal service: After a couple of ordinary games, the Mata show is back. He’s such a joy to watch this little man. He most certainly creates an impact in every match he plays – sometimes has a great output and sometimes not so much. But what’s certain is the impact that he creates. Everytime he has the ball, you tend to think that this is a super sub who’s just come in – he has that freshness all the time, the energy levels and the brilliance. Long may his form continue.
Unclean sheet, yet again: At half time, I had tweeted this: “2-0 at half time should only mean that the final score will be 3-1 or 4-1. C’mon boys! Don’t concede more than one”. So that’s a run of 7 games without a cleansheet. I know it’s a bit unfair on Cech and defence. We’ve done a good job defensively but letting in one goal per match cannot just be down to luck.
Casual or cute?: You can argue if this deserves to be in the bad section. I got a feeling that as soon as we got the second goal, we were trying to be too cute and too clever with our attacks. When it all works, it’s lovely to watch but the way we did showed more of casualness than cuteness. As the team evolves together such plays and manouvres would be second nature but in premier league, safety does come first.
Ramires’ injury: Ramires has been brilliant this season. He’s only overshadowed by Torres and Mata. He’s the kind of player whose value is best understood in his absence than in his presence. He is the key component of the dynamism and flexibility of AVB’s Chelsea. When he was injured, I was worried. Now I gather that it’s only a minor injury and he should be back for the QPR match.
Tough one again. Lampard was impressive and ran the midfield very well. Sturridge once again broke the shackles by scoring the opening goal of a game. But if you don’t award the Chelsea MOTM award to Juan Mata for this match, it’s like a freaking injustice.
The international break was dominated by the debates around Chelsea Pitch Owners and Chelsea FC’s offer to them. Look, I’m a new age fan. I’ve not been watching Chelsea since the 60s or 70s and I hardly ever go to Stamford Bridge. So, I’m certainly going to be less sentimental. In my opinion, the CPO should take the offer and transfer the pitch ownership to Chelsea FC. For the untrained eyes, it all looks very positive. Given the compulsion of the new FFP rules and our desire to stay independent of Roman, we cannot run with a 42,000-seater forever. In costing terms, that’s an opportunity loss that you incur every week. In layman’s terms, it’s like the supply of a very profitable items being so less than the demand.
Chelsea will need to move to a bigger stadium. And that’s not possible without this arrangement with the CPO. In my opinion, Roman has demonstrated enough to show why he’s not just another cash counting billionaire owner. He has invested heavily in Chelsea. He’s so passionate about Chelsea. I don’t think he’s after the money that Chelsea can generate. He was one of the richest persons in the world even before he had heard of Chelsea. He’s not after Chelsea’s money and actually it’s the other way round. If Chelsea wants to be self-sustained, profitable and comply with all the financial fair play rules, movement to a new, bigger stadium is inevitable. In a way, when the match kicked off yesterday, you couldn’t escape the sentimental feeling around Stamford Bridge. Let’s see how the talks progress.
It was good weekend finally. Man Utd dropped points at Anfield. They should have got beaten but luckily for them, they don’t get punished for all their mistakes, as always. Man City rolled on for another big win and are sitting clearly on top. Given how well the Manchester teams are playing and how we started the season, 3 points off the top spot after 8 games is a good return. I’ve said this many times but I’d repeat it – This Chelsea has not peaked yet. And when they do peak, they could have a smashing run of form. When Manchester starts dropping points, the pride of London will keep amassing it. But it’s good to be off the limelight. Let the Manchester clubs appear to be in a two-horse race and let’s peak in March to surprise them both.
Champions league fixtures mid-week and then we have a west london derby and a certain manchester derby next weekend. Stay focused until then. How did I manage to write an entire article at this time and manage to not talk about PES2012. There I go!