Have you seen ‘The Damned United’? You should, if you call yourself a football fan. I’d say that’s the best football movie I’ve ever seen. It’s a fantastic movie on the 45-day reign of Brian Clough as the manager of Leeds United in 1974. In the movie, there’s this scene where, after a series of poor results, the chairman calls the players and the manager for what would be the showdown conversation. It’s a small room with too many people and cigarette smokes all around. The situation is grim and eerily quiet. No one wants to say the first word. The chairman asks the players and manager – “This is the worst start to a season Leeds has had in twenty years. Four points from five games? Second from fucking bottom? What’s going on? As far as I can I see, there’s no relationship, no understanding between players and management. Not a healthy one, anyway.”
I guess that’s exactly what would be happening at the Chelsea Football Club right now. Roman’s names is back in the papers. The man himself is back in the dressing room. You can’t blame him. This is probably the worst situation Chelsea is in since Roman took over. The terrible thing is, we just don’t seem to improve. There doesn’t seem to be too much hope. Chelsea are outsiders in Champions League betting to beat Napoli at Stamford Bridge, let alone win the whole thing. What’s really going to change or improve?
The sad thing is, the game against Napoli was one of our better games this season. In fact, this was our best performance in recent times. And when your best performance results in a 3-1 defeat, times are really bad. I’d call myself an optimist when it comes to Chelsea but I’d say we’re in deep trouble in the champions league too.
Anyone who thinks we can win this tie now might have a secret information that Cavani, Hamsik and Lavezzi wouldn’t play at Stamford Bridge. We can’t keep a cleansheet to save our lives. We are times where we let 5 goals at Stamford Bridge. And we seriously think we will keep a cleansheet? And if Napoli scores once, we need to score thrice. As it stands now, with the exception of a Sturridge trickery or a Ramires penalty, I don’t see where the goals can come from.
Also, we seem to think that we can overturn this deficit based on the first leg performance. Let me tell you that Napoli delivered the most unItalian performance I’ve seen in the champions league to win the game 3-1. Now why would they play as openly and attackingly in the second leg as they did in the first leg? They don’t need to. They can sit back and absorb all the pressure. And you know what, that’s what Chelsea has had a big problem with. If Napoli were to sit back, we might be passing around all night long around the box and not finding the killer move.
If Napoli have been looking at Chelsea in the premier league and see what’s been bothering us, it’s exactly that teams sitting back and not playing open for us to attack. I’d expect them to do exactly that. And for this reason, it could turn out to be a 1-1 draw and a deserved progression for Napoli.
But, but, but the important thing is, the next leg is after three freaking weeks! The whole world can change in three weeks – at least for Napoli as our world seems to have changed enough already. If the press were to be believed, three weeks is a long time for Chelsea too. AVB now leads the odds for the ‘sack race’. Couple more defeats could trigger something serious.
It’s quite clear that AVB has shaken up the squad and the dressing room. He’s clearly made some decisions and has stuck by them. They haven’t gone down very well with some of the players – and mostly with the senior players. Now, let me say it – I think we need AVB more than we need the senior players. AVB or no AVB, the senior players could be gone anyway shortly. I see many seasons with AVB and half/one season with some of the senior players. I’m not showing lack of gratitude. I think I’m being pragmatic. As it stands, in this perceived ‘power struggle’, I’d support and back AVB instead of the players.
If AVB were to go now, it would be a total disaster as w’d again be left with a new manager with some old players. How familiar is that? We should allow AVB to see this season through. I’m confident that he would totally overhaul the squad by this summer and what he’s doing now is the preparations for it. Only that I’d have loved to stay in the top four in the premier league while we go through this phase. Honestly, champions league was never in my thoughts. We don’t have chance in hell. If AVB can overhaul this squad and keep us in the top four, I’d say he’s done his job.
For me, premier league is always a bigger priority than champions league – even more so now. If Chelsea were to win against Bolton, West Brom and Stoke City, I’d take that over any result against Napoli. Whenever we go through such difficult phases, I only think of Arsenal and take a lot of confidence. We can and should stay in the top four. And that’s the only think I care about now. Anything else is a bonus. Hope. KTBFFH!