In the run up to yesterday’s game, there was a lot of talk of the game five years ago — the famous Stevie G slip-up game. The media pondered whether history could repeat itself.
Not a chance.
We are an average team, with just two world class players and a manager who is out of his depth.
Five years ago, we had a second string 11 but still were able to field serial winners Lampard, Ivanovic, Ashley Cole and Matic — not only winners, but leaders in their own right. Then there was the manager. Mourinho had planned this game down to the smallest detail — his aim to frustrate and break up play.
Each player had their instructions and Jose had worked through almost every move. Of course, he couldn’t have predicted Gerrard’s slip, but he had a good idea that his disruptive tactics would force a mistake of some sort — and so it proved.
Compare this to yesterday’s game. A manager that neither knows his best team, his best tactics nor where to position his players. We were never going to win this game. Indeed, it was lucky that the defeat wasn’t heavier. The first half was all about stopping the opposition rather than trying to make any chances. Past games have demonstrated that Hazard is more effective with Giroud on the pitch. Yet once again, we started with no striker and so Liverpool were able to concentrate on snuffing him out.
With season ticket renewals expected this week what do Chelsea fans have to look forward to? The departure of Hazard, two OAP strikers, the very real possibility of a transfer ban, an owner that still seems to be AWOL, another season without Champions League football and a manager that is about as popular as a bout of haemorrhoids — it makes the past seven months look like a party!
Even if we did get rid of Sarri, given all of the above who is really going to want to come to The Bridge? It’s a very dangerous time to be cast adrift from the elite. It could take years (even decades) to get back. I would go as far as to say that the decisions made this close season could steer a path for the next 20 years. And the decision that have been made in the last three years or so do not bode well.
There is a malaise amongst the support too. It’s not the losses, it’s the manner of the losses and the realisation that nothing is going to change any time soon. The football is predominately dull — worse than that, it’s dull and ineffective and with Hazard’s departure this will only get worse.
What was even more depressing about the Liverpool game was that there was a club who had been on the brink, had sat amongst the mediocrity of the Premier League but had pulled itself out of the mire and fought its way back into contention. Yet our manager can only claim that we are playing well when it is obvious to anyone that has watched us regularly that we are going backwards. How can we improve when Sarri has seemingly accepted mediocrity as “playing well” and actually thinks that we have improved under him?
I am a big fan of Roman Abramovich, and am incredibly grateful for what he has done for the club. However, in the last few years fans have questioned who he has actually running the club, making the important decisions. Where are the people with a background in football? It’s time to re-evaluate where we are and where we want to be and get the right people in the right positions to make it happen.
We need to reinvest in the team, make continual improvement. No more feast or famine. Get the new stadium underway. Let’s be trailblazers again, not the also-rans that we are in real danger of becoming.