AS awful as Saturday’s performance against Wolves was, it was still heartening to know that we can play badly and grind out a victory – something which we were once past masters at.
The goals also showed that we can score in a number of ways, be it a brilliant, pacy, passing move involving a number of players, or a punt up to the big lad up front.
The win owed as much to Cech’s rediscovered form as it did to Drogba’s ubiquitous talent, saving as he did two certain goals. Ancelotti needs to make a decision about this diamond, once and for all – allegedly, it was the formation we were playing on Saturday, not that you could really tell as the players were all over the place. Anelka especially – I swear he was playing almost at left back at one point. It didn’t help having a makeshift back four, and Lampard will always be a miss even when not having his best season, but the players are still looking out to the wings when in possession in the middle only to see empty green grass.
The diamond could work when you have full backs such as Ashley Cole and Bosingwa – who are willing to foray forward – but without them, Ancelotti is really gambling with our title hopes.
The majority of the team obviously do not get it. Even now, three quarters of the way through the season they are still confused. We got away with it on Saturday but it’s difficult to instil a belief that the title is there for the taking when the team do not believe in the route map which leads them there.
We had to beat Wolves though, just to put more pressure on McCarthy if nothing else.
“Chelsea are the champions-elect and we’ve matched them in all departments today except putting the ball in the back of the net,” he droned. Imagine then what he could have done against non champions-elect (by McCarthy’s logic) Manchester United, had he played a full strength side? I hope we are in a position to the return the favour at some point – not that I’m bitter . . .
Tonight we face Mourinho on his manor and we need to show him that we have moved on – whether we have or not is a matter of opinion.
We have, I think, a better team than Inter but he has taught them to be resilient. Going down to nine men and still not losing that unbelievable home record last weekend speaks volumes. Mourinho has now managed 130 league home games without loss, staggering by anyone’s standards. But tonight is the Champions League and I think it will be interesting to see which way he will go.
Will he maintain his natural caution, or will he try and hurt the club that let him go and go at us with all guns blazing? He is very difficult to predict and we need to just concentrate at the task in hand – getting a couple of away goals and then finishing the job in the home leg.
The fans and the players must not show any sentiment in the lead up to or during the game for Mourinho. We can sing his name AFTER we have knocked him and his team out of the competition.
Then hot on the heels of one sentimental encounter, we entertain Manchester City and Wayne Bridge at home. I imagine there will be plenty of cameras trained on “the handshake” and I wouldn’t be surprised if there are specific Terry and Bridge cams planned to catch every look so that it can be desiccated into minute detail and pundits and nonentities alike could pontificate on what each of them might be thinking. I can hardly wait.
Apparently Roman Abramovich was concerned enough about off-the-field activities to send Ron Gourlay in to remind the players of their responsibilities. I imagine that he couldn’t lecture Ashley Cole, John Terry etc himself having only recently cheated and then divorced his own wife.
Some papers are saying that Abramovich is prepared to set up some sort of kangaroo court in Cole’s case as his misdemeanours have involved other members of Chelsea staff – with the possible outcome being Cole’s sacking. Would Abramovich really cut off his own nose to spite his face? Well history would suggest he would.
And even if (having been found guilty) the punishment is “only” a £400,000 fine, would this really be in the best interests of the club? We here in SW6 do like to press that self-destruct button at the most inappropriate times.
Abramovich should keep his nose out of team affairs. His financial input may have given him the right to interfere, but it most certainly has not given him the knowledge nor the moral high ground.
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