The Modern Day Chelsea Blogsite

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Guardiola is the only man who can realise Abramovich's dream

It took 9 years for Roman Abramovich to realise his dream of being a European Champion, however his next target will be even more difficult to achieve and there's only one man who can make that dream a reality, Pep Guardiola.

You would have thought that after winning the 'Holy Grail', Abramovich would have moved quick to secure a deal for current Interim manager Roberto Di Matteo, but Abramovich was reportedly unhappy that the club he has spent over a billion pounds on was such massive underdogs against Barcelona.

The style of football under Di Matteo has been 'Italian', defensive and counter-attacking, which is successful, Chelsea won the domestic double under Ancelotti this way and won the FA Cup and Champions League under Di Matteo this way.

However, it's now not enough to simply win, which to me, seems to show how far the club have progressed. Under Mourinho, it was all about winning, but now it's about winning with style. Roman is reportedly giving the next manager a £100 million transfer kitty to bring some of the best young attacking talent to Chelsea next season, and with that, not only does he want to win, but he wants to win well.

Abramovich wants his Chelsea team to be feared like Barcelona, to command football matches and play the type of football that leaves the fans purring, and although Di Matteo has won the big one, he won't be able to achieve this transition.

Sadly for Abramovich, Guardiola isn't yet ready to return to management, he promised Barcelona he was taking a year out, and that is what he will do. The least Di Matteo deserves is a one-year contract and that is what he will get, but he would have to drastically alter the tactics and philosophy on the pitch if he is to stay any longer.

The infrastructure is in place, the youth talent is coming to fruition, and his manager is a year away, at times Abramovich has got things badly wrong, but more recently the club have spent wisely and are focusing on things like a new ground rather than a new squad.

One day Chelsea might go into a Champions League semi-final and have 80% possession, but until then Abramovich will never be satisfied.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Selfish Di Matteo has cost us fourth place

The team selection by Di Matteo last night proved what he sees as Chelsea's priorities, the FA Cup and the Champions League. The race for fourth place was second in his opinion and his team selection played into Newcastle's hands and now we have to beat Bayern Munich to qualify for the Champions League next season.

I don't blame Di Matteo for his actions, in his position I would have done the same, his only chance of getting the Chelsea job full time, relies on him winning not just the FA Cup, but the Champions League. Simply guiding Chelsea to fourth place was never going to be good enough and Di Matteo knew that.

Unfortantly, this is a crucial period for the football club, the rebuilding that should have happened under Andre Villas-Boas will have to happen before the start of next season, but how can we dream of replacing players like Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard and Florent Malouda if we aren't playing Champions League football?

Why would somebody like Yohan Cabaye leave Newcastle if they qualify for the Champions League?

Beating Newcastle to put us within a point of Tottenham was more important than beating the History Boys in the FA Cup final on Saturday, it was more important for the future of the club, however beating the History Boys is more important for Di Matteo's future as Chelsea manager.

Di Matteo has to vindicate his team selection against Newcastle by winning both cups and qualifying for the Champions League, if he does, I will hold my hands up and say so, but if he doesn't he should receive criticism and shouldn't receive this job full-time.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

My end of season prediction

Below is my view on how the season will pan out for the teams immediately above us in the Premier League; Arsenal, Newcastle and Spurs. I will not include our games as bias will undoubtedly come into to play, so the end will set us a target to what will we have to aim for.

How it stands

3rd: Arsenal- 65 points

4th: Newcastle- 62 points

5th: Spurs- 59 points

6th: Chelsea- 58 points

Remaining games


Having been several points off third place Tottenham a few months ago, Arsenal's turnaround has been quite something. Today's draw will assure them of Champions League football next season. Arsenal travel to Stoke, where it is always difficult and I think Arsenal will draw this one, but will win the next two games at home to Norwich and away to West Brom.

Points earned- 7


The Magpies are the most inform team, winning six out of six putting them into real contention. Newcastle's next game is away to Wigan, which I believe they will win easily, however they then take on City and Chelsea, I think United will have won the league and Newcastle will take advantage and beat City, then a tough away trip to Everton will see them pick up a point.

Points earned- 7*

*excludes Chelsea game.


In poor form and looked shaky in defense against Chelsea and QPR. However, their next game against Blackburn should bring them three points, Spurs are then away to Bolton and Aston Villa- two games I think they will win  and a final home game against Fulham will also bring all three points.

Points earned: 12

How that leaves the table

3rd: Arsenal- 72 points
4th: Tottenham- 71 points
5th: Newcastle- 69 points (plus Chelsea game)

That would leave Chelsea 12 points from Spurs in fourth, meaning we would have to win all our remaining games to give us a chance. With tough games against Newcastle and Liverpool (at Anfield) I don't think we can do it and our best bet is with the Champions League.

Let the rebuilding commence!

Friday, 20 April 2012

Pre-Arsenal thoughts

With a grueling mid week match with Barcelona, were the whole team ran themselves into the ground for the cause and were rewarded with a handsome 1-0 victory, I fully expect Roberto Di Matteo to ring the changes, if he needs inspiration, here's what I would do.

Goalkeeper- Petr Cech
Had an outstanding game against Barcelona, and even 'keepers need a break, but sadly our back up 'keepers just aren't good enough to step into a game against Arsenal and with not a lot of running to do, I'm sure Cech will be ok to start.

Right Back- Jose Bosingwa

With Ivanovic suspended, the right back slot should go to Bosingwa, some question his ability to defend, however his pace will be vital against Oxlade-Chamberlain and Walcott.

Centre backs- John Terry and Gary Cahill

Unfortantly for the heroic blockers of Wednesday night, there are no replacements ready to step in with David Luiz injured and Ivanovic suspended.

Left Back- Ryan Bertrand

Where players can be rested and a suitable replacement can come in we should do so, Bertrand impressed when he stepped in for Cole earlier in the month and has pace to counter the flying Arsenal wingers.

Defensive midfield- Oriol Romeu

Has gone missing since Di Matteo took over and hasn't played a game since February, with Arteta missing, the 'number 10' role will be less dangerous and even a game rusty Romeu should be more than capable.

Central Midfield- Michael Essien Essien hasn't been himself this season, and almost unthinkably, his Chelsea career is in the balance, so needs to perform here to prove himself capable of staying at Stamford Bridge.

Central Midfield- Florent Malouda Malouda is another facing the axe from Chelsea next season, so a big performance from him will help convince the Chelsea hierarchy he is worth keeping.

Attacking Midfield- Juan Mata

Didn't have the greatest game against Barcelona, but the tactics used in the game weren't suitable for the way Mata plays. Was subsituted during second half, so should be fit enough to start again in a more natural position. 

Striker- Daniel Sturridge

Another player who has found himself stuck in the wilderness under Di Matteo, a goal and a good performance from Studge is needed to force himself back into contention. 

Striker- Fernando Torres

Was just coming back into to form, when Drogba puts in some great performances against Napoli, Tottenham and Barcelona. Drogba is ruled out of this game with a knee injury and Torres could himself starting against Barcelona in the Camp Nou if Drogba cannot win his fitness race. Despite some good assists, Torres really needs to score goals. Prediction 2-2r

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Di Matteo not the man for next season

What a job Roberto Di Matteo has done since he took over from Andre Villas-Boas in early March. 4th place is still in our sights, an FA Cup final with Liverpool is just weeks away, and a second 'perfect' performance in the Nou Camp could see us into the Champions League final for only the second time. However, next season is a year of complete rebuilding, and although I have great respect for Di Matteo, he isn't the man for that job.

The squad will have a complete re-vamp, Bosingwa, Kalou and Drogba are all out of contract, while the future's of Malouda, Essien and Cole all remain unclear. In all honesty, this job should have happened before the start of his season, who knows what would have happened under Villas-Boas, sadly that wasn't to be.

Chelsea need a manager who isn't afraid to ring the changes, commands respect from players and knows where to find the right players. The last part hinges on whether the board give control of player signings to the manager or let somebody in the executive seats dictate which players the manager has to deal with.

What Di Matteo has done since he has been moved from assistant, to first team coach, is make the old guard feel wanted again. Cole, Lampard and Drogba all run themselves into the ground last night against Barcelona, would they have done that if Villas-Boas was in charge? I think not.

Although Di Matteo has changed the formation to a more suitable 4-2-3-1 than Villas-Boas' 4-3-3, their hasn't been a major revamp of the team. Players like Kalou have come in from the wilderness, others like Romeu have foundselves unwanted.

Is Di Matteo, with his limited experience in football management, good enough to rebuild a team and launch a title challenge next season? I don't think so.

My choice for next manager would be current French coach Laurent Blanc, Blanc showed in his first game in charge that he isn't afraid to make bold decisions, he famously banned any of the failed World Cup squad to take part in his first game against Norway, and although France lost that game 1-0, several young players got their chance to prove themselves internationally.

I know Blanc has limited club level experience, he spent just three seasons at Bordeaux before taking the France job, but he did end Lyon's dominance in Ligue 1, by winning the title. He also has a 60% win ratio with France and Bordeaux.

One day, Di Matteo could return to Chelsea, and he will go on to become a great manager one day, but the board and fans shouldn't get carried away with what has been achieved this season. Yes Di Matteo has done excellent, but what needs to be done next year is something too big for him.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Concentration could cost us 4th place

Concentration was one of Mourinho's biggest concerns when he was Chelsea manager, his back room staff would watch the players during warm-ups and if anybody looked like they weren't paying full attention, Mourinho would be told and he would put things right.

Concentration is also something which could cost Chelsea as they look to get into the top four and qualify for next season's Champions League, so far, late goals have only stopped them winning once, on Monday night against Fulham. However, if that late goal hadn't gone in, Chelsea would be 4th place right now, not sixth.

It's an impressive stat for stand in boss Roberto Di Matteo that his Chelsea team haven't conceded once in the first half. Not quite as impressive is the 10 goals his team have conceded in the second half of games, nearly costing them on several occasions.

Some blame the fitness of players, John Terry playing through the pain and lack of breathing with two cracked ribs, and the vast amounts of games the club is being made to play in a short number of days, however, they should be able to keep concentration for the full 90 minutes. It should have been spotted that Terry had a man blocking him so Dempsey could get a free header but it wasn't, Mikel ended up helping Fulham by marking his man and blocking Terry at the same time.

A strong defence has been the foundations on which Mourinho won back to back titles conceding just 37 goals in two years, that's six less than this year. We had rode our luck and gotten away with it until Monday night, and hopefully that will be the wake up call for Di Matteo and the defence.

Up The Chels!

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Saturday, 31 March 2012

15 goals should be Torres' target

I wrote in Febuary that time had run out for Fernando, but under Roberto Di Matteo he has started to find some short of form infront of goal and has actually managed to score! A lot of tweets are going round saying "7 goals/15 assists, not bad for a flop".

Technically they are right, for an actual flop that's not a bad record, not a great one but still. Torres however, is not a flop, he is a proven goal scorer in the Premier League with a 50 million price tag, so a record of 7 goals and 15 assists is bad.

He should be the highest goalscorer in the Premier League, admittedly formations haven't been favourable to him, which is why the new 4-2-3-1 is starting the bring the best out in him. But never-the-less, his record in front of goal is bad, and however you want to dress it up, Torres should be scoring more.

Too put a good light on a bad season, Torres needs to score another 8 goals for his season to be considered "not bad", with Drogba looking likely to leave at the end of the season, Torres need to prove that the club don't need to go out and buy a replacement for the Drogs and the only way he can do that is by scoring goals.

Don't forget to follow me on twitter @samsungbridge and @deanmears.

Up The Chels!