CHELSEA: A TEAM IN CRISIS?

The most hyped up game in match week 7, Chelsea vs Manchester City,  was on everyone’s lips. Questions about City’s actual title ambitions (and confirmation of tagged favourites), with their quick passing play and free goal scoring form against Chelsea’s tactical brilliance, strength and ruthlessly quick counter attacks with a devastating front two of Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata full of confidence.  A reaping relationship brewing amongst them, it was all about who would overcome who?

The build up to this game throughout the week had attracted and generated a whole lot of unexpected events and stories, from the encouraging to the controversial, stupid and also shocking. Chelsea’s fantastic and well deserved win against Atletico Madrid had one major talk, the chemistry between Hazard and Morata as they caused all forms of havoc to Godin and co. as the both carried the team on their backs especially after the stupid Luiz challenge that handed Atletico some form of advantage, one they took graciously.  The look on Costa’s face after the game was priceless, he was quickly forgotten,  perfect way to prepare for a big home match against the perceived ”to be” Premier League champions. Discomfort was raised by Antonio Conte about the scheduling of the match and the advantage his side’s opponents who played their fixture a day before at home as Chelsea travelled to the Wanda Metropolitano on Wednesday, left the Spanish capital immediately for London where they landed at 4:00am Thursday, with only the same day to recover and the next to train. True to Conte’s complain, as The Blues braved the chill on Thursday, Pep had actually given his players an off day, after having another free day(Wednesday) which you expected Pep to work on something. As an experienced professional coach, knowing how important the extra day was to his players, so as to get some rest it seems all his players did understand except one, Kun Aguero.

When reports came out that Aguero was involved in an accident far away from Manchester, in Amsterdam, a couple of questions emerged. First, was he alright and alive? Was he able to get permission from the gaffer  to leave the country 48hrs before a match? Finally, was he fit for the blockbuster fixture? It was obviously a classic move of quick in quick out unfortunately for him it did not work out as planned, as he got involved in some nasty accident that left a couple of his ribs broken, confirmation that was met with huge cheers (obviously after it was confirmed he was alive) that he was not available hence out for the match, a relief for Chelsea because he always finds a way to score at the Bridge. (Guess what do you expect from a tiny Argentine man, that prefers the character name of some old Asian cartoon? Even a million curfews would stop the guy from attending some South American’s concert, it wasn’t his fault, he never seeks for trouble, it catches up with him.)

Saturday evening came abound to the massive legion of Chelsea supporters. Filled with expectations, belief and renewed hope after midweek heroics in the Champions League. Expectations that suddenly dimmed as some questionable changes occurred to the normal first team line up was put in place. The recalling of Gary Cahill to the squad on the left side of the three, same side where Marcos Alonso who honestly is a slouch plays, against the obvious threat of Sane\Sterling who need no invitation to show a pair of heels. The dropping of Victor Moses who provides some sort of potency on the right flank and having their best centre back amongst the three Azpi doubling up as a wingback. Antonio had it wrong from the word go. The system worked in City’s favour. Bakayoko, Kante and Cesc were not at 100 but there were early signs as Chelsea asked questions, calling City’s keeper to some smart stops.

How Antonio Conte doesn’t realise that Rudiger and Azpilicueta are the best centre backs we currently have,( both in bristling form) and Christensen (who deserves a chance and is better off ”in that cleaning up” position over David Luiz) is still shocking. He(Christensen) may lack the experience at just 21,  his passing although decent is somewhat forced does something better than Luiz, defend. There is more pace, strength and power when Azpi,Christensen and Rudiger play together. Organisation is better, Thibaut is safer, and the game is quicker since unlike Cahill, Rudiger can pass the ball forwards with quality on both feet. You cant fail but see a mistake coming from Cahill or Luiz, a RED card maybe. Silly ones that cost the team. Surprising as it seems, Cahill makes us weaker and defensively vulnerable. His selection always exposes Marcos on the left because of his lack of cover, pressing and closing down.

Because of this fact, Sterling took advantage of that situation with mazy runs and quick one two passes on the turn down on Chelsea’s left flank. Leaving Alonso sticking back hence lack of service to Hazard.  Manchester City had Chelsea at its mercy, fatigue kicked in and they weaved passes around a tired team and as a result a power bolt from De Bruyne’s left foot flew past Courtois into the back of the net. Lack of a potent marksman infront for Chelsea clearly raised certain concerns. Can Chelsea cope without Morata? Well beaten and out played. Outclassed in every part of the pitch  a victory for the visitors wasn’t shocking. More attempts, a tonne in possession, more corner kicks. They were great, hats off for them. Challenge remains to Conte. The constant tinkering of the back three helps nobody especially after last season. Chelsea won because of a settled squad and if you ask me…Cahill and Luiz in that back three don’t bring that this season.

Is it all about Conte’s stubbornness or effort to please a certain lot in the team? Either way, performances are judged on the basis of results, not titles or names.  It is easier to drop the smaller names whereas they bring more to the team in general. That’s injustice, its unfair. He needs to make a decision that serves the team best.

ALVARO ‘EL MATADOR ‘ MORATA CLAIMS HIS YARD.

ALVARO ‘EL MATADOR ‘ MORATA CLAIMS HIS YARD.

As they say, strikers thrive and gain confidence from goals, especially one on their debut. There is no better feeling than introducing yourself to your new stadium, home and fans than making an impact on your first game by either scoring or setting up a goal(s). Alvaro Morata is no different marksman, as his own history suggests, he will always score on his debut, did it for Real and Juve. Moving to Stamford Bridge was no smaller task, not only was he carrying the pressure of being the most expensive player in the club’s history but more so doing what he ought to do, score goals. The pressure of replacing Diego Costa a fan favourite, the bar room brawler, master class goal scorer and a popular figure in the dressing room was one that Morata needed not and after missing a penalty at Wembley, doubts started ringing, until a week later. Comparisons and differences between the two were stated  but honestly in my opinion Diego might have been good but not as fascinating as the prospects of the would be in Alvaro’s case. I mean its not debatable, Morata is the better player, more intelligent, technically gifted, quicker, more gayle and elegance, full of pedigree and grace a proven winner at such a young age. Two Champions League titles out of the three finals in the past 5 seasons, back to back scudetti and league cups, the La Liga title, with these games Alvaro produced fantastic performances. I  mean the boy is just class, a Japanese poodle, clean, cut and well kept. Diego on the other hand, a mongrel, dirty, feeding on scraps and always ready for a fight. Different breed of players indeed with one thing in common. So as he stepped out at the Bridge from the bench, he proved his worth. With more intelligent runs, clinical finishing and perfect awareness, Morata uplifted his mates who already were out of touch, depleted, beaten and completely defeated. He attempted to castigate a comeback with a goal, an assist, a disallowed goal and a near miss. We could only expect better as fans, and deliver has the boy done. Setting up two goals and scoring two in his first home matches made him the first to do so in the Premier League all headers, and added another up in the Midlands at Leicester, these goals bring his total tally of headed goals to 9, a tally only one  Andrea Belotti in Turin can better with 10 across all major European Leagues from the season ended 2016-17. Even when Diego would make the headlines about his desired move back to Atletico, who now have a majestic stadium the Metropolitano to call home just had to say…sic* Alvaro heads to Stoke and grabs a hat-trick. Six goals in as many games he currently jointly tops the goal scoring charts in the league, with the best goals scored per minute ratio in England and third only to the likes of Messi, in the top European leagues from the year 2016 a majority of which were in Madrid despite him not being Zidane’s favourite pick but still managed to score more goals at the club from the bench than all the other players except one Cristiano Ronaldo, who is more machine than human.. we can confidently say, that as of now, there’s hardly a debate and  Diego is just water under the Bridge, pun intended. Alvaro’s desire and drive to win and claim major success with Chelsea outweighs Diego’s selfishness and stupidity of he feeling superior to the club, his mates, the fans and the hierarchy of ownership. His lack of respect for the club will make it easier for fans to forget him, as the shouts are more of Alvaro…even Antonio than his name. It was quite a shame how he made a mountain out from an anthill. So he leaves, with only his name, but behind remains the title, king, one that Alvaro has grabbed by the horns, hence the acronym ”EL MATADOR”. There is a new dawg that now runs the yard and he has taken the crown at the ‘ROMAN empire’ and he has headed for the hills, his name is ALVARO MORATA!!!