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  1. 23 points
    Mick Harford

    Super Frank's Derby County

    Rams fan here. Must admit I never thought I'd be joining a Chelsea forum unless it was to talk about that 6-4 game back in about 88. I've semi-adopted Chelsea as my team to follow in the Prem due to Frank coming to us. A plus is that Mick Harford played for us both, and he's my favourite ever outfield player for the Rams. Just to give an idea, last season under Rowett was very divisive for us Rams. Yes we won a few, but by God we were dire and uninspiring. Then we went on long runs without points or a win. Some fans were firmly pro-Rowett (ex-player and all that) and some were anti, with others (myself) just hoping for some continuity given the succession of managers that we have had in recent seasons. But I cannot stress how poor the football was, following Derby was a chore at times it was that uninspiring and devoid of excitement. I'm sure those of you that follow football know that we annually fall off a cliff after New Year, and we duly obliged by limping into the Play Offs last season. There is also a larger story behgind transfers at teh club and the over reliance on certain agent(s) which has led to an unbalanced and bloated squad. Then Rowett went, and the usual names were mentioned as a replacement, and we heard the name Lampard mentioned. A load of us thought "why not?" as we've literally tried experienced with promotions under belt, ex-player, previous manager, highly rated assistant and none have worked. Frank has been a breath of fresh air, he speaks well and with a purpose. None of the cliched platitudes that get trotted out usually, what he says makes sense. He has brought in youth (39 was consider youth for Rowett) and has manoeuvred a few out. We are blessed to have borrowed Mount off you guys for a season, the guy looks quality and to my mind even passes that go astray are due to players not being on his wavelength rather than inaccuracy. Tomori, to my mind, is a rock. That is not to say both are without faults, but they are young and are why they are on loan at Derby and not still at Chelsea, they will learn and grow. The buzz is fantastic around Frank as well, bit of worldwide coverage that we've not had since THAT season in 2007. As it stands for a novice Frank has done really well, Leeds outclassed us and we were beaten by the better team, Millwall could have been a draw or snuck a win but we got lucky at Reading so swings and roundabouts and all that. Also we are lucky that Jody M came with Frank, he seems top class and I reckon eventually both of them will return to Stamford Bridge, but it was great to watch that documentary on him on YouTube again. I'll post in here periodically to keep you abreast of how things are going, but until then best of luck for the season ahead.
  2. 22 points
    ForeverCarefree

    Gonzalo Higuain

    Only been in England for a day and already reached more cup finals than Harry Kane.
  3. 21 points
    That would require a very huge FA Cup rule change
  4. 20 points
    dkw

    Christian Pulisic - Official

    This is a 20 year old who has played 114 times for Dortmund, yet people have decided he is a Commercial purchase, nothing special, overrated before he's even played a single minute for us. Unbelievable.
  5. 19 points
    abramovich

    Big Pete Retires

    Don't care that he's been with Arsenal last few years, he's always been and will remain CFC legend. The man won everything at the club, put his body on the line, and was pure class on and off the pitch.
  6. 18 points
    Season’s player ratings out of 10 using an innovative decimal system which gives me 20 available rating points. This week’s specious comparison is the Nationality of Best Suitability (NOBS) – an assessment of the nationality a player should be based on my expert assessment of his personality and my extensive knowledge of national stereotypes based on a lifetime of working with Johnny Foreigner. I’ve left out a few players so you can have a go because I’m a giver. Kepa – 7 - Bonus point for the excellence of his distribution and his undoubted bravery in taking the ball in tight situations. Never shy in making a routine save look spectacular and does not dominate his box in any way whatsoever. Will hopefully improve and could yet be a notch or two below world class. NOBS – Saudi – Exhibits a sense of entitlement often seen in the “there are no poor people in my country – insurance, what insurance” Saudi male. The women are great. “I’m not coming off the pitch, you can’t make me”. Dave – 6.5 – Lovely man, Captain in name only. Never any issue with effort and defensively sound but severely lacking in the “offensive phase” being about as useful as a wall angled at about 70 degrees. NOBS – Belgian. Bland, safe, unremarkable in every way, inoffensive, harmless, who you could accept as a son-in-law if it looked as if nothing better is on the horizon. Zappacosta – 5.5 – Made a few brief appearances and had no appreciable effect whatsoever. Limited. NOBS – Syrian. It’s the murine appearance, I’m afraid. Luiz – 6.5 – Obviously not a centre half. Not really any type of a defender or meaningful contributor to the *defensive phase”. Not a holding midfielder and not much use in any other position. Anything he has won has been in spite of him. Sprays the odd nice pass and smiles a lot. Would be a good man to have around in an orgy you’d think. NOBS – Brazilian. Everybody’s second favourite nationality. It’s the smooth facial skin like a carefully maintained mons pubis – and the teeth. Alonso – 5 – Found out this season, unfortunately. Tall. NOBS – Danish. No real defining characteristics. Tall. Kovacic – 5 – Library book of a footballer, careworn, slightly frayed, easily misplaced, forgettable. Wouldn’t get near a Mourinho midfield, lacking, as he does, any semblance of athleticism. Reminds me of an extremely poor man’s Ray Wilkins. NOBS – Any Eastern European statelet you can spell. Let him stay in your spare room while he sorts himself out and he’s still there 3 years later. Hazard – 8 – Happily I think the few wise old heads among us do know how lucky we have been to have had this diamond with us for so long. Outrageously talented, resilient, brave, imaginative and possessed of a measured intelligence, he has been a once in generation adornment to our beloved club. NOBS – Irish – Everybody’s favourite nationality. Perhaps it is the 800 years of being oppressed by less than benign imperial neighbours that has produced a nation of modest, fun, universally loved rogues. Kante – 8 – Completes our complement of two world class players. Showed his footballing intelligence by regularly excelling in a position which does not utilise his vast cannon of skills. He just gets on with it in a way that is rare in today’s pampered multi-millionaire. We are lucky to have him. Short. NOBS – Japanese – When they are not concealing cameras in toilet bowls they are actually modest, industrious, all-round good eggs. Short. Hudson Odoi – 7 – We must keep this young man or it could rival the De Bruyne/Salah worst decision in the history of sport category of which we are the reigning world champions. Just roll him the ball and let him play. NOBS – Citizen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Are you staying or leaving? We want to leave but you won’t let us. Just go for feck’s sake – sorry if we don’t look like we’ll fall apart without you. Can we just pretend to leave but really stay? Willian – 5.5 – Sorry but you are playing in the best league in the world, for one of the best clubs, treated like royalty, with a decent amount of talent, basically living the dream, yet you slope about the place looking f**king miserable you pouting stream of piss. No one likes you. NOBS – Israeli – No one likes them. Sarri – 7 – Strange man. Off the scale stubborn and clearly incapable of even listening to advice. Yet is capable of getting his message across to the players. I like him as he is clearly in touch with his death wish and has worse teeth than me, which very few do. NOBS – Russian living in Germany. Dour, joyless and somehow incapable of appreciating the break that life has given.
  7. 18 points
    Official statement from Antonio. At least he had the class and grace to thank everyone.
  8. 17 points
    mclovin83

    Jose Mourinho thread

    Can't say I am sad about this. In fact, I am happy he has left having never won a top level trophy with United. They are the first and only club that he has been at where he has not won the domestic title. In relative terns for Jose, it's been a failure at United. You do wonder if, when he looks back in a few years and see's the United job as the sh*t stain on his career which it is, whether he will regret sacrificing his relationship with Chelsea fan's to try and be 'one of them' I am sure over time the animosity between Chelsea & Jose will diminish, but there is a part of me that feels he had his chance to cement his legacy in Chelsea folk law and he somewhat chose to sacrifice that with his actions as United Manager, which were not needed. He could have been the bigger man, but that's just not Jose. Sad in a way that this is probably how his time in the Premier League will end. In his prime (2004-2006) he really was something special. The best Chelsea team I have witnessed was under his control, and I will never forget that. What he has become is a shadow of that man however, and a rather pathetic excuse of a top flight Manager. He has become reminiscent of a past his best heavy weight boxer who should have retired years ago.
  9. 17 points
    Forget formation, forget style, forget Sarri ball, that was won by commitment. End of.
  10. 17 points
    Hey lads, PAOK fan here, it was a honour playing with a club like yours. Chelsea is one of the most dominant clubs to ever play in Toumba Stadium and we faced lots of decent ones the last 5 years( Schalke, Ajax, Dortmund , Benfica, Tottenham etc.). I have never seen a club destroying us like you did today. just another level of football. You gotta respect the way Sarri's clubs control the game. Tactical masterpiece. I guess you are dissapointed by the incompetence of PAOK against such a strong rival, but you also have to take into account that our club plays with its 3 arch rivals in the next 10 days for Greek league and domestic cup, so our coach decided to play very conservative. People here are obsessed with those matches and losing them will be a disaster probably. Losing with dignity from Chelsea is not a big deal though.. Even full strength the difference of the clubs would be chaotic though, like 2-3 goals difference at least. Wish you luck for PL this year, it is a disgrace such a team not to participate in CL. See ya in London.
  11. 17 points
    Raven8er

    Jorginho is a Blue

    Met the man himself today during the meet & greet here in Perth! Didn't speak a word of English but was always smiling and (from help by his translator) expressed how happy and honored he is to have signed for a club like Chelsea and thanked the fans for his welcome to the club! He even argued with the staff at the store so he could stick around to sign autographs and take photos with some of the supporters that were told they were too late (despite being at the event on time), quality bloke!!
  12. 17 points
    Ewell CFC

    Next Chelsea Manager

    Can’t really see any big deal. If a manager gets sacked mid season his replacement takes over and normally witnesses an upwards bounce in results, despite having spent no time with the players. The World Cups in full flow, all our competitors are in the same bout re participants being late back to training. Regarding signings who else has set the world on fire? What is it about this forum and fair weather fans who like nothing better than a good old moan up. Edit- there’s something about the miserablist mindset of our more negative contributors, who somehow think by moaning all the time, it’s somehow connected to them “ caring more” about the club. Load of bollox- we all care but are able to realise that spreading false gloom isn’t necessarily pleasant for the readers.
  13. 16 points
    You're not going to watch your team in a European Final because we might lose? Shocking mentality.
  14. 16 points
    Give the man a break. We call for RLC and CHO, they did not start but were his first two subs, neither pulled up trees and with 20 minutes to go he changed his system and pulled Jorginho for Willian. He showed flexability at last and Hazard gave us a moment of magic to get a point. Wolves came to spoil the game, nothing wrong with that but we are not best withut Costa or Drogba to break down those teams. We fought first minute to last. The ball did not break for us. By United standards we should have had a pen for the handball the player kicked on to his own outstretched hand and the hazard one could easily have been given as a pen rather than free kick. Higuain was centermeters from a tap in, and on another day dave blocks their goal not deflects it in. We were unlucky. We dominated them and deserved to win and Sarri showed ambition with his changes. I thought he and the team handled the game very well and tried to the last against a fine team with a solid game plan.
  15. 16 points
    I think people in the match thread after tonight's win slagging off Sarri and the way we play aren't very clued up on football. All I see is everyone moaning saying we aren't making any progress and are boring to watch.. here's how I see it the first few months went smoothly and we transitioned to phase 1, it's stagnated now but it's still getting better and here's why: 1) Jorginho - he is the scapegoat unfortunately because he's sarris favourite, but I've noticed over the last 2 months he has improved so much defensively tonight he constantly hassled spurs and won it back, yes he can't shoot but he is finally shielding the defence and I believe it's not so much when Sarri gets a couple of players he wants Jorginho will go up another level, but when he keeps getting more physical and used to the league like he is really showing now. 2) Kante - coincidentally at the same time Jorginho is better shielding the defense Kante has been brilliant going forward recently and looks so much better passing, making runs and even shooting ! So that criticism of Sarri ruining Kante for Jorginho can now Be put to bed, hence the system is working and he's improving the players. 3)Azpilicueta - anther criticised at the start of the season has totally turned his form around and it's another reason why we look so much better at the back and he's now outperforming alonso each week going forward! Look how much solid we are recently has nobody noticed this? Because I never see it spoken about. Everyone moaned that Sarri had us open at the back AVB style, well we are the second best defence in the league and look great now in defence and playing out from the back too. now Sarri has said he just needs to solve the problem of a blunt attack now that we are more solid at the back and people doubt he will because if you think about it he's stuck to his system and improved us in every way - we play out from the back nearly as good as city spurs and Liverpool - we dominate the ball against all teams even spurs away - Kante is evolving into an even better player somehow - Jorginho is toughening up and getting effective defensively, this is night and day for me I constantly notice him tracking back chasing wingers and covering and breaking up play now. - Hudson -odoi will feature a lot now and Sarri will see he is the difference to sharpening up the attack imo we are just a striker and LB away from really flowing and looking brilliant. Hazard and CHO on the wings with a top number 9 and we are set. Don't see why everybody has to be so negative, we played really f**king well tonight! Maurizio is some coach and we're going to be some team when it clicks
  16. 16 points
  17. 16 points
    And they dare to call us rent boys
  18. 16 points
    I feel obliged to respond to this one, as it is something I have seen a lot of since the game from everyone ranging from Chelsea fans, to the media, to rival fans. I have even seen Liverpool fans outraged and offended on Mourinho's behalf. This is a fan base who have loathed the man for over a decade, and who refused to ever give him any credit or respect as Chelsea manager on the grounds that Chelsea's success under him was "bought". A fan base who have sung the very words "f**k off Mourinho" in every game they have ever come up against him, are now jumping to his defence when Chelsea fans do it. It's almost as if they couldn't give a sh*t about him, but that this is just a nice big stick to beat Chelsea fans with. As someone who used to worship the ground that Mourinho walked on, my take of the situation is this: - In a nutshell respect is, and always will be, a two way street. Juan Mata was applauded by the "classless" Chelsea fans every time he came up to take a corner, and again when he was subbed off. Zola was given a hero's welcome every time he returned as West Ham Manager. So there are two examples of former players and Managers, who have joined rivals, and still been given a hero's welcome on their return. - Furthermore, Jose Mourinho himself returned with Inter in 2010, knocked Chelsea out of the Champions League, and didn't receive any 'abuse' what so ever. -Before we get into why he may have received 'abuse' this time around, let's just get that in perspective. The 'abuse' consisted of approximately 10 seconds of "f**k off Mourinho" in the 96th minute in response to Mourinho seemingly trying to attack a member of the Chelsea dugout. At the time it was unclear who or why he was trying to attack anyone, but it certainly appeared he was the aggressor, as he was being physically restrained whilst going in the direction of the Chelsea technical area. - As I said before, respect is a two way street. It was always going to be difficult to continue to love Mourinho whilst United Manager, but not impossible. In my opinion, Mourinho has made no effort what so ever to maintain his legacy as a fans favourite at Stamford Bridge, and in fact has shown it a complete disregard. Lets break that down... - After the 4-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge, Mourinho took the defeat very badly (to say the least). He was outraged that Conte celebrated the 4th goal, and attempted to give him a telling off (obviously in full view of the camera, not behind closed doors). This then continue for the following season and a half, with Mourinho going to war with Conte in childish fashion, resorting to making references from anything ranging from match fixing to hair loss. It was as petty and disrespectful as you can get, and Conte deserved his criticism too, but Mourinho didn't need to go to war with Conte, he chose to. - After victory at Old Trafford under Mourinho decided to wait until the camera was on him once again, and then proceeded to thump Manchester United crest several times to the camera. Now I am not one to get precious about something like this, after all he was Manchester United manager, but again I would ask why he felt it necessary to do this? If he was interested in preserving his legacy as a Chelsea fan favourite, then I'm thinking after inflicting defeat on his former club (and the fans that once worshiped him), he may choose not to do this. - Upon his second defeat at Stamford Bridge, Mourinho got involved with the Chelsea fans and chose to gesture to them with his three fingers to signify the three titles that he won with us. Emphasis on with us, not for us. This was apparently in reaction to negative chants which were reported to be "You're not special anymore". Fairly tame stuff, and something you would think he may be able to rise above, Hell, he could have even hit back in his post match interview with something along the lines of "Chelsea fans can say what they want about me, but I will always love them for the faith they showed me in my darkest moments". That would have been an example of him acting like a 55 year old man who was taking the high ground and directing his comments at an entire fanbase for their loyalty over the years, not a select few who chanted something in the heat of the moment. Instead, he decided to go with this: "The fans can call me what they want. I am a professional. I defend my club. Until the moment [Chelsea] have a manager that wins four Premier Leagues for them, I’m the No1. When they have somebody who wins four Premier Leagues for them, I’ll be No2. For this moment, ‘Judas’ is No1.” In my opinion, it was childish, petty, and drove a wedge between many Chelsea fans who probably never sung a bad word about him. He chose to refer to himself as "judas" despite there being no such chant. At best, his comments were super defensive, at worst they were inflammatory. - He has made various comments about United being a bigger club than Chelsea during his time there. I actually don't care about these comments- United are a bigger club than Chelsea, but once again I would question why he needs to go on record spelling it out. One such example is ""Chelsea is a big club. Liverpool is a big club,” Mourinho said, before adding: “Manchester United is a super big club.". Basically, he could have said that United were the biggest club in the world, but he chose to mention Chelsea and make it clear that United are bigger. - On Sunday, (albeit under provocation), he decided to try and chase down the Chelsea assistant Manager to physically confront him for celebrating. People can make their own minds up about whether that was justified or not. After the incident he walked over to the travelling United supporters and applauded them. He then turned to the Chelsea fans (the family enclosure I will add) and did his three finger gesture again. Here we have a 56 year old man, a multi millionaire no less, getting involved with hand gestures to the family enclosure because he didn't like a chant directed at him. he could have been the bigger man, he chose not to be.... - In his post match interview there was no positive words to say about the club, as there never has been in any of his post match interview (win, lose or draw), and he chose to say United controlled the game (despite having less possession, less shots, less shots on target, less corners and less passes). No credit given at all. I quote Mourinho himself "When you go to your direct rival the love affair is over" This was obviously reference Lampard moving to City, but I think this is the way he see's it; Mourinho has well and truly moved on- he cares about United, and himself. He doesn't care about preserving his legacy as a Chelsea fan favourite. I think that is clear. He is happy to go to war with anyone and everyone at the club, from Conte to the fans. And that is what he has done. Had Mourinho chosen to behave differently, I am certain he wouldn't have been subjected to the 'abuse' he has received.
  19. 16 points
  20. 16 points
    Beerqueen

    Thibaut Courtois

    Courtois' heat map so far
  21. 16 points
    Zeta

    Thibaut Courtois

    Hopefully his ex moves to London now.
  22. 15 points
    g3.7

    Sarri - In or Out?

    in, but that isn't to say he's been perfect. reasons are: -he's essentially a coach. his reputation is built on that. so joining so late before the season started, and having to play thurs-sun all season, has denied him of a lot of time to really imprint his methods. despite this, we've acheived the target of going back into the champions league, and we've made two finals. -the squad is a mix of players suited to different styles, and a lot of the "best" players in the squad are past their very best (or on the turn). so even with a flatter track in terms of coaching time, this isn't the easiest set of players to mould. sarri signed one outfield player to add to this, and a further two on loan. he shouldn't be judged against most other chelsea managers under abramovich in this respect, as he has been afforded far less. -I think a lot of people have an artificially large expectation of what this squad should be doing because antonio conte is one of the four or five best managers in the world. even those who may no longer like conte may suffer a little from this. sarri is a fine coach, and the football his previous sides in particular attest to this. -I know there has been a lot of frustration about his reticence, or apparent reluctance to do so earlier, but this is actually the manager who put loftus cheek in. and he put huson-odoi in too, and had the welsh kid in ahead of cahill for a lot of the campaign as well. I'm not pretending there was no argument to do so earlier, or more, but credit where it's due here. -finally, I know a lot of people point to guardiola's first season (with others assuming the implication is that those who do are suggesting we will canter to the title next season), but I'd like make two slightly related points: a) recall pochettino and klopp's first seasons with spurs and liverpool. if you can. b) we've met our minimum target, and yet we're still supposed to sack the manager? how is starting from scratch again going to help us? guardiola must laugh himself to sleep every night thinking about how right he was to reject our advances. this is no way to run a club: allowing relations with a genuinely great manager (the calibre of which, be in no doubt, we can no longer attract) to sour to the extent we need to sack him; allowing our best player to run his contract down so we need to sell at cut price; sacking said manager too late to give the new one time to actually do any coaching or truly assess his new squad; then sacking the new guy despite his meeting minimum requirement with a hand tied behind his back, so the new guy can arrive to a club with no director of football and a two window transfer ban. for those keeping count, we've done all of the above and you are proposing we follow that up by doing the new bit in bold. In the long term sarri might not be right for us, but keeping him for now is the pragmatic thing to do.
  23. 15 points
    Sparkz

    Sarri - In or Out?

    No pre-season No top class striker First time managing outside of Italy Top 4 finish, runners up in the League Cup and a good chance to make the Europa League Final. We also have two players from our academy in RLC and Hudson-Odoi who have basically broken into the first 11 He's made mistakes, been stubborn and been frustrating at times but has actually done a very good job to be fair to him You also have to take into account the fact that he's playing a completely different system to what this squad is used to and that takes time
  24. 15 points
    mclovin83

    Callum Hudson-Odoi

    It looks like people are desperate for someone to blame in this scenario, but I don't really see it like that. It's just an unfortunate (and pretty rare situation) in that the player seemingly wants to leave Chelsea. Does that make CHO a snake? No. He just wants to leave. Is it the clubs fault? Not for me. He has been grown and nurtured by the club, and there is a contract offer on the table which most 18 year olds would consider a statement of intent alone at a club like Chelsea. Is it Sarri's fault? Again, not for me. We would all like to have seen him play for in the first half of the season, but he has just turned 18 and is literally breaking into the first team in front of everyone's eyes. He is now getting a respectable amount of minutes, and there is every reason to believe that if he is good enough he will take a starting place. When you consider that Hazard is likely to leave in the summer, and Pedro & Willian are in the final stages of their career, there is even more reason for him to believe their is a long term role in the starting 11 at Chelsea. On Sarri's part, he has made it clear CHO is good enough, and is in his plans. He has spelt it out in no uncertain terms. So I am not having the narrative that CHO is a snake, or that this is 'typical Chelsea' messing it up. He just wants to leave. He may regret it, he my not. But it is what it is, no need to find someone to blame. What I would say, is that Chelsea need to boss this situation. Bayern have been fairly aggressive in their persuit, and equally CHO has thrown in a transfer request days away from the close of the window. Chelsea need to make a statement that we are in charge, not CHO, and not Bayern. Personally, I would continue to play him, and refuse to sell until the summer, unless a suitable replacement can be brought in. This is the same stance we would take with Hazard if he wanted to leave in January, so I don't see why CHO should be treated any different. We will still get a substantial fee in the summer, and we can also give CHO 6 months of playing time to ensure we have given him every opportunity to consider the offer on the table from Chelsea. I am not a fan of keeping unhappy players in the camp, but this is a fairly unique situation, and one I think we need to dig our heel in on. It has been done to us many time before (Stones most recently, after he handed in a transfer request), so i would like us to show we are calling the shots on this one.
  25. 15 points
    I can't believe you started this thread...
  26. 15 points
    ForeverCarefree

    That Sterling Incident

    I’ve nothing but respect for Sterling for the way he has handled this. If those blokes have shouted anything even vaguely racist, f**k ‘em. I find it pathetic that grown men are screaming abuse at players anyway but if they’ve stooped to racism then the club is better off without their support.
  27. 15 points
    That rating for Azpilicueta is ridiculous. He was shaky in the first half, but he was fine in the 2nd, didn't put a foot wrong. A 6 out of 10 is more realistic. 2 is for the Titus Bramble's of the game. You also don't see the value of Kante. Just because he doesn't need to be saving our ass's all game, it doesn't mean he isn't effective.
  28. 15 points
    All the BS from opposition fans and the media about what a mistake we made in selling Matic to Utd has gone awfully quiet...the only mistake was who we bought to replace him.
  29. 15 points
    dkw

    Jorginho is a Blue

    ha ha, his mamma might end up being a bigger Chelsea legend than him...
  30. 15 points
    I completely disagree with that, it was a penalty by a player full of confidence, he made it look effortless.
  31. 14 points
    mclovin83

    Ruben Loftus-Cheek

    This one isn't on Sarri mate. He openly opposed the fixture, but had no choice but to participate. I am sure the board didn't pick the team, but I am also sure Sarri was obliged to give a certain number of big names a run out. With hindsight it's easy to say this person or that person should have been fully rested, but an injury to any player expected to start the final would have been greeted with the same response. It was a insanely stupid fixture to arrange prior to the biggest game of the season, and that's on the club not Sarri. The potential positives (staying fresh and sharp) were always going to be greatly outweighed by the potential negatives (injury to key players) and we have come a cropper, bigtime. It's not Sarri's fault though, and to try and pin blame on him is just a bit odd really...
  32. 14 points
    Zeta

    Chelsea get Top FOUR

    Thanks to all those whose efforts made this possible - Ole Gunner Solskjaer, Unai Emery... you guys are the best.
  33. 14 points
    Zeta

    Sarri - In or Out?

    Is there an option to get rid of most of the players as well?
  34. 14 points
    Drogba would have scored twice from that cross.
  35. 14 points
    This was posted in the old Sarri thread but to be honest the article is so good it deserves it's own thread -- namely because it answers literally every thing about why Jorinho is playing the way he is and why Kante is put there: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/football/2019/01/21/chelseas-tactical-headache-deconstructed-problems-facing-sarri/ Why isn't Sarri-ball working the way it's supposed to? Chelsea aren't playing very well. Maurizio Sarri warned everyone back in September that he felt Chelsea were a year or two behind their rivals and it looks like he had a point. Former manager Jose Mourinho summarised things nicely on a rare TV appearance over the weekend: "I'm not saying Chelsea's an easy team to play against... but it's an easy team to analyse". With that in mind, what's going wrong? How Sarri-ball works As has become all too apparent in recent weeks, Chelsea are predictable and easy to shut down. Sarri's team lineup in a 4-3-3, play a high defensive line and patiently wait for opportunities to score by passing, then passing some more, then passing even more, then passing even more than that. The whole thing is structured around a deep lying playmaker, or 'six', acting as a link between centre-backs and midfield. On either side of him are two central midfielders - 'eights' - who play from box to box and operate in the halfspaces. The wingers are instructed to move inside the pitch, full-backs play high and overlap and the striker has to be able to attack crosses, run onto through balls and link play. In defensive phases the shape can change to a 4-5-1 if the wingers do the defensive work required. The setup is very structured and depends on players who understand the tactical demands and are suited to their individual roles. Everyone knows how Chelsea play now. Marking Jorginho In the first phase of build up, everything goes through Jorginho. He acts as the link in all Chelsea's passing, dropping between the centre-backs, offering a safe diagonal pass backwards for the two eights and able to switch play from deep to an advancing full-back to get Chelsea up the pitch. All anyone need do to suss out how influential Jorginho is look at Opta passing statistics. The solution is to mark him. In teams that play a 4-2-3-1, the 10 is the obvious choice for this because of the strata that Jorginho plays in ("between the lines"). Arsenal changed their formation to a 4-4-2 diamond for the win on Saturday, with Aaron Ramsey assigned the task of following Jorginho wherever he went. Ramsey stayed close to Jorginho throughout the match, tethered to him to disrupt Chelsea's buildup play Everton were one of the teams who worked this out early (Man Utd the first) and apply their analysis successfully, having Gylfi Sigurdsson stay next to Jorginho or stand directly in his cover shadow, making a pass to him risky. Everton secured a 0-0 draw, Spurs marked Jorginho in the next match and won 3-1. Chelsea scored an average of 2.25 goals per game before the Everton match in November, and since, they've managed only 1.18 per game. Jorginho was an essential part of Sarri's Napoli team too. He allows Chelsea to maintain this shape and these passing lanes: If you remove that one link, all of Chelsea's play is forced into wide areas, as you can see from the average positions. Arsenal vs Chelsea average positions Isolate Jorginho and Chelsea's first phase of buildup is ruined. There's no way Sarri isn't wholly aware of this but why would he compromise the system and shape that brought him so success he was offered the Chelsea job in the first place? Curbing Chelsea's creativity: The arrival of Sarri was good news for David Luiz, who has become one of Chelsea's most important creative players. Centre-backs aren't usually man-marked, which means they are free to distribute the ball as they wish - Luiz's long range passing is superb. David Luiz is one of Chelsea's most important playmakers This exact pass put Pedro clean through on goal, played onside by Arsenal's left-back Sead Kolasinac. A possession-based side like Chelsea would usually depend on the creativity of the attacking midfielders to find openings, but a midfield of N'Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic and a man-marked Jorginho needs a bit of help from someone with ideas. Luiz is perhaps the only footballer in the team prepared to hit direct, vertical passes to catch out teams defending against Chelsea's never-ending horizontal passing. The solution to this is obvious too: force Chelsea to pass the ball to their right flank, away from Marcos Alonso and Luiz, towards Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger and Kante, who are less artistic distributors of the ball. That's exactly what Arsenal did. Possession without penetration Opposition teams are entirely happy to let Chelsea have the ball because that's the best way to defend against them. With buildup play spoiled because Jorginho is marked and without a striker capable of causing damage, they're so predictable in the final third that teams can defend patiently behind the ball until Chelsea run out of ideas, try a shot from 20 yards or cross the ball into nobody, turning over possession. Chelsea's attacking shape leaves them vulnerable to counter-attacks, which makes sitting deep and waiting for the ball a safe option for success. Eden Hazard is best when allowed to roam from his starting position on the left of a forward three but when stationed as a false nine, doesn't see enough of the ball. When he drops deep to get involved, Chelsea are left without a player to aim crosses to in the box and his natural inclination to drift to the left side means the centre of the pitch is left vacant. And so, Chelsea work the ball wide either by choice or forced to by the defending team, reach the end of the corridor and then have no option but to pass backwards, then sideways, then backwards. Chelsea's players are being marked out of the game, which means the most creative are being neutered by the entire team's predictability. We've seen this happen to other managers in recent seasons. Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool employ the same shape as Chelsea, but move the ball through the lines more quickly and employ a more frantic forward press. It took Klopp several transfer windows and three seasons of coaching to get his side looking the way he wanted. In the days before Naby Keita and Virgil van Dijk Liverpool had similar struggles in the Premier League, with teams like Burnley sitting back, denying space and coming away with 1-0 wins. With time Sarri can construct a starting XI in his own image too but that in itself is a problem to fix - will he be given time and money to buy new players to fit a system, or does he need to change the system to fit the players? Is N'Golo Kante out of position? Kante is one of the world's great midfielders. He won the Premier League with Leicester and Chelsea as a central midfielder in a midfield two, running around the pitch with such energy and making so many tackles and interceptions that Claudio Ranieri remarked it was like there were two of him on the pitch. Sarri's midfield three fundamentally needs a player who to set the passing tempo and who is able to receive the ball in tight spaces, turn a corner and bring others into play, hence Jorginho. The two eights must be in position to link passing through the middle, cover in defence and attack the halfspaces in the final third. Kante can't play as a six so he has to be an eight. The thing is, Sarri cannot drop Kante because he is one of Chelsea's very best players. But Kante isn't the best at either of these roles... Kante can play the box-to-box role asked of him in Sarri's system but creates chances by winning turnovers and barging his way past players. Without another midfielder on the opposite side of the pitch capable of unlocking a defence and with Hazard's creativity absent due to his positioning, there's no cutting edge in the final third. This fundamentally alters the passing lanes and options for build up that Sarri wants. The 4-2-3-1 is a great counter-attack formation (Liverpool use it often this season) but Sarri wants control of the game by having possession of the ball. Switching to two sixes and a 10 doesn't suit this. Most obvious weakness is that by moving a player from six to 10, buildup play cannot go through a central pivot and instead must be shifted wide or vertically. Teams tend to defend against this shape by sitting at halfway or slightly deeper, crowding out the 10 and forcing passes out wide... sound familiar? Vertical passes often result in turnovers of possession, which means the attacking team doesn't have total control of the ball, which means a manager has less control over the outcome of a match. Sarri wants to limit variables since that's how his teams gain an advantage, never relying on the luck of a dice roll. The system is fine, the players are at fault This defeat was due to our mentality, more than anything else," said a furious Sarri in his post-match interview. "This is something I can't accept. This group of players are extremely difficult to motivate." Arsenal were quicker to close down Chelsea, and from kick-off showed more energy and aggression all over the pitch. Without maximum effort or at least a matched desire to win, tactical setups can have little effect on the outcome of a match between two groups of hugely talented players. When teams play with a high defensive line as Sarri's does, the first line of press is crucial but too often Arsenal were able to escape the attentions of Pedro, Willian and Hazard. Arsenal stayed narrow in their own half and had a striker stay wide to offer an out-ball - Sarri shouldn't have had to explain to his players how important it was to cut this pass out: When players were caught out of position others failed to react and fill the gaps. Without that burning desire to hunt and win the ball back, Sarri-ball doesn't function as it should. The attacking shape leaves the defence vulnerable in transition - if the attackers don't defend with the right intensity in the right places, the building falls down. Attackers can sometimes get away without defending if they're producing the goods at the other end but that isn't happening. Hazard is wasted as a false-nine because he can't get on the ball, and though Willian has created 59 chances this season - the third most of any player in the Premier League - only three of these have been converted (three assists) and he has only scored three goals himself. Pedro has seven goals and only one assist. Gonzalo Higuain might make a big difference to Chelsea, free up Hazard to go wide left and Willian wide right, but the problems will remain unless those forwards do the unrewarding hard work necessary to make Sarri's system work. Mourinho and Antonio Conte were only able to win things with the same group of players when in a deep, defensive counter-attack setup - the same problems with defending from the front have been there for seasons. Sarri might be exactly the coach to build a team which wins by playing truly attractive football but to do that he needs time, something Chelsea don't have a history of affording. There's no panic right now - Chelsea are fourth after all - but there are clear problems that need addressing at Stamford Bridge and it is interesting that Sarri dropped his friendly, warm media character to dress down the players after the humbling defeat to Arsenal. Chelsea lacked bite at the Emirates, Sarri has started baring his teeth.
  36. 14 points
    In regards to Sarri, lets put things into perspective In Peps first season at City, after 23 games City had won 14, drawn 4 and lost 5 This season under Sarri we have won 14, drawn 5 and lost 4 Pep had the likes of De Bruyne, Silva, Sane, Aguero and Sterling Sarri has no decent striker, an ageing Pedro and Willian. Hazard is our only top class attacker So with an inferior squad, especially in attack Sarri is actually doing better than Pep did in his first season Like I and others have said, this is going to take time to truly see Sarriball be effective. The players are still adapting and need a few new players to make it work Give him time. I'm confident that Sarri will turn us into one of the best sides in the League
  37. 14 points
    mclovin83

    Maurizio Sarri Officially Appointed

    I am starting to find this thread a bit hard to read. There are certain people who have obviously decided they don't like Sarri, and that is of course entirely their right, but now just have absolutely nothing positive to say what so ever. It's got to the point where even the undeniably positive things are either somehow turned into negatives, or where achieved "in spite "of Sarri. I mean you could literally apply that sort of negativity to any scenario if you try hard enough, but I just find it a bit weird to want to. I guess it had just become a point scoring thing. I find both sides of the argument interesting when it is constructive though. I am personally enjoying the ride under Sarri so far and have by no means given up. I think there have been positive and negatives, but all in all we are probably about where we should be given our squad and the obvious flaws. I still think you have got to give him a season, a striker that scores goals, and then judge him come May. At the moment we are still 4th (a position I would take at the end of the season, and would have taken at the start), and are still in every competition. I am personally not finding the football boring (although I admit it hans't been mouth watering either), and am enjoying seeing a new style and ideas (despite some teething problems). It's been said before, but look at Pep and Guardiola in their first seasons for perspective, and remember their budgets in the transfer market. Basically, just cheer up and enjoy the ride!
  38. 14 points
    To add a bit more optimism here, we've just secured the largest transfer fee for any US player, who, at 20 years old, was one of the most sought after young talents by European clubs. He's already an experienced pro and a regular international where, if I remember correctly, was one of the best players on show against England in a recent friendly. He can play on either wing, or as a no10, and apparently, is also a great professional and a hard-working lad. This is after the club invested a world record fee for a young goalkeeper (now 24), where Zidane went on record to that Madrid wanted him (and came close to signing him prior to the buy-out clause being inserted). And this is whilst the club, despite outcry from various pundits and media outlets to the contrary, have been giving decent amounts of game time (when they have been fit) to Loftus-Cheek (22), Hudson-Odoi (18), and Ampadu (18), to name a few. Not to mention the other top young talents we have out on loan (Mason Mount, for example). We may not be a perfectly run club, but I'm struggling to see a downside with this. Prior to FFP, we tried, and a lot of times failed with big money signings where players were past their best. We're now seeing evidence of a slightly different approach, and it's being written off before being given a proper chance.
  39. 14 points
    Zola

    That Sterling Incident

    Plays into the narrative very well of racist old Chelsea. The guys in that video all need to take a long hard look at themselves, regardless if they were being racist of not. Gammon faced 50+ year old men screaming blue murder at a 24 year old lad collecting a football. How grim must your life be to be that angry? I am all for banter and a bit of needle, but those guys looked absolutely pathetic and devoid of anything else in their life but Chelsea.
  40. 14 points
    Valerie

    Welcome Ross Barkley

    Socialising with Dele Alli, that's disgusting. Three match ban, if Sarri has any sense!
  41. 14 points
  42. 14 points
    Derby fan in peace. Just to say what a breath of fresh air Frank has been. Been a divisive few years at Pride Park but Frank and Jody have wiped that away in a heartbeat and brought a buzz back to the place we've not seen in a long time. Suffice to say that a footy mad city has taken him straight to heart and the brand of football he's trying to instill here has lifted all bar the most cynical of hearts. The sensible fans accept it may take a year or two for them to put their stamp on the club but the vast majority are prepared for that which is pretty unusual to say the least! It really shows the esteem in which Frank is held by all fans, not just you lot! Out of the limelight, Jody too is quietly going about his business. Not a man to be messed with, nor to beat around the bush and given the ego overload that's plagued us for a while, he too is a major filip for the club. His understanding and experience in developing young players will be as key as Frank's character and work ethic. Also, a word or two about young Mount and Tomori. Mason's is scoring for fun but has yet to really stamp himself on games the way most folk think he can. His goals more than justify his place before anyone thinks I'm moaning and it's clear he's a class apart from pretty much any attacking mid in the div. He plays almost like a second 10 and you could do worse than back him to be top scorer (he was 100/1!!!) as few teams will cope with his movement and eye for goal. He will be bossing games in no time and I reckon you have a proper jewel on your hands there. Frank can't hide his excitement and genuinely seems to think the lad can reach any heights and that tell you all you need to know. As for Fikayo, the boy's a beast. Injuries have meant that he's played at CB but I think he's more of a wingback which is where he played while on loan at Hull, interestingly behind Wilson who is also on loan at Derby right now. This kid is a prince - raw right now and prone to the odd mistake but like Mason, he's clearly way too good for our league. He reminds me of Zouma but I genuinely believe he can be better. Hudds aside, there's no one more comfortable on the ball and he's a tad quicker over the ground! On our forum I've been banging on about what a CDM he'd make as with his skill set he's too good to play as part of a back 3 or 4. Makele, Kante, Tomori - dare to dream as he might just be the next Chelsea general! Soooooo... thanks for Frank, Jody and the loans and also for the interest and support for Derby we've noted since all these lads arrived. We've had a good few Chelsea lads register on dcfcfans.uk this season and it's been a pleasure having them there. No wumming, no giving it the big one, just real enthusiasm. My lad is Chelsea mad and him and all is mates are texting me about the Rams and watching all the live games which I love for obvious reasons. Anyway, enough of my drunken ramblings. Suffice to say that us Derby fans are reciprocating and keeping an eye out to see how Sarri does and hoping that your lads can be the team to put it up to Citeh this year. Someone needs to! Best of luck fellas and apologies for the drunken and gushy post which I hope you'll accept in the spirit in which it was intended.
  43. 14 points
    EdinburghBlue

    Alvaro Morata

    This annoys me to no end on this board. I’m not just singling you out but this caught my attention. Morata gets slated on here constantly, that miss at the end by Giroud was f**king woeful from a World Cup winning striker. If that had been Morata, there would be folk in here demanding he plays with the U20’s for the rest of the season. The double standards are frightening.
  44. 14 points
    Class words from a man who didn't stoop to the boards level. Will always have a special place in this supporters heart, in my lifetime I can't remember a more popular and passionate manager at the bridge. Cheers Antonio.
  45. 14 points
    Wow that came out of nowhere!
  46. 14 points
  47. 13 points
    PloKoon13

    Ruben Loftus-Cheek

  48. 13 points
    See Dele Alli got a plastic bottle on the back of his head last night. Can't condone that. Shocking behaviour. If you're going to throw something at Dele Alli, at least make it something like a house brick.
  49. 13 points
    It seems the reports of our demise were premature then, good job our players and manager have bigger balls than a lot of our fans who gave up on the team.
  50. 13 points
    robdog

    Thibaut Courtois


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