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  1. 23 points
    Liam

    Season's Player Ratings with NOBS on

    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.
  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. 21 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. 20 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. 19 points
    dkw

    Sarri - In or Out?

    So, Sarri leads us to 3rd, loses one final, then wins a European trophy, unbeaten in the competition and has the biggest Cup final win in our history. We'll done to the gaffer.
  7. 18 points
    I love that this club never accepts defeat when things are going wrong. Everything about this final was going badly for the club, our transfer ban, Hazard and Sarri's future being up in the air, an ill timed friendly in America which ended up with one of our key players picking up a serious injury, Rudiger still on crutches and Kante almost having a malfunction just before the final, and we still won the cup. The attitude to never give up has played a massive role in our success in the last decade. It's almost become our thing now.
  8. 17 points
    Scott Harris

    Sarri - In or Out?

    I hate this type of attitude. One day the trophies will dry up, and you will be begging for another League Cup, FA Cup or Europa League victory. I don't like to use the words spoilt or say people aren't proper fans of the club, but in this case, I think it's fair to say you fit both of those. To say you're not interested in winning any trophy outside of the Champions League and Premier League is so ungrateful. You're basically saying that half of what we have won in the Roman era and almost everything we won before it in our history means nothing.
  9. 17 points
    There is something magical about this photo.. Look at the pride in his eyes. It's one for the ages, no doubt.
  10. 17 points
    You're not going to watch your team in a European Final because we might lose? Shocking mentality.
  11. 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.
  12. 16 points
    Updated version of a photograph.
  13. 16 points
  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. 15 points
    Kentonio

    Fun season ahead?

    Ok so this year we had to sit through half the fans bitching and whining all year about how much they hated Sarri, and how 3rd and a EUFA cup wasn't good enough etc etc. Now it seems like the coming season we'll have Frank back, a transfer ban and a squad full of kids. Now I'm not sure I can handle another 9 months of misery and whining, so how about we all agree to treat this season as just a good laugh, and not give a sh*t about things like league position and cups and all that? Let's pretend we're back in the 80's when we never expected anything, and a win was a surprise pleasure! Also we will probably get the added bonus os watching all the plastics f**k off to Liverpool and City! It's a win all around!
  18. 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.
  19. 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
  20. 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.
  21. 15 points
    I can't believe you started this thread...
  22. 14 points
    Slojo

    Sarri - In or Out?

    Not sure if it has been posted, but our management team, what Dons.
  23. 14 points
  24. 14 points
    Fair play to Emery. First comment he made in his interview was "congratulations to Chelsea". Showed real class there.
  25. 14 points
  26. 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...
  27. 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.
  28. 14 points
    Zeta

    Sarri - In or Out?

    Is there an option to get rid of most of the players as well?
  29. 14 points
    Apparently the bench were standing on the touchline to watch the penalty shootout, and Gianfranco told them all to squat down so the fans on the bottom tier behind them could have a clear view. God I love this guy.
  30. 14 points
    Drogba would have scored twice from that cross.
  31. 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.
  32. 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
  33. 14 points
    abramovich

    Big Pete Retires

    I still think it was the right decision at the time. Emotions aside, Petr wasn't the player he used to be either because of age or the head injury and we needed to assure Courtois he's the new number one keeper or risk losing him. Many thought he was the future of Chelsea. The difference between how both treated the club couldn't tell more about what kind of men these two are. Cech already a legend and having won everything, spent his last season on the bench and said nothing, and left with the club blessing for Arsenal. Courtois waited till the last moment to f**k us over. That's why Big Pete is a club legend and Tibaut is a twat.
  34. 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!
  35. 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.
  36. 13 points
    As some of you know, I have been doing the Man of the Match threads after every game (almost couldn't be bothered with the games we lost though ) so I thought I would share the total votes so far now that we are half way through the season. I have also included starts, subs, goals and assists for every player. GS (Games started) S (Sub appearances) G (Goals) A (Assists) MP (motm points) MW (motm wins) Kepa Arrizabalaga - GS = 24 | S = 0 | G = 0 | A = 0 | MP = 45 | MW = 3 ( and 1 shared) Willy Caballero - GS = 3 | S = 0 | G = 0 | A = 0 | MP = 8 | MW = 0 Robert Green - GS = 0 | S = 0 | G = 0 | A = 0 | MP = 0 | MW = 0 Cesar Azpilicueta - GS = 20 | S = 2 | G = 0 | A = 3 | MP = 19 | MW = 0 Davide Zappacosta - GS = 7 | S = 2 | G = 0 | A = 2 | MP = 2 | MW = 0 Marcos Alonso - GS = 19 | S = 0 | G = 1 | A = 3 | MP = 54 | MW = 2 Emerson Palmieri - GS = 8 | S = 0 | G = 1 | A = 2 | MP = 8 | MW = 1 Antonio Rudiger - GS = 20 | S = 0 | G = 1 | A = 0 | MP = 20 | MW = 2 David Luiz - GS = 17 | S = 3 | G = 1 | A = 0 | MP = 54 | MW = 2 Andreas Christensen - GS = 10 | S = 0 | G = 0 | A = 0 | MP = 0 | MW = 0 Gary Cahill - GS = 6 | S = 1 | G = 0 | A = 0 | MP = 0 | MW = 0 Ethan Ampadu - GS = 1 | S = 1 | G = 0 | A = 0 | MP = 2 | MW = 0 Joginho - GS = 19 | S = 0 | G = 1 | A = 0 | MP = 46 | MW = 0 Cesc Fabregas - GS = 8 | S = 5 | G = 1 | A = 3 | MP = 18 | MW = 1 Danny Drinkwater - GS = 0 | S = 0 | G = 0 | A = 0 | MP = 0 | MW = 0 N'Golo Kante - GS = 20 | S = 2 | G = 2 | A = 2 | MP = 49 | MW = 2 ( and 1 shared) Mateo Kovacic - GS = 17 | S = 5 | G = 0 | A = 1 | MP = 16 | MW = 0 Ross Barkley - GS = 13 | S = 10 | G = 3 | A = 4 | MP = 65 | MW = 2 ( and 1 shared ) Ruben Loftus-Cheek - GS = 8 | S = 7 | G = 6 | A = 1 | MP = 72 | MW = 4 Willian - GS = 22 | S = 4 | G = 4 | A = 5 | MP = 22 | MW = 0 ( and 1 shared ) Pedro - GS = 15 | S = 9 | G = 6 | A = 2 | MP = 42 | MW = 0 ( and 1 shared ) Victor Moses - GS = 1 | S = 4 | G = 0 | A = 0 | MP = 0 | MW = 0 Eden Hazard - GS = 15 | S = 6 | G = 10 | A = 9 | MP = 132 | MW = 4 Callum Hudson-Odoi - GS = 2 | S = 2 | G = 1 | A = 1 | MP = 7 | MW = 1 Alvaro Morata - GS = 15 | S = 5 | G = 7 | A = 0 | MP = 26 | MW = 1 Olivier Giroud - GS = 9 | S = 12 | G = 6 | A = 5 | MP = 16 | MW = 0 Eden Hazard leads (unsurprisingly) with 132 points and 4 man of the match wins. Loftus Cheek, who has only played 15 games in total, is second with 72 points and 4 man of the match wins. Ross Barkley takes the third spot with 65 points, 2 man of the match wins and 1 more that is shared with Pedro and Willian. Willian has made the most appearances overall (26) Kepa Arrizabalaga has started the most games (24) Olivier Giroud has made the most substitute appearances (12) Eden Hazard has the most goals and assists (10 & 9)
  37. 13 points
    I live near Tottenham town. I hate Tottenham. My Chelsea supporting bessie mate hates Tottenham so much he booked an expensive holiday on the other side of the world for him and the missus because he could not bear the pain and heartache he would have got round here if Tottenham had won. One minute after Liverpool's 2nd goal he texted me to say he felt safe to come home. You have to salute that. We hate Tottenham.
  38. 13 points
    I just found this Post-match pict
  39. 13 points
  40. 13 points
  41. 13 points
    Argo

    Sarri - In or Out?

    Our current points tally is enough for top four 20 times out of the last 23 season's. Infact some season's teams that have ended up with 71 points we're in a title race heading to the business end (Spurs 15/16, Chelsea 10/11) admitedly an outside chance but still. If we win at Leicester our final points tally would have been enough 22 times out of the last 23. It's an absolute myth that we are lucky to be in top four, infact we would have been very unlucky to have missed out with this points tally.
  42. 13 points
    Liverpool winning the CL wouldn't bother me too much just as long as City win the league. I shudder at the thought of Liverpool doing the League and CL double. Tottenham really have no business being in the CL final. It's like if Michael Bay was nominated for an oscar, it's an absolute travesty. The biggest victims here though are the people of Madrid, who will see their fine city invaded by tens of thousands of scousers and spuds on the 1st of June. Nobody deserves that.
  43. 13 points
    PloKoon13

    Ruben Loftus-Cheek

  44. 13 points
    Absolutely not. There will be a time for Frank, but it's certainly not now.
  45. 13 points
  46. 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.
  47. 13 points
    Jezz

    Jose

    It's a little disheartening to see people start to doubt or even diminish the influence he had on our club. I've noticed this sort of revisionism creeping in over the last few years. He's been through a torrid few years as manager and he's not the same manager/person as he was then, but it shouldn't be understated that he was an exceptional manager for us. Before Jose arrived in 2004, we were largely known as perennial runner ups. We always gave a strong account of ourselves every season, but we lacked that killer instinct to go all the way in key competitions such as the PL and CL. While I liked Ranieri, his managerial period was summed up with the lack of trophies at the end of it despite various opportunities to pick up silverware along the way. Jose took us to the next level and made us world beaters for several years. He instilled self belief into a team and improved most of our playing squad when he was there. He was tactically ahead of the game and arguably the best manager in the world at the time. I acknowledge the foundations were there for him to succeed, but I think most optimists didn't envisage it would go as well as it did when he first arrived. Guys such as Lampard still hold him in the highest regard. He's been quoted as saying he was the best manager he's ever worked under and Lampard had seen enough managers go around at the club to give a strong opinion on the topic of managers. His second stint isn't spoken of with the same fondness, but I still thought his first two years were very good and better than anything he produced at Manchester United. It just went rapidly downhill in the final few months which overshadows his earlier achievements in his second stint. I think his achievements at Porto and Inter Milan cement his legacy as one of the greats regardless of what you think of him. His decline started around mid-2012 in his final season at Real Madrid, but he was still a very competent manager from 2012-2014. His decline since 2015 has been much more alarming in my opinion.
  48. 13 points
    Jezz

    Jose Mourinho thread

  49. 12 points
    So if you think 90% of our players wouldn't start for a top 6 side, then us currently being in 4th means Sarri's management can't be that appaling then? Can't have it both ways surely.
  50. 12 points
    Have to completely disagree on Klopp and Guardiola getting their "styles" nailed down pretty quickly. Guardiola in particular was under massive pressure throughout his first season, barely spoke to the media by the end and looked damn close to walking. He was consistently hounded for putting system first despite the players' (particularly goalkeeper and defenders) struggles. Not suggesting it's all clicking into place just yet but we at least appear to have some direction and footballing philosophy, and despite the bumps along the way we're doing OK. The team seem a lot more together than they did under Mourinho or Conte, and despite the media narrative we keep showing glimpses of brilliance in this setup, I'm happy to be patient and see it develop. This was an important win, made all the more difficult given Fulham's managerial change, and but for better finishing would've been a more comfortable scoreline. I just don't like the negativity, it's another 3 points and we're one game in hand from the top 4, I'd say we're on the right track.

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