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Decision time


Eton Blue at the Chelsea Megastore

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Realistically, last nights defeat has put paid to our chances in the PL. I know that if we beat Utd home and away that we could overhaul them but I think that is just clutching at straws.

The big question is what should our approach be from here on?

Do we buy in the transfer window to try and get back in to the title race?

Do we strengthen with a view to the CL?

Do we look to the future and give some of our younger players more game time?

I'd like to see us take option three. The old guard haven't done it for us. We have no chance of winning the CL on this form. If we really believe that the youngsters are good enough then it's time to prove it. Kakuta, Sturridge and McEachran have to get a run in the side at the expense of Mikel, Kalou and Anelka. I don't know if they are good enough but it's the only way to find out.

We can't just keep turn in out the same players in the same formation. It simply isn't working. Time for Ancelloti to get a grip and earn his corn.

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How about the club backing a manager instead of undermining them.

It seems as soon as you win a title at Chelsea, there is always an element within the club ready to distabalise the dressing room and winning mantra.

The Wilkins sacking is the example this time around (I don't want to cover old ground like ''what did Wilkin's actually do etc) I just think his dismissal and replacement, neither of which Carlo was consulted about, has had an impact on the dressing room and underlined the weakness of the managers position.

If we're going to go with youth, and gradually replace an ageing squad, we've got expect a few bad results, but we've had pretty much a full strenght side for the past few games, bar one or two players. Something just doesn't look right from the outside, no organisation, no spirit, no fight, what's going on?

Let's at least back the manager publically and allow him to pick his own coaching staff. He cut a lonely figure on that touchline last night.

Thats said, pulling Malouda for Kakuta at 3-0 and changing a rightback for a rightback, once again while chasing a lead is not going to endure Carlo to many during this particular bad patch.

Things need to turn around and fast.

The title is over for this season, we're now looking at a top 4 finish, so why not start some of the youngsters a bit more often?

Champions to fighting it out for a CL spot.......Only at Chelsea eh!?!?!

Edited by BLUENUT
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We go forward by improving our front line.

Contrary to popular belief our midfield and defence aren't the problem.

We don't even have a threat from the right.

Our main striker is 32 suffering from malaria.

We're unbalanced and easy to defend against as all our good work is done on the left.

We have the awful Kalou STARTING games. He shouldn't even be on our bench let alone in the first 11.

We don't need 10 new players. Just 2 will do in January and then you can address things properly in the summer.

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In short term, drop those who aren't playing well. That could mean all 8-9 after Yesterday, As I had in the match thread, Mikel must go for now, contributing nothing at moment. Kalou should give way to Studdrige or Kakuka. If Lampard is not in full fitness, play him off the bench. We can't have the situation where those play s** keep playing week in and week out, and the so called promising youngsters have to go out for a loan spell in a lower division to get a game. I couldn't imagine Strruidge, Josh M can do much worse than Kalou, Mikel, Essien yesterday.

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Realistically, last nights defeat has put paid to our chances in the PL. I know that if we beat Utd home and away that we could overhaul them but I think that is just clutching at straws.

The big question is what should our approach be from here on?

Do we buy in the transfer window to try and get back in to the title race?

Do we strengthen with a view to the CL?

Do we look to the future and give some of our younger players more game time?

I'd like to see us take option three. The old guard haven't done it for us. We have no chance of winning the CL on this form. If we really believe that the youngsters are good enough then it's time to prove it. Kakuta, Sturridge and McEachran have to get a run in the side at the expense of Mikel, Kalou and Anelka. I don't know if they are good enough but it's the only way to find out.

We can't just keep turn in out the same players in the same formation. It simply isn't working. Time for Ancelloti to get a grip and earn his corn.

Blimey ES, you are one of the last posters I expected something like this from!! I had you down as one of the "things are okay - this team won the double last season" brigade.

But you're right. The time for burying one's head in the sand and expecting everything to come good next game, the game after, the game after that...............are over. Even the most blinkered amongst us must now realise that things are far from okay and they are not going to suddenly change if we keep on putting out the same faces.

For me it HAS to be option three. As I Said in the match thread, the most frustrating thing yesterday was to see Josh sitting on the bench watching players like Mikel and Kalou keep giving the ball away. We need a player in the midfield who is not only comfortable on the ball but one who can keep possession and open teams up. McEachran IS that player. He's only 17. SO WHAT!!

Understand Sturridge has a knock but as soon as he is fit he HAS to start. It's been said a million times before, Kalou is squad player NOT someone who should be starting EVERY GAME.

Lamps, Anelka and Drogba all need to be replaced soon - at least one by the end of this season.

And at the moment the balance is ALL wrong. Too many foreign players with not enough fighting spirit.

Things have to change and the next match is a good time to start.

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I'm coming around to your view on McEachran Nibs. Watching Wilshire last night I thought to myself on several occasions 'There's nothing he is doing out there that Josh can't do, it's a matter of playing time and confidence.'

That said it's hard for Carlo to give these guys a chance given his job is on the line. He can't just play the young players and risk us slipping out of the top four which would be a financial disaster. Last night was a good oppurtunity and I was glad to see Kakuta get a gig, he wasn't great but not worse than Malouda and I think Josh could have done everything Ramires did quite comfortably.

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I'm coming around to your view on McEachran Nibs. Watching Wilshire last night I thought to myself on several occasions 'There's nothing he is doing out there that Josh can't do, it's a matter of playing time and confidence.'

That said it's hard for Carlo to give these guys a chance given his job is on the line. He can't just play the young players and risk us slipping out of the top four which would be a financial disaster. Last night was a good oppurtunity and I was glad to see Kakuta get a gig, he wasn't great but not worse than Malouda and I think Josh could have done everything Ramires did quite comfortably.

This is the other side of the "why did Frank Lampard play the whole game" question I asked in the Match thread. I deliberately didn't mention McEachran but with Frank so obviously short of match fitness, and with such limited options on the bench, surely McEachran would have been the ideal player to have either brought on when it was apparent that Frank was tiring, or to have started, with the possibility of bringing Frank on at some stage in the second half.

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I didn't think Frank did too bad, for a bloke who hadn't really played in 4 months. Obviously we would have liked to take him off but I think Carlo felt he had to lay down the law by taking off Malouda and Mikel (Ramires was on because we were still in it at that point) and I think he took Paulo off because Nasri was giving him a pizzling down that side and he was worried it might get embarrassing. I wouldn't be concerned Hutch, there will be changes for Bolton I feel and some bigger names might find themselves not in the starting team. Josh could well be one of the names who replaces one of those names.

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At this time our first priority from League point of view has to be making sure that we arent much behind in the race for top 4 spot...apart from this we can just hope that the teams like Manu,Arses drop some points and we need to capitalize on these chances without fail.

January transfer window gives a good chance for getting some resources but we should not do any deal in haste.

Carlo needs to think calmly to decide what actually the squad needs...goal scoring wasnt a problem for us last season but this year somehow we are lacking in midfield and defence and then the attack is crumbling under this additional pressure...So whatever carlo does in next 1 month will have a heavy impact on not just this season , but on CL and next few seasons as well.

Crucial times await the Bridge in New year.

Edited by Jawan
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We go forward by improving our front line.

Contrary to popular belief our midfield and defence aren't the problem.

agree about the defence to s certain extent - though we have an issue at RB. My my concern is if Ivanovic or JT get injured - then we are f**ked.

However I just can't believe you think all is ok in midfield! How many goals have that lot cost us this season ? We have an increasingly pointless Mikel , Essien in the worse form of his cfc career , Ramires struggling to adapt and Frank about 30% fit. It's a major headache for us, though not as much as up front where I agree with all you say.

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More of a general note, but whats alarmed me is the number of times we've been giving the ball away needlessly in defence and defensive midfield. At WHL we largely escaped, but the number of times we resorted to a hopeful punt from Cech was quite worrying (even if Drogba's goal came from one of these punts). If I remember JT had to pretty much drag the rest of the team forward by running out of defence, which indicates we're missing some drive and energy in midfield. Whilst I'm pretty cautious about Josh, as he's only 17 and there are people expecting an awful lot of him, I think he's one of the few options in our midfield who can offer incisive passing and can run with the ball in midfield rather than pass it sideways or just be there as a defensive shield.

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I try to put myself in Carlos shoes when concidering changing the first team and for the Bolton game I'll put in my two cents worth.

Lets start with the forwards, Drogba: still not looking his usual self but was ok yesterday and is just too big a player for us to leave out, his coming into proper form is so important to the rest of our season we just have to give him time.

Kalou, I like Kalou but the last couple of games he has got worse, he was missing chances before and that is down to a lack of confidence but the last couple of games I have noticed he has been slow to react and make a run when we have been in threatening positions, I don't know if his confidence is so bad he doesn't want to get a chance in case he misses it but Sturridge would certainly have got a decent run out yesterday if he had been on the bench.

Anelka, been poor of late but I would still start him if fit, for me he has the intelligence we lacked yesterday when on a break, ok sometimes he is guilty of holding the ball up for too long but we have been short of willing runners while Frank has been away but this should be better as Frank regains his sharpness, we still need more players getting into the box instead of playing with the fear we saw yesterday.

Malouda, close to being as important as Drogba for us nowadays and with seven league goals each they both need to step up, Kakuta done ok yesterday but looked nervy for me and made a couple of mistakes (one nearly very costly) but done himself no real harm, couldn't start him ahead of Malouda on that showing but if Flo is flat again then Gael should come on for twenty five minutes or so.

Midfield,

Lampard if showing no ill effects has to start, the only player who seems to have the ability to make a run at the right time from midfield and also to fid a defense splitting pass, start him and if he is tired sub him early would be my choice as the confidence the team are lacking could be worse if he was not a starter.

Essien, another really hard decision for the Manager, Essien has had a big part to play in our slump with his rash challenge that led to us having to play an even more weakened Midfield for three games, he has not stepped up to make up for it and we have little choice other than to hope he regains the fire we know he has in him somewhere.

Mikel, I think Mikel has become a bit too sure of himself of late and his performances have suffered, like Essien he looks at the bench and feels he is nailed on but he really has been a weak link of late and yesterday Ialthough we shipped two goals as soon as he was replaced I feel Ramires was a better option, going forward although a bit ambitious at least Ramires is a threat, I would play Ramires over Mikel against Bolton for two reasons...1 because if we play our proper game we can do without a purely holding midfielder with Essien and Ramires in the team and 2 I wouldn't start Josh for Mikel as I would bring him on from the bench for either Frank or Ramires later in the game, maybe if he again done well his starting would be very soon for me but I would be hoping still for improvements in Essiens and Ramires form.

Defense is easy and picks itself other than at RB, I think I would start Bosingwa as our right side is so weak going forward and he gives us a bit more balance, he still worries me defensively and has a very optimistic and wasteful hair trigger but can still improve.

If I had given up on the title or realistically second place I might be inclined start Josh and Sturridge but as I've said before with 18 gone and 20 to play there is more chance of us pulling it together than there is of Arsenal holding it together going on the past few years and a six point lead with a game in hand doesn't look impossible when we have to play UTD twice.

My team for Bolton would be

Cech

Bosingwa

Ivanovic

Terry

Cole

Essien

Ramires

Lampard

Malouda

Anelka

Drogba

Assuming Sturridge and Anelka only had slight knocks I would be bringing Sturridge on for most of the second half if Anelka had not performed and Josh would be not far behind for Ramires or Lampard unless there were any forced Substitutions.

I wouldn't mind seeing a return to the diamond just to shake things up a bit if we were struggling and Josh could be tried at the tip, I wonder if Carlo has tried this in training and I'm surprised being as we had a lot of success with it at the start of last season that it isn't a formation we could adjust to mid game if things are not going well.

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Why was Ray sacked?

Why is Arnesen leaving?

After these events our form dipped almost dramatically. Players lack will to fight.

Is that Emenalo guy brining anything to the table?

Is Carlo afraid to ask Roman for a helping hand and re-enforcements? The squad needs something that Carlo can't give alone.

Fact is we are in a tight budget and the squad is very narrow to last years. Combining that to the injury problems we've had the squad's driven into depression after some bad results.

I have no idea how we can repair this? Maybe we need the CB for cover. Maybe Carlo needs help in whatever Ray was giving him. Spirits need to be lifted.

In CL we have good chance in my book. You can progress playing great in one game. We had a lucky draw so anything is possible.

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I would like to see a mix of youth and experience on the bench, although, it may mean buying one or two players in the upcoming transfer window. Last year when we went through a loss of form on December we had the options of Ballack, Belletti, Carvalho, Cole and Deco to choose from as well as a couple of the current youngsters.

Without including Turnbull (who I can only think of being used in the event of a sending off or injury to Cech) our bench last night had an average age of 21 and that is taking into account a twenty eight year old Bosingwa, without him it was 19.6. Although, I agree that it is crucial to bring the youngsters on, I think it is too risky to use them primarily when we are losing or desperately on the back foot and expect them to turn the game around, for me this is the kind of pressure that should soaked up by more experienced players where possible.

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We can all have our own opinion on the way forward for the club, but it is just an opinion, Roman is the only person whos opinion REALLY matters, I'm not saying thats right or wrong, but it's the truth.

It's about time Roman spoke to the fans I think, which way are we going Roman ?

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im really glad someone asked the quiestion just were do we go from here and heres my thought

for a long time i have said scrap this 433 we dont have the players for it and its tatcicly a bit well for lack of better words we have been found out it works if drogs is on form holding up and brining others in

id go with 4312 id play frank josh and essien along the middle im not asking for a holding mid cause i think thats a little reduntant if the team press as a unit something we havent been doing giveing teams too much time to pick there pass's id put kakuta in behind the front too i hounestly believe thats his future postion and up front go with drogs and sturridge

yes there are 3 youngsters in the squad but can they do any worse than kalou anelka maloude or the terrible mikel of late

plus we have diffrent options and our bench would have nik remeries and the aforemenchended so there are options again

plus we wouldnt be relying on long balls to drogs we could go short or over the top with sturidge to run onto

maybe with the youth aspect there would be some energy and zip in midfield

i look forward to other peoples thoughts

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Sooner or later we had to get to this point were are right now.

But during the whole process of this change, from money-splashing to youth-blooding, the board and all who are involved made mistakes on almost every step till now.

Lads like Joey, Belleti and Deco had to move on, no question about that, but it was too much to also sell Riccy and Ballack. And how the f**k could they let go Stoch (who scores and scores at Fenerbahce)?, then the other young serbian midfielder, dont remember his name anymore. Transfer politcs and stragety isn't really our strength, that was proven once again.

It goes on with the mysterious sacking of Ray, putting Emelano "next" to Carlo, hesitating to back Carlo during these sacking rumours (it took several weeks till they published something).

I just don't feckin hope that the squad is meanwhile already this far to play against the coach, but it has some moments were it looks like.

And to sack Carlo..... he's won THE DOUBLE with us and some months later he's been sacked, joke par excellence.

Qué será, será....

PS: somebody knows when yuri will return?

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We can all have our own opinion on the way forward for the club, but it is just an opinion, Roman is the only person whos opinion REALLY matters, I'm not saying thats right or wrong, but it's the truth.

It's about time Roman spoke to the fans I think, which way are we going Roman ?

Obviously money doesn't buy you common sense, too much money and power means decisions are made without thought.

Has anyone EVER heard anything from Abramovich about Chelsea...even when heads are on the block??

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Firstly, Roman has to use a bit of common sense here.

Carlo has a proven track record in the Champions League and won us the double last season for the first time in our history.

He doesn't suddenly become a bad manager so Roman has to look at the team this time around rather than swing the axe toward the Manager.

I really home the departure of Wilkins hasn't brought them toward a Jose type communication barrier between the two, but it has to be said the

timing of Ray's departure has had an immense effect on our season.

The squad as personally I always have said, is thin on quality and needs refreshing in more ways than one.

We rely too much on Drogba, Lampard and Terry and until that is addressed we will struggle to keep in the top four.

The club, rightly in my opinion, even with hindsight, let go the right people in the summer.

What they didn't do was add quality to the youth talent in our squad.

Quite who is making squad decisions is anyone's guess, but whoever they are they haven't a clue, for the record I am pretty sure it's not Carlo.

We need a right sided player with pace, we need a Centre Back and a world class striker.

Young Josh needs more games and Sturridge needs a run in the team in expense of Kalou, but we need to act in January or our

season and future will be in doubt. Make no mistake if things fail to improve we won't be in the Champions League next season and

all the cost cutting will be in vain, Roman then will have to go back to square one, with the World Cup in Russia we all know where his

priority will lay.

I will say one controversial thing, It wouldn't be me if I didn't.

If Roman sacks Carlo he should sell up in the summer and let someone else have a go, lets all hope he acts in the best interests

of the club as Ken Bates did and gives us someone with ambition and money!

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Obviously money doesn't buy you common sense, too much money and power means decisions are made without thought.

Has anyone EVER heard anything from Abramovich about Chelsea...even when heads are on the block??

What a complete load of bollocks. Do you think he got to where he is by making decisions without thinking? And I prefer the way he is with us to the way many other owners/chairman are. He didnt take all the praise and put himself in the headlines when we win trophies so why should he when we are having a sticky few months.

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Strange as it would have seemed only a few short months ago, tomorrow's game looks like our biggest game of the season. I'd go so far as to say that If we lose tomorrow, the only thing that could possibly prevent Ancelotti from getting the sack is the amount of compensation such a decision would demand. That and the lack of a suitable replacement.

I keep asking myself how it's all gone so badly wrong. Injuries haven't helped. Neither has a lack of squad depth. However, it's difficult not to come to the conclusion that this isn't the whole story. Ray Wilkins departure didn't help either, but I'm not buying it as an excuse for the recent run of poor form. Even before the defeat at Anfield, the warning signs were arguably there. Sunderland at home should have been a low point, a wake up call. Several weeks down the line we're still waiting for the players and management to wake up.

I don't think Ancelotti's post-match comments have helped. Typically it's been "we weren't able to play our football", "we weren't 100% committed". Why not? It's the managers job to get the team playing their football, to instill 100% commitment. And in both cases this is something Ancelotti clearly hasn't been able to do.

I don't have the answers. I've been trying to stay positive, trying to see an end to the blip that's developing into a crisis. And crisis it surely is. Carry on like this and we're looking at a bottom half of the table finish. Are we safe from relegation? (Someone had to ask!)

Now I've got the doom and gloom out of my system, it's time to start looking ahead. Next 5 Premier League fixtures, sh*t or bust:

Wednesday, 29 December 2010: Chelsea v Bolton

Sunday, 2 January 2011: Chelsea v Aston Villa

Wednesday, 5 January 2011: Wolverhampton v Chelsea

Saturday, 15 January 2011: Chelsea v Blackburn

Saturday, 22 January 2011: Bolton v Chelsea

A win tomorrow stops the rot. Villa at home, Wolves away, Blackburn at home are very very winnable fixtures. And then Bolton away which will be another a big test. If previous results have gone our way, then we'll have the momentum to go into the game with confidence.

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If Roman sacks Carlo he should sell up in the summer and let someone else have a go, lets all hope he acts in the best interests

of the club as Ken Bates did and gives us someone with ambition and money!

A bit knee-jerk there, I will be furious if Carlo is sacked but you have to remember where we have come from. The past 6 years have been a brilliant dream, remember before when we were delighted to just finish 4th- now it's a crisis. As for showing ambition and money, it's all well and good saying that, but you have to remember about the new UEFA financial rules coming in which would block us from the Champions League if we went on a huge spending spree.

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