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Still Just a Blip?


Nibs
Eton Blue at the Chelsea Megastore

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Come on then - let's be 'avin yer!

There are a fair few on this forum who have been backing Carlo and his decision to keep with the tried and tested and have tried to assure us that things aren't that bad and it's just a blip.

How bad does this blip have to get for something to change?

Can anyone honestly come back after tonights result and say Carlo was right to select that team? And then when a change was needed, take of the inept Kalou and replace him with the inept Anelka?

For the Ipswich game, I hope we make at least 4 changes. Goodbye Drogba, Kalou, Anelka, Malouda & Ramires.

Who knows if Carlo will still be here come the weekend? I hope he is but only if he has finally come to his senses.

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In reply, this is what I posted in the match thread:

Sorry I really don't buy that (that the root cause is that we have a group of players who are just fat off success). If it is the case, then Ancelotti isn't doing his job. As barak81 said, and as I was saying after the Villa game, it's the manager's job to get the team motivated. To change things effectively when they're going wrong, to have an effective Plan B, and if necessary a plan C.

Somewhere along the line you have to ask yourself if maybe it's Ancelotti who's living off last season's success.

No it's not just a blip. This is two months worth of relegation form with no improvement in sight. We are now 11 points behind Man U and 14 points above Wolves. If the next two, even the next four months continue in the same vein, we could well be looking at relegation.

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For so long I have loved Carlo. He's been a breathe of fresh air. Lastseason I said he's like Mourinho but without all the unnecessary baggage. Love the way he is honest in interviews and speaks so openly. And he obviously is a very decent coach.

Well I say obviously, but it's not obvious right now. Maybe he's been lucky in having squads filled with quality players. Now the going has got tough and he seesm to have no answers. His answers are the same ones every game and they are the wrong answers.

Really lost for words right now.

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he obviously is a very decent coach.

Well I say obviously, but it's not obvious right now. Maybe he's been lucky in having squads filled with quality players. Now the going has got tough and he seesm to have no answers. His answers are the same ones every game and they are the wrong answers.

Really lost for words right now.

You may be lost for words, but what you wrote seems bang on to me.

The commentator on Fox Sports (my stream) quoted some guy saying that we went 4-0 up by half-time against Blackpool on SEPTEMBER 19th and haven't played since. The next game was the 3-4 v Newcastle in the CC, and then the 0-1 up at Man C. We have beaten Arse, Wolves, Blackburn, Fulham and Bolton since, as well as Marseille, Spartak (twice) and Zilina, but we haven't played really well in any of those games.

Teams have worked out how to play us, and we have looked totally unable to adapt. Man C outfought us and held us out comfortably, and since then lots of sides have been able to raise their game against us, even crap teams like Birmingham, the Dippers, Wolves, Villa and especially Sunderland.

In that time the small squad - wrecked by injuries as well as catastrophic loss of form - has been worked into the ground, with noone having anything in the tank, either physically or mentally, to overcome the slump and stage a recovery.

As results have gone against us, confidence has vanished to zero, and we now look hopeless, helpless and clueless. Chuck in the Wilkins debacle and you have the perfect combination of circumstances for a meltdown.

Edited by Backbiter
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What makes you think that once Carlo goes that will be that?. This is the same man who won the double last season whatever has happened we will never know.The squad to small to many players coming to the end of the road,youngsters not quit ready yet the Russian upstairs so many things going on the list is long.The only thing I'm surprised about how we got 5 points clear at the top,be careful what you wish for?

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What makes you think that once Carlo goes that will be that?. This is the same man who won the double last season whatever has happened we will never know.The squad to small to many players coming to the end of the road,youngsters not quit ready yet the Russian upstairs so many things going on the list is long.The only thing I'm surprised about how we got 5 points clear at the top,be careful what you wish for?

I could have written this in the Match Thread, or the Bye bye Carlo thread, but here is as good a place as any, more so because this thread isn't actually a call for Ancelotti to be sacked.

You say this is the same man who won the double last season. Elsewhere I read that to criticise Ancelotti is "incredibly ungrateful". Face it, football is results driven and to hold off criticising Ancelotti for what many see as repeating the same mistakes, making the same excuses, week after week, because of last season's success, is tantamount to living in the past.

After the Villa game I wrote that I didn't want Carlo sacked but I did think it was time he pulled his finger out. After tonight's game, the only thing that has changed is that we're another game further along into this "blip". And the longer it goes on, the worse it gets.

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just got back from the game - and can confirm that was our worst performance this season or any of the past 10 seasons - here's why

1. no heart - apart from JT, Ivan and maybe ash..............no one else seemed to care - wolves in contrast worked their nuts off all match

2. wrong tactics - 2nd half we chased the game all thru, yet continued to go short from cech and play thru the middle - even when we had 4 strikers! - we kept rotating left and right, no channel balls or quick balls - every time we gave em time to cover

3. no loyalty to the fans - at the end the players ran down the tunnel, apart from JT & cech (who gave his kit to the crowd) and drogs of course who made a fuss over nothing

4. players not good enuf;

drogs pratted about whole match - woeful

lamps (sorry) - way of the pace

kakuta & sturridge - impact players who never have an impact

essie - passing and shooting awful (he worked hard but delivered nowt)

nico - kept coming short and slowing it down

kalou - the usual fluffing his lines

boss - loads good work, no telling crosses

malouda - ditto

Our fans were top class, stayed to the very end but lots blank & angry faces on the way out

Solution - Carlo may need to go after tonight (hurts to say that) - its Jan so we should clear some players out and get in some players who want it................time to rebuild

Shocking

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no its much more like a complete flop..............no one scared of us anymore and everyone at the club has share of the blame - including the manager (tactics, selections, subs, fitness etc) and the players, and the owner, and the management

I have always supported Carlo but after watching tonights pathetic performance I have changed my mind - he can't motivate the players, and he can't provide the right tactics to win either, and he can't use impact players (who have any impacts)

I would also seriously consider sending drogs out on loan ( to Marseille) as he is very negative influence currently and maybe something going on we don't know about

Flop it is - stand up and be counted players!

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He or she who doubted the importance of Alex, Mikel, and the importance of the signing of Yuri Zhirkov might want to change their mind right about now.

---------------------------Cech

Ivanovic------Alex------------JT----------Cole

-------------------------Mikel

--------------Essien----------Lampard

-Anelka/Zhirkov----Drogba---------Malouda

^This is still by far the best first team in the league. Those who complained about our lack of depth have been completely and utterly vindicated, however the difference between us destroying our Champions League rivals and losing to Wolves is surprisingly slender. This may be the booze talking, but the return of the players I mentioned, plus a kick up the arse to Essien and Drogba will see us returning to winning ways.

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He or she who doubted the importance of Alex, Mikel, and the importance of the signing of Yuri Zhirkov might want to change their mind right about now.

---------------------------Cech

Ivanovic------Alex------------JT----------Cole

-------------------------Mikel

--------------Essien----------Lampard

-Anelka/Zhirkov----Drogba---------Malouda

^This is still by far the best first team in the league. Those who complained about our lack of depth have been completely and utterly vindicated, however the difference between us destroying our Champions League rivals and losing to Wolves is surprisingly slender. This may be the booze talking, but the return of the players I mentioned, plus a kick up the arse to Essien and Drogba will see us returning to winning ways.

I have to agree.

Our first 11, when fit, is a match for anyone, anywhere. Just look at some of the result's this team, when all fit and on-form have made this season...

http://www.skysports.com/football/match_report/0,19764,11065_3285855,00.html

http://www.skysports.com/football/match_report/0,19764,11065_3285927,00.html

http://www.skysports.com/football/match_video/0,26719,11065_3293521,00.html

The problem (squadwise) is two fold, 1) more immediately, he desperately lack quality depth and 2) in the longer term, our best players are ageing and though they are okay for the moment sooner or later they are going to need replacing.

Edited by Guest
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Agree about the first 11. On form, we can beat anyone. But this team is badly burnt out because of the lack of depth

But we have played 29 games with 14 outfield players most of the season, plus Sturridge, plus the occasional cameo by Josh, Kakuta, Bruma or PVA. 14 also includes Bosingwa and Alex who have played around 10 each.

So really, we have played 29 games with 12 outfield players to fill 10 positions, Danny, and the four kids coming on occasionally. They are another year older, and the most important players are at or over 30.

Unless we get these guys some experienced backup, this sh*t run is going to go on.

Edited by TheWestwayWonder
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Yes, the manager and players have to shoulder the blame in equal measure.

For Carlo, he doesn't seem to be able to change a game. There have been many where we have gone in down at the break and the team have come out in the second half with a little more urgency but basically just more of the same thing. I haven't seen any drastically changed ideas or tactics. You may argue he doesn't have the playing staff for that, i.e. no "game changers" on the bench that he can bring on. I won't argue with that point as I said from the beginning of the season, our lack of depth may come back to bite us. However, the tactics side is a bit of a disappointment.

As for the players, you can blame just so much on injuries/illness/fitness. For a while, yes, Drogba was "down with Malaria". However, I do expect him to be "match fit" about now, with all these games under his belt. I feel he has been the let down of our season so far. And he is such a pivotal part of our team, especially our attacks, that when he's off form, we go off the boil. Lampard, on the other hand, is going to require more games to regain full fitness (he's only been back for 3 games). Even so, I've already seen more from him than from many others in the team.

Anelka is another whose form is simply shocking. I don't know what has happened to him but he currently is not doing anything for us on the pitch. Between he and Drogs, I don't think we can "carry" them both. One definitely needs to sit on the bench. Malouda is another who has gone off the boil in a big way. He is still crucial to us though, as we don't currently have many players who can run at defenses. In very general terms, our movement up front is quite awful. First, there is little of it, and second, we don't seem to be able to pick each other out with our passes.

The defensive part of our problems is a bit of a mystery. I think it comes down to concentration more than anything else. For the most part, they do all right, but at crucial moments we concede silly goals. The two consistent things are we defend set pieces very awfully, and our two full backs are useless at cutting out crosses. These are things I hope Carlo works on with his squad in training.

Having said this, I am against making another managerial change at this stage of the season. Of course, the pressure is on, as it should be, but a change now would, I think, be detrimental. Roman needs to support his managerial choice in the transfer market to "freshen" up the squad, while at the same time sending a few rockets up a few players' behinds. At the moment, the first team is struggling but the bench is not able to put enough pressure on them to perform.

We need at least 2 players: a utility defender that can come in at CB while Alex is out and allow Ivan to revert to RB, as well as a creative attacking player who can come in for Anelka/Kalou to give us fresh attacking impetus. Our loose defending and our staleness up front are the two problems plaguing us. If we can address these two issues, I think we can turn this ship around relatively quickly.

Also, I am very much against making mediocre signings. If we are going to do that, let's just stick the kids into the starting line-up. Even if the results may not be very good in the short term, at least we are planning for the future.

Cheers,

Butch

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Time for a long, long post. I've been avoiding this for some time, but I feel I need to have a crack at it now.

Looking at the starting XI, like Plok says, we have one of the best in the league, but the problem is in terms of our depth. We don't have a player on the bench who can come on and can turn it around, or find the final ball to split open a defence. In the summer we cleared out a few of our elder statesmen, and Joe Cole, who probably could turn the game around, and we tried to replace them. Taking our first XI as...

Cech

Ivanovich - Alex - Terry - Cole

Mikel

Essien - Lampard

Anelka----------------------------Malouda

Drogba

That leaves us with a second string as this

Hilario

Bosingwa - Ferreira - Bruma - Zhirkov/Van Aanholt

Ramires

Benayoun - Josh

Kalou---------------------------------Kakuta/Zhirkov

Sturridge

Which isn't the worst side we could have as a second string, but it is worse than last year... and although some may disagree, it's because of the inclusion of the youngsters. The obvious place to improve things in this side is to sell Ferreira for another defender, but then again, we could just use Bosingwa as our first choice right back, Ferreira as his back up and play Ivan in the centre.

It's a little bit weak in the centre of midfield, but that's because Ramires can't be expected to be playing at his best yet, as it's his first season in a league known for taking a while to get used to, and because Benayoun and Mikel are out injured this effectively leaves Josh as the only sub, and that might be too much pressure for him at this stage, no matter how well he handles that on the pitch, we can't know him off it, and how he feels then. Not to mention that rushing any of the youngsters too early could have a big effect on their progression later on.

Up front could be improved as well... Kalou and Zhirkov are good back ups to have, but Kalou is badly out of sorts, and although great coming off the bench, is only good starting when he has a confidence which is lacking from the entire team. With Zhirkov out, that leaves Kakuta and Sturridge as the only real options, and neither are quite ready for that level of pressure, although it is easier for more attacking players.

So that leaves us with no real game changing subs to make, or even a real choice of players to start. The even bigger problem, though is how to solve this situation.

If we sign a central midfielder, we have to consider that it'll mean that Josh won't be a backup to the first team any longer when the whole squad is fit at least. If we sign someone to play in one of the front three positions, we'll either have to consider Kakuta, or Sturridge in the same position as Josh would be if we signed a central midfielder. Failing that, we'd have to sell Kalou, or Zhirkov... now I can hear Nibs and a few others screaming to sell Kalou, but there's a problem with that. Kalou is well loved by almost every one in the squad, he is probably the most popular player, and is a very useful squad player, happy to sit on the bench as others get their chances.

We may well have to sell him anyway and take the risk there, but it could have a negative impact, and that's a worry. We may well be signing a centre back and moving Bosingwa, or Ferreira on, and making Ivan our first choice right back, which would no doubt strengthen the squad.

So what got us in the mess we're in?

I personally think that the combination of a weaker squad than last season - mainly due to miscalculations in how long it'd take for Ramires to settle - and injuries have put us in a bad place, and in that bad place, we've lost the aura which we had last season, and the confidence that we'd win almost every game, the confidence that at one point the opposition will make a mistake and we'll score. Then without the confidence, and with injuries and a smaller squad, we can't make the changes to the first team to get it back. We're left in a spiral, almost.

Carlo could possibly have done more, early on, as it's his job to keep the squad believing no matter what, but the thing is that with the results we've had, and the form we're in, it'd take a miracle worker to keep the squad confident in this sort of situation... not even Jose or whoever else you can name would be able to do it.

How do we get out of this mess?

There's three main ways to get out of it.

One big signing, something to say that we're back. A big name player up front to spark the squad, and also to give us an extra couple of options when it comes to changing games. This would mean selling Kalou, or something I didn't consider (or even think of, if I'm honest) earlier is that we could sell Anelka, or keep him until the end of the season and let him go to the MLS which he has hinted at. This could solve a few problems for us in the long run, too. So that may be an option.

Option two, is that we plug away and eventually get that win which sparks us back into life... that almost happened earlier, and I have no doubt that if we'd have beaten Villa, we'd have beaten Wolves and this post would not have happened. However, we didn't, but there is stuff to suggest that we may well be on our way back, but it's a big risk to take. As part of this we could sign a defender, but that wouldn't really give the squad any real impetus in terms of getting back to winning ways, it'd just bolster the side.

Option three, the least palatable, is to change the manager. The idea here is that it'll give a whole new air to the dressing room, and give us a bit more drive for a couple of games, and enough games for us to get our confidence back to start winning again. The problems with this are massive; there's no manager good enough available, there's no guarantee it'll work, a new manager would probably want new players to make the squad their own, and the squad like Ancelotti, so it could make performances worse, or even lower confidence.

Personally, I think the big signing is my favourite option, but I think we're more likely to take option two, because it's cheaper. Who knows, though. When players like Benayoun and Zhirkov come back, we'll have options to change games again, and even the side if players are out of form (which they no doubt are), when Alex is back, we have our first choice back line again, and probably the best defence in the world (or at least one of them) back, when Mikel is back, we'll have our first choice midfield again. The problem is, we could probably do with things happening before that happens, and that leaves us with options one, or three... and I hope to god that we go for option one, and I don't even believe in god.

If we go with option two, we have to hope that either the FA cup win on the weekend, or something on those lines will give us the confidence to win some league games, and get back to form until we get all our players back to fitness. Whether the fans, or the board have the patience for that, we will have to find out.

If we go with option three, we're most likely to go backwards, because I can't see us getting a better manager for some time.

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Also, I am very much against making mediocre signings. If we are going to do that, let's just stick the kids into the starting line-up. Even if the results may not be very good in the short term, at least we are planning for the future.

I pretty much agree with most of what you say, most of the time. This is one aspect where I don't.

I can't help but think we here somehow have convinced ourselves that giving a young Titus Bramble gametime will turn him into Leonel Messi. Sure, blooding young players can help them reach their potential sooner but ultimately I beleive most player's quality will shine through one way or another, if the quality is there.

Ask yourself this (everyone, not directed at Butch specifically). Who is the last young player that we didn't play, should have, and then went on to have a wildly successful career elsewhere?. I can't name one......not for at least a decade has a young player left the club and really go on and make us regret it. All the players we may look back and say "coulda done with him here" such as Robben and maybe Parker, were all senior signings.

Now ask, how many youngsters have we blooded who didn't go on to make the grade, some of which we were highly excited about at the time. Players who most often didn't even end up making it at Premiership level. Jody Morris, Ben Sahar, Scott Sinclair, Jon Harley, Steven Watt, Nuno Morais, Lenny Pidgeley, Anthony Grant, Samuele Dalla Bona, Sam Hutchinson, Michael Woods, Jimmy Smith, Filipe Oliveira, Alexis Nicolas, Joe Keenan, etc.

If you stop and look at it logically, you can't help but see that for the most part, quanfiably, the reason why we haven't traditionally "given youth a chance" is because there wasn't quality youngsters worth it and we were entirely and completely right not to give our average, sub-standard youngsters development game time when they simply weren't going to make the grade.

Ohh and by the way, I did end up thinking of one player who came out of our youth system who we MAY one day regret letting go and thats Carlton Cole. Even so, thats 1 player in the last decade.

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Almost completely agree Butch.

The one bit I dont is that Malouda is not the only player we have who can run at defenders. We got Kalou as well. The problem with both of them is that they lose the ball too very often. And yet the manager doesnt seem to give a kick up their backside. Joey got slaughtered for trying fancy tricks and losing the ball by Jose. A similar treatment to these two as well as a lot of other players is in order. Best would be to replace one of them with a better, quicker, more intelligent winger/side forward and use the other from the bench.

We've said that the players dont seem bothered at the moment. But if the manager guarantees them place however sh*t they play, why will they care. People keep saying that Carlo doesnt have a choice and puts his best eleven on the pitch. That could be one of the problems. If he comes down hard on players and drops a couple of them and replace them with whatever we have, whether or not that makes an impact on the results, at least the players will know they have to earn it and that could in turn bring back the hunger and motivation that is so clearly missing.

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As I suggested on a thread after the Villa game perhaps the blip was actually the 5 game winning start this season. If you include pre-season it certainly looks more that way.

I think Carlo will probably have to go before things change and that is very disappointing after he had such a great first year. But it does seem like he has lost the dressing room (or at least a significant chunk of it) and I don't think there is any coming back from that.

I think he has been dealt a rough hand after last season. First with the cost cutting squad reduction and supposedly the reduction in player bonuses before the season even started. Then just when things seemed to be going a little better than some (including myself) had expected based on preseason, the board decides to shake things up by removing Wilkins and promoting Emenalo to assistant coach. Now Wilkins may not have done much but Carlo clearly respected him and they had a good friendship. When Emenalo was then promoted to assistant without his input he was put on the spot and forced to say that he has no say in such matters. Hardly a sign of strength to the players. I suspect that this whole saga caused significant division behind the scenes as various players may have different loyalties. Then we had a bad run of injuries and that created the perfect storm. We are now in the mire of a terrible run and it appears as though Carlo has hit a wall. Its almost as though his heart isn't in it any more. I suggested back in the early days of the run that perhaps Carlo wanted to be shown the door too after this saga as he didn't like the way things were going. I haven't seen anything to think otherwise in recent weeks.

Either way if Carlo goes I have no real optimism that we will be able to turn things around like we did with Guus. Back then we had a more substantial squad boosted by the return of a motivated Essien from injury. The club should have seen the cracks forming then but 2 years down the road and we are in a much worse situation. We need a manager who will start to build a new team and we may have to drop from contention of major trophies while this happens. Either that or Roman will have to spend some big cash again to compete with all the new money that has allowed clubs to start catching and leapfrogging us.

My biggest fear right now is that Carlo will be shown the door and Emenalo will get the job for the rest of the season. That has disaster written all over it.

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Almost completely agree Butch.

The one bit I dont is that Malouda is not the only player we have who can run at defenders. We got Kalou as well. The problem with both of them is that they lose the ball too very often. And yet the manager doesnt seem to give a kick up their backside. Joey got slaughtered for trying fancy tricks and losing the ball by Jose. A similar treatment to these two as well as a lot of other players is in order. Best would be to replace one of them with a better, quicker, more intelligent winger/side forward and use the other from the bench.

We've said that the players dont seem bothered at the moment. But if the manager guarantees them place however sh*t they play, why will they care. People keep saying that Carlo doesnt have a choice and puts his best eleven on the pitch. That could be one of the problems. If he comes down hard on players and drops a couple of them and replace them with whatever we have, whether or not that makes an impact on the results, at least the players will know they have to earn it and that could in turn bring back the hunger and motivation that is so clearly missing.

Rahul I agree that the small size of the squad has an adverse effect in terms of lack of competition. The first 11 players no longer feel like they have much competition for their place and so the motivation does not seem to be there for them to keep their place in the side. Sure you can level criticism at the manager for this too but I definitely think that the players are currently feel like they can play badly and keep their place in the team and that is not healthy. I"d like to see the manager drop a few of them for youngsters for that reason. I'm not expecting the youngsters to suddenly turn our form around but a spell on the bench for some of these primadonnas might actually give them the kick up the backside they need.

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Teams have worked out how to play us, and we have looked totally unable to adapt. Man C outfought us and held us out comfortably, and since then lots of sides have been able to raise their game against us, even crap teams like Birmingham, the Dippers, Wolves, Villa and especially Sunderland.

Singing off the same hymn sheet here, I'm surprised that we seem to roll out the same players and tactics game after game when it's not working.

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