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half way stage....


BLUENUT

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Around half-way through our first season with the special one at the helm, I, for the first time since childhood, genuinely thought we could win the league. As life-long blue I obviously had nagging doubts after a lifetime filled with dissapointment , but we seemed to have an invincibility and resilience that was encapsulated with our win at Blackburn.

Last season we lead from the beginning and with a certain bookmakers paying out before Christmas (publicity stunt I understand) so I know I wasn't alone, including opponants who never mounted a realistic challenge, in thinking we were going to win it again.

This year at the 'half-time' stage I find myself going back to my pessimistic ways, am I being a realist or am I looking at a 2 horse title challenge where the run in begins right now!?!

Firstly I can't believe we sold Eidur Gudjohnson! He epitomised, along with Terry and Lamps the heart and soul of the club. Players can't rest on reputation alone, but if their best days are seriously behind them then they must be released. Were his best days behind him? The European champions don't buy has-beens! Do you think Eidur wanted to leave or was he pushed? At this stage of the season I'm left wondering if and why was he pushed, or did he just leave for playing time, but I can't help asking myself if he's good enough for the current European champions why is he not good enough for us?

He has been replaced by a ?30m striker who so far, for me anyway, has been a real disappointment. I've been a fans of Sheva's for years, after seeing him play for Moscow many moons ago, I wanted us to sign him before he went to Milan! Apart from the goal in the charity shield he has shown little of the form that made him an international star, along with Ballack. They say you need at least a year to settle into the premier league, Ballack has a bit of time on his side, but Sheva will be 31 as the next campaign begins, we'll never get a return on our lay-out, so really what was the point!! A signing by Jose or Roman, I'm starting to wonder?!? This is not based on current form by the way, I had this suspicion before a ball was kicked!!

Ballack, although not his fault, (the managers!) has unbalanced the midfield and made our formation narrower, just by his inclusion in the side! Is he in the side on merit? I don't think so. I remember a certain Joe Cole putting in performances with twice the contribution Ballack has made all season but still managed to get dropped or 'rested' by the manager.

I think if you could combine any two players in the whole of the world to make Eidur Gudjohnson, I would say Ballack and Shevchenko would fit the bill, or at least make the short list! I've not really thought about it for a while, but until writing this I really can't believe we've let him go.

Touching on the Gudjohnson subject above, I can't believe we let Gallas go either, especially to rivals Arsenal! I know alot has been said on the subject but all I can add is that if we had ?30m to spend on a player when Milan were in dire straights and ?120k a week to pay to a German albeit free-bee, then why not just pay Gallas the ?20k a week extra him the club were bickering about. And don't come out now and say we're not going pay silly money for a defender etc.. I did ask at the time, if we let him go who, how, and how much would it cost to replace him. At this stage of the season he is looking like he's irreplaceable. Saying that, Carvahlo is having a great season. My brother did ask as soon as he was sold ''how long 'til Terry get's injured?'. I think we've been going long enough to know how our luck works, hence the pessimism!

That's enough of who we 'got rid of' but may I just add that we let Huth+Gallas leave, and Gudjohnson+Crespo leave. They were replaced with Sheva+Kalou and Boula+Cole. I don't think it's any coincidence what areas of the pitch we are looking to bolster in the transfer window, is this an admission by the manager that the squad has been weakened, especially now he's chasing the leaders? Is it any wonder why some quarters of the Chelsea support questioned why we signed Ballack when other areas of the field were left begging?

All that being said, let's look ahead. Manu have has their best start since the premiership began and we're only 6 points behind them. A couple of years back Sir Alex spoke boasted fruitlessly of 'squeaky bum time' because he thought his players had been there and done it before. This year neither can be so sure.

Giggs, Scholes and Neville are the only real experienced players in the Manu squad. Would you rest you're title hopes on the rest, the likes of Park, Saha, Fletcher, Evra etc...... but then again would you rest them on Mikel, Sheva, Kalou, SWP. If there is one advantage we have then it's experience in winning the league.

Our most influential players for the past 2 seasons have been Lampard and Terry. (I haven't forgot about Maka and Chech). They have been our leaders and driving force. This season we have added Essien and Drogba to that menu, although Lamp's hasn't been on the best of form we miss him when he isn't around, the same as the colossus JT! But with 4 players with this attitude I think there's alot of hope.

Not so long ago I thought that it was no longer our league to win but Manu's to throw away. Pessimism strikes again, sorry folk's. Saying that, they have not really taken advantage of our dip in form the way we have over the past couple of seasons.

We're half way through, can we win it, cause we can, can Manu hold their nerve, they shouldn't but the way they've been beating sides this year I really don't know?

It makes for an interesting, if nail-biting, end, or run in to the season.

Lets forget who's not played well, let's remember it's our championship to be taken away, let's remeber we're the champions, and we f*cking like it! Lets notice we're more experienced than Manu, although IMHO with a weakened less experienced squad this time round.

It's time to find out if Jose is special, but he needs to really unite the squad, something that without JT, appears to be lacking at the present. And remember the manager inherited Terry, Lampard, Makelele, Robben (Cech, Bridge, JCole who have hardly played) and without Eidur, Gallas, Parker, Duff, Huth, Crespo this is really Jose's 1st assembled squad!!!

Make the Bridge a fortress and cheer us onto our 3rd consecutive title, we're in it together and the run in starts now.

hopeful and pessimistic as ever

Bluenut

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good read mate, and there is plenty on there that I agree with. I always loved Guddy, thought he was a great player, but did he need a new challenge? I doubt it, what more of a challenge could you hope for than heading into a season looking to do what only a few other clubs have done...the illustrious 3-peat?

I will never forget our first time lifting the trophy, but I will also never forget that when we lifted it a second time guddy looked distraught!

I also stated, back in teh old csr, that I felt Claudio was passing on a great team to someone that could bring home the bacon, but unfortunately Claudio would never bring home any major trophy. So I felt that our first trophy should have gone down to CR in part too. albeit a small part.

Now, this season, it is Jose's team, and he has shown that he isn't as astute in the transfer window as he may be at bringing the best out of teams. It is also the first season that I have felt that our defence is the worst part of our team. I remember when we all thought, our defence and mid are winning us our games because the forwards are doing nothing.

Now, the forward (yes singular) is doing the business, but we are weakened at the back after the sale of Gallas. Mercenary or not, we do miss him. Now Terry and Cech, we REALLY are weak at the back. Our wingers, and Cole are a huge loss too, because now we really have no creativity, and no passage to the forwards.

My one HUGE concern, more so than losing Terry or Lamps, and I only feel it this season, is that we would be SCREWED without Drogba. Then with a weakened defence, no wingers, and no forwards, we would leak goals and not be able to score any in retaliation.

I followed Chelsea all through the 90's so I am used to being let down, but then the wins were so special (Cup winners cup showed that we COULD play in Europe, now we Better). Now the expectations are higher, but we only have to look at ourselves for raising such high expectations.

Scott

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I really think you are looking at Eidur through some rose tinted glasses.

Firstly, it was Eidur who asked to leave.

Secondly, he was every bit as ineffective as Sheva last season for us. In fact he exhibited all of the same failings. Too slow on the ball, playing with his head down, running down blind alleys!! It was also clear he wasn't still motivated. He was overweight and needed a fresh challenge.

I'm glad he is doing well at Barca, but he is in a different league and faced with a new challenge and has had the luck that Eto'o has been injured and so has got a regular start - something he couldn't have expected.

But I don't think his absence has had any impact on our season.

Unlike losing Gallas which has come back to bite us pretty hard. But with Gallas, Mourinho wanted him to stay but Willie wanted to go so what could he do?

Huth would have been useful, but I don't see him as being any better than Boularhouz to be honest and, again, he didn't want to stay.

Mourinho has a record of letting players go if they don't want to stay and I think that's the right thing.

While mentioning Mourinho's purchases we ought not to forget Essien, Drogba and Carvalho. All of whom have done OK.

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Strange reading your post listening to Marvin Gaye sing What's going on. I agree a lot with your Guddie thoughts but have to wonder how much he would have played if Eto had been fit.

Shev's confidence is rock bottom now and I can't see him getting it back by playing bit parts, which he will do now, JM seems to have made up his mind.

I still reckon Ballack isn't playing that bad and seems to be moving towards the desired level at a pretty good rate.

Anyway good post bluenut

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I really think you are looking at Eidur through some rose tinted glasses.

Firstly, it was Eidur who asked to leave.

Yes, Eidur did ask to leave but he would have never asked to leave if his part in the team was bigger, like it was before last season. So he wanted to leave but it was because his part in the team was getting smaller.

Secondly, he was every bit as ineffective as Sheva last season for us. In fact he exhibited all of the same failings. Too slow on the ball, playing with his head down, running down blind alleys!! It was also clear he wasn't still motivated. He was overweight and needed a fresh challenge.

This is just nonsense. Hey may not have been instrumental in us winning the premier league but he played a part, no doubt about it. About ten assists and three goals. Considering that he didn't play much those stats are fine. And he can't be compared to Sheva because Sheva isn't playing in midfield, is he? He should have scored more goals but let's not forget; he was a forward being played in midfield. He wasn't even an attacking midfielder for that matter as he was asked to do a lot of defensive work (something he is poor at). And he was next to a certain Lampard that goes forward every time possible. He was not too slow on the ball, in fact, his link-up play, creativity and basically his presence with the ball saved us or made us look a lot better on number of occasions (bolton, portsmouth, manU). Wasn't motivated- what? He has always been like that, he's not like JT; you can't see his passion miles away. He was up for games. Didn't you see how he celebrated his Bolton goal? Remember the Barca game at the Bridge? Fought till the end and made chances out of nowhere, when we were down to ten and attacking with three or four players.

I agree in part how he needed a new challenge but again that's down to how his part was getting less important in the team. And please, he was not overweight and has never been. It has been stated both by Claudio Ranieri and Eidur himself. Eidur said once that if he would get too heavy Chelsea would fine him and that never happened. And at the time he was considered to be overweight (start of 02/03 season) Ranieri stated that he hadn't put on a pound over the summer. I can find you links. Last season it was just not playing enough games and therefore looking rusty and lacking confidence.

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Unlike losing Gallas which has come back to bite us pretty hard. But with Gallas, Mourinho wanted him to stay but Willie wanted to go so what could he do?

He didn't want to go if we gave him parity with the other top boys and paid him ?100K a week. We dicked him around and tried to get him on the cheap, he acted like a spoilt French tosser. No gold-stars for anyone in that episode.

Now, if it was me, who would I have given the ?120K a week to ? Ballack or Gallas.

Gee that's a tough one. icon_rolleyes.gif

And even if Carvalho is playing better this season than his last two he isn't, (for me anyway), as good defensively as Gallas. Gallas was pretty damn perfect.

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Great post Bluenut.

As they say, hindsight is a wonderful thing, but in this case perhaps Mourinho was the only person who thought getting rid of Eidur, Duffer & Gallas and bringing in Sheva, Ballack, Kalou & Mikel was a good move.

I know there are some, Just, Wicksy & Ethical to name a few who thought Eidur going was for the best. Perhaps they are even right. I was a huge fan of Eidur's and still am, but I did at times accept that he looked to be struggling for us. His problem was always his inconsistency and at times games did pass him by. Pretty much like games pass Ballack and Sheva by right now!!

But as I said at the time we sold him (and Gallas & Duffer), sometimes you have to look deeper than just how a player performs in any given match. I think the loss of those three players has totally unbalanced our team and squad, not just for their playing abilities but because all three were part of the Chelsea family. Now they have gone and the new players have come in, it looks clear to me that we just don't have that same team spirit any more.

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Very interesting post Bluenut. I agree with most of what you say but I also realise that hindsight is a very precious commodity. Who would have thought (honestly) that Sheva would fail to fire? On a positive note, dare I say that at least Drogba seems to have benefitted from Sheva's presence. What I'm sure of is that there are many less than obvious matters which come into decisions to sell/buy player. And in my opinion the departure of Gallas, Guddy, Duff, and Huth had a certain sense of inevitability.

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I don't beleive the players we've brought in are that bad. It's just that team balance has been pushed out of whack and Mourinho has neglected to give the squad enough depth to cover a few major injuries.

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