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Make do and mend, or have a good spend?


Dorset

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Nothing sparks a close season debate on the CSR better than a battle between those warring factions - the Haves and the Have Nots - except that this season it is political in-fighting laced with a certain amount of irony. To use their full titles, we see in the blue corner the Haves [who?ve got all they want] and in the red-hot-under-the-collar corner there are the Have Nots [got enough yet] and the irony is that the Haves suddenly hold the moral high ground, hinting at the Have Nots displaying a ?shop till you drop? mentality.

Admittedly both standpoints are extreme, but how is it that we have come to this divide at a time when our main domestic rival spends ?50m in a week and our European arch enemy now boasts a costly forward line to die for? Here?s my take on the weaponry used on both sides of the argument and, if I?ve missed anything, feel free to shoot the observations down in flames?

I?ll start with the stance of the contented camp, as they appear to be winning the battle of hearts and minds at the moment and their cohorts line up impressively - row upon row of them:-

1. Injuries were the prime cause of the Premiership title loss and, even though several bits were broke last season, the machine ain?t gonna be this time around, so it doesn?t need a great deal of fixing. Everything was in place to retain the title and the big name inclusions of Ballack and Sheva were as far as we needed to go to challenge on the European front - perhaps it was even excessive when considering disruption to wage structure and the team ethic.

2. Like between meal snacks, the signings of Pizarro, Sidwell and Tal Ben Haim filled a void that, certainly defensively, had existed for far too long and had placed too much pressure on what was a lean machine in the first place. If Sidwell is regarded in terms of overkill in midfield and road kill in talent tastiness then that fact only serves to strengthen the argument that high quality cover isn?t really required and the emergence of Mikel and Diarra is proof positive that youngsters are coming through and the days of massive spending, in this area at least, is a thing of the past. Pizarro the (slightly) Elder is thought of as good back-up and might even surprise a few people.

3. Sheva will improve - it?s not a given, but it is more than likely and, together with Pizarro and Kalou, there is sufficient cover to ensure that the ANC absence of the Drog will not be sorely missed.

4. Fully fit wingers (Cole and Robben) will make a major difference when it comes to next season, particularly the big games, because both are perceived as big game players. SWP showed enough improvement to warrant retention and Sinclair is, almost literally, coming up fast on the rails. Brian?s plea for an addition in this area is dismissed as classic Have Not [enough] greed, with the only concession being variable opinions on SWP?s ability to hold down his job satisfactorily.

5. The days of spending money like a drunken Cossack (or sailor in Brian?s case) are over. You only have to look at a muddled Media, going round and round in circles searching for a lucrative Chelsea lead to hook on to, to see that they are going dizzy having no angles and being reduced to lame duck, pot luck, storytelling. Nothing new there, you might say, but it is a sign of frugal times ahead, it?s a good thing and we?d better get used to it. More importantly, winning trophies in such a fashion would be much more satisfying compared with?

The malcontents - those glory hunting Galactico collectors, who want their Premiership back and they don?t care what it costs to get it. And don?t give them all this highfaluting talk about playing the best football in the League instead - tell that to the transitional kiddies left in WengerWorld now that it?s Wizard-less and see the response you get. Talking of responses, point for point they would go pretty much along these lines:-

1. Injuries weren?t the prime cause of losing the title and to suggest so ignores the excellent defensive record we actually had in our adversity. What did for us was lack of goals in vital matches brought about by an inability to unlock defences, including one in particular in another arena - a certain CL Semi-final where we were reduced to the level of the opposition. Blame tactics or formations all you want, but even with a 30-goal striker we couldn?t outgun ManU over 38 games, or get close to doing so.

2. Eating between meals is no substitute (though in football terminology it would be) for gourmet food. We all love to talk of a player like Kaka being the making of our team, yet, if he were available, only the malcontents could shout for the bidding to begin without the slightest twinge of conscience. It would be hypocritical of the rest to say that a line should be drawn after signing him, as it would be a classic example of moving the policy goalposts to suit any given situation.

3. Sheva may well adapt to the EPL and start scoring there, but a little competition never hurt anybody and World class competition really concentrates the mind - just ask Didier, or alternatively watch the Barca Boys try to outdo each other in the months ahead.

4. Truth be told, Jose believes SWP is better centrally as opposed to continually having to impress on the wing and the buy big brigade not only see improvements on him in the marketplace, but also doubt Robben?s staying power, thereby creating a niche for a major signing out wide. Once again it depends on your point of view and, if your formation of choice is 4-3-3, you think Arjen?s a fragile luxury, you reckon Jose would spend in this area given a free rein and Sinclair out on loan, then the Gay Pirate is not a daft as he once looked.

5. Finally, we arrive at the crossroads where style meets substance. The Have Nots can?t accept that that substance, known as money, has dried up and they are urging Roman to splash the cash again. Not just for the sake of it, but in the hope that it buys the little bit of style we have never had under Jose. Many would argue that, because of the way Jose prefers to play the game, this ?style? is unattainable no matter who he brings in. Others are of the opinion that we are close to achieving our very own style with what we?ve got. The final word on this goes to our manager who said recently -

?I want to have everything in my hands to promote competitiveness between our players, promote doubts in the opponents, to give culture to my teams in terms of tactics, to have options in relation to my needs.?

The Haves believe we are all set and ready to go without addition. The Have Nots disagree and will, in all probability, always be reaching for the moon. Somewhere in between these two camps there sits Mourinho wondering if his options in relation to his needs for next season are met merely by the inclusion of Pizarro, Sidwell and Tal Ben Haim. Maybe they are exactly what is needed. Then again, maybe they will just have to do.

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We need more flair players mate, to unlock defences and create some unpredictability about our play - such players like the established Tevez (how can we not be going for him is absurd) and young hungry ones like Drenthe, Pato. That is the difference between us winning the Champions League or not. Barcelona are even sorting out their dodgy defence so will be nailed on favourites for next season's Champions League.

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Good post Dorset! I'm more in the side of Haves.

Past season we were really close of winning the EPL and advancing to CL final.

We didn't because:

1.injuries to key players

2.changed to 4-2-2 from wingplay

3.jose had huge pressure of fitting superstars ballack and sheva in to the starting 11.

4.ManU found their flow right from the beginning of the season. I mean everything just clicked.

5.at the time we faced Liverpool in the CL number of our players were fatiqued and all the pressure of winning the EPL was still in the heads of our players. Liverpool could just concentrate on those two games. still it was really close.

This is why I don't think we need new key players or huge buys. That is why I'm with the Haves.

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Evissy - The two main reasons we moved to the diamond from wing player were...

1. Didi has said consistantly that he hates 4-3-3 and has only considered leaving when 'worn down by that system'.

2. People had largely 'sussed' 4-3-3. As someone said on here after the loss to Fulham as season back 'when Barca know how to beat our 4-3-3 then fair enough, but when Fulham do so, we need to look at options'. How Fulham beat us was analysed a lot on TV, basically you sit a marker on Maka and get your fullbacks to push up on the wingers so that when SWP etc recieve the ball they are having to control and hold the ball up like a latter-day Mark Hughes. We end up lumping the ball up to Didi, which he hates because he gets tired, bruised and gets little reward for a ot of effort.

A modified version of 4-3-3 can still be handy in some games but we need to stop thinking back with a tear in our eyes to how well it owrk in season one with Robben and Duff.

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1. Didi has said consistantly that he hates 4-3-3 and has only considered leaving when 'worn down by that system'.

So you don't think having superstars like Ballack and Sheva had something to do with the changes to our formation?

I understand the problem with the wingplay and I personally favour some sort of combination between 4-3-3 and more traditional formations like Barcelona is playing. Ronnie and Messi are not playing pure wing. They more than often cut to center really early on the attack and in my books that is not pure wingplay. Ok it is barcelona and they have huge talent on that section, but still.

If you think Didi's whining is a reason for changing the formation you dont give much credit to JM.

There are probably numerous of reasons why JM changed it but Didi's whining can't be a major one. And I really think JM believes his own visions how the game works and don't change it because "People had largely 'sussed' 4-3-3". We won Barcelona home 4-2 with 4-3-3 if I remember correctly(please correct if I wrong). Plus two EPL championships.

One scenario could be: Didi was unhappy because his talent was not in full use with 4-3-3. Mourinho notices. Getting Ballack comes reality. Mourinho thinks: We could change to 4-2-2 with Ballack and Didi would be happy as well. Ballack comes. We need another striker, says JM! Roman hears about it and calls JM: I'll buy Sheva, I like him he is from the east as I am. He's huge hit here in Russia. Do you want him?..doesn't matter I already bought him. Enjoy.

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Guest Brian M

I'd love to buy Eto or Tevez or Zlatan, as I've said previously. But, as another striker is now out of the question, here's what I feel we need.

A right winger

A right back

Ideally the right winger will be the flair player we so desperately need to unlock defences, rather than someone who just knows how to run fast...

We don't need to spend a hundred million to get these two players. But we do need to spend SOMETHING. Our squad is pretty close to being perfectly balanced (though I'd move Shev on and bring in one of the above mentioned strikers in his place). But it's not quite there. That's what's so frustrating to me, to see us so very close to a fantastic squad / team. And suddenly to start watching our pennies.

That said, if we don't get injuries we should still have a good season. Though the chances of regularly playing 'sexy attacking football' is slim. Especially if J. Cole and /or Robben get injured. Because without them we're about as creative as an episode of Neighbours. And equally as entertaining... icon_rolleyes.gif

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and then there are those of us that think our attacking football is absolutely doomed and are waiting for a Maka-Essien-Ballack-Lampard with horror in our eyes. Success next year depends on one thing- and it is absolutely not a stronger squad- it's a change in mentality from one man Mourinho. If we don't find a way to use shevchenko we will only be competing in the FA and Carling Cup next year.

There are two incredibly successful periods under jose mourinho that should serve us as a paradigm or template: The first 4-3-3 which produced robben/duff/eidur and a brilliant 4-0 inducing run. And secondly, the Gallas/Terry/Cech inspired series of 1-0, unbreakable defense madness. Considering we don't have gallas any more i feel that burden falls a little more on essien and carvalho and i'm not sure if it's a burden they can bear- it must be attacking football or bust. A return to the set piece winning 1-0 chelsea is not something that will win us a league.

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Guest Brian M
A return to the set piece winning 1-0 chelsea is not something that will win us a league.

What he said.

And when you factor in how many of those games we won by the odd goal. A goal we scored in the last 10 minutes. Well...let's just say that we can't ride our luck / courage like that again without expecting to slip up at an inopportune time.

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A return to the set piece winning 1-0 chelsea is not something that will win us a league.

What he said.

And when you factor in how many of those games we won by the odd goal. A goal we scored in the last 10 minutes. Well...let's just say that we can't ride our luck / courage like that again without expecting to slip up at an inopportune time.

Also, quite a few of those 1-0 matches were won due to our brilliant set piece execution.

Something we somehow forgot how to do last season and we paid the price.

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A return to the set piece winning 1-0 chelsea is not something that will win us a league.

What he said.

And when you factor in how many of those games we won by the odd goal. A goal we scored in the last 10 minutes. Well...let's just say that we can't ride our luck / courage like that again without expecting to slip up at an inopportune time.

Agreed. Plus it stresses me out to hell and back wondering if we can last out with such a small margin of error.

I just think Jose has to change his outlook, not necessarily back to what we had before, you have to obviously tailor things to the players you have now not that you had then but for the sake of his continued existence at the club (if you believe the rumours) and to develop the players something has to give.

We need to find a place for Sheva to operate in some kind of system he likes to see if we can get something out this player which cost us ?30 odd million - otherwise he's the most expensive bench warmer in history. If that's not an option then we should have got rid of him this summer in my view. I just think Chelsea rode their luck last season with these last minute goals we got to win games. In the end that luck will run out and at times when we did concede a goal when we weren't firing on all cylinders retrieving the situation proved difficult.

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Dorset I think this is all a pipedream - I don't think we we're or ever will be in the market for Tevez. I also echo Pauly's view that one of the reason's Jose is not all that interested is because of Tevez's character and discipline track record. Further, here's a bloke who's getting his agent to currently hawk himself all around Europe and particularly to Inter. Inter had the sense to see this as some sort of bidding war and quickly stepped in to make an offer with a small offer window period. Now Tevez, or his agent, are allegedly saying that he wants to stay in the EPL in any event!!!! After inviting Inter in the 1st place !!! It says a lot about this player/his management. I bet ya a lot of the boards around Europe who may have been interested in Tevez are now secretly thanking Inter for the way that they dealt with this.

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Youlots - firstly, do not believe everything you read in the newspapers. Soppy observation I know, but if you did, regarding Tevez, you would have gone round in circles just as he has supposedly gone round from Inter, to Real, to being on ?Pool?s so-called wanted list and even to ManU in some sort of loan deal. Truth be told, none of these clubs have really been in the hunt from the moment a ?30m plus fee was mooted.

I assume that Pauly has commented on Tevez?s character on another thread, as I didn?t get the impression that he was anti-Tevez discipline-wise from this one. Pauly, if I might speak for him (and he?ll be on here soon to tell me I shouldn?t) wants us playing the exciting expansive game those pesky Italians are noted for - you know, the type of game that won them the World Cup. Seriously, he favours a playmaker in our side as he seeks to revolutionise our style of play and educate the Premier League whilst doing it.

To date Jose has declined to play ball, so to speak, but I sense a change of mind and direction following his recent interview, although there are very few players out there who will give Sheva what Pauly thinks he needs, namely passes to feet rather than into channels and those little diagonal balls he is always on about. Personally, I have thought for some time that Tevez could, as Yosser would say, do that job and he has the look of both a Premiership player and a crowd pleaser to boot. He doesn?t please Pauly that much, but I?m guessing only Kaka would do that.

On the question of character and discipline, he looks a real street fighter with an added touch of class to me and I can?t see why Jose should regard him as anything other than a rough diamond that could be easily polished into the finished article, if he does not think he's that already. Of course, it may all be a bit of a pipedream, but we are allowed them occasionally and when you look at his current club you have to say that Tevez is bound to go somewhere. It?s also good to hear the latest news, which I?m sure you believe, that he wants to stay in the Premiership. Think I?ll just dream on a while longer.

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Dorset - I doubt everthing I read in the papers as I'm sure you do. Look I know you really want him at Chels to play in the hole etc. and I don't doubt that the Inters, Reals etc have been somewhat cool in respect to some of the figures being bandied about. However, unless I've completely misread it I very much doubt that we're in the hunt for him. As for him going somewhere else in the EPL, I hate to say it but would have thought that he'll probably end up at Manure.

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