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Dorset

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If Avram Grant and Jose Mourinho have one thing in common it must surely be a belief in the old adage that the end always justifies the means. At this precise moment in time (jeez, I’m beginning to sound like Glen Hoddle!) Avram stands on the threshold of his first ‘end’ justification - the resting of JT, Lamps, Bridgey and, in all probability, SWP - and we go into League Cup final with two thirds of the team, the defence and midfield, pretty much picking itself.

Whether Tuesday’s team selection was made with the weekend in mind, or based purely on the assumption that Greek opposition would be far less ambitious than Spurs are likely to be, the stark truth of the matter is that we weren’t prepared to take any real risks in the first game of a two legged contest whereas a one-off Cup Final is a different kettle of fish entirely. This set me thinking about how, or if, times have changed both team and tactics-wise since Jose’s departure. I know we’ve been down this road before, but what I’m really talking about here are degrees, or lengths to which managers will go to achieve their aims and the extent to which they are prepared to compromise ideals in the process.

In this respect there was never any doubting Mourinho, as he bent most rules, almost to breaking point, cajoled players, referees and authoritarians almost to breakdown point and gambled with substitutions for almost any point he could get his hands on. He also never promised us a rose garden, never prioritised when it came to winning trophies and always played his strongest team in the important games. Under him last night’s result might have been the same, but the rested threesome wouldn’t have been and I’m also guessing that Joe would not have started ahead of Kalou and, as likely as not, Kalou would not have started ahead of Anelka, giving us a nostalgically narrow 4-4-2 with JT in for Alex, Lamps in for Ballack and SWP completing the middle four at Malouda’s expense.

It’s all hypothetical, of course, and if I did this sort of thing after every game you‘d say I was seriously deranged or had a Special One fixation, but in this instance I can at least plead that we would have been a step nearer judging a Drogba/Anelka partnership than we are today and, had Avram been likeminded, I’ll wager we could all have filled in the missing third of the team to play Spurs after being presented with some solid evidential backing. I’ll leave you to make up your own minds on the potential for success of this team compared with the one that actually played, but I know, obviously with the benefit of hindsight, which I’d prefer.

So, those that say our previous manager would have settled for a similar end to last night’s game, by adopting a similar means, may well be right, but let’s not kid ourselves that these two contrasting characters would have taken us through the ninety minutes using the same route. We now wait to see if Avram can end a first season here in a similarly successful vein and, before his supporters rush to his aid, let me be the first to emphasise the fact that his chances of Premiership success were somewhat undermined by his predecessor’s failure to swim against a changing tide before he arrived to steady the ship. You see, those of us who are yet to be convinced on the current [Chelsea managerial front] can sympathise with Avram’s inheritance problems. Just as well really, because nobody is going to tell Roman to his face that that situation was down to him and in any event he‘s bound to say, yes you’ve guessed it, it was only a means to an end. Justification starts in earnest on Sunday

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clap2.gif Another great read Dorset.

In short its a mighty fine line between success and failure, especially when it comes to substitutions.

Last night when 'sub' Anelka crossed for 'sub' Kalou and he 'sub'sequently missed, we all groaned, however had the Ivorian found the net, what a master stroke by the manager it would have been, in fact if it had still been Jose making that tactical change, genius would have surely not been enough to sum it all up !!!!!!!!

But of course he didn't score and here we are still undecided ( well some of us ) as to whether Avram is the man for the job.

For what its worth i think hes shown great promise and achieved some outstanding results since his appointment, tactically he seems astute and he's shown leadership in leaving out 'big' players where he feels others can deputise adeptly.

I will be at Wembley on Sunday and would love to see Avram Grant

lead the team to glory, and for once be able to smile whilst receiving his plaudits.

Carefree

Bluedeano.

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:getmycoat: Another great read Dorset.

In short its a mighty fine line between success and failure, especially when it comes to substitutions.

Last night when 'sub' Anelka crossed for 'sub' Kalou and he 'sub'sequently missed, we all groaned, however had the Ivorian found the net, what a master stroke by the manager it would have been, in fact if it had still been Jose making that tactical change, genius would have surely not been enough to sum it all up !!!!!!!!

But of course he didn't score and here we are still undecided ( well some of us ) as to whether Avram is the man for the job.

For what its worth i think hes shown great promise and achieved some outstanding results since his appointment, tactically he seems astute and he's shown leadership in leaving out 'big' players where he feels others can deputise adeptly.

I will be at Wembley on Sunday and would love to see Avram Grant

lead the team to glory, and for once be able to smile whilst receiving his plaudits.

Carefree

Bluedeano.

A lot of truth in both the above posts and I was thinking exactly the same thing about the Anelka to Kalou pass that should have won the game for us,

I think the opposition should be given a bit more credit, they never had much going forward but defended well and looking at their record in the CL this season where they have drawn 0-0 at home to Real Madrid, Beaten Lazio 1-2 away and beaten Werder 3-0 at home then a 0-0

at their ground is not that bad,

ok the way we went about it was not at all what I hope to see from Chelsea but I still say we are in a transition and if we are to see a more attacking style we still have to give Grant time to have the players all fit and for long enough to find his best team and tactics,

He has managed to keep us challenging without ever having that luxury and now the players are here its a puzzle to know just who should play and in what way,

I think a lot of fifteen minutes here and there are likely while he searches for the right balance.

Arsenal and UTD never faired that well tonight and UTD took eighty odd minutes to nick an away goal and these are two teams who have had great seasons and know who their best players are and where/how they play best,

I'm looking forward to Sunday and surprisingly enough to the rest of the season.

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