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Gold Reserves


Dorset

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Watching a Reserve game on ChelseaTV often cubby-holes the viewer in an area marked 'Anorak', especially when the sun is shining outside and the wife is giving you grief inside. Nevertheless, I got my way and settled down to watch as the players spilled out onto the pitch, much like Silas Marner eagerly awaiting the coins dropping from his bag and onto the table to be counted yet again. In truth, the similarity doesn’t stop there when it comes to the Reserves at the moment because it’s always a mixed bag, the odd shiny coin, one or two gold ones and several that might, with a bit of a polish, catch the eye. Last night was no exception and I even got a rare glimpse of that collectors item, Branislav Ivanovic, lucky or what?!

However, before going on to his performance, I must start with the recurring theme (more of a welcoming tune really) that is the young Franco di Santo. Continuing his development with yet another impressive leading of the line, this time paired with Claudio Pizarro, he laid on the first goal for his partner with a deft flick of his head and was a right pain to the Hammers defence all evening. Indeed, shortly after the opener, Franco clashed twice in the air with defenders and left them both requiring treatment. Let’s just say the kid likes a battle for the ball and the fact that he also chases down anything that moves, on the flanks or centrally, means that we will soon have a complete striker to call on.

Did I also mention his touch? No, well it’s pretty good for one so young and I particularly like his coolness in and around the box when he’s under pressure - stands tall and lays the ball off (a la Berbatov) with slow motion precision. Yes, as I think you might have guessed already, I believe he is a real find. Credit too goes to Pizarro who looked more comfortable alongside another South American than he’s done all season alongside anybody else. In all fairness, and with due regard to the fringe players prepared to knuckle down at this level, Steve Sidwell also put in a good showing and controlled the middle of the park against a team currently top of the Reserve league. A 3-0 win was a true reflection of our control of the game and we were never in any trouble at the back, which leads me on to a certain Mr Ivanovic…

I can give him no higher praise than to say he breezed through ninety minutes and looked every inch a top Premiership defender and, before anyone says it was only reserve opposition, let me say he was up against Henri Camara - no slouch, even though he was made to look a little carthorse-ish in comparison with his imperious marker. Suffice to say Ivanovic will fit seamlessly into the centre back 'gang of four' along with JT, Riccy and Alex and we needn’t worry about this area of the defence for the next five years at least. Okay, it was only one reserve game, but the £8m looks very well spent to me and, once he has settled, it would come as no surprise to see him reach Le Boeuf status with the fans.

Here again, some credit must also go to his centre back partner Carl Magnay who took on the deferential and subservient role yet continues to improve every time I see him, in a sort of willing-and-able way. Last, but by no means least, honourable mentions for Jimmy Smith and Shaun Cummings - is there nowhere these guys can’t play?! - and Fabio Ferreira, who is also on a clear, upward learning curve. Ah well, time to put the shiny coins away for now... the wife’s calling.

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di santo does indeed look like a hell of a find. as you said, he likes to put himself about a bit. and hes actually our top scorer in the ressies, made all the more impressive as hes only been her 3 months or so. i also like the look of magnay. he may have came to the club in a strange way (the sky football icon thing) but looks a bery composed defender. a young john terry maybe? and i posted elsewherehow impressed i was with ivanovic. he took the ball of one player (camara?) with such ease it was almost embarassing. the future looks good. and thats without mentioning stoch, kakuta, nouble, bridcutt, woods etc... oh damn, i just did...

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Thanks for your thoughts Dorset.

I've always been a fan of Jimmy Smith, I think he is one of few who could make the step up to first team. I'd include Sinclair and Sahar on that list, plus the other two new signings you've mentioned. it'll be hard for him to crack it, but I hope he is given a chance.

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With regard to Ivanovic (and perhaps this should go in the rumors section) you say he will settle into the "gang of four".

Well, I was watching sky sports on Sun. morning, a programe called Sunday Suppliment, I think. It's a table of jounalists sat around a table discussing the days papers. One of the guests, and forgive me for forgetting his name and the paper he works for, said that Chelsea were activley searching for a center half, and this chap seemed was well informed with regards to Chelsea matters.

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God I hope that's not true. We need strikers and flair, not MORE defensive players! As it is we're overloaded.

I hope for Ivanovic's sake he proves to be as good at right back as he has looked at centre-back, as he ain't going to get much playing time behind JT, Riccy AND Alex.

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Interesting..but who??

Alex - only just got here, and done very well indeed.

JT - club captain

which leaves Riccy... would he follow Jose to Inter?

Would be gutted if so, but he seems the most possible I guess. I'd like to think no one would WANT to leave, but if Avram is here for the long term and he inspires the players as little as he does the fans, I guess we will no doubt see a few pack their bags voluntarily in the summer.

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With regard to Ivanovic (and perhaps this should go in the rumors section) you say he will settle into the "gang of four".

Well, I was watching sky sports on Sun. morning, a programe called Sunday Suppliment, I think. It's a table of jounalists sat around a table discussing the days papers. One of the guests, and forgive me for forgetting his name and the paper he works for, said that Chelsea were activley searching for a center half, and this chap seemed was well informed with regards to Chelsea matters.

You might be right, mb, and [if you are] Ivanovic is nearer to Riccy’s blueprint than either JT or Alex so maybe we are preparing for a Jose swoop. However, having signed up Riccy long term (4yrs was it?) it could be that Ivanovic is destined for the RB position, but I think that would be a waste because he looked like he was itching to get forward and [we are told] that’s the type of Total Football central defender we are looking for. Another of that ilk is definitely Bruma in the youth team (possibly Mellis as well) whereas the likes of Magnay, as dkw has said, is definitely a JT clone. I still think Mancienne comes into the equation too and ironically he has played at RB quite a lot for QPR, so his chance, if he gets one, is more likely to be there.

Gem - Jimmy Smith is versatile, no doubt about it, and that in itself could make it difficult for him to break through (Jack of all trades etc) Cummings is the same, except a broader span (full back or central striker - must look great on his CV) and next season will be critical for both of them I guess.

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Thanks for the updates people.

Fantastic to hear the boys in the ressies and youth doing so well.

Question is, as always, if Franco is doing sooo well, why not give him a bench place instead of Sheva? 10 mins of first team action here and there would do him the world of good.

Or maybe i'm just impatient?..

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i think its better for him to get 90 minutes a week for the ressies than to get 10/15 minutes sometimes for the 1st. plus hes only been here 3 months. might be too big a step at the moment. but id bve surprised if he didnt get 1st team action next year. hes certainly got the build and power for the prem.

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From midlandblue's link:

Lampard also wants to try out his luck abroad

Yes, he often states that in his interviews. Unless his mum, dad, sister, wife OR agent writes for Goal.com... who the f**k has he told that to?

Erugh.

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Thanks for the updates people.

Fantastic to hear the boys in the ressies and youth doing so well.

Question is, as always, if Franco is doing sooo well, why not give him a bench place instead of Sheva? 10 mins of first team action here and there would do him the world of good.

Or maybe i'm just impatient?..

Having him on the bench is a very strong possibility for next season when clubs can name 7 subs for Premiership games which is an ideal opportunity to give some of the younger guys a run out.

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exactly what i hope will happen geezer. and i think a certain jose mourinho said that was the reason he wanted 7 subs. makes sense. 3-0 up at home with 20 minutes to go is the perfect time to blood young players.

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