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Squad Worries


Nibs

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I’m not going to go OTT after a 0-0 draw against tricky opposition. To be honest that is not a bad result.

What is of concern is the lack of depth in our squad. It really does seem the weakest squad we have had for some seasons. I know we have had a decent start and are top of the league but it is very early days and when you hit the top this early, the only way is down. How quickly things can change in football. At the weekend, everyone was saying how strong we looked and we were already being tipped as favourites for the title. Within a matter of days and with more names added to the injury list, we have a squad that looks decidedly short on quality and the team suddenly look quite jaded and this at the beginning of October. I don’t want to be too critical of the likes of Kalou & Malouda as they had done well last couple of games, but last night, with no Deco and Joe Cole it was depressing how very ordinary we looked, with no-one capable of a bit of magic to open the game up.

We do have a real lack of quality match winners. Okay, I know that can be said of most teams – there are not many Messi’s (scored two in the last 5 minutes last night to rescue Barca - if only....) and Ronaldo’s about. Lamps cannot be expected to do it every match and with Drogba clearly not 100% and now likely to be missing for some time, how are we going to fare? I think there are some players that benefit from rotation and it seems these players cannot perform week in week out. Lamps clearly can, as can the defenders and possibly Mikel, but there are big question marks over Malouda, Kalou, Anelka, Joe and even Ballack. All of these players struggle when played regularly, which is a worry as when they are paid £50k-£120k a week, the least you would expect is them playing some football for that.

I think it is ludicrous for a club in our position to already be struggling player wise at this stage of the season. We know injuries are a fact of life and at the start of the season you should have the set up in place to cope with any eventuality. I was not a fan of Sheva or Pizarro, nor particularly SWP but you have to question the management decisions to let these players go and not have replacements in the event of injuries to key players.

We now face a decent Villa side who have caused us a fair number of problems over the last few seasons and I am not over confident of us getting the three points. Really hope the likes of Di Santo and Sinclair can get there chance and step up to the plate but we may well now regret the lack of playing time they’ve been given when we had the chance as they look like now being thrown in at the deep end.

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It is always difficult to get the balance right between a squad with strength in depth and one which is carrying players who are disaffected because they can't get a game and therefore affect the team spirit.

I would say we have good cover at goalkeeper, full back, centre back and central midfield. What we don't have is the right quality wide and up front. I believe that this was the case even before Drogba's injury last night. We are also missing the guile that Deco added in the earlier games. The fact that we look so much better with him playing is a worry if he is going to be injury prone.

The problem is that we don't really have much choice other than to get on with it for now. We might be able to pick up another striker or wide player in January but it is unlikely that we will get anyone outstanding at that point in the season. It will be a test of Scolari's management abilities to get the best out of what is still a pretty talented squad.

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I've just read in a German newspaper that JT and Alex are injured, too. JT with problems on his back and Alex with his bottom. Anyone heard or read something about this?

I hope it's not true with Carvalho and Deco out, Drogs probably missing the next 6 weeks we're gonna be really weak.

I didn't have the impression during the game yesterday that JT and Alex were looking injured. Hopefully just a rumour.

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I’m not going to go OTT after a 0-0 draw against tricky opposition. To be honest that is not a bad result.

What is of concern is the lack of depth in our squad. It really does seem the weakest squad we have had for some seasons. I know we have had a decent start and are top of the league but it is very early days and when you hit the top this early, the only way is down. How quickly things can change in football. At the weekend, everyone was saying how strong we looked and we were already being tipped as favourites for the title. Within a matter of days and with more names added to the injury list, we have a squad that looks decidedly short on quality and the team suddenly look quite jaded and this at the beginning of October. I don’t want to be too critical of the likes of Kalou & Malouda as they had done well last couple of games, but last night, with no Deco and Joe Cole it was depressing how very ordinary we looked, with no-one capable of a bit of magic to open the game up.

We do have a real lack of quality match winners. Okay, I know that can be said of most teams – there are not many Messi’s (scored two in the last 5 minutes last night to rescue Barca - if only....) and Ronaldo’s about. Lamps cannot be expected to do it every match and with Drogba clearly not 100% and now likely to be missing for some time, how are we going to fare? I think there are some players that benefit from rotation and it seems these players cannot perform week in week out. Lamps clearly can, as can the defenders and possibly Mikel, but there are big question marks over Malouda, Kalou, Anelka, Joe and even Ballack. All of these players struggle when played regularly, which is a worry as when they are paid £50k-£120k a week, the least you would expect is them playing some football for that.

I think it is ludicrous for a club in our position to already be struggling player wise at this stage of the season. We know injuries are a fact of life and at the start of the season you should have the set up in place to cope with any eventuality. I was not a fan of Sheva or Pizarro, nor particularly SWP but you have to question the management decisions to let these players go and not have replacements in the event of injuries to key players.

We now face a decent Villa side who have caused us a fair number of problems over the last few seasons and I am not over confident of us getting the three points. Really hope the likes of Di Santo and Sinclair can get there chance and step up to the plate but we may well now regret the lack of playing time they’ve been given when we had the chance as they look like now being thrown in at the deep end.

I thought going into the season that our defence and midfield were well covered, but attacking we're still missing a cutting edge. Drogba's season may aswell be written off, if it's his knee again then I'm now doubting if he'll ever recover fully - seriously! I think his knee is a major concern! . He'll be out for weeks and will still need about 8-10 games to find his match fitness, by then the season maybe into the final weeks or over, that if he ever gets back. His face seemed to tell the tale when carried off last night, I think this could be one of those injuries that niggle away or end a career in one way or another.

Missing out on Robinho was a big dissapointment for me and grates even more now we've picked up injuries in the areas we were lacking. We're back to 1 fit recognised forward and a kid on the bench as back-up.

Malouda - I'm still waiting for him to beat a player or at least go around one

Kalou - great feet but shoots like he's wearing Turkish slippers

The something we're missing is Robinho or a player in that mould.

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I’m not going to go OTT after a 0-0 draw against tricky opposition. To be honest that is not a bad result.

What is of concern is the lack of depth in our squad. It really does seem the weakest squad we have had for some seasons. I know we have had a decent start and are top of the league but it is very early days and when you hit the top this early, the only way is down. How quickly things can change in football. At the weekend, everyone was saying how strong we looked and we were already being tipped as favourites for the title. Within a matter of days and with more names added to the injury list, we have a squad that looks decidedly short on quality and the team suddenly look quite jaded and this at the beginning of October. I don’t want to be too critical of the likes of Kalou & Malouda as they had done well last couple of games, but last night, with no Deco and Joe Cole it was depressing how very ordinary we looked, with no-one capable of a bit of magic to open the game up.

We do have a real lack of quality match winners. Okay, I know that can be said of most teams – there are not many Messi’s (scored two in the last 5 minutes last night to rescue Barca - if only....) and Ronaldo’s about. Lamps cannot be expected to do it every match and with Drogba clearly not 100% and now likely to be missing for some time, how are we going to fare? I think there are some players that benefit from rotation and it seems these players cannot perform week in week out. Lamps clearly can, as can the defenders and possibly Mikel, but there are big question marks over Malouda, Kalou, Anelka, Joe and even Ballack. All of these players struggle when played regularly, which is a worry as when they are paid £50k-£120k a week, the least you would expect is them playing some football for that.

I think it is ludicrous for a club in our position to already be struggling player wise at this stage of the season. We know injuries are a fact of life and at the start of the season you should have the set up in place to cope with any eventuality. I was not a fan of Sheva or Pizarro, nor particularly SWP but you have to question the management decisions to let these players go and not have replacements in the event of injuries to key players.

We now face a decent Villa side who have caused us a fair number of problems over the last few seasons and I am not over confident of us getting the three points. Really hope the likes of Di Santo and Sinclair can get there chance and step up to the plate but we may well now regret the lack of playing time they’ve been given when we had the chance as they look like now being thrown in at the deep end.

I think your concerns are shared by all Nibs.

I said a few weeks ago i thought that the clubs transfer policy this summer had been mismanaged and i stand by that. Its very clear that we sold SWP and Shev thinking we were getting Robinho, with no plan B. When that deal went to the wire and we were ultimatley gazumped not only were we left without that 'little bit of extra flair' Scolari talked about we were left two players down, and whilst those two players never really shone for Chelsea they were still two extra bodies which couldve been utilised in situations like we find ourselves in now.

Last night it seemed to me that both Ballack and Drogba were playing very clearly at around 50% fitness, ultimately leaving us more or less a man down. How has this happened ? The difference in depth and quality of our squad from that of season 05-06 is massive.

On Sunday i suspect our starting forward line against Villa will be a choice of Anelka, Malouda , Kalou and Joe Cole. That same day Alex Ferguson will have to leave to pick one of Rooney, Tevez, Berbatov and Ronaldo to go on the bench.

Thats what scares me.

It up to the management team to sort it out thats what they are there for but i have to say im not looking forward to Sunday. If we lose one of Alex or JT i think we could lose that record.

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While I agree we are very thin at the moment, I can remember people complaining before that we had all of these players (SWP, Paulo F, Essien/Ballck, Bridge etc) that couldn't get a game.

Problem is Anelka/Malouda need to go and Sheva and Pizzarro were never replaced,

I blame Kenyon!

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The squad clearly needs injection of some key personnel. Safe to say Ballack is most likely set to e looking for a new club in January as I really can't justify his huge wage packet at the moment (clearly he has not contributed anything of importance this season). I think we should let him go.

lets face it our squad is TOO old, too many players on the wrong side of 30 (carvalho, Belletti, Ballack, Deco, Drogba, Anelka, Lampard, Minerio). Considering 5 of these are key players we are in trouble and old Ferguson was right; love or hate him. When you get to 30 you are more prone to injury anyone knows these.

We clearly need a new central midfielder (Ballack replacement), Diego or Thiago Neves Anyone; we clearly missed out on Van Der Vaart as he can play in midfield, wing or behind a striker); A Winger at these point in time wont mind Ashley Young considering he his English, Young and has a sweet left foot (we guarantee him a first place spot). We clearly need a striker and believe me it is Kun Aguero and or Rossi.

These 3/4 players would certainly turn around the squad,though I feel we need 5 players (ST, CF, LW, RW, C(A)M) and we let go of drogba/anelka, Ballack, Malouda and Belletti.

When you think of the options/ bench of Arsenal & Man utd, we are clearly lacking in quality. We really messed up with Robinho as any squad that can leave Nani, Tevez, Anderson, Vela on the bench has real quality.

why dont we make an offer for Walcott & take back Diarra?

realistically, we can only get Zaki, Santa Cruz, Thiago Neves, Diarra and Young in January an I will gladly take all these players and get rid of the aforementined. we have too many deadwood.

I cant get my head round the Tevez, Mascherano debacle because we clearly watched them. what happened!

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We clearly need a new central midfielder (Ballack replacement), Diego or Thiago Neves Anyone; we clearly missed out on Van Der Vaart as he can play in midfield, wing or behind a striker); A Winger at these point in time wont mind Ashley Young considering he his English, Young and has a sweet left foot (we guarantee him a first place spot). We clearly need a striker and believe me it is Kun Aguero and or Rossi.

Why not give Michael Woods chances?

What's the point of having these youngsters if we're always just gonna look for replacements outside the club?

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Essien

Drogba

Carvalho

Deco

Joe Cole... and now knocks for

JT &

Alex...

Lady luck isnt smiling on us is she? However, Deco and Carvalho will be back in a week or so, as will Joe Cole. (Maybe in time for Sunday).

If Alex doesnt play on Sunday, then Ivanovic surely will. There is no way that JT wont play.

We always went into this season with the bare minimum in terms of squad size, and it was a worry to me.

Someone 'like' Robinho would have given us so much more of a comfort blanket, as he is so versatile.

When Drogba was being touted around to all and sundry last season, I was one of many that said we should cash in. 30 years old? Re-occurring knee trouble? Get rid. It sounds very cruel, but this is the world of modern day football.

I fear that he may never recover from this one.

The facts are; we must play with Anelka and Di Santo until at least January.

Nothing would please me more than to see Franco prosper!!!

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The squad clearly needs injection of some key personnel. Safe to say Ballack is most likely set to e looking for a new club in January as I really can't justify his huge wage packet at the moment (clearly he has not contributed anything of importance this season). I think we should let him go.

lets face it our squad is TOO old, too many players on the wrong side of 30 (carvalho, Belletti, Ballack, Deco, Drogba, Anelka, Lampard, Minerio). Considering 5 of these are key players we are in trouble and old Ferguson was right; love or hate him. When you get to 30 you are more prone to injury anyone knows these.

We clearly need a new central midfielder (Ballack replacement), Diego or Thiago Neves Anyone; we clearly missed out on Van Der Vaart as he can play in midfield, wing or behind a striker); A Winger at these point in time wont mind Ashley Young considering he his English, Young and has a sweet left foot (we guarantee him a first place spot). We clearly need a striker and believe me it is Kun Aguero and or Rossi.

These 3/4 players would certainly turn around the squad,though I feel we need 5 players (ST, CF, LW, RW, C(A)M) and we let go of drogba/anelka, Ballack, Malouda and Belletti.

When you think of the options/ bench of Arsenal & Man utd, we are clearly lacking in quality. We really messed up with Robinho as any squad that can leave Nani, Tevez, Anderson, Vela on the bench has real quality.

why dont we make an offer for Walcott & take back Diarra?

realistically, we can only get Zaki, Santa Cruz, Thiago Neves, Diarra and Young in January an I will gladly take all these players and get rid of the aforementined. we have too many deadwood.

I cant get my head round the Tevez, Mascherano debacle because we clearly watched them. what happened!

I wish I could see things a clearly as you. :D

If you think our problem is in central midfield and Ballack in particular then I suggest a visit to specsavers. Our bench is stronger than either Utd or Arsenal. Unfortunately, we have 5 key players injured at the moment. Depsite that we can still rustle up a pretty decent side.

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Our squad is seriously looking slim.

A striker and a winger are a must in January. Anelka is just plain awful, but we can't put our need f goals at the highest level in the hands of a teenager. That said, he looked so much more lively when he came on than Anelka in the whole game. The answer is play two up top, as Anelka clearly can't play on his own up top. With a bit of luck, Di Santo should get double Anelka's goals in half the time...or is that wishful thinking? Two up top, Kalou just behind, Lampard, Ballack and Mikel in midfield and when Deco comes back, Lampard, Deco and Mikel in midfield, as Ballack hasn't been brilliant this season, and clearly isn't 100% yet.

Now onto our wing problems. Robinho would've been the ultimate signing for us, and our problems wouldn't look so bad, but as we missed out on him, we're struggling. As many have said, Young is a good shout, but Villa would put some stupid price tag on him, like £20 million+. So I'd go for Joaquin (are Betis in the CL this season?) and Robben. We definitely miss Robben.

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yeah i would also be happy if we got Owen, he is the only person capable of scoring in the sh*ttiest Newcastle side of the Premiership. Id be over the moon if we nabbed Amr Zaki, but i would feel bad for Wigan as they deserve to have him for the whole season as they were the ones to unearth and capture him.

Yakubu might be a decent punt for 4-5 mil, and i would possibly try and get Villa if he is still available.

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I personally didnt want Robinho, but I cant help but admit a player or two in his mold would be just what we need. Malouda off form, replace him with someone outside. Thin up front, put the same player to partner Nic. There is obviously a slough of players who can fit in both roles, but those that are up to the job are considerably fewer.

Its a huge risk for us to gamble with youth, especially after the domestic start we have built, but it must be done. Ivanovic and Mikel are already proving themselves. We have Woods, Mancienne, Stoch, Di Santo, Sinclair and Kukuta if need be. To me, most of these guys are good enough to get a place on the bench of a mid table team, and I would rather we bring them up and toss them into the fray than scouring for has beens like Miniero. He may prove to be a revelation, but ultimately he is 33 and his signing amounts to little more than a band aid.

We are hurting for some young players, and hopefully Roman is eager to prove he still has the muscle to make it with the big boys after the Robinho disaster. In January I would like to see us go out for KJ Huntelaar if Drogba is still going to be out for a while, and possibly look at some of the talented, young forwards/wingers from the Bundesliga. Newcastle being in a lurch, I would consider taking a look at Owen as, without a few more points on the board by Xmas, they are all gonna be looking to jump ship. And I know he is cup tied, but I think Eidur could make a glorious return. He was a great forward and a model squad player. And I would DEFINITELY be more at ease if it was he and Anelka up front, rather than just Anelka on his lonesome.

I think the fact that certain players are cup tied should practically be irrelevant in our search. Just because we cant use them in Europe, doesnt mean they wont take the stress of our boys in the CL by picking up the pace at home. Especially if they are young and capable and can be secured for the CL next year.

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To be perfectly honest, I didn't specifically want Robinho either - but I did expect at least one more major signing, and I suppose I was resigned to Robinho being that signing. As has been discussed previously, the failure to come up with an alternative looks as if it's coming back to haunt us. The lack of out and out forwards at the club is scandalous - with Sheva and Pizarro gone, Anelka looking nothing like a £15million player; Drogba was already out at the start of the season - now he's out again but for longer. Leaves us with Kalou, who has his moments but isn't doesn't look a natural 20 + goals a season type of player. Apart from Di Santo, who may or may not make the grade, we've got Scott Sinclair and Sahar, both of whom are yet to make any kind of first team impression. And that's about it. Where is Sahar anyway? Is he out on loan again or did we sell him when my back was turned?

At the start of the season I wasn't exactly optimistic about our chances of winning anything much this season, mainly because of the lack of striking options. Then we had a few decent results, are currently sitting on top of the league, if only by goal difference, and that in itself raises hopes - maybe, just maybe things could turn out better than expected. There's nothing new here. Ups and downs, swings and roundabouts, that old fashioned mixture of optimism and pessimism that goes with being a Chelsea fan. Maybe it's the same for other teams, I don't know

I can't say I'm feeling too good about next Sunday's match. Villa have been a bit of a bogey team lately - and this season they're off to a flyer. They're playing tonight in the Uefa cup, but with the luxury of a 3-1 lead from the away leg, they can afford to rest players, so an extra days break isn't going to help us much either.

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Well, we lack in quantity but not in quality. It would be an insult to the likes of Di Santo, Sinclair, Paim, Stoch, Woods, Mancienne and Ivanovic if we go hunting for players with a big name in January.

Hang on, after writing that line, I don't think we lack in quantity either.

Scolari listen to this, some unproven talent out there is dying for a chance to be proven!

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Getting the right squad depth is a very tricky balancing act.

If you have a big, bloated squad like we had under Raneiri and Mourinho where you have at least two, maybe 3 top quality players for each position, then you run into problems with squad morale and non-match fit players. And no chance of any promotion from the youth system.

If you have a trimmed squad like we now have under Scolari, you don't have these problems - but you do heavily rely on key players being fit and on form, and you need to have faith in your youth system.

Personally, I think the squad trimming that Scolari did when he arrived was absolutely spot on - bar two positions. Too many right backs, and not enough strikers.

I think in hindsight, going into a 50-match season with a strikeforce of Drogba (unquestioned quality), Anelka (quality but inconsistant), and Di Santo (promising but untested) is a bit light-on.

It was relying heavily on the fact that (1) Drogba would stay fit and on form (2) Anelka would be a consistant performer when called upon and (3) Di Santo could make the jump from reserve level to first team level.

We are now in the unfortunate situation two months into the season where (1) and (2) are not happening and (3) is not being given a chance.

And it's not like Robinho would have made any difference to this situation as he's not a lead striker.

For better or worse, there's not much we can do until January (bar signing fat-Ronaldo - which is not the way to go in my opinion. If he wasn't good enough for us during the transfer window, then he's not good enough now). Even in January our options will be pretty limited as most of the top strikers will be cup tied.

So for the next few months, Scolari needs to concentrate on getting Anelka into a constistant level of form, and at the same time, giving a Di Santo some proper game time to see just how good he is. You never know - come January he might have cracked in 10 goals and we will have no need to buy anyone in January.

For a quality youngster to break through at a big club, they need a few lucky breaks. Look at the way Mikel is cementing himself into the first team now. If we had directly replaced Maka when he left with a big money purchase, and Essien hadn't pickup up his injury, this might not be happening.

The lucky break for Di Santo might just be Drogba's injury and Anelka's inconsistancy.

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A bit of good news that has probably been reported elsewhere; this is from the BBC:

John Terry and Alex suffered knocks in the Cluj game, but Chelsea's manager Luis Felipe Scolari is confident Ashley Cole will be fit for the weekend after missing Wednesday's Champions League match with a back problem.
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