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Felipe, Fairytales and Dedicated Followers of Fashion


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After an insipid performance against Newcastle and an even worse one against Bordeaux nobody could blame Chelsea fans for fearing the worst of results on Sunday, which by common consent would encompass both the draw (a disaster) as well as the loss (the end of the world) with the neutrals hoped for fine attacking game being of little consequence and total irrelevance. Am I right? Well, if so, it only goes to prove how far we still have to go before voluntarily shedding our Mourinho flak jacket in favour of the Scolari coat of many colours. This is the root of our recent problem - acceptance of possible short term failure in the pursuit of long term excellence - we don’t like the idea of it and only Scolari knows whether Roman will conscience it in any shape or form this season.

Jose always liked to be fashionable of dress off the pitch and Spartan of player on it, while Felipe, whether you believe he was presented with his dress code or not, has to be pleasing on the eye and practical only in the little matter of being successful in the silverware department. Sadly, on the evidence of the last two games, we are in danger of missing out on both and I’m guessing that the vast majority of us don’t relish the thought of that very much. The exceptions, of course, are those romantic types who are prepared to suffer for their Art, which, as of now, roughly puts them on a par with Arsenal supporters some three to four years ago.

Ask the Gooners how they feel now, after experiencing plenty of plaudits but precious little of anything else over that period, and you will probably get a glimpse of the future for us summed up in very few, very short, four letter words. What’s more, if you hang on a few days until Sunday, you will see the strange phenomenon of their team trying to play predominantly like us of old, but still lacing it up in their passing game, whereas we shall be playing predominantly like them of old, but still lacing it up with the odd spot of traditional revivalist long ball style, should the going get tough and we go the first goal down. As per usual, cross dressing of this nature will undoubtedly lead to handbags.

However, all this does have a serious side, so let’s get back to it and pose the Harry Enfield rhetorical question - is that what you want, cos that’s what you’ll get? In effect, you could say that Harry [not Arsene] knows when it comes to pragmatism and the Premiership, as evidenced by his sketch in which the old fashioned footballers are wiped off the park by their modern day equivalents. We all want to play in the romantic style and win trophies, but, if our recent games are anything to go by, we are merely following a path laid down by Sunday’s opposition [without the Media adulation and self-congratulatory leeway afforded to their manager] and for years it has got them precisely nowhere in terms of cabinet-filling.

For instance, Arsene more-highly-principled-than-yow Wenger should really be banishing his ex-captain for good n'all, but can’t bring himself to do it because he desperately needs his combative approach in games such as the next one, whereas Felipe, spared a similar situation by Drogba’s suspension, hasn’t yet dared to start a game with two central strikers in a 4-4-2 anyway, so immediate change is not an option, unless Anelka/Kalou is the pairing. That said, played with a narrower central four of Mikel and Ballack, flanked by Deco and Frank, the formation has its merits and offers the prospect of a dominant midfield in front of a miserly back four - remind you of anything? I’ll get my coat, although I wont need to tell you which one it is and who wore it previously.

This is the real dilemma for our Brazilian boss that [try as Roman might have] the buffer term served by Avram Grant cannot separate him from. Quite simply, his inaugural Premiership season was always going to be compared to Jose’s triumphant one and the early signs are, contrary to fashionable opinion, style ain’t gonna get one over on substance anytime soon. Unless we are talking fantasy or fairytale, the two elements are bound to take longer than a single season to meld as an unstoppable force and the process might not ever happen. Felipe has got his work cut out alright and all Sunday will do is give us a sneak preview into which of the two emperors in the technical zone has the new suit of clothes and which is likely to be hiding his embarrassment under the usual bluster of excuses right through to next year.

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The arsenal game is a weird one.. we either come out and really do them over or it's a close thought game with maybe arsenal sneaking it.

Felipe needs to get his tatics right or i can see us getting over ran in midefiled with arsenal bossing things from the start.

You simply dont know what the hell your getting week in week out with chelsea.

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If I was a Gooner my beef with Wenger would not so much be that he chooses style over success, more that he fails to recognise either the tried and tested concept of 'time and a place' or its distant cousin 'if at first it doesn't succeed then do something different.'

And it is this that bother me about Scolari. I welcome the experience of watching us play good football again (when we do) but I would also welcome an ability to take stock during a game, recognise that the games nipples need tweaking and then tweaking them in a way your wife wouldn't thank you for.

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The comparisons with Jose's first season are unfair (IMO) as the team had been on a gradual incline, he took over and the incline was carried on as if we were going faster and faster up a hill,

The problem was we reached the top and started to come down the other side, Grant (to some the Buffer) came in and applied the handbrake to some extent but had no support from the fans and the media helped give the fans the bullets to fire at him by generally undermining him every way they could,

Even so his record was good and his reign saw us in our first CL final, we pushed a very very good UTD side all the way in the title race, we lost a couple of very important games and we dropped points late in a couple of games which had we held on could have made us Champions, The manager was given no credit and the main sensible reason Given for people not allowing him time were that he had no experience (I wont again go into the other reasons) before he went we had people on the site who swore they had their sources such as moles on the Chelsea bench who had told them Rijkaard would be next in bringing Huntlaar or whoever else with them, this turned out to be as reliable as I imagined but still the inevitable happened and Grant was sacked.

Now someone had to replace him, someone with qualifications...A world cup winning manager should have enough pedigree and most are fairly happy when Scolari comes to town,

Big Phil takes no s*it from anyone, he must be a good motivator and he is bringing Deco a playmaker to add to a decent squad boosted by the arival of Boswinga.

He starts a clearout that involves Pizarro, Sheva and SWP leaving and misses out on the player he thinks is the one piece of the Jigsaw we had missing, Robinho...

Still though he gets us at times playing some great stuff, we have a bit of the old swagger back and look genuine contenders when we get an early goal, more so away from home,

People start to doubt Scolari when we lose a couple of games and he seems to have no plan B and here we are again going back to the old Mourinho comparison.

my point in all this is that Mourinho's Chelsea had stopped being the team they were in his first season, they had got slowly found out and that and some bad dealings in the transfer market had seen them go from back to back titles to an FA and CC double (still decent) to the start of a season that looked like it would end (as it did) in nothing.

Scolari has not taken the back to back title winners and made them what they are now, he has taken over a team that was on the slide, then steadied by Grant and now

he has to stamp his mark on it and bring it forward.

I dont know if he is good enough nor will I defend him as adamantly as I did Grant as he at least had a preseason to work with the players and a transfer window where he identified Deco as a player he needed and got and the other player he by whoevers fault missed out on.

But what I would say is we are although looking shakey at the top of the league and still very likely to qualify for the later stages of the CL,

we can't keep comparing the season with Jose's first...if you must then at least compare it to his third and see what happens.

I am by no means saying Scolari is perfect for the Job, only time will tell but I just think the comparisons with those first two Jose seasons are a bit unfair.

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The comparisons with Jose's first season are unfair (IMO) as the team had been on a gradual incline, he took over and the incline was carried on as if we were going faster and faster up a hill,

The problem was we reached the top and started to come down the other side, Grant (to some the Buffer) came in and applied the handbrake to some extent but had no support from the fans and the media helped give the fans the bullets to fire at him by generally undermining him every way they could,

Even so his record was good and his reign saw us in our first CL final, we pushed a very very good UTD side all the way in the title race, we lost a couple of very important games and we dropped points late in a couple of games which had we held on could have made us Champions, The manager was given no credit and the main sensible reason Given for people not allowing him time were that he had no experience (I wont again go into the other reasons) before he went we had people on the site who swore they had their sources such as moles on the Chelsea bench who had told them Rijkaard would be next in bringing Huntlaar or whoever else with them, this turned out to be as reliable as I imagined but still the inevitable happened and Grant was sacked.

Now someone had to replace him, someone with qualifications...A world cup winning manager should have enough pedigree and most are fairly happy when Scolari comes to town,

Big Phil takes no s*it from anyone, he must be a good motivator and he is bringing Deco a playmaker to add to a decent squad boosted by the arival of Boswinga.

He starts a clearout that involves Pizarro, Sheva and SWP leaving and misses out on the player he thinks is the one piece of the Jigsaw we had missing, Robinho...

Still though he gets us at times playing some great stuff, we have a bit of the old swagger back and look genuine contenders when we get an early goal, more so away from home,

People start to doubt Scolari when we lose a couple of games and he seems to have no plan B and here we are again going back to the old Mourinho comparison.

my point in all this is that Mourinho's Chelsea had stopped being the team they were in his first season, they had got slowly found out and that and some bad dealings in the transfer market had seen them go from back to back titles to an FA and CC double (still decent) to the start of a season that looked like it would end (as it did) in nothing.

Scolari has not taken the back to back title winners and made them what they are now, he has taken over a team that was on the slide, then steadied by Grant and now

he has to stamp his mark on it and bring it forward.

I dont know if he is good enough nor will I defend him as adamantly as I did Grant as he at least had a preseason to work with the players and a transfer window where he identified Deco as a player he needed and got and the other player he by whoevers fault missed out on.

But what I would say is we are although looking shakey at the top of the league and still very likely to qualify for the later stages of the CL,

we can't keep comparing the season with Jose's first...if you must then at least compare it to his third and see what happens.

I am by no means saying Scolari is perfect for the Job, only time will tell but I just think the comparisons with those first two Jose seasons are a bit unfair.

Great Post Chippy - very well put.

As for Sunday's game, I posted elsewhere that on both sides current form it could be a very dull 0-0.

There again, if we play like we did against Villa and Arsenal play like they did against Man Utd, it could be an absolute classic.

I'd take any win against that lot - a 1-0, but I'd prefer a 4-2 classic!

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Some level comments there Chippy, and agree comparing with Jose's 1st season is not really fair seeing as we only conceded a record breaking 14 goals that season and even had a national news paper offering money to the first player to score against us. It was a record number of points and I doubt will ever be eclipsed any time soon, by an other club, let alone the next Chelsea manager. If this is the bar of comparison then it is set way too high, because this is the season the record books were torn apart!

One attribute Jose had, that I've yet to see from Big Fil, is the ability to change to outcome of a match or the formation during the game. Now you can blame the quality of the squad, but in JM's 3rd season he still managed to change the game with a lesser squad than his 1st season, and he did it in 2 cup finals, winning them both. The player he brought off the bench to change both those games was Arjen 'tampon' Robben. Say what you like about the player, but we don't have a player of Robben's ability at the club at the moment.

Also with the way we play, It's yet to be seen if Fil's side's can see out a game for the whole 90 mins the way JM's teams could, if we not 3-0 up that is.

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Some level comments there Chippy, and agree comparing with Jose's 1st season is not really fair seeing as we only conceded a record breaking 14 goals that season and even had a national news paper offering money to the first player to score against us. It was a record number of points and I doubt will ever be eclipsed any time soon, by an other club, let alone the next Chelsea manager. If this is the bar of comparison then it is set way too high, because this is the season the record books were torn apart!

One attribute Jose had, that I've yet to see from Big Fil, is the ability to change to outcome of a match or the formation during the game. Now you can blame the quality of the squad, but in JM's 3rd season he still managed to change the game with a lesser squad than his 1st season, and he did it in 2 cup finals, winning them both. The player he brought off the bench to change both those games was Arjen 'tampon' Robben. Say what you like about the player, but we don't have a player of Robben's ability at the club at the moment.

Also with the way we play, It's yet to be seen if Fil's side's can see out a game for the whole 90 mins the way JM's teams could, if we not 3-0 up that is.

Glad you see my point and you are spot on, the biggest worry so far is when we are struggling and half time comes along we dont have the warm feeling that what has been talked about in the dressing room are the tactical changes that mean the manager has spotted where the opposition are getting joy and spotted where we are making little impact,

the feeling that the shape of the team can change two or three time in a game and yet still look very well rehearsed.

I'm fully with you on that, we had that more than maybe any team ever has but I still believe the changes had started to get found out and the main difference was we had more strength when Essien was available and rarely lost a midfield battle.

Robben obviously was a great asset to have coming off the bench and running at defenders with tired legs, a great player and one we have never replaced.

By the season Jose went although early in we had experienced innefectual changes as we have since and what we have to do is hope that Scolari can find a way to

move players around and instil in them the ability to change their roles mid game, as we all see (and Phil surely knows) it's not always enough swapping a player like for like

or bringing a defender into midfield to sure things up.

We still have not seen him with the dubious luxuary of having a fit Drogba for a few games running and we dont know if he will ever play him with Anelka or if he is hoping

when he is fit that that will be his game changing manouver...Drogs up front and hoof it (god I hope not).

My other worry is that he has too many favourites in his squad and although Ferreira is a good defender he is not someone we always need on a very defensive bench,

Belletti also a good player but it seems often comes on just so that he is involved and with no real plan.

Deco and Malouda have both had dire performances that have not resulted in substitutions even with Stoch or Sinclair on the Bench, Ok we dont know how good they are but

when the usual suspects are having a mare for the last half hour or so maybe a run out for them would be better.

I relly hope the man in charge sorts this out as I believe we need some stability here, again he would not have been my choice but he has my backing while he is here.

Cheers

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It's my opinion that some of the performances this season - Cluj and Bordeaux away - were worse than anything produced under Jose or Avram (although Barnsley was utter sh*te, so I could be wrong). I know we've played some terrific stuff under BFS, but we've definitely lost the consistency and solidity we had before. I'm not convinced BFS knows his ideal starting line-up, although his options have been restricted by injuries and now suspensions (well, one suspension). The back four is obviously clear-cut - and absolutely superb - but the midfield remains unclear, with only Lamps a definite starter, with Deco, Essien, Ballack, Mikel plus Joe Cole to be fitted in around him in some formation that is yet to be determined. And do we go with just one striker or try and fit in both Anelka and Drogba? And will Malouda still get picked?

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It's the lack of consistency that worries me.

You cannot fault Mourinho for that, and he made sure Stamford Bridge became a fortress. Can we be so sure that it is now? I dont think so.

In fairness, BFS came out saying that he wanted that 'something special' such as a Robinho to be available just in case he needed to change things; which didnt happen, and i dont think our bench has been that strong so far because of injuries.

I wonder if Scolari is able to ram home the importance of these big games, like Jose was able to?

We'll soon see...

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