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Chelsea: Time To Start Again

It depends what paper you read as to what happened in the aftermath of our Champions League exit and what’s still to come. According to some, Abramovich read the players the riot act, questioning their motives for being at the club whilst on the other hand, he is reported to have given them the silent treatment. As for Carlo Ancelotti, well he’ll either follow the usual Chelsea procedure and be sacked in the summer or be given £150m to rebuild the side. So, we don’t really know either way.

What we do know though is that we were well and truly beaten by a typical Jose Mourinho side this week. An organized, confident, controlled, patient unit, keeping it tight at the back and waiting for the opportunity to present itself to them without taking too many risks in the process. I remember when we were solid enough to play with that sort of self-assurance but instead, on Tuesday night, we were most definitely a Carlo Ancelotti side.

Ok, so to be fair to him, it’s a side he inherited but he’s not exactly averse to older players as his former side – who also made an early exit against United – demonstrates. And that’s who we looked like, with a team that’s already some way past its sell-by-date. Huffing and puffing without creating anything of any consequence and about as deadly as a Rottweiler with no teeth.

Frank Lampard – who, let’s face it just has been a lot more subdued under Ancelotti – was barely in the game, Michael Ballack needs to hope this ‘performance related pay’ won’t really come down to being paid what his performances are actually worth to us these days. I appreciate we have both Ashley Cole and Jose Bosingwa out right now but even with competent stand-ins, defensively we’re just nowhere near the impregnable force we used to be and whilst Ross Turnball didn’t actually do anything wrong on Tuesday, do we really want stand-in keepers who have us all sweating before the games have even kicked off?

Then we come to our strike-force and we have Didier Drogba, who either blows us away when he’s in the mood or spends more time attacking the officials than the goal when he’s not, and Nicolas Anelka, who’s never at his best pushed out wide and yet persistently gets shoved there anyway because the current squad affords Ancelotti little option. And as for our options from the bench, Kalou and Joe Cole have both barely looked capable of striking a ball this season nevermind fear into the opposition, so all-in-all, whatever it was we had – we don’t seem to have it anymore.

Fair enough, having a player like Michael Essien missing long-term has cost us and adding Ashley Cole to that recently really didn’t help considering the form he was in but if just two players absences can have such a dramatic effect, then we seriously need some more cavalry to call on. I’m discounting Bosingwa’s absence because I don’t believe his absence has been that significant and whilst Petr Cech has missed a couple of games, our decline has happened over the course of more than the past season and even his form hasn’t been consistent during that time either.

So, where do we go from here? Well, the FA Cup and Premier League are still up for grabs in the near future but whether or not our players can bounce back hard enough now is anyone’s guess. For the longer term though, it’s time to put Mourinho – and a fair few of his players – in the box marked ‘history’ and start again.



Blue is the colour is an honest insight to the World of Chelsea FC. Not always pretty, sometimes rather cynical, but always realistic.


March 2010
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