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Andre Villas-Boas and Chelsea enter crucial stage

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Phil McNulty | 10:50 UK time, Wednesday, 30 November 2011

The sight of a Chelsea fan marching into Stamford Bridge clutching a copy of "The Tibetan Art Of Positive Thinking" could be taken as a sign of these troubled times.

Not necessarily the normal pre-match reading at Chelsea - but these are not normal days at a club searching in vain for old powers and influence as Liverpool sent them emphatically out of the Carling Cup.

And whether it comes from Tibet or Tooting Bec, manager Andre Villas-Boas must find what he is looking for within the next seven days or risk further scrutiny from Chelsea's notoriously impatient owner Roman Abramovich.

Abramovich may not lose sleep over losing a Carling Cup quarter-final, but what will concern him is the obvious decline in Chelsea's performances in recent weeks and growing evidence of glaring weaknesses within their squad.

Winning the Champions League has been something beyond even the powers of Abramovich's mighty chequebook, turning it into the Holy Grail for the Russian. Whatever is missing, Villas-Boas needs to locate it before Valencia arrive at Stamford Bridge next Tuesday.

The Blues need a win or a goalless draw to progress to the familiar territory of the knockout phase. If they do not, both the club and their manager enter the realms of what it is safe to say would have been regarded as the unthinkable when he was appointed.

Villas-Boas was the fresh young face hand-picked by Abramovich to renew Chelsea and make the adjustments required to an ageing squad in need of reconstruction. To even suggest sacking him so soon - and without him having time to seriously address those changes - defies logic.


Villas-Boas faces a difficult run of matches in December. Photo - Getty

Abramovich's history, however, tells us that if something at Chelsea displeases him he will act swiftly and ruthlessly to tackle it. This is why a defeat for an under-strength Chelsea in a tournament that lies low on their priorities may not have far-reaching consequences for Villas-Boas - but an exit from the Champions League just might.

Even if this was a Chelsea side with a more youthful look than normal, Liverpool's supremacy and the manner in which they controlled this Carling Cup tie will have worried Villas-Boas.

The phrase "high defensive line" has been used as a catch-all cliche for Chelsea's problems. Forget the technical terms here though, this was just rank bad defending from a team turning it into a habit.

Liverpool rested their talisman Luis Suarez and had a turnaround time of only 48 hours from their meeting with Manchester City at Anfield on Sunday. And yet they were fresher, looked better conditioned and suggested they now possess a stronger all-round squad than Chelsea as they won at Stamford Bridge deservedly for the second time in 10 days.

One thing Villas-Boas admitted he is looking for is the real Fernando Torres. After a brief flickering of his finest form, the Spaniard has now regressed to the struggles of his earliest days in London.

Torres gave an almost apologetic performance against his former club, brushed aside by even the flimsiest of challenges and looking a shadow of a player who was once undoubted world-class.

Villas-Boas said Torres would "pursue his individual form". The problem, however, is where to start the search and it is unlikely to begin at Newcastle on Saturday, with Chelsea's manager more or less saying Torres would be back on the bench and replaced by Didier Drogba.

Those of us who have supported Torres in the face of evidence to the contrary must now consider whether he really has given his best to the Premier League. To call him a peripheral presence on Tuesday is to talk up his performance to a wildly exaggerated degree.

The Spaniard, like Chelsea, must go back in time and somehow find something of the former glories - preferably in time for the visit of his countrymen next week.

John Terry, Ashley Cole, Juan Mata and Drogba are all likely to be back and starting against Valencia, but there is an uncertainty and insecurity surrounding Chelsea that is already setting up next Tuesday as a night when Stamford Bridge will live on its nerves.

There were no such problems for Liverpool as their team coach pulled out of Stamford Bridge to the applause of supporters who have enjoyed victory on their last three visits.

There are real signs of development at Liverpool under Kenny Dalglish as they made it 11 games unbeaten in all competitions.

Dalglish is the scourge of Chelsea as he maintained an undefeated record against them in 13 games as Liverpool manager. As Liverpool did in their recent Premier League win, they probed Chelsea's weakness and merited the win courtesy of two goals in five minutes after half-time from Maxi Rodriguez and Martin Kelly.

And central to it all was Craig Bellamy. He was withdrawn from Liverpool's game against Manchester City by Dalglish on compassionate grounds following the death of his Wales manager Gary Speed and clearly found the minute's applause before kick-off deeply emotional moments.

Here he gave a performance worthy of his mentor, setting up both goals and walking off to a warm embrace from his manager when he was substituted with the game won.

Liverpool had other positives, too, including a fine performance from young Uruguayan defender Sebastian Coates, although the sight of Lucas being carried off with a knee injury will be a real concern given his outstanding form this season.

All the other worries were left to the Londoners - plenty of them and with not much time for Villas-Boas to find solutions.

Villas-Boas, in the middle of a lengthy dissection of Chelsea's recent poor run that has brought three defeats in four home games, announced: "I am not a wizard." Maybe not, but he must conjure up something in the next week to draw the sting from the current debate about his future.

Comments

Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    Chelsea have been hamstrung this season by Villas-Boas having to field over-the-hill English plodders, Terry, Lampard and Cole.

    However, you can't read too much into last night's result, as about seven first-teamers were rested, while Liverpool fielded quite a strong line-up.

    What this does show, is that Chelsea, United and Arsenal don't have nearly the quality in their squads in comparison to Manchester City, which makes City the overwhelming favourites to win the League Cup as well as the Premiership (although, probably not the Europa League, as there are too many classy continental outfits in that competition who would make mincemeat of Manchester City).

    There's already been a seismic shift of power in the Premiership with City's slickers usurping United at the top of the tree for the foreseeable future.

  • Comment number 2.

    Do think AVB was slightly over-hyped when he came to Chelsea. However, I also think you can be a success if he is able to implement his plans and make sweeping changes in his team.

    He wants to plays a fast paced game, building from the back. The team he has are not suited to that and he has found himself reverting back to tactics that suit the likes of Lampard, Drogba, Terry and Anelka and in a way trying to protect his own position. As such, he finds himself in limbo between two sets of footbal styles, eg high line at the back, but slow pace in mid and big man up front.

    When AVB did get what he wanted, Torres showed, despite his miss against Utd, that he is still a deadly striker. But against Liverpool, he was deployed as a striker akin to Drogba.

    He cuts a forlorne figure on the pitch as he had very little service, or, service that suits his game. It was similar to when he was at Liverpool playing with Roy Hodgson tactics. He was deployed as a big man up front having balls hoofed to him. As soon as Dalglish came in and changed to a fast passing game, it looked like he was going to have more success. Unfortunately he only gave Dalglish a few games and chose Champions League football in Chelsea.

    I do think if AVB can get the opportunity to implement what he wants at Chelsea, then he can make Chealsea very successful and get Torres scoring.

  • Comment number 3.

    It’s not just about Torres though it’s the entire team, they are playing the same lackluster stuff when he is on the bench.

    The way Chelsea started the season was good to watch but they were leaving gaps all over the places due to an ageing defense and midfield. Guys like Terry, Lampard, Malouda, Drogba and Anelka are no longer in their prime and they have lost a couple of yards because of this. At Porto AVB played with a fast and fit team of players who could adapt to playing in that style. The players at Chelsea ( The golden generation) are too drilled in being hard to beat and try to play the killer long ball up to Drogba who 2 years ago was at the top of his game.

    Last night AVB brought in Lakuku to use as this type of Drogba figure but this failed and the service to Torres was shocking (Although Torres himself was just as bad).

    If Chelsea and Roman want AVB to be a success then they have to give him this season and let the older guys go and bring in his own ideas and players. The problem of course is how long is RA going to fund this failing squad? He paid £50 million for a guy who has not made an impact as of yet and players like Modric and Hazard will have better offers from clubs playing at a higher level (If Chelsea crash out of the CL).

  • Comment number 4.

    It's a toughy but could all easily be resolved...look how terrible Arsenal were at the start of the season and they are now hitting some form and playing some good football! It's too early to write Chelsea off and AVB should be given a chance to prove him self with his players..for me JT is less than half the defender he was and dont think he'd get in to any other top 4 defence in the league...Lampard still has some to offer though! need to build around sturridge and mata etc...

  • Comment number 5.

    What if Chelsea finish outside the top four ?, you have to say that is not at the moment an unrealistic prospect and that I am certain would seal his fate good and proper. I Don't think Hair-trigger Abramovich would wait that long tho, if Chelsea are still in 5th or 6th place at the end of December that should be it. People here mention the ageing squad but who will buy the replacement/s ??? and I think we all know the answer to that one !!

  • Comment number 6.

    Phil McNulty

    To even suggest sacking him so soon - and without him having time to seriously address those changes - defies logic.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    If it defies logic, why do you keep mentioning it?

    Last nights performance was quite dysfunctional it has to be said. However, to suggest that Chelsea's defence was just 'rank bad' is pretty lame analysis to say the least. The first goal was really brought about by young Ryan Bertrand trying to play an offside that wasn't there. The second goal was brought about by a very good set piece delivery, that shouldn't have been a set piece at all given that Bellamy actually seemed to fall over his own feet rather than be fouled!

    Also, I would like to add that Bertrand had a pretty good game last night.

    Liverpool played on the counter and barely troubled the Chelsea goal. Torres looked all over the place and it appears that confidence has almost completely disappeared. As for the service he got or didn't get, if he tried moving away from his marker, or if he didn't lose the ball so cheaply when it did come to him, things might be looking up. But, he was either trying to be so safe so as to avoid the jeers from the Liverpool fans, and thus achieve nothing, or, he was trying to take on two or three players and just getting into a tangle!

    Chelsea's squad does need more work (why are Kalou and Ferreira still there for example) and this will come in time, maybe January.

    Let's see how it pans out.

  • Comment number 7.

    Chelsea is in transition and AVB must be given more time. RA must break the cycle of sacking managers; only through time can Chelsea finally replace a starting 11 that belongs largely to Mourinho.

    Across London meanwhile, Spurs have taken the chance to propel themselves as the top London club. At this moment they are the only southern based team that can really challenge Manchester.

    http://wp.me/1qHQT

  • Comment number 8.

    "I Don't think Hair-trigger Abramovich would wait that long tho, if Chelsea are still in 5th or 6th place at the end of December that should be it. People here mention the ageing squad but who will buy the replacement/s ??? "


    Drogba has the 2 biggest clubs in Italy to choose from and Anelka is being chased by Russian and Asian teams.

    These players are still massive names in football but are coming to the end of their best playing days but they will not be short of offers.

    The only players that would struggle is the likes of Mikel who is just not good enough to play at this level.

  • Comment number 9.

    #5 hansbohrdt

    I think Chelsea will get top four. But, what if they were struggling?

    Well, if one takes a very simple view, Chelsea spent £70m in January to get a top four finish, that probably isn't worth £70m.

    So, if necessary, sacrifice a season in the Champions League and don't spend the top dollar, thus allowing the younger players to spend time together and hopefully flourish into a stronger team.

    Could 'appen.....

  • Comment number 10.

    AVB just needs some more time to redevelop a declining squad who are a pitiful coompared to the squad under Mouriniho. Chelsea need to buy a decent right back as the likes of bosingwa are average on a good day. Chelsea also need another center back; David Luis is far too attacking for them and has become a liability whilst Terry and Alex don't seem as good as they once were.
    Chelsea have many average/ poor players in their squad such as Mikel, Hillario, Kalou, Bosingwa e.t.c and they need to add quality to this lack-lusture squad.
    Chelsea simply need a quality play maker as good as the likes of David Silva, Luka Modric, Xavi, Hamsik, Iniesta e.t.c this will allow players like Mata and Torres to flourish due to a new creative influence.
    It also has to be noted that Ashley Cole has been awful recently and was destrpyed by Arsenal and Liverpool with absolute ease.

  • Comment number 11.

    I do feel a bit sorry for AVB, wait a minute - no i don't!!!

    Chelsea have been known for being great defensively for years and this guy comes in and all of a sudden we can't stop conceeding goals. His tactics are completely wrong and he keeps playing david luiz who can't defend to save his life. With the options we have currently got - Play Alex!!!

    Major changes are required in January starting with getting rid of Luiz & Torres - the worst buys in Premiership history.

    There is absolutely no point in sacking the guy as all it means is we will have less money to spend on new transfers as we have to comply with fifa's new financial fair play system - but get GH in as director of football - now!!!

    At present we will not finish in the top 6 - fact!!!

  • Comment number 12.

    Chelsea... too old... too slow

    Past it... seen better days...

    They're shot... Has beens...

    you catch my drift

  • Comment number 13.

    Tactics and players need to match. Age has nothing to do with it. Look at AC Milan, they have had plenty of success all based arounf older, experienced players.

    The players that Chelsea were suited to Ancelloti and are suited to managers like Capello and even Hodgson tactics.

    Given the very little movement in overhauling this squad in the summer, it is clear that Roman and the Chelsea board have faith in the players like Lampard, Drogba, Cole, Terry and Anelka.

    So I doubt there will be major movement in Jan, maybe one or two buys. Which does not bode well for AVB. What he needs to do is realise, and realise quickly that his tactics need to change to get the best out of what he's got not what he wants to achieve.

    That means players like Torres and even Mata, would not be utilised to the best of their ability.

    The question will be is AVB experienced enough to know how to play a different way, a way that suits Chelsea's players or does he only know the way that got him success at another team with a different style players.

  • Comment number 14.

    Don't forget that Chelsea had a worse slump than this last season, and still ended up finishing second.

    I'm pretty sure they'll still finish in 3rd place, as Tottenham are bound to tail off after this purple patch, Arsenal will drop away in the spring (as per usual) and Liverpool aren't really progressing from last season.

  • Comment number 15.

    AVB is the worst Chelsea manager I have seen in 25 years as a Season Ticket holder and 35 years of attending games at The Bridge. He is so far out of his depth it is embrassing. He has no plan, no system, no idea. I always thought he was a big risk and this has been proven to bne true. He needs help now or otherwise his 3 year plan will take us to the Championship and not the Champions league

  • Comment number 16.

    @14
    Tottenham, Liverpool and Arsenal are either equal, greater or very close to the quality that Chelsea have; I'd have to say that whatever position they ultimately end up in, their won't be much between 3rd-6th.

  • Comment number 17.

    #14 The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa

    Ye gads, a sensible post!!!

    And yes, you are quite right about last season.

    The only point I would make though is that last autumn Chelsea were creating numerous chances and dominating games. The fault was that Ancelotti stuck with Drogba (who was suffering from malaria) and Anelka when he should have played Sturridge. That ultimately cost him his job and Abramovich £50m+.

    This season, we are not creating quite the same number of chances, but, Sturridge is looking good and can be quite clinical.

    So, it's not quite like with like but overall we're ok. As you say, Spurs and Arsenal are unlikely to carry on as they have and Liverpool can't win at home!

  • Comment number 18.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again, Chelsea are in transition and must push through with the necessary clear out of personnel.

    Even before John Obi Mikel was caught napping against Liverpool in the league, he was on borrowed time. He simply has never delivered for Chelsea and I've always questioned his hunger. A classic 'I'll pick up my pay cheque at the end of the week come win or lose'. Must be sold.

    Kalou also needs to move on. His contribution over the years has been acceptable, but no more than that. For a team, like Chelsea, that creates bucket loads of chances he should be scoring more goals. Whenever he comes on in a crucial game when Chelsea are needing a goal, you never feel that he is the man that's going to get it.

    Anelka is another player who's contract should not be renewed. He is an exceptional player, but ultimately is a egotistic sulk who will never put in 100% whilst he's behind Torres and Drogba in the pecking order.

    Boswinga and Ferreira also need to move on. Ivanovic is a reliable player at right back, but Chelsea need to find a player here for the long term.

    So there's a start to the pending clear out. The younger players such as Sturridge and Romeu need to be given gradually more game time.

    I would urge fans not to get carried away with Sturridge. He is probably a year or two at least away from being a regular as there are lots of areas of his game that need improving.

    I was listening to someone on the TV the other day talk about Sturridge being the complete player...........I would say more work is needed on his right foot.

  • Comment number 19.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 20.

    @Soul Patch - Since you love spainish players, and know alot about them! Torres is spanish, costed 50m? Why is he playing so rubbish? Lets face that is true? there are other players better then him, Citys strikeforce, RVP, So whats your analysis on that?

    - I think Chelsea wont win anything this season, however i reckon they should get rid of the old players and use this season as a trial and error, test their new young players, let them play more and see how they adapt.

  • Comment number 21.

    #18 R777

    It's not a question of getting carried away with Sturridge, nor does it matter if he is complete or, in your view surprisingly, a couple of years away from a regular.

    Right now he is playing, he is contributing to play and he is scoring goals! That's all that matters. He doesn't use his right foot much but, sadly, being one footed doesn't seem to be any obstacle when it comes to be a good footballer.

    You mention the clearout and for the most part I would agree.

    Must say, I was disappointed by Lukaku last night. Might need to hold onto one of Drogba and Anelka for the rest of the season.

  • Comment number 22.

    I was at the game last night and I'm also a season ticket holder. The worst thing about last night (and also the great majority of games I've seen Chelsea play this season) is the fact that there was no sense of 'spirit' in our team. I didn't feel like any of them on the pitch last night wanted to play for the shirt, which is in my opinion, a cardinal sin. Fine, the players have to take responsibility for their performances (and they were all terrible) but if the team is coming out to start a game with the wrong body language, seem scared of making an easy pass and hassling and harrying to get the ball back then you have to question what was said in the dressing room before the match (and things didn't get better after half time either).

    I do think AVB is out of his depth, the last few games he genuinely didn't know what to say or how to respond. As a Chelsea fan if he had started playing some of the kids this season in the league and we lost a few I'd understand it, I'd know that he was building for a better future. However, generally he hasn't (aside from some Carling Cup games) looked to blood any of the youngsters and has stayed with the tried and tested which is no longer enough.

    I fear a defeat on Saturday and the wrong result against Valencia will see a quicker exit for AVB. I'm not saying I'm in agreement with such ruthlessness but if AVB can't start fielding a team that at least wants to play and win then he will only have himself to blame!

  • Comment number 23.

    19. At 12:34 30th Nov 2011, colesc8 wrote:
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Ignoring your nauseating xenophobia, I'd like to respond to your comment that Villas-Boas has ''no real experience of managing clubs at the highest level in the world.''

    Presumably you thought the same about Mourinho when he signed for Chelsea? :rollseyes:

  • Comment number 24.

    #1 - "However, you can't read too much into last night's result, as about seven first-teamers were rested, while Liverpool fielded quite a strong line-up."

    Liverpool also made seven changes for last night's game, which invalidates the above comment.

  • Comment number 25.

    As a long suffering chelsea fan something is clearly not right

    I think the worst thing we can do at this stage is dump AVB, and having paid 13 million for him I think Abramovic will have patience

    This squad is clearly in long need of a mass overhaul. When i see Malouda and Bosingwa on the teamsheets these days I want to cry. There is too much dead wood and over the hill under-performers in the sqaud. Players like Mikel, Ferreira, Kalou are simply not Chelsea quality whilst the likes of Alex, Lampard, Anelka, Malouda and Ashley Cole have all been well below par

    Mata has been a godsend but we pretty clearly need more like him. Wish we'd signed that lad De Bruyne in the summer. As it stands even if he does join in January he's cup tied for the CL

    What needs to be done? Some players are getting too compalcent about their positions, and this needs to be addressed. AVB has done what Ancelotti could not here and was prepared to bench Lampard, but he has to go further

    Forget his game against Wolves, Cole has been well below par, and has been ever since the world cup imo. Betrand has looked a composed figure in defence, think he should get a League start

    Romeu is another one, I realy like the look of this guy. Cool, calm and composed-basically everything Mikel isn't!

    I think yesterday shattered the myth that we need to recall Alex to sort out the defence, Stoke game aside he has looked an accident waiting to happen all season

    As much as everyone loves to criticise Luiz, i think it's notable that our best defensive performances this seaosn have come with him in the side, and our worst have come without him. Liverpool are the only side to score more than 1 goal against us with him on the pitch

    Those defensive horror shows against Arsenal and United-he wasn't playing in either game, against leverkeusen it's as soon as he comes off they score. Even against Liverpool 10 days ago, where was the invincible Suarez that game?

    Last night I think we missed Sturridge and Mata alot, and we will have them back against Newcastle. I want to see Romeu get another start at the weekend

  • Comment number 26.

    20. At 12:38 30th Nov 2011, krissh123 wrote:
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Torres' form is markedly depreciating after languishing for about 4-5 years in the EPL.

    This is exactly the reason why David Silva needs to come back home pretty soon! Before you know it, he'll be playing like a regular at ''The Wheatsheaf'' on a Sunday morning.

  • Comment number 27.

    The way I see it, AVB has two options to rescue his reign at the Bridge. Either...

    - Go back to the pragmatic, powerful, disciplined Chelsea side we have known since the Mourinho days. Utilise the strengths of individual players rather than expose their weaknesses.

    or...

    - Continue to promote the idea of being in transition, but actually set the transition motion rather than just make token gestures. Drop Terry and Lampard. Phase McEachran, Romeu and Lukaku into the team.

    As it is, they are somewhere inbetween these two options, insistent on playing the likes of Terry and Lampard despite their clear inability to play the particular brand of football the Chelsea hierarchy so desire, and this indecisiveness could cost AVB his job.

  • Comment number 28.

    24. At 12:42 30th Nov 2011, RedMistDescending wrote:

    Liverpool also made seven changes for last night's game, which invalidates the above comment.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Fair enough. My mistake. With the exception of Carroll, it looked a pretty strong Liverpool side.

  • Comment number 29.

    #22 merlinmilan

    I was at the game last night and I'm also a season ticket holder.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    What did you make of Bertrand then? I thought he was the one good thing to come out of last night. Shame about the first goal, but, surely he should be being played when A Cole isn't available rather than, as last week against Leverkusen, Bosingwa at left back?

  • Comment number 30.

    #26 The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa

    And, after a bright opening, you revert to type. Shame.

  • Comment number 31.

    a boy doing a mans job,overated and clueless. Everyone is focussing on he age thing its not about that its about organisation and tactics this guy understands neither. Ryan Giggs is old but still a great player. This guy is clearly the wrong choice and when we exit the champions league because we are not good enough to win it he will be gone. At least Carlo had some idea

  • Comment number 32.

    14.
    At 12:25 30th Nov 2011, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote:

    Don't forget that Chelsea had a worse slump than this last season, and still ended up finishing second.

    I'm pretty sure they'll still finish in 3rd place, as Tottenham are bound to tail off after this purple patch, Arsenal will drop away in the spring (as per usual) and Liverpool aren't really progressing from last season.

    ________________________________

    Who is this WUM?

    Liverpool not only look a far better side than last season, they ARE a far better side. Better team, stronger squad, better manager, excellent set up.

    And all this for a team at the start of something. A revamped squad, a group of players getting to know each other, joint best defence in the league while still playing an attacking game, and when they need to, a counter attacking game. Tactics look good, players look good, everyone seems happy.

    If they'd have just put away some of the chances that came their way in the home draws, they could easily be second. But they didn't. It doesn't take away from the good performances in general and the 11 match unbeaten run.

    Please, stop talking complete gough.

  • Comment number 33.

    Maybe a a crazy situation but there's always the "nuclear solution" - sell everyone that doesn't fit the style and at whatever price (you'll save on the wages at least) and then buy the players you need (even if not the most glamourous names) and mould with the keepers e.g. Sturridge and then mould them to what you want - after all who were some of the Chelsea players before they "came good" - too much buying at top-end and selling at bottom.

    Yes it needs patience but by definition some teams worried about the Champions League are only in it because they CL for EPL teams extends down to 4th place.

  • Comment number 34.

    "- Go back to the pragmatic, powerful, disciplined Chelsea side we have known since the Mourinho days. Utilise the strengths of individual players rather than expose their weaknesses. "

    I don't think the players are good enough to go back to that formula. This was 4-5 years ago and the players now are well into their 30's. We had a young Essien, Lampard, Terry, Drogba and Cole all at the top of their game back then. We still have these players now and it was obvious they could not last forever.

    AVB needs to weed them out in january and then complete it in the summer to give Chelsea a new look.

    There was no point in spending money on Luiz, Torres, Mata ect if we are going to play the old method as these players just don't fit in with it.

  • Comment number 35.

    Thought Bertrand and Romeu were the bright spots last night. I'd actually argue even when Cole is in the squad Bertrand should be given a runout. McEachran and Lukaku need a loan spell or 2, but not in the Championship. I'd send Josh to Swansea in january. Lukaku is clearly one for the future, i do wonder if a loan to a club like Stoke would be an idea

  • Comment number 36.

    It is infuriating to see a similar slump to that of this time last season reappear. Albeit during that woeful period under Ancelotti from about November until February, we weren't conceding quite as many goals as we are now, which you can argue is even more worrying!

    The AVB project is one that can eventually blossom and grow, but the timescale is indefinite for this to be achieved. Ashley Cole is certainly not 'over-the-hill' as someone stated on here, but you can argue that Lampard and Terry perhaps need to be moved on quite soon in order for real change to occur. In addition to these players going, the likes of Mikel, Kalou, Malouda, Ferreira, Bosingwa and Drogba need to go at some stage.

    Rumours are gathering that Gary Cahill may be bought in January and quite frankly even though Bolton have been shipping goals, I'd much rather have his style of defending than David Luiz's at the minute! That's if you can call the latter a defender. Ryan Bertrand or Patrick van Ahnholt are definitely good enough to eventually replace Cole, but then again it would be understandable for them to want regular first team football and leave. We need a solid right back, people have spoken about van der Wiel in the past, so maybe he might add something different. Strengthening in midfield is also needed.

    AVB needs to be far more adaptable with both his starting line-ups and substitutions, along with the formation being played. He is the real deal, but his lack of experience is there for all to see at the moment and it is almost like damage limitation being a Chelsea fan right now. We are looking down instead of up the league table, we are fearing the worst already next Tuesday night against Valencia in a group that should have been put to bed ages ago and all we are content with is getting a top 4 place in the league.

    We have the capability of turning it around in the league like last season, but to go and win at Newcastle this Saturday seems a tall order with the way we are playing.

  • Comment number 37.

    #32 Gavelaa

    Even if Liverpool are progressing from last season, they are still below Chelsea who are in poor form and might be at the start of something themselves.

  • Comment number 38.

    There is no doubt that Chelsea are on the slide this season, they will be lucky to finish in the top 5 and still be in the CL at this rate. December will prove the make or break month for them, but I can see it all ending horribly for AVB. The manager needs the backing of the board to change things around. The older players who have grown accustomed to playing slow and boring football, cannot play the dynamic way he wants them to now, as their just not athletic enough.

  • Comment number 39.

    I hate when people say "I'm a season ticket holder, blah blah blah"

    Having a season ticket doesnt mean your opinion is more valid than anyone else or you are more correct than anyone else.

    You are just lucky to be the few of the fan base that has a season ticket and lucky to be in a osition to pay for it too.

    Anyway, I find it amazing that some mangers that faulter, the media and press blame the players or squad (Like hodgson for Liverpool last season) and other managers, the media say they need to do better, or face the sack, like AVB.

  • Comment number 40.

    Never mind sacking AVB, Abramovich should look at sacking himself and whoever's advising him. Buy Torres for £50 mil, P45. Bring in a 34 year old manager with less than 100 matches managerial experience, sacked. They knew it was MASSIVE gamble to bring in AVB and if they do sack him without giving him at leasst 3 to 4 years then it's not just that he's impatient it shows he's stupid, in footballing terms at least. For once he should lie in the bed he's made. AVB will be a very good manager but he needs time to build a team, squad and club.

  • Comment number 41.

    Soul Patch of David Villa - it's rather naive to suggest Man City are out of the Champions League. It would take any team a while to get used to top-level European football and if they do qualify for the KOs, I wouldn't want to be drawn against them.

    Quite clearly Malouda showed last night that he doesn't give a toss. I've never seen someone give the ball away so much. Shame McEachran had to limp out of it though, was really excited to see him in action.

    My January Exit List - Hilario, Paulo Ferreira, Flo Malouda, Salomon Kalou and Raul Meireles (shouldn't have bought him in the first place). Anelka has been arguably one of our best signings and should be allowed to leave with Drogba at the end of the season.

    I have no idea what's going on, could be the tactics, could be a lack of respect, could be complacency. We just look flat in every game and as for David Luiz, someone needs to put a lead on the boy when he keeps making them marauding runs I want to scream.

    Gonna be a massive, massive task to get the team firing again, pretty sure unless something changes that won't be happening. If I was AVB I'd be a bit nervous with quick-fix Guus out of work.

  • Comment number 42.

    37.
    At 12:52 30th Nov 2011, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    #32 Gavelaa

    Even if Liverpool are progressing from last season, they are still below Chelsea who are in poor form and might be at the start of something themselves.


    _____________

    Even if? Get a grip, Liverpool are a much better team. If Liverpool are behind Chelsea, I doubt they'd have gone to Stamford Bridge and won twice. Liverpool went to Chelsea on the back of a bad result at home to Swansea. Liverpool are not a team in sparkling form, they're just a very solid team, and it won't be until the second half of the season that Liverpool will hit top form, such is the nature of a team where 9 players were signed in 2011.

    I can't think of many parallels between the two clubs at the moment. I like Villas-Boas, but things aren't going right, and if they go out of the Champions League, he will be sacked, and then Chelsea will be back to square one.

    Liverpool meanwhile have already played United, City, Spurs, Chelsea, Arsenal and Everton in their first 13 games, and haven't looked out of place.

    11 matches unbeaten.

    New side.

    Brilliant manager.

    It's not hard.

  • Comment number 43.

    Yes, that's the answer, dump the Brazil international being chased by Barca and replace him with the main defender on a side who've lost all but 2 of their games

    Sick of people saying Luiz is the problem-why are Liverpool th only club to hit mroe than 1 goal against us with him on the pitch? Our defense without him is far worse than our defense with him. Here are some stas for you


    Season 11/12 so far with Luiz playing
    Played 10
    Conceded 7
    Clean sheets 4

    Season 11/12 so far without Luiz playing
    Played 10
    Conceded 15
    Clean sheets 2

    He's given a lousy rap by the United loving media who can't forgive him for bullying their beloved Wazza like that back in March

    Errors blown way out of proportion, what's he done wrong this season? Concedes a penalty against QPR but then if Foy wasn'r wearing the blue and white striped shirt that day he should have won an almost identical penalty. the stats don't lie, yes he's attcak minded but so's Phil Jones, so's vermaelen and I don't hear these 2 getting half the criticism Luiz does

  • Comment number 44.

    I think there were positives (a few) and many negatives to come from last night's game. The positives were Bertrand, Romeu, Mata (when he came on). The negatives were Bosingwa (in my mind partly reposnibel for both goals) and definitely Malouda. For me, every time AVB starts Malouda it's another nail in his coffin. he is not good enough for Chelsea, and (like others at present) does not seem to care!

    I think the next three games are crucila - could be out of champions league and struggling to qualify for next year! I know it was said that AVB does not need to win anything for two years, but surely not qualifying for CL was not part of the plan?!

  • Comment number 45.

    I think Villas-Boas needs mobile, hard working players for his methodology to pay off. Chelsea have been used to retreating when they lose possession and have been very effective. They are not defending from the front and pressing as they need to do under his system. In that sense some great players are no longer able to perform. Is it laziness is it tired legs, I don't know. But, you can't play like Barcelona unless you have the mobility and skill required. In that sense only Mata, Ramires would get near a Barcelona squad. Lukaku looks quite poor to be honest but he might improve. He's no Falcao or what ever his name was at Porto. PL is about power and strength and the skill level with the odd exception just isn't there.
    In general most teams have only one great current player such as Mata, Van Persie, Silva, Suarez, Modric. Some PL players are pretty damn average. United will no doubt draw Apoel in the CL and progress but Barcelona, Munich and Madrid are way ahead as favourites. Valencia will be too good for Chelsea next week who will be too nervous to perform. More money required at Chelsea for quick, intelligent, diligent, skilful players.

  • Comment number 46.

    "New side.

    Brilliant manager.

    It's not hard."

    Liverpool have not had Europe and like it or not that is a massive difference. Man United, City and even Tottenham are ahead of Liverpool at the moment and they are all involved in Europe.

    Liverpool have improved on last season but they are still well behind the top clubs in the country.

  • Comment number 47.

    Chelsea's main problem is that Man City actually came good.

    If City had been riddled with the in-fighting the media predicted, then Chelsea would only be chasing a fallible Man United side at the top.

    It appears that while Abramovichs money put an end to Arsenals interest in the championship race, the Sheiks has now done the same to Chelsea!!

  • Comment number 48.

    *Liverpool are a much better side than they were last season. Anyone, ANYONE can see that.

    Better manager, better players, better results, better football, better atmosphere.

  • Comment number 49.

    @1
    Lampard is currently Chelseas top scorer. It is funny to see you once again peddle your anti English stance yet neglect to even mention the £50 million Spaniard whom has failed to find any form at all since his move to London. The without doubt worst signing in recent times.

    Trolls aside, Luiz is a liability. He is too rash and has zero discipline on the pitch. Chelsea have big defensive problems which are mirrored going forward. The only player who looks to threaten is English man D Sturridge. Both Drogba and Torres look out of it this season. Offloading Drogba will be easy but the same cannot be said for the Spaniard.

    I feel sorry for AVB, he inherited a poor squad that will require major investment to deliver any trophies this season.

  • Comment number 50.

    46.
    At 13:04 30th Nov 2011, Bear_with_it wrote:

    "New side.

    Brilliant manager.

    It's not hard."

    Liverpool have not had Europe and like it or not that is a massive difference. Man United, City and even Tottenham are ahead of Liverpool at the moment and they are all involved in Europe.

    Liverpool have improved on last season but they are still well behind the top clubs in the country.

    ___________________________

    Hang on a second, no one said they were better than those three sides. Those three sides, who are currently the best in the country. They are however more than a match for Chelsea and Arsenal, and it will be a battle for the top 4 places, no doubt.

    One thing to remember though is this. Spurs, a great side, probably the best side Spurs have had for 50 years, are at the absolute top of their game. Liverpool, are just starting out with a newish manager and a new set of players. They've started well and are going to get even better.

    The lack of Europe has helped Liverpool, but even then, look at the squad they've now built. They made plenty of changes to their team, such is the way when you've got a game a mere 2 days after your last one, against two of the hardest teams possible. Yet their squad players were more than up to it, and their strength in depth was stronger than Chelsea's. A younger side to boot.

  • Comment number 51.

    Blog about Chelsea, not Liverpool.

  • Comment number 52.

    The only time Liverpool looked uncomfortable in this game was when Lucas went off injured - which shows how central he's become to this dogged Liverpool team. Hopefully he'll be back quickly as Liverpool don't really have a replacement for him.

  • Comment number 53.

    On the Liverpool subject, everyone is hailing Dalglish as the Messiah, but I do not think you can underestimate the influence of Steve Clark. We benefitted from it for long enough! I think this is the main reason Liverpool seem to be able to beat us with one hand tied behind their back - 'cos Steve knows how to!

  • Comment number 54.

    *Liverpool are a much better side than they were last season. Anyone, ANYONE can see that.

    Better manager, better players, better results, better football, better atmosphere.


    You missed the but out ....................


    No European Football

  • Comment number 55.

    again, Blog about Chelsea, not Liverpool.

  • Comment number 56.

    I'll say one thing about Chelsea, they're more than capable of putting it right for the second half of the season without changing a thing. They've got some quality players, and if they did get Torres firing, they'd be beating plenty of teams. The manager has some very good ideas.

    It's a shame about Chelsea fans though, last night. Look at them now, some calling for AVB's head. Here we have a bright young manager, with an attacking intent, and yet people want him out. Chelsea were dire in parts last season, it's a squad thing, and the new manager has brought in some of his own crop. It's going to take time. There is a lot of quality there.

    Difference between the two sets of fans last night? Chelsea fans booing while Lucas is stretchered off with a serious looking injury, Liverpool fans singing the name of a former Everton player.

  • Comment number 57.

    "One thing to remember though is this. Spurs, a great side, probably the best side Spurs have had for 50 years, are at the absolute top of their game. Liverpool, are just starting out with a newish manager and a new set of players. They've started well and are going to get even better"

    Away from home Liverpool have been great but the home form has been very average...to be a top team you have to be solid at home and Chelsea and Liverpool lack in this area at the moment!

    They may be ahead of Chelsea in terms of head to head games but both are close in the table and that is where it matters so there is really nothing in it on that front.

    I have not really seen enough of Caroll and Henderson to judge if they are a good investment as it has been the likes of Lucas who has been the stand out along with Suarez.

  • Comment number 58.

    AVB was just Mourinho's stats man at Chelsea, nothings changed.

  • Comment number 59.

    55.
    At 13:14 30th Nov 2011, biggles wrote:

    again, Blog about Chelsea, not Liverpool.

    _______________

    Shut up mate, yeah? There's more than a passing mention about Liverpool in Phil McNulty's blog. After all, this is a reaction to a Chelsea-Liverpool game.

  • Comment number 60.

    avb needs to be given time its been an ageing squad for some time
    until avb can rebuild with his own choice of players only then we can judge him
    ancelotti added a few quality players in his time there but the core of the team was mouriniho era old guard which avb has inherited you can only work with what you have
    the question is will he be given the time?

  • Comment number 61.

    55. At 13:14 30th Nov 2011, biggles wrote:
    again, Blog about Chelsea, not Liverpool.

    ______________________________

    Where are the 'blog police' when Chelsea supporters blog about their side on NON Chelsea topics

  • Comment number 62.

    Chelsea certainly need to do something fast, if they don't make some good buys in January they will struggle even more!

    Luiz is not a bad footballer, just seems to get position all wrong in the back four, holding midfield may be better for him. Alex should come in, ignoring the stupid handball yesterday with a couple more games under his belt he will fit in well.

    AVB should stay, he needs time to revamp the squad and develop a new style, obviously this takes time.

    Torres looked very poor but then what service did he get, this is a regular problem when he plays. If he is constantly getting rubbish service is it any wonder that he gets demoralised and this impacts his form?

    I still believe Chelsea will remain in the top four, the other sides will also have a dip, this happens almost every year.

    Have to agree Bertrand and Romeu looked pretty good. Lukaku seems to have no control with the first ball, work in progress I guess. McEachran I am still not sure about, keep hearing loads about him from Chelsea fans but unfortunately circunstances last night meant we saw too little of him.

    I doubt this exit bothers RA or the fans that much, the December games and Valencia (very big game) are far more important.

  • Comment number 63.

    #56 Gavelaa

    Just out of interest, are these the same Liverpool fans that were nicking tickets off of each other in Istanbul?

    Liverpool fans were good last night, but don't get carried away.

  • Comment number 64.

    57.
    At 13:15 30th Nov 2011, Bear_with_it wrote:

    "One thing to remember though is this. Spurs, a great side, probably the best side Spurs have had for 50 years, are at the absolute top of their game. Liverpool, are just starting out with a newish manager and a new set of players. They've started well and are going to get even better"

    Away from home Liverpool have been great but the home form has been very average...to be a top team you have to be solid at home and Chelsea and Liverpool lack in this area at the moment!

    They may be ahead of Chelsea in terms of head to head games but both are close in the table and that is where it matters so there is really nothing in it on that front.

    I have not really seen enough of Caroll and Henderson to judge if they are a good investment as it has been the likes of Lucas who has been the stand out along with Suarez.

    __________________________

    Liverpool have been playing well but haven't been getting the results. OK, it's not bad luck, but they should have beaten United, Norwich and City given the sheer weight of chances. Of course they should have put more away against Sunderland and Swansea too. But they're not perfect, they're in transition themselves and it says a lot that Liverpool are talking about big missed opportunities against United and City when they should have won, while against Norwich when you only take 1 chance out of 26 shots these results can happen. Again, not perfect but by no means a disgrace.

  • Comment number 65.

    59. At 13:19 30th Nov 2011, Gavelaa wrote:
    55.
    At 13:14 30th Nov 2011, biggles wrote:

    again, Blog about Chelsea, not Liverpool.

    _______________

    Shut up mate, yeah? There's more than a passing mention about Liverpool in Phil McNulty's blog. After all, this is a reaction to a Chelsea-Liverpool game.

    ______________________________________________


    Best post yet

  • Comment number 66.

    The Soul patch of david Villa, there is a big difference between AVB and Mourinho. Mourinho have been successful for 4 to 5 years and had won the Champions League. AVB managed in a league where the quality of teams, players and managers are a lot lower and got to a weak European final, where teams of the top countries do not even want to be in. I questioned his ability in the summer and this has been proved right. I now go to The Bridge expecting to lose, we are that bad and 90% of the problems are the set up, playing the wrong players and continuing to play a draft system which is claerly not working.

  • Comment number 67.

    #62 MU_Andy_58

    Torres looked very poor but then what service did he get, this is a regular problem when he plays. If he is constantly getting rubbish service is it any wonder that he gets demoralised and this impacts his form?
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Torres looked very poor last night. Either no movement or too easily losing the ball when he did get it. The change has to come from him.

    He looked better in the second half, but, that's hardly saying much!

  • Comment number 68.

    @quiddenC #27

    you are spot on here, i completely agree and have been saying it for a while. whilst terry and lampard are chelsea legends, of that there is no doubt, they are too immobile and do not possess the technical ability or dynamism to acclimatize to AVB's plans. However, because AVB is clearly under pressure to get results, he feels he has to play the most experienced/most popular players to avoid, yep, you guessed it, the media backlash if things were to go belly up.

    A catch-22 you wouldn't wish upon your worst enemy

  • Comment number 69.

    I understand all the comments about AVB inheriting a squad, and not having the players to fit his style. Surely the success of managers such as Mourinho and Hiddink in recent times was their ability to work with what they had, and build what they want. I REALLY want AVB to work, but can we completely write of a season or two for him to do this. If he's as good as we hope, he should be able to perform with the team he has, and grow/change things in time to suit his style. We might not be contending for the title - or any trophies - this season whilst he gets things in order, but does that make a good team bad all of a sudden?

  • Comment number 70.

    63.
    At 13:21 30th Nov 2011, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    #56 Gavelaa

    Just out of interest, are these the same Liverpool fans that were nicking tickets off of each other in Istanbul?

    Liverpool fans were good last night, but don't get carried away.

    __________________________

    Your vile rhetoric has no place in here. We're just talking about what went on last night. And none of this can be denied. Chelsea fans are cutting very impatient figures, while Liverpool fans, recognising they're on the up but by no means the finished article, are united in numbers and in their ferocious support and defiance. It was very clear to see, and it's damning.

  • Comment number 71.

    Did I just read somebody say that in January they should get rid of raul meireles? He's arguably chelsea's best midfielder!
    Patches is back with his terry and lamps are english so are no good approach. You could argue that the continental pro AVB is showing us what a pub manager he is and he's better to managing in a pub league like Spain.
    Chelsea are in transition, as are utd, so I'd expect a couple of seasons of city domination before the young guns of both teams start to shine and expose city for what they are.
    AVB is tittering on the brink of a sacking, and I don't think he will last till xmas. Expect hiddink to be in charge come 2012.

  • Comment number 72.

    Does anyone else think that David Luiz is a deadringer for Sideshow Bob?
    I find it gives him a slightly sinister air.
    He certainly defends like a clown.

  • Comment number 73.

    terry lampard true blues brothers
    @43
    Sick of people saying Luiz is the problem-why are Liverpool th only club to hit mroe than 1 goal against us with him on the pitch? Our defense without him is far worse than our defense with him. Here are some stas for you


    Season 11/12 so far with Luiz playing
    Played 10
    Conceded 7
    Clean sheets 4

    Season 11/12 so far without Luiz playing
    Played 10
    Conceded 15
    Clean sheets 2

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    By producing a stat, your doing the one thing that has given us Lampard and Gerrard in the same England team and they never worked together.

    With Luiz they do not look defensively sound, they are not a cohesive unit, in fact the only way I think Luiz could play is if the defence was built around him but Chelsea would need a completely new defence, if that was to be the case.

    Stats will tell you one thing but the eyes will tell you more.

    Liverpool must think their in heaven because their has never been a better time to play a team like Chelsea.

    Chelsea's problems probably stem from off the ptch rather than on it. Last season, Wilkins departure, Carlo given the heave ho, although he is a manager with a proven record with an ageing team. The players, have they really depreciated that much? I doubt it. You cannot build the foundations of success with those types of decisions. Chelsea are in serious danger of imploding.

  • Comment number 74.

    66.
    At 13:23 30th Nov 2011, woodleyblue wrote:

    The Soul patch of david Villa, there is a big difference between AVB and Mourinho. Mourinho have been successful for 4 to 5 years and had won the Champions League. AVB managed in a league where the quality of teams, players and managers are a lot lower and got to a weak European final, where teams of the top countries do not even want to be in. I questioned his ability in the summer and this has been proved right. I now go to The Bridge expecting to lose, we are that bad and 90% of the problems are the set up, playing the wrong players and continuing to play a draft system which is claerly not working.

    ___________________

    You should be ashamed.

    Your ignorance is staggering. You lack of patience and rampant negativity deeply disturbing. Have you no fight or belief?

    Pathetic, in all honesty.

  • Comment number 75.

    I think Chelsea are caught between using players who have been schooled in a totally different way to how Boas wants to play. Lampard, Cole, Terry, Cech, Malouda, Anelka and Drogba have been operating under a system organized by Mourinho, where they sit deep defend well and allow teams to come at them rather than simply pile forward and leave themselves open for counter attack.
    Terry, Lamps and Mikel don't understand the high linre. They are too slow to get back and Technically the blues can't have the best of both worlds. Good teams with
    Quick wingers and attackers have caused Chelsea lots of problems. Boas hasn't managed to win one top class fixture this season except for Leverkeusen at home.
    Chelsea have looked toothless in possession and vulnerable in defence. There is light at the end of the tunnel though. Sturridge looks top class as does Mata. Romeu will develop into a fine player and distributes the ball very well. Bertrand is getting stronger and his positional sense is good not to metion his speed. MacEachran has great vision but needs more conditioning and game time. It would be a good idea to loan him to Bolton and allow Coyle to work his magic.
    I think Luiz is a very talented player but he can't keep bombimg forward and playing with such abandon. He need more discipline and need to cut his hair, some of his back passes are dangerous and uncalled for. Liverpool are a dtermined hardworking side with very little flair other than Torres. they are functional at best and they defended well and worked hard off the ball. Chelsea need to chase their opponents down and use the breaking ball better. Torres looks terrible and I hate to say it but Drogba, Anelka, Torres, Malouda and Kalou are cruising at best. They are not firing on all cylinders or offering any passion in their game.
    Torres may be happier in Spain, Chelsea should use the money to buy Higuain or LLorente. I'm also worried about Kakuta, he looks over weight and slow and seems to be duller version of Heskey. I hope Boas has a vision and a plan to get Chelsea out of this mess but he can't simply abandon a flat back four sitting deep when he doesn't have the pace in the centre backs or midfield to play a high line.
    I would be happy with a champions league spot this season and to see Chelsea finish the league in style with new faces becoming more prominent and influential.
    De Bruyne, Hazard and Higuain would do nicely and perhaps Cahill with the exit of Malouda, Anelka, Drogba, kalou and maybe one central defender.

  • Comment number 76.

    "Torres looked very poor but then what service did he get, this is a regular problem when he plays. If he is constantly getting rubbish service is it any wonder that he gets demoralised and this impacts his form?"

    The thing is with the way AVB likes to line up only 1 striker gets to play unless they play on the flank. Daniel is usually the only who has to make way for a striker then he plays on the wing but Torres and Drogba cannot do this for various reasons.

    Falcao flourished with Porto playing at a striker in this formation but he had some great serivce from the likes of Hulk....Chelsea are too used to targetting Drogba and playing too narrow thus the Porto method is struggling to work in the minds of the players.

    The midfield and back line need a revamp with a wide player and creative central midfielder brought in. Wing backs and another centre half are also needed, but will Chelsea be able to attract decent enough players and have the money to do so.

    IF you get Terry, Drogba, Malouda, Anelka and Mikel off the wage bill then that would be a good start. Rome wasnt build in a day but then again RA wasnt in charge back then.

  • Comment number 77.

    Gavelaa at 56. There is a bit of pot calling kettle black there. What about Liverpool fans and Hodgson last year. You wanted him sacked earlier then we are saying now. No difference

  • Comment number 78.

    What an ego-booster it is for Soul Patch that he now has tribute acts...

    Regarding Liverpool, they have undoubtedly improved from last season, but they have not improved at the rate you would expect such a level of investment to produce - probably why there is a bit of negativity surrounding them externally.

    However, perhaps that's a simplistic way of looking at it. I'm sure Carroll, Henderson and Downing, though over-priced, command far less wages than some similar priced players - for example, Aguero, Nasri and Mata. So upon further analysis, they have a bit more financial nous than are given credit for.

    I, like most, see them in a battle for the remaining two Champions League spots (City and United are shoe-ins for me) with Chelsea, Liverpool, Spurs and Arsenal.

    It will be interesting, that's for sure.

  • Comment number 79.

    #67 MrBlueBurns

    To a certain extent I agree Torres has to work himself to get out this dip.

    My point is that he has never been a player in my mind that can create everything from nothing which is what he is having to do now, he needs good service on the ground. I (minority view) still believe if he could get the right service he will come back.

  • Comment number 80.

    @ Londoner in exile returns #73

    That really is a good stat. I think what makes Luiz look rash is that he is so much quicker than Terry. He defended the awkward Carroll well last night, and his anticipation is improving with every game. Carvalho had a similar problem when he joined Chelsea

  • Comment number 81.

    77.
    At 13:28 30th Nov 2011, woodleyblue wrote:

    Gavelaa at 56. There is a bit of pot calling kettle black there. What about Liverpool fans and Hodgson last year. You wanted him sacked earlier then we are saying now. No difference

    ____________________

    If ROY HODGSON was your manager, I'd defend your right to moan.

    But he isn't. You've got a vibrant, young manager with a great passion and plenty of new ideas that may be lost on your squad, and your supporters.

    You can't compare the two really. One is a manager with 36 years experience of pure mediocrity, the other is a man not 36 years young with already a very good CV and an honest character.

  • Comment number 82.

    Gavelaa at 74 you say "You should be ashamed.

    Your ignorance is staggering. You lack of patience and rampant negativity deeply disturbing. Have you no fight or belief?

    Pathetic, in all honesty."

    Obviously my 35 years of going to the Bridge make me ignorant. I comment on what I see week in week out and not just mine but the majority of regular fans are running out of patience. We can clearly see a man out of his depth.

  • Comment number 83.

    I think Chelsea are at a crossroads and it will all come down to just how Roman decides to play the hand he has. For Vilas-Boas, nothing less that a win will be good enough against Valencia. The spectre at the feast, Guus Hiddink is available and Roman has, in the past, made it abundantly clear that Guus is his preferred option. Given this, I think Vilas-Boas NEEDS the win.
    Failure to qualify for the latter stages for the first time in several years, and the possibility of failing to qualify for the CL next season will see the axe fall and Roman turn to the man he has consistently courted and who he will entrust with the necessary overhaul of a squad whose core players are aging and no longer able to keep the years at bay...

  • Comment number 84.

    @39 Really? You think that going to matches and seeing more than "follow the ball" TV doesn't provide you with a better understanding?

    Chelsea are caught in a vicious circle. This appears to be a transitional season for the old "Top 4" and whoever makes the least painful transition should still finish in a CL place.

  • Comment number 85.

    @ 73

    Agree. That stat is misleading. It doesn't say which teams chelsea played during that period. For obvious reasons if they had blackpool, wigan, birmingham with luiz etc as opposed to liverpool, man utd, city without you'd expect the stats to show they lose more.

  • Comment number 86.

    Woodleyblue @77
    Gavelaa at 56. There is a bit of pot calling kettle black there. What about Liverpool fans and Hodgson last year. You wanted him sacked earlier then we are saying now. No difference

    .............................................................................................................

    There is a massive difference, the Liverpool fans did not want Hodgson in the first place.

  • Comment number 87.

    Bear_with_it #76

    I think Sturridge wants to play down the middle but personally I am with you, and ironically, I think Falcao would be a great addition for Chelsea...I was surprised AVB didn't make more of an effort to get him in having had him at Porto. Sturridge has the vision to play in a wider role (assist vs Leverkusen) or the ability to score goals from a central position (vs Liverpool et al)

  • Comment number 88.

    82: Harsh of AVB in my opinion. He had a really good reputation before coming to Chelsea and frankly after taking the decision to hire him I'm surprised that people are getting on his back so early. Not all managers have an immediate effect on their teams and take a while to get their ideas across.

  • Comment number 89.

    Chelsea fans, were you or were you not sick and tired of Carlo Ancelotti last season, despite winning you the double the season before with a record breaking number of goals?

    I'd say from my memory, yes, yes you were, on the whole.

    The impatience and level of expectation that stems from the owner has infected the supporter base and it rears it's ugly head on an all too regular basis. If you backed your manager more vigorously, you'd see less sackings, possibly, and you may benefit from more stability. A stability that would compliment your massive resources.

  • Comment number 90.

    All the comments on this blog point to one thing. Chelsea are in a mess. And, in the EPL there are lots more better organised and disciplined sides - even if they don't have the 'alleged' talent of the Chelsea players. Look at both Man sides, Arsenal, Spurs, Liverpool and Newcastle (yes even them) are all playing with a team spirit and organisation that is completely lacking at Stamford Bridge.

  • Comment number 91.

    Easy to sit back and be a couch coach picking your ideal fifa team and winning all trophys under the sun but my view is chelsea are missing essien more then they would have imagined the player who filled the hole behind the midfield and could break up play but could drive the team forward from the back and give players like a surging terry or a new dynamic of david luiz the assurence of driving forward your rear guard still had protection the same role scott parker has filled at spurs, im not a chelsea fan by any means and im kind of glad torres is mis-firing at the bridge but am a fan of sturridge and i do believe albeit with work still to do on his game he can be a crowning jewel in what could be a very dismal sesaon for chelsea. all that said it would be wrong for any manager to be given the boot after such a short period of time although i do think both porto and avb would have benifited from another season together and anchelloti should have had another season with the team to prove critics wrong and seen some of the older boys out with a bit of dignity and pride instead of throwing a preverbial dead weight of inexperienced manager and bunch of underperformers into the deep end and watching them thrash about for survival as is i think 2 seasons without a final or silverware lay in store for the blues faithful maybe more if ambromovich doesnt real in his ego

  • Comment number 92.

    Chelsea are in transition and need to rebuild their team. And I think they have the right manager to do so. The problem is Abramovich wants success now. So AVB given the choice between trying out few different formations and some youngsters and going with the proven older players, will plump for the proven older players.

    If Abramovich could be persuaded to let AVB rebuild the team during next couple of seasons, then they'll do well again. But he may not make it past christmas.

  • Comment number 93.

    @89 Gavelaa

    Stability is key. Players like Lampard, Terry, Drogba, Anelka, Cole would have been phased out eventially (not all but most) with younger players.

    However, every new manager Chelsea get, they automatically fall back on those players.

    No manager has stayed long enough to implement any gradual change in the playing squad.

  • Comment number 94.

    21. At 12:39 30th Nov 2011, MrBlueBurns wrote:
    #18 R777

    It's not a question of getting carried away with Sturridge, nor does it matter if he is complete or, in your view surprisingly, a couple of years away from a regular.

    Right now he is playing, he is contributing to play and he is scoring goals! That's all that matters. He doesn't use his right foot much but, sadly, being one footed doesn't seem to be any obstacle when it comes to be a good footballer.

    You mention the clearout and for the most part I would agree.

    Must say, I was disappointed by Lukaku last night. Might need to hold onto one of Drogba and Anelka for the rest of the season.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------

    I agree Sturridge is playing very well at the moment and should be in the team on merit. However, my point was that I still think he has got room for improvement and isn't quite the finished article that some parts of the media are making him out to be.

    I also agree with you on Lukaku. I like to give younger players time to develop but I'm far from convinced with him.

    What I really want to see from Chelsea, particularly the younger lads, is a bit more bite. You watch someone like Jones for Man U bomb up field or fly into a tackle and you can visibly see the passion there. I've been watching games at the Bridge since the 80's and in the last year I just haven't see the ferocious desire to win (which was certainly around a year or two back).

    I'm confident it's just a bad patch we're going through at the moment and I do think AVB is the man to sort it out. However, I think one or two heads need to roll amongst the playing staff if only to install a bit of fear and ignite a bit of fight within the group.

  • Comment number 95.

    @ 90

    Arsenal will bottle it come Feb, like the previous 6 seasons. They won't get CL football!! Europa for them next year.

  • Comment number 96.

    Lambo @51

    You spoke of team spirit, never truer words. At the first Liverpool game, the majority of Chelsea's player didn't look interested. They are looking like a side going through the motions at the moment.

  • Comment number 97.

    Has anyone actually noticed that in the whole of last night's game, Liverpool only created 2 real goalscoring chances?

    Overall the defence was not too bad, bertrand played well at right back and Luiz made no glaring errors and kept a hold of his forward charges. If we gave this team a few games to gel and some lessons in set piece defence, they could be pretty solid by christmas.

    IMO out main problem is our lack of penetration going forward, Malouda, Anelka and Drogba look disinterested, kalou and lukaku don't seem to have it in them and Torres, while he has been poor, gets no service.

    Get Anelka, Kalou, Mikel and drogba out in Jan and find loans for Mceachran and Lukaku.

    Give AVB some time and he'll build a squad that can play under his game.

  • Comment number 98.

    Who would of thought that appointing a manager from a team that plays week in week out against extremely poor Portuguese league opposition wouldn't work out....

    Who would of thought that a striker apparently worth £50m moving for a bigger pay cheque would look disinterested when he played and score no goals.....

    The circus that is Chelsea Football Club rolls on for yet another season.

  • Comment number 99.

    @89.At 13:37 30th Nov 2011, Gavelaa wrote:
    Chelsea fans, were you or were you not sick and tired of Carlo Ancelotti last season, despite winning you the double the season before with a record breaking number of goals?

    I'd say from my memory, yes, yes you were, on the whole.

    -------------------------------------------------------------
    No, no no! I'm tired of seeing players earning a fortune not seeming to give a toss when they're playing! If that was the managers fault, it should be thier downfall, but how many managers can be to blame for the same set of players?!

    When your team loses, but gives it their all (Chelsea v Liverpool in the league last week), nobody has a real issue. When you pay to go to games and see perofmances like the Arsenal game and Liverpool last night, THAT's what makes me tired! Being in a team like Chelsea and not trying is not good enough - manager aside.

  • Comment number 100.

    Did I read someone blame the defeat on Chelsea resting 7 first team players. How about:-

    Adam
    Downing
    Saurez
    Johnson
    Kuyt
    Skrtel

    It's called having a stronger squad. Something Liverpool has lacked in previously but has now adressed.

 

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