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Can Torres and Drogba play together?

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Alistair Magowan - BBC Sport | 14:33 UK time, Monday, 21 February 2011

In the three games since Fernando Torres became eligible to play for Chelsea, he and his new team-mates have failed to score in normal time.

Granted, the Spaniard was cup-tied for the loss to Everton on Saturday, but Frank Lampard's extra-time strike in the penalty shoot-out defeat is the only goal manager Carlo Ancelotti has seen his team score in 300 minutes of football.

A worrying scenario for any team, let alone last season's Premier League and FA Cup winners, who now realistically only have the Champions League to play for and face FC Copenhagen on Tuesday aiming to make it through to the quarter-finals.

Chelsea have certainly had a better time of it in Europe this season where they qualified for the knockout stages top of their group.

The west Londoners only dropped points to Marseille after progress to the last 16 had been secured and have been more prolific in the Champions League, scoring 2.33 goals a game compared to 1.77 in the Premier League.

Chelsea will hope they can return to that sort of form even with no solution seemingly apparent when it comes to finding if Torres can play alongside fellow forwards Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka.

Following Torres's £50m deadline day move from Liverpool on 31 January, the immediate evidence in the 1-0 defeat by his former club suggested that placing Anelka behind the other two was a forlorn exercise.

During the 0-0 draw at Fulham on 14 February, Drogba was dropped allowing Florent Malouda and Anelka to probe either side of the former Atletico Madrid striker in a role to which he was more accustomed.

Then without Torres on Saturday, Chelsea had 19 shots on target with Drogba looking more bullish in the first-half.

So where does that leave Ancelotti now?

With separate performances indicating they might be better off working on their own, an obvious option would be to scrap the 4-3-3 system Ancelotti favours and twin Drogba and Torres as a front two.

But former Chelsea winger Pat Nevin thinks that would be a bad idea because they are too similar. Not in the way they play the game, he says, but more in terms of the roles they fulfil in the team.

Average positions from the Liverpool game showed that when they played together, Drogba (11) and Torres (9) occupied much of the same space, whereas when Torres started up front on his own against Fulham, there was more room to work in.

Playing Torres on his own against Fulham gave him more space to work in

"Both of them play through the middle and although their styles are very different, the positions they take up and want to make the most out of are very similar," Nevin says.

"They both want to play on the opposition backline and they both can't do that because they would kill each others space.

"In the Fulham game, even though Torres didn't play that well he was always on the shoulder of the last defender and did get away two or three times. In particular, that happened when David Luiz put him through so if Drogba had been standing near him, there wouldn't have been the necessary space to find that ball.

"When Torres did his best work with Liverpool it wasn't as part of two strikers, it was by himself, with Steven Gerrard or Yossi Benayoun playing off him. They could slip balls through to him, or he could rely on Xabi Alonso's passes from deeper areas."

Former Chelsea boss Luiz Felipe Scolari had a similar issue with strikers before he was sacked at this stage of the season two years ago.

He was reluctant to pair Drogba with Anelka against bigger teams but Nevin believes the route of the problems are more wide ranging this time, stemming from a lack of creativity in midfield and fitness difficulties after the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

"The problems Chelsea have are not just limited to one area. If it was one thing you could put your finger on Ancelotti would have figured it out a while ago," Nevin adds.

"Some of it comes from the style of the players behind the front men. Gerrard and Alonso are the type who can thread balls through the eye of a needle. The only guy at Chelsea who can do that is injured - Benayoun.

"So the issue is that Chelsea haven't got the style to make the best of Torres. If Chelsea lump the ball long and be slightly more direct, it doesn't really suit him.

"I suspect the problem is not absolutely solvable this year. I think it will be solved next year either with return of Benayoun or a slight adaptation of personnel, by bringing in one or two players who are more creative in that area."

The lack of depth in the Chelsea squad has been talked about many times this season but Nevin believes it has been crucial in a post-World Cup season with Drogba the biggest victim.

"The top players in England who played in the Champions League and the World Cup have played for two seasons without a break," Nevin states. "They have all suffered.

"I would argue that Drogba has suffered more than anyone else and after coming back from a bout of malaria he hasn't played particularly well this season.

"He hasn't looked strong which then begs the question whether he has lost it or whether he is getting too old. I don't know the answer to that question yet but the time will come and you have to be prepared for it. That's why Torres is there."

In the meantime, the quandary of who to play up front stays unresolved. But should Chelsea fail to get past Copenhagen, recent history suggests it could be a different manager who has to come up with the answer.

Which combination of forwards do you think Ancelotti should choose?

You can also discuss more tactical issues and suggest future ideas on Twitter

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    Drogba's time is over.
    He's a spent force and will be gone in the summer.

  • Comment number 2.

    This is the kind of articles I'd like to see on the BBC.

  • Comment number 3.

    Chelsea's real problem is Ancelotti being a "coach". You can guess who determines not only the transfers but also the tactics.

  • Comment number 4.

    This seems to be an article that has been written backwards and not really joined up.

    Chelsea created 19 chances you say, and then you say there is no creativity in midfield? How do you reconcile those two?

    From what I saw on Saturday, Drogba just wasn't at the races at all. Quite why that is I don't know but the front three just did not seem to function at all.

    Torres has had problems in the last 12 months (attitude and fitness) so there are certain allowances to be made for him coming into a new team. However, he has looked more interested than Drogba recently, so I think he is the one to go for against Copenhagen.

    Then you need Malouda and, say, Kalou to take wide positions and stay out wide unless Cole and Ivanovic can get up the flanks.

  • Comment number 5.

    #1

    Drogba's time is certainly not over - what a rash remark! This was a team that scored over 20 goals in their first few matches this season right? Players don't start a season like that and suddenly become a rubbish player by the end of the season. Drogba is still a formidable force and it's up to Ancelotti to get more out of him.

    Personally I agree with #3, the problem lies in the transfer market and always has since Mr Money stuck his wad in. Torres is a fantastic player but I just don't think he was the right buy for Chelsea. My comparison for Abramovich on transfer day is a child who's running out of time to buy sweets in a newsagents and spends their pound on a chocolate rather than a couple of Mars bars. Slight exaggeration but you can follow my metaphor I hope.

  • Comment number 6.

    The classical error in using averages. Even if Drogba and Torres kept swapping their positions between right and left channels, which they might have done against Liverpool, you'd get the same average position chart. You cannot use that argument as an evidence for Drogba and Torres taking similar positions. However, creativity from midfield is an issue.

  • Comment number 7.

    That was meant to say luxury chocolate. Or the like. Who cares, either way it's rash spending in a panic buy.

  • Comment number 8.

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

  • Comment number 9.

    Carlo Ancelotti is more a dead man walking than it is possible to be. The players have written him off and so have most of the fans. And with good cause. He has shown that he is incapable of inspiring the team or changing tactics. He appears naive at best and totally clueless at worst. A manager is the first one to go in this situation but as Chelsea may not even qualify for Champions League then a number of players and notably Drogba, Essien and Malouda will go as well. I suspect that Jose Mourinho will snap up all three. This has been a lamentably poor season for Chelsea like a slow motion car crash and Carlo Ancelotti at the wheel appears unable to do anything about it except talk about moments ad infinitum.

  • Comment number 10.

    Drogba and Anelka are aging forward devoid of speed now, they won't inspire victories in the similar fashion they produced previously. To forumlate a tactic that would enrich Torres's qualities, you need to have a 4-2-3-1 formation, Benayoun and Malouda on opposite wings, their versatility at drifting inwards or outwards supplying the full-backs with space to roam, have Essien and Mikel/Ramires as the holding midfielders, and Lampard in a more offensive role, this would then allow Lampard to directly link up with Torres, or present Beyanoun with that chance too.

    Benayoun is an integral part of Chelsea's team I believe, excluding him is foolish when he offers creativity others cannot.

  • Comment number 11.

    The article attempts to look at things in a pragmatic way.

    However, not that it's much use now, I was saying for sometime before January that Sturridge should have got more game time/starts when the front line was mis-firing as the season wore on. He couldn't have done any worse.

    Now, look at what he has done so far at Bolton. Early days but maybe the answer was under Ancelotti's nose and had he looked in that direction sooner, maybe the problem of a team with a £50m striker, that's not scoring, wouldn't seem so bad.

  • Comment number 12.

    Would you rather spend your 50mil on Torres who doesn't fit in or a carefully thought out couple of other players though?

    Saying that, that could be a fantastic catch phrase haha.

  • Comment number 13.

    Simple, just give more minutes on the pitch to McEachran! Seen him play a few times and that guy can really pass a ball! Given time he would provide excellent amunition for the front line.

    Do the Chelsea fans think Drogba will leave at the end of the season? And will you mind? Torres on his own should be a decent replacement. The only trouble then is who do you replace him with when he gets injured.

    Another question for the Chelsea fans, are there any more exciting youngsters coming through the ranks at the moment? Or is it just McEachran. As an Arsenal fan I really look forward to him partnering Wilshere in the England squad in the future!!

  • Comment number 14.

    Torres was better at Liverpool simply because of the fans, we ignited something special in him which no one can put their finger on. We adored him and I know he adored us. He as never been the same player for Atletico or Spain and I don't see him reaching those glorious heights at Chelsea

  • Comment number 15.

    @5 Drogba's time is certainly not over
    _________________________________________

    What a rash remark. I think you are merely excercising your democratic right to be wrong.

    ;-)

  • Comment number 16.

    #14 liverred1985

    Fanciful baseless nonsense I'm afraid.

  • Comment number 17.

    Classic kneejerking...

    Obviously Rooney and Berbatov doesnt work either then??? Rooney has only 4/5 goals...and Berbatov albeit top scorer has only scored in SIX premiership games!!! so its obviouisly not working BUT they are sitting top of the league!!!

    Drogba has had a crippling sickness and most likely he needs months rest to recuparate, which he has not being getting..

    Chelseas problem is in midfield NOT attack... Mikel is not good enough and Ramires has come into the team at the wrong time (unluckily for him). That along with an injury to Lampard has been the most obvious factor of Chelseas decline.

    I just cringe at these articles... the very same pundits at the beginning of the season were watering at the mouth at Chelseas brilliant form but now that they are struggling are all coming up with their own reasons why. Chelseas squad isnt good enough and it wasnt good enough at the start of the season....while Chelsea deserved the credit at the start the so called "experts" should have noted that if they had a few injuries it might test them.

    Punditry and journalism has become so kneejerk and predictable its just boring now

  • Comment number 18.

    Oh i just want to add, Liverpool fans have been saying for years that Torres is best suited to a loan striker role because of how he plays.. but the so called experts/pundits etc slated Benitez for not buying a strike partner so they could play Stevie G in central midfield...pure nonsense!!!!!

    When Robbie Keane played for Liverpool he stifled Torres for the very same reasons but the media once again slated Rafa for not playing him enough.braindead!!!!!

  • Comment number 19.

    The fact is that Chelsea have been pretty average for most of the season, so to point the finger solely at the strikers is a little short-sighted and as usual appears to be the easy option. So many players who stood out last season have been off-colour or injured this season, indicating that the problem is team-wide rather than just up front. Yes, all of the strikers have hit a bit of a dry patch at the moment, but the fact remains that one of Chelsea's strongest points used to be that their goals could come from anywhere on the pitch, which once upon a time could compensate for when the forwards were having an off-day. This just hasn't happened this season, with too many players looking very average or over the hill. The only players who have impressed me this season are the full-backs, Cole and Ivanovic, who have consistently made their presence felt in both defence and attack. But obviously you cannot rely on full-backs to get your goals for you.

  • Comment number 20.

    drogba only has 2 years at the top while torres has 6 or 7. they also need someone like gourcuff or hamsik to feed the strikers

  • Comment number 21.

    Torres for Liverpool = Brilliant.. Torres for Chelsea = Rubbish
    Shevchenko for Milan = Brilliant.. Shevchenko for Chelsea = Rubbish


    i see a pattern emerging......

  • Comment number 22.

    It was definitely an abramovich buy i think, despite the hype of him joining from the chelsea fans i never thought it was going to work out. Chelsea are not creating chances anymore and that should have been the key area to improve instead of buying 50mil worth of a moody injury prone striker who needs a lot of supply to score goals. Chelsea needed a striker who has good link up play with the midfield, and imho Torres (who on his day is a world class striker) has shocking link up play and very limited creativity. Now because Chelsea have bought Torres they now need to buy a new midfield who have the creativity to supply torres. Torres worked so well at liverpool becuase of the inform gerrard alonso benayoon behind him, Chelsea at this moment in time do not have that, they have off form aging players. This really was a missed opportunity for real madrid, in my opinion their system and the way they play is crying out for a player like Torres- a number 9 who can effortlessly finish.

  • Comment number 23.

    I can't believe you can only get 2 mars bars for a pound these days!

    Mark my words, Torres will be fit for less than half of Chelsea's games next season and won't be half the player he was at Liverpool.

    Abramovich would have been better off with 100 million mars bars!



  • Comment number 24.

    This blog today was about Chelsea, but I think there is also another point that could be made about Torres...why did he go to Chelsea? I am Liverpool fan, and was disappointed for him to leave (but wish him well...he did good for us in his prime). But I understand why he would leave, before Suarez was signed. When he still wanted to leave after the signing of Suarez, then I got a bit irritated by Torres.

    So he went to Chelsea. They have been a very good team, but are now getting old, and suprisingly threadbare in their squad. And as Nevin has pointed out, Chelsea do not play to Torres` strengths (or vice versa). If Torres went to Barca or Real, or even Inter that I could understand. Even Man City or Spurs. But of course, Barca don`t need him. He wouldn`t play for Real after being the prince of Atletico. Inter have Eto. Man City will get Rooney in the summer, and Spurs were probably not good enough for Torres, which just left Man Utd or Chelsea. Liverpool would not sell him to to Man Utd, but maybe their style would have suited him better. It really is a mystery to me why Torres wanted to go to Chelsea. They ARE a team on the decline, and a lot of money needs to be spent by Chelsea to rectify their problems. Then if they go and sack Ancelotti (which they shouldn`t-he is a good coach), they will have the problem of a new coach adapting to Chelsea, and the team to him. Maybe if they got Hiddink back things would go well. But Torres and Chelsea just do not go together. Drogba is not past it, but is past his best. Anyway, Copenhagen will be a toughie.

  • Comment number 25.

    Torres for Liverpool = Brilliant.. Torres for Chelsea = Rubbish
    Shevchenko for Milan = Brilliant.. Shevchenko for Chelsea = Rubbish


    i see a pattern emerging......
    ----
    They were also bought buy abramovich and not the manager

  • Comment number 26.

    Intresting that its suggested that Drogba and Torres can't play together in a 442 as they occupy similar positions. I have read many piecies in the past pointing to failing strike partnerships and saying the problem is the two are never found close enough together to combine efficiently. What exactly is the problem with them both running off the defenders, if they both do it that means that each CB has to mark one of them, instead of one marking and the other getting to sweep, surely this is an advantage? Still I'd agree with the general point about Chelsea lacking a creative passer startin to wander whether this McReachran their fans keep on going on about is all that good if Ancelloti isn't willing to use him when they so clearly crying out for such a player.

  • Comment number 27.

    #21

    Add Kezman, Crespo and Mutu to that list :)

    Early days for Torres though to be fair.

  • Comment number 28.

    @oneflewoverthebadger'snest

    Torres = brilliant at Liverpool

    Sure? I know he's overall record is superb but in recent times? And how many games has he played for Chelsea for you to state that's he's been rubbish there. He's been average so far, exactly the same as he has been (bar the odd game) for Liverpool for some time. I appreciate he's been injured and Li'Pool's obvious recent woes.

    I think we still need to mention Ray Wilkins and his departure as being the catalyst for Chelsea's downturn - there was a frightening drop off in results immediately after which has pretty much continued since - but mention it in conjunction with others' points about Abramovich and his influence and the general set up at Chelsea. Being English, I'm still not really down with this coach and sporting director or director of football role. It can work but only if the the director of football/coach (and others sticking there oars in) are in tune with each other. I think it's a set up which is more likely to create friction than having a manager who manages the team and transfers.

  • Comment number 29.

    i would like to know as a Manchester united fan, are Torres and Luiz allowed to play the postponed game due to the snow?
    because they were not eligible Chelsea players when the fixture should of took place.

  • Comment number 30.

    Wasn't there a lack of creativity when Mourinho won the double? Malouda has replaced Robben and Bosingwa replaced Ferreira. Other than that it is pretty much the same team, only older. Chelsea never had a creative midfielder, even at their peak. So this article is just attempting to find educated answers to problems that are far simpler, the Chelsea players are getting older and are out of form.

  • Comment number 31.

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

  • Comment number 32.

    31. At 5:53pm on 21 Feb 2011, Mr Chelsea wrote: Buy a creative midfielder. Job done.

    ----

    Do you think that's necessary? As I stated in a previous post, that youngster McEachran seems to be turning into the real deal! He's got one hell of a pass on him and he looks comfortable and composed on the ball!

    I also asked whether there are any other exciting youngsters coming through at Chelsea. Do you think there are? Or is it just McEachran at the mo?

    Cheers

  • Comment number 33.

    It's a strange thing to say and no doubt people will scoff at the suggestion, but having played a lot with Chelsea in the fifa 11 video game 4-3-3 with fast build up play suits them down to the ground. Chelsea's main creative flaws in matches i've watched seems to be slow build up play, they need more slide rule passes and lofted through balls to utilize pace, i suggest Torres as right forward Drogba through the middle and Malouda as left forward. The midfield trio need to get the ball down the flanks, let malouda & torres utilize pace and cross it into drogba. A very simple concept but I think it would work

  • Comment number 34.

    People keep saying Torres is world class but since injuries he's done nothing but sulk. He played most of Spain's games in the World Cup but produced absolutely nothing, while more worthy players like Llorente sat on the bench. Many people kept saying he only needed a moment of magic, but it never came and yet when he was finally dropped in the important games, he had a stone-cold angry face all day long. Same thing as now.

    Face it, Torres has been past it for longer than Halley's Comet.

  • Comment number 35.

    CFC supporter here. Until a week ago I was still clinging on to the fact that our poor form was down to the shock sacking of Ray Wilkins, but since that episode, there's been plenty of time for the players to get back to winning ways and they should now feel motivated because of Luiz and Torres; but this has clearly not happened.

    I'm tired of watching Anelka playing in midfiled, Drogba misfiring, Ivanovic / Ferriera at right back and Terry putting the defence under increasing pressure. I never feel confident when I watch them now.

    I reckon Carlo should play Torres through the middle with Malouda and Kalou either side of him. Next season i'd like to see Sturridge playing on the left in replace of Malouda, but only if Malouda fails to find form, again.

    Lampard has been injured, yes, but it's time now to let someone else fulfil that role, but I can't see how Mikel, Ramires and Essien will play effectively together, as arguably they occupy similar positions on the pitch, so is it time that we invested in a new creative / attacking midfielder?

    In future we need Ivanovic playing in the centre alongside Alex, Cole (replaced by v. Aanholt or a new signing in the future) and Luiz playing as wing backs. Ramires and Essien alongside another midfielder and then Torres up on his own with Kalou or Sturridge / Malouda supporting him - or find another right attacking midfielder.

    Just a few thoughts...

  • Comment number 36.

    One of the most reactive blogs I have ever read. This is far too soon. Torres has been on a bad run for ages as has Drogba, it isn't suddenly Chelsea's issue. Both are still quality players. However I see Drogba leaving in the summer for Morinho's Real Madrid. Utterly ridiculous to say that no-one can thread a pass for Chelsea but Benayoun what about Lampard, Anelka, Essien and even the young McEachran who should be given a go. One of the worst blogs I have ever read. There have been too many kneejerk blogs recently, there need to be some more insightful ones with as little disrespect as possible

  • Comment number 37.

    Sorry mate I must have flew past your post.

    Mceachran is good but at 18? Is he ready to take on the creative midfield role? Who would drop out of our team to accomodate Mceachran full time. He needs to be given a whole season then not just the odd game here and there? Mceachran for Lampard? I say we blood him in slowly whilst keeping the likes of Lampard/Essien around him.Dont use him as sparingly as Carlo has been doing but give him more games next year then by 2012-2013, If he steps up then no reason to see why he cant hold down the creative midfielder position full time.

  • Comment number 38.

    @Mr Chelsea

    No worries :)

    Ok, fair point. I suppose it would be a bit much to immediately turn him into Lampard's full time replacement. It's just that, as an Arsenal fan and seeing Wilshere do quite well on a full time basis, I thought McEachran might start doing the same at Chelsea. Especially as they're on a bad run at the mo.

    Sturridge is doing excellently at Bolton at the moment. Bodes well for the strikers position next season. He's hard working with a decent bit of skill. I reckon he'd do well alongside Torres next year.

  • Comment number 39.

    Maybe Drogba off in the summer?

  • Comment number 40.

    Couple of good points raised here, and some other I feel are misconstrued a little. I'm a Chelsea fan and have been to a lot of games this season, and the problem in most games is that we haven't converted our chances. Stats show Chelsea are the team with the most shots this season (376) having scored 12 in the first 2 games, since then we have scored just 34 in 24!

    The players simply have not taken their chances well enough this season, coupled with missing Lampard's goals from midfield with injury and Drogba having malaria, nobody has stepped up to take their place, which is where the majority of our goals have come from!

    4-3-3 is a tried and trusted formation and it is how Chelsea play best IMO, but the question is who do you drop or do you rotate? I have a feeling Drogba may be on his way in the summer, and Torres has been purchased with the future in mind, I have no doubt he will be a success at Chelsea!

    @Wilshere's-Nappys

    There are a couple of quality youngsters coming through, McEachran as you mentioned looks the real deal and could be Chelsea's Wilshere, I would get him involved more often now! Jeffrey Bruma is a quality player, and has already appeared in Holland squads, but Ancelotti seems reluctant to play him. There is also a Dutch left back called Patrick Van Aanholt, currently on loan at Leicester who I also think is the real deal, he is almost like a carbon copy of Ashley Cole just younger. Other than that there isn't anyone who really stands out, a couple of decent strikers, but when Chelsea are spending 50m on a new guy, there can't be much there for the future :S

  • Comment number 41.

    Wilshire Nappy

    I wanted Sturridge to stay.. Too many people on our board were saying he's too one footed and is inconsistent. The same people are now saying bring him back. I like Sturridge. He's direct. He's got a few tricks up his sleeve. Unpredictable with the ball in a good way

    I think too many people are quick to put Lampard/Drogba/Malouda/A.Cole/Terry in the "past it / deadwood" category. These players werent past it last season. No one was calling thhe above mentioned players past it at the start of the season when we were banging in the goals.

    Dont agree with this blog at all.

  • Comment number 42.

    40. At 6:11pm on 21 Feb 2011, Michael Roche wrote:
    @Wilshere's-Nappys

    There are a couple of quality youngsters coming through, McEachran as you mentioned looks the real deal and could be Chelsea's Wilshere, I would get him involved more often now! Jeffrey Bruma is a quality player, and has already appeared in Holland squads, but Ancelotti seems reluctant to play him. There is also a Dutch left back called Patrick Van Aanholt, currently on loan at Leicester who I also think is the real deal, he is almost like a carbon copy of Ashley Cole just younger. Other than that there isn't anyone who really stands out, a couple of decent strikers, but when Chelsea are spending 50m on a new guy, there can't be much there for the future :S
    ---------
    Glad it's not just me who's raving about McEachran! :) I'm really looking forward to the very possible prospect of him playing alongside Wilshere for England in the future.
    I heard about Bruma and van Aanholt. That van Aanholt can really unleash the ball towards goal, if I recall properly. Shame it came back of the post.

    Whatever happened to Woods and Taywo? I remember them being signed from Leeds (was it?) and being touted as future superstars. Haven't heard much from them anymore since then.

  • Comment number 43.

    #33 - It's a strange thing to say and no doubt people will scoff at the suggestion, but having played a lot with Chelsea in the fifa 11 video game 4-3-3 with fast build up play suits them down to the ground.

    Did you win the European Cup with Port Vale too?

  • Comment number 44.

    @ 14...rooney is not going man city in the summer...not with his contract, and that goal. obviously a man united hater...arsenal fan?

  • Comment number 45.

    I dont know what people are expecting of Torres, I can see him scoring 20 goals and other fans STILL saying "bah, £50million well spent Chelski" does he have to have a better goal scoring rank than messi and ronaldo put together! I mean come on...

    as a chelsea fan, ive written off this season now, we have to look at this realisticly, We arent going to win the champions league, no disrespect to tottenham, but if we get drawn against them in the champions league, we dont look like we can match there passion and commitment at the moment!

    the league and 4th place is the most realistic, i dont necesarilly think we will finish 4th, we may get 3rd or 4th, but we must get in for the champions league, or we will most certainly be in the state liverpool are and the new "big 4" as these biased anti chelsea BBC and ITV pundits like to call them will be Manchester United, city, tottenham and arsenal!

    this season will get alot worse for us before it gets better, theres too much pressure on the boys and manager at chelsea, the media are loving it and i just hope that Ancelotti can sort it out.

  • Comment number 46.

    #43 sadly not

  • Comment number 47.

    Drogba is not done as a great player, but he is beginning a decline as he gets older, so it may be in Chelsea's best interest to cash in while he remains valuable. Torres is a young great player, and the article is correct that he plays best as lone striker. I think Chelsea knew exactly what they were doing in buying him even though they have Drogba, and have no intention of playing both long-term. They only bought Torres now because it was available and it is more worthwhile now that in the summer due to the upcoming fair-play rules. Anelka can stay because he is more creative and technically skilled, therefore he is versatile as a substitute and back-up. I agree that Benayoun will become essential due to his creativity and skill, as will Malouda. I believe that the current set-up is geared towards a summer move for Kaka. Abramovich has openly wanted him for a long time, Ancelloti would be thrilled to link-up with him again, and they will be counting on the fact that he can get the best out of him as he did before. Most importantly, he will fill in the missing piece of their system perfectly and add to their depth in midfield. I think he would line up in support of Torres (in a position that has greatly enhanced Torres' play in the past) with Essien and Ramires providing cover behind him and Benayoun and Malouda providing creativity on either side.

  • Comment number 48.

    @5 Please remember this is England where

    a. England are suddenly world cup contenders because they beat Kazakhstan and Belarus

    b. Carroll is suddenly a contender for World Player and worth £35mm because he had half a decent season in the premier league

    c. Roy Hodgson, Carlo Ancelotti and Fabio Capello are suddenly 'rubbish' or 'past it' because of a couple of bad results - never mind 25-30 years of previous success

    d. Scoring the most points in the league does not necessarily mean you are the best team in the league - a la Manchester United - apparently it's all down to luck

    There is a sense of mass hysteria always whipped up by an immoral press in this country which always defies calm and rational thought - the surprise is that so few demonstrate enough intelligence to see beyond this.

    So yes. Drogba, Malouda and Anelka can suddenly become old and rubbish (in a space of about half an hour) despite plundering more than 30 goals in their first five matches THIS SEASON. Welcome to England!

  • Comment number 49.

    I think the key mistake was making a major change in personnel the moment Chelsea had found its feet after a bad stretch. It seems to me they should have brought Torres on slowly, starting as a substitute, to get him and the team used to it, and to see what was the best formation for him. As it is, a team which had just started to look like it had found itself lost itself again. If they'd brought Torres on slowly, they could have kept the team the same for as long as it was effective, then started Torres when and if it wasn't. Of course there's no doubt the root of most problems for Chelsea this year was players getting older and having injury/sickness problems.

  • Comment number 50.

    @43 Did you win the European Cup with Port Vale too?
    ----
    I won the European cup with QPR on FIFA '10 :)

    ----
    41. At 6:13pm on 21 Feb 2011, Mr Chelsea wrote:
    Wilshire Nappy

    I wanted Sturridge to stay.. Too many people on our board were saying he's too one footed and is inconsistent. The same people are now saying bring him back. I like Sturridge. He's direct. He's got a few tricks up his sleeve. Unpredictable with the ball in a good way

    AGREED! I remember him doing some impressive things in a Man City shirt too. If given the chance properly next season, I think he'll be a really good player. Also very interesting for the national team

  • Comment number 51.

    One wonders if Ancelotti actually wanted Torres.
    Seems more like an Abramovich toy, just like Shevchencko, and we know what happened ( or didnt in this case) to him. Nyet!

  • Comment number 52.

    At first i thought that Torres move would signal the end for Anelka and that Ancelotti would use Torres and Drogba up front, but now i feel that Anelka will be kept on and could become Torres' partner or play a wide role like he did when drogba was there. Drogba has wanted a move before but chelsea were desperate to keep him because they did not have anyone else with his qualities, but now with torres there this might be the end for drogba. But now for ancelotti, he is in a sort of lucrative position because he is not challenging for the league and can only win the champions league, he can experiment and play 3 up front or ply torres on his own or with drogba or with anelka or one can drop off etc. But he has to find the right formula and can hoefully find it over the summer and keep drogba if chelsea are to challenge next year for the top honours, but drogba is forever aging and his time at chelsea could be coming to a close, and now that mourinho is not at inter i cannot see him going there or to spain so im afraid that karma may come back to haunt drogba and he now may have the move that that he has always wanted.

  • Comment number 53.

    And if you are going to write an a article on the recent poor form of Chelsea you only have to mention 2 words - Ray Wilkins
    The man has been there and back with many teams and had , I think, a really pivotal role at Chelsea. No surprise that his departure coincides exactly with Chelseas drop in form.
    Malouda, Essien, Lampard, Drogba, Anelka- they are all good players but with out a coach the best are only mediocre.

  • Comment number 54.

    they're so narrow. i personally think two strikers could work if they played with proper wingers and really open the field out

  • Comment number 55.

    would all chelsea fans please stop worrying. if you take your chelsea shirts into jd sports they will give you 25% off the new man city top

  • Comment number 56.

    Ancelotti is a good manager because he is calm.
    Some of the posts here do not have that calm perspective.
    Chelsea have not been as good as they were last year
    but last year they were very very good.
    A key issue identified in the blog has been the impact of injuries and post world cup fatigue. The biggest impact has been the injury and slow recovery of Lampard. If you take away 20 goals from midfield it would effect any team.
    Drogba, Torres, Lampard and Terry have all been struggling but it doesn't mean they are finished. It probably means we will not win anything this year but it doesn't mean the future is bleak.
    We still have an excellent defence (best in league), have added Luiz who looks excellent, and will add McErachren, Sturridge and others next year. Give Torres Drogba and co a good pre season and we will win the premiership easily in 2012.
    Guy

  • Comment number 57.

  • Comment number 58.

    I think the point about the players being tired might have some truth to it. Chelsea have got a lot of players who have played a lot of games, especially those that went to the World Cup. Also, none of the players really had a World Cup to remember, and seem to have carried that form over into this season. Its not just Chelsea either, there seem to be a few players with a World Cup hangover (Rooney, Gerrard, Lennon)its just unlucky for Chelsea that it seems to be effecting a lot of there players.

    I don't think it's any coincidence that Arsenal's best players this season had their feet up over the summer. (Nasri, Walcott, Wilshire)

    I'm not saying it's the only thing causing a problem, but it could be a factor.

  • Comment number 59.

    There seems to be a lot of talk about drogba/torres failings and a lack of creativity.

    One player barely mentioned is nicolas anelka. In my opinion, he is our weakest first team player by a distance, rarely contributing goals or creating anything. his penalty at the weekend summed up his attitude and lethargic nature. his performance against liverpool was shocking, giving the ball away far too easily, and yet he starts every game ahead of kalou and sturridge when he was here.

    dropping anelka to the bench would be the first move i would make, at least starting someone who looked vaguely interested and not living on their repuation

  • Comment number 60.

    We still have an excellent defence (best in league), have added Luiz who looks excellent, and will add McErachren, Sturridge and others next year. Give Torres Drogba and co a good pre season and we will win the premiership easily in 2012.
    Guy


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

    Exactly. Too much overreaction from fellow Chelsea fans and bitter Liverpool supporters.

    Trust me the above named players are not past it yet. You cannot go from Double winners one season to being past it the next?

  • Comment number 61.

    torres is a waste of money and will prove it next season

  • Comment number 62.

    59. At 7:16pm on 21 Feb 2011, buffalomoys wrote:

    There seems to be a lot of talk about drogba/torres failings and a lack of creativity.

    One player barely mentioned is nicolas anelka. In my opinion, he is our weakest first team player by a distance, rarely contributing goals or creating anything. his penalty at the weekend summed up his attitude and lethargic nature. his performance against liverpool was shocking, giving the ball away far too easily, and yet he starts every game ahead of kalou and sturridge when he was here.

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

    You should visit the 606 Chelsea board. Folk on there seem to think he contributes more than Drogba.

  • Comment number 63.

    Torres has played 2 (unfinished) games for Chelsea so it's a tad premature to write him off. I hope all of the players pride will kick in (as it did under & in spite of Grant) & enable them to start looking & playing like champions again. After all, who wants from hero to zero in 12 months on their C.V?

  • Comment number 64.

    The Chelsea sickness goes beyond one or two players? The whole team looks demotivated, maybe sacking Ray Wilkins was not a smart idea? Remember if it ain't broke then don't fix it!

  • Comment number 65.

    This is a bit unfair to Drogba who has only played about 60 minutes with Torres and that was his debut against Liverpool, Anelka has played more time with Torres than Drogba and I actually think that Drogba and Torres would work perfectly in a 4-4-2 or 4-3-1-2 with someone that can play in the hole behind the two strikers and that person isn't Anelka.

  • Comment number 66.

    I just dont see how you can make a blog about Drogba not being able to work with Torres after they've only played 60mins together?


    Why dont you make a blog about Carroll and Suarez not being able to play together?

  • Comment number 67.

    Ohh-wooh..........Ancelotti.............that's his lot-ee..........he nearly drove us potty.........lalalalah!

  • Comment number 68.

    I would respect pat nevins opinion, but i remember back when liverpool were playing marsille , he stated that drogba was the closest thing to henry he's ever seen

  • Comment number 69.

    I have been saying for a long long time, there is very little creativity in the Chelsea midfield. They are very narrow, almost everthing is played through the middle which is why they had difficulty against Everton. If Cole can't get forward there is no one else. teams can block one dimensional teams which is what Chelsea are at the moment.

    Certainly agree with the blog about Torres and Drogba, both cannot occupy the same space and both are ineffective playing in different areas.

    Why oh why did they not wait until summer to buy Torres. They needed creativity in midfield more than the forward line.

    They are in serious danger of failing to qualify for CL which for Chelsea would be a disaster. Next season Spurs will be stronger along with City and Utd and Arsenal are a given for top four even without Fabregas. Liverpool will certainly be there as well simply because there starting to look balanced with options. That leaves Chelsea, who out of the top six look vunerable because of there weakness.

  • Comment number 70.

    The way Chelsea bega the season, and what we have seen from them the past 3 months are chalk and cheese.

    There are likely a number of factors, which together have resulted in the poor performances, but writing off drogba entirely is rash.

    He is tired after the World Cup, and not really the happiest the past few months - but none of the Chelsea players appear to be. However, the biggest reason is the malaria. Now that Torrrs is there the opportunity to rest Drogba should be taken.


    Being from South Africa I have a true appreciation and understanding of the ravages of malaria, and I assure you that he will not be back to anywhere like he was before next season. He needs a lot of rest right now.

    However, i have serious doubts that he will still be with chelsea next year, and he is not getting any younger either.

    The balance in the squad at the momen is not quite right, but the spirit is not their either. That is unlike Chelsea, ad one has to wonder why.

    I would not just blame the manager, although I do not think he is the best around.

    As many people have mentioned, the owner has a touch of interferrig spoilt child syndrome, which does not help much either.

    I do not expect Chelsea to make it past the quarters of th CL, or to qualify for next year.

    Do not be too surprised if by the end of next season they have a new owner as well .... Mr Moneybagski may just lose interest in his hobby by then.

  • Comment number 71.

    Steve Claridge usually talks a load of codswallop but today talking about Chelsea, I think he got it spot on.

    Our system isnt right at the moment coupled with the fact that we have no width whatsoever.

  • Comment number 72.

    44. At 6:16pm on 21 Feb 2011, alloo gobi wrote:

    @ 14...rooney is not going man city in the summer...not with his contract, and that goal. obviously a man united hater...arsenal fan?

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

    Urm, if you read his post, he claims to be a liverpool fan. Also the word "kop" in his name is a giveaway. Manc.

  • Comment number 73.

    another point that i think doesnt help this ageing chelsea team and drogba, is the fact they only have one decent winger, being malouda, chelsea have lacked quality width ever since the likes of duff and robben left and have only made up through it by the form of lampard and drogba, their from has now left them, and this really highlights chelsea's weakness, a lack of width, which leads to them playing far too narrow.

  • Comment number 74.

    All has gone wrong since the sacking of Wilkins. Says a lot about the main coach! A bit like Capello as Englands manager. Probably inept at getting his message accross with his side-kick!

  • Comment number 75.

    Channel 5, channel 5, channel 5, channel 5, channel 5, channel 5, channel 5, channel 5, channel 5, channel 5. Just reminding you where to find European football next season.

  • Comment number 76.

    I think that Torres wants to play more of a creative style and can't play with a team like chelsea because they haven't adapted their 'creativeness'. Chelsea were at their peak during the Mourinho (and post) years. But when you look at the team now, they're isn't much change.
    Lampard, is still a top player (although aging) but does he suit Torres' style and the play maker?
    I do agree with other posts about Drogba and he might have seen his days in this team and hasn't been on form recently. But neither has Torres although he has time to adapt. This brings up another question: was Torres bought in early to get use to the Chelsea team and style before the summer because Drogba is off, off and away.

    Having gone to the Arsenal vs Chelsea game, on the 27th December; Chelsea didn't seem to attack a lot and Drogba wasn't as much as a threat. Torres might be the beginning of a new Chelsea team. If he is to be the focus point then many of the 'play makers' of Chelsea will have to up their standard or could be finding a new club in 3/4months.

  • Comment number 77.

    The problem of Chelsea lies in the midfield. As a Chelsea fan I am worried about the fact that who would replace Lampard. as it was evident that without him we struggled a lot. I do realize that Drogba is nearing the end of his prime at 32 and Torres is a good replacement without a doubt. I also think that youngsters like Mceachran and Sturridge should be given more responsibility so the competition within the team increases which would make players like Mikel up his game.

  • Comment number 78.

    100% disagree that Chelsea dont have anyone other than Benayoun to thread the ball through a needle. Lampard is perfectly capable and many of our goals have come from his pin point balls. The problems started when Ray Wilkins went, it wasnt just his departure to blame though. Injuries to key players like Lampard and Alex have been a key issue.

    The signings they have made have just not worked out. Torres was a big mistake. A player who hasnt played well even before the world cup and suffered multiple injuries is not worth £50 million. The pressure of that price tag means Chelsea have to play him out of stubborness to save their blushes.

    Torres, Benayoun, Ramires are failing to impress and the negativity has been piling up since Wilkins left. I wonder if it was just a calming influence that he had which is now missing as to why Chelsea play with so much tension now.

    The only light for Chelsea at the moment comes from the 1 signing that does appear to be paying off with the sublime Sideshow Luiz. I only hope he keeps that hair because Fellaini and David James best form came with big hair.

  • Comment number 79.

    Didnt Chelsea's wheels start wobbling when Ray Wheelkins got sacked /axed, whatever? And some of the replacements for departed / injured players don't seem to have the necessary class; I'm thinking of Ramires. Yet it's not just the midfield where Chelsea have lost the plot. How Ashley Cole won 'player of the year' is a mystery. I predict he will have lost his first team place by the end of the season.

  • Comment number 80.

    Just a few thoughts from a still a bit bitter Liverpool fan, who will try to keep it neutral for now:

    - Torres has never been the same after the series of his injuries, he just lost his spirit somewhere. However, when he is in the mood, he can still be very dangerous, and 2 goals against Chelsea prove it. So I see his misfiring more as a psychological issue than physical. He will come back in the right atmosphere around (which lacks at Chelsea currently)

    - Torres was used as a lone striker, however he was always good at assisting for goals, both for Liverpool and Spain. So I don't see why he cannot be played together with Drogba, and they can assist each other in the box.

    - Benayoun was always brilliant, his sudden bursts and scoring, as well as assists were always admirable. However, can he be the same after such a long time out of form? Maybe we won't see his best form this season. I regard him a better player than Joe Cole at any time though, and I regret that he left LFC.

    - David Luiz - I see him as a real threat as well, he can give very precise passes from the middle, and I think that should work out.

    - Ancelotti is still a very good manager. His work was seriously undermined by Abramovich, sudden sacking of Ray Wilkins, etc... but he is a god manager and he is trying to find solutions.

    Upcoming matches with FC Copenhagen: I have seen them against Barcelona, and they were giving Barca a real hard time, so I don't think that is going to be an easy ride for Chelsea. I don't think Chelsea has a chance winning Cl this season, and the chances that they stay in the top 4 for the next season are very, very narrow. Not with this psychological climate in and around the team.

    Clearly, Torres is going to realise what a bad mistake he has made, and very soon, too, if not already.


  • Comment number 81.

    If Torres could find the same passion and spirit in the next weeks, just as Rooney did, after his nightmare, Chelsea could find themselves pushing for the champions league final.

    When Rooney was 'accepted' into the team again, there was a spark in their game. Rooney didn't score for 13 games? - before his wonder strike. However, although he wasn't scoring, United (as upsetting as it is for me to say) played some good football. They had their 'mo-jo' and they desired to win.
    That's what Chelsea need. Some spirit in the game and to have that 'desire' to win matches. Torres can find form but needs to rely on other players to make this happen. There needs to be that passion with Chelsea. As other people have said, Wilkins didn't exactly create the best of atmoshpee. There might be a problem within the team or the manager/coaches. But Chelsea need to wake up and realize that they are part of the "Big 4". They have Torres but they need to make things happen.

    To add to my post before, the creativity is there but something needs to happen. Up to JT? Ancelotti? Or even Torres?

  • Comment number 82.

    Does anyone remember articles and posts around the time Anelka was signed?

    "Anelka and Drogba can't play together", etc. Sound familiar?

  • Comment number 83.

    Something else worth mentioning I think is that a lot of Torres' success at Liverpool relied on Kuyt's runs, separating the defence, wearing them ragged, chasing everything down. This aided Torres immensely, allowing him to pounce when defenders still had their eyes on the tireless Kuyt.

    Who is gonna do that at Chelsea?

  • Comment number 84.

    @ 81, MrAFC_jb

    Chelsea do not have a luxury of so many games to wait for a 'spark'. And they have very tough fixtures. And where that spark should come from? Everyone is having a go at Ancelotti, his tactics, ageing squad, misfiring Torres, waste of money, etc... doesn't help, does it?

    ManUtd, I was (pleasantly) embarrassed looking at them play, when Ryan Giggs wasn't playing. In the few matches they were totally outplayed by midtable teams, until the moment when Giggs was brought on and only then they played like winners should be playing. God help them when Giggsy hangs the boots.


    On a side note, why doesn't Arsenal get a grip on themselves and wins the title for a change, btw?? I'd be immensely glad if you guys can do it :)

  • Comment number 85.

    Wilshere's-nappy


    I watch the chelsea youth and reserve matches as much as I can and there is an excellent prospect coming through called Nathaniel Chalobah who is only 16, already plays every week for the reserves, trains with the first team, capped for the England under 17s when he was only 14 and recently captained them. Tall and composed at centre half or in midfield.





    About the article, I don't think the problem is the centre forward position or the midfield 3 or the back 4, the main problem lies with the 2 wide attacking players. Malouda and Anelka have been extremely poor for a long time and Kalou has been inconsistant when brought in to the side. I agree with Mr Chelsea above in that Sturridge should have been given more of a chance along with Kakuta who is a player who I think could be top class with a run in the side.

    As far as the Torres/Drogba issue is concerned I do think there is only room for one of them. (1) because they are both specialists in playing up top on their own and (2) because there arent the players to facilitate a change in formation. If the change was to a flat 4-4-2 there isn't anyone to play wide right and in a diamond.4-3-1-2 there is nobody to play in the hole (unless maybe benayoun gets fit and gets some form behind him)

    Ultimately the team is in transition and I have no doubt they will come good next year, hopefully still making top 4 this year.

  • Comment number 86.

    84. At 9:19pm on 21 Feb 2011, RedddRussian wrote: On a side note, why doesn't Arsenal get a grip on themselves and wins the title for a change, btw?? I'd be immensely glad if you guys can do it :)

    --------

    Mate, I've been asking myself that question for the past 5 years :)

    The main reason, in my opinion, is the defence. I love Wenger and love what he has done for the club and the mentality he has instilled and the way we play football but I do hold it against him that he has invested way too little in the defence.

    If Vermaelen comes back in a timely fashion, Arsenal can grind out results against teams who try to stifle our play and Manchester Utd. start to panic and lose a few at Chelsea and Liverpool (although Man U aren't exactly known for panicing) then maybe we'll be able to win the PL. Otherwise, we'll just have to hope Cesc Fab stays and battle on next season!

    Chelsea will be alright, maybe not this season but I think they'll come good next season with the likes of McEachran, Torres, Luiz, Terry, Lampard, Essien and Sturridge and Benayoun to return. Obviously they'll purchase some new players over the summer which will only make them more dangerous.

  • Comment number 87.

    Every team goes through a period of transition, thats whats going to happen at chelsea right now, and over the next couple of seasons. The press in this country have been stuck in a disaster mode style of reporting for years, whether its sport or otherwise. The idea that Torres was bought to rescue the season as a panic buy is laughable: he is simply Drogbas long-term replacement. They tried to buy him in the summer long befoe all this hoo-ha about the teams demise, aging,poor squad ect..(yawn) No, hes not worth 50 million, but to buy a proven striker in his prime you are always going to pay over the odds, especially if you are Chelsea or City as clubs hike the price up, understandabley so.

    One things for certain..if Drogba does go, you wont see chelsea fans giving him grief, as stayed with the club through the Scolari/Grant period when he could have easily followed Jose. Liverpool fans need to ask themselves why Torres has chosen a team in such an apparent 'crisis' rather than stay with fans that apparently adored him so much. Answer: 21 years and counting of not winning the EPL. Liverpools crisis has lasted two decades. Simples.

  • Comment number 88.

    85. At 9:28pm on 21 Feb 2011, King David Luiz wrote:
    Wilshere's-nappy


    I watch the chelsea youth and reserve matches as much as I can and there is an excellent prospect coming through called Nathaniel Chalobah who is only 16, already plays every week for the reserves, trains with the first team, capped for the England under 17s when he was only 14 and recently captained them. Tall and composed at centre half or in midfield.


    --------

    I remember him! I live in holland now and I think I saw him in a pre-season friendly once against a Dutch side! He was only 16 at the time and looked a good prospect. I think he was playing at left or right back. Good prospect indeed

  • Comment number 89.

    Chelseas's fall from grace stems from the teams inability to hold possession in the center pf the park. Long balls are being played over Lampard and Essien. If you can't hold the ball in midfield you can't win games, and this is more true when a team lack's pace on the side.

    Gone are the days of the long balls. Defenders know Drogba well enough that the long balls has no effect anymore, couple that with his diminishing speed. There is definitely a need for either two creative wide players or one in the center. Malouda and Kalou just don't make the grade anymore.

    Yes Malouda scored a lot of goals last season for Chelsea but thats not his job. He was brought in to replace an injury prone Arjen Robben, whose job was to draw out defenders out of their positions to allow the strikers to run into space and for me Malouda has failed to achieve that. Kalou has remained the same since Chelsea bought him and for a club with big ambitions like Chelseas, thats just not good enough.

    Last season Chelsea boasted a midfield pack of Deco, Ballack, Essien and Lampard. Ballack and Deco are creative in their play, like Alonso and Gerrard they like threading the ball from deep to the strikers feet. Chelsea never really plunged the holes that these two players left. Granted Deco never started much, but his presence in the team was enough to keep the others on their toes.

    For me I totally agree with Mr Nevin that creativity is lacking. Chelsea's USP (Unique Selling Point) for previous season was that the teams always won the midfield battle, they were kings of that, but that cannot be said for the current players. They have forgotten how to win games.

  • Comment number 90.

    89

    You're right. Our midfield in recent years has been based on power and it was unrivelled in the premier league

    Lampard
    Deco
    Ballack
    Belletti
    Joe Cole
    Essien
    Malouda
    Mikel

    Which premier league team boasted a midfield similar to that before last year?

    Now our midfielders are

    Lampard
    Benayoun (injured)
    Essien
    Ramires
    Mikel
    Malouda

    Severely lacking in power and creativity!

    I dont believe this knee jerk reaction that our whole squad is past it. Its just such an easy assumption to make when we're not top of the league

    Before our double winning season, I remember Fergie says our squad is too old. We went on to win the double.

    Our squad is lacking the midfield options it had in the previous seasons

  • Comment number 91.

    Whoa. Spelling mistakes in my previous post. You get the gist ;-)

  • Comment number 92.

    I really ope Spurs can knock Chelsea down to the Europa league.

  • Comment number 93.

    Goonie. why dont you pipe down and worry about Barcelona and Leyton Orient ;-) Dont want it to Messi again do we?

    You're only above us because of our worst run of form in 7 years. Otherwise you'd be battling it out with Spurs for 4th while City, Utd & us would be challenging for the league.

    Getting excited over nothing.



  • Comment number 94.

    Joe Cole, Ballack and Deco were far more creative than Ramires, Mikel or Malouda. Chelsea have become ponderous and too slow in their movement without the ability or tactical advice to vary their play and formations.
    There is no balance or width in the team and too much helsea don't have of the play is backed up in midfield as it was with Scolari. Chelsea don't have the precision passers to pick out our forward playing off the shoulder of defenders and we release our wingers too late allowing defenders time to push forward or intercept.
    Hiddink asked the players to release the ball quickly and sharply intp space rather than to the man which was more suited to quick players such as Anelka, Malouda and Kalou. Chelsea are making hard work of this season and not playing to our potential thus allowing others to get the jump on us. Ancellotti doesn't seem to have the answers and needs to find them very quickly. I'm quite sure Hiddink would be higher up the league and probably still in one of the cups in England.
    We have had injuries, disease and controversy again this year but the response has been weak and half hearted. I believe Chelsea are far better than what we are seeing and this belief needs to be harnessed and focused. Spurs won't knock Chelsea out of the champions league, Chelsea can only do that themselves.
    Chelsea need Hamsik and Pastore and should release Mikel and Malouda or Zhirkov. MacEachran can then be fully positioned in the squad and Van Anholt promoted also. I believe this will add plenty of creativity and zip to our play.
    Hiddink is an ideal choice as a replacement should it be necessary, Ancellotti has one trump card left and he needs to play it and hope it's good enough.

  • Comment number 95.

    So with everyone except Benayoun, Alex and Luiz available for tomorrows match, what do we think will/should be the starting line up?

    I'd go for:

    Cech

    Bosingwa
    Ivanovic
    Terry
    Cole

    Essien
    Ramires
    Lampard

    Kalou
    Malouda
    Torres


    There's not many options for change to be honest, but Ramires has found form recently and I dont think Drogba played himself into the starting line up at everton. Also Anelka has only been got for 1 good performance in every 5 or 6 this year

  • Comment number 96.

    Two small points:

    1) Average positions don't necessarily mean very much. A guy who spends half the game on the right wing and the other half on the left will have an average position right in the centre. So will a guy who spends the whole game in the centre. Doesn't mean they were in the same place.

    2) I've had malaria and would say it took me several months to fully recover physically even after treatment finished. Drogba might still be suffering the after-effects.

  • Comment number 97.

    pls note that lampard had about 18 assists in the league last season (gerrard never had this tally) so to ignore him and say gerrard and xabi alonso could pass through the needle is unfair. lampard was injured and he is just coming back. he's been played in a much deeper role than last season. he has to play him more offensive, drop anelka from starting line up, find a way to motivate the players plus always study the game before making changes. mr carlo should not always do pre-planned substitution especially after chelsea is trailing e.g. arsenal game, he should try to study the game and if need be, sub even the big players or even drop them for the sake of the team e.g. terry. we could have sticked to our last seasons 4-3-3 with torres replacing anelka in the formation but the truth about torres is that he has poorer passes compared to anelka and he also has less distance covered per game. the problem is just too complicated for any coach

  • Comment number 98.

    96. At 00:00am on 22 Feb 2011, debatable

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

    Some of these Internet Football Managers turned Doctors seem to think Malaria is like having a little cold. A sachet of Lemsip and you're good to go.

  • Comment number 99.

    94. At 11:51pm on 21 Feb 2011, LondonsFinestClub wrote:

    Chelsea need Hamsik and Pastore and should release Mikel and Malouda or Zhirkov. MacEachran can then be fully positioned in the squad and Van Anholt promoted also. I believe this will add plenty of creativity and zip to our play.
    Hiddink is an ideal choice as a replacement should it be necessary, Ancellotti has one trump card left and he needs to play it and hope it's good enough.



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

    I really wish that Hiddink had stayed, but i don't see him coming back, who else out there do you think could be in the frame (should the inevitable happen and ancelotti go at the end of the season). I think Deschamp would be a great appointment and a popular one.

    Hamsik and Pastore are fantastic players but would be massively overpriced. probably talking another 70m for them. In recent times we tend not to buy from the larger european leagues (shevchenko and torres apart) because there is no value, especially for a club like chelsea who get held to randsom for players. Most of our signings come from leagues like France, Portugal, Holland Russia etc where there is slightly better value.

  • Comment number 100.

    75 is quality.

 

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