After Chelsea were pegged back by Wigan last night Tom Gaunt takes a look at some of the fundamental problems facing Chelsea and Andre Villas Boas.
As a Chelsea fan I have resisted the temptation to write about Chelsea and their woes this season. Plenty has been written and there is a fair chance that whatever I say will be somewhat biased. However after last nights draw away at relegation threatened Wigan I had a long hard think about what was going wrong and who or what was to blame. I will take a brief look at tactics like the high line, how Chelsea have pressed the ball and whether we are playing the right formation but I also want to examine the bigger picture to try to identify some major problems that cannot be solved by a bit of tweaking or a new number nine. Read the rest of this entry
By Tom Gaunt
I recently wrote about boo-boys, and whilst I would never boo Fernando Torres or wish him any ill fate I have become slightly fixated with his performances and the mixed reactions to them. In fact it seems the whole media world uses half their Chelsea match report to discuss how the misfiring Spaniard performed. So with this in mind I readily admit that my opinions on Torres may be slightly clouded, but nonetheless I will share them.
I watched last nights game against Bayer Leverkusen and thought Chelsea’s overall display, against a club who are no mugs, was solid if not spectacular. Daniel Sturridge sparkled and new boys Juan Mata and Raul Meireles looked full of ideas and energy. Torres however left me rolling my eyes and sighing as he was constantly knocked off the ball, mis-controlled and generally looked poor. He was unlucky of course, in the first few minutes his clever flick went so close to Meireles that the goal was rightly given offside, but it seems that since his arrival Torres has been plagued with ‘bad luck’. It is the sort of luck which Arsenal have had recently or it seems most relegated clubs are faced with, but it is not really luck when it carries over 20+ games. Read the rest of this entry
By Tom Gaunt
So Raul Meireles has been voted PFA Fans player of the season. Whilst there was widespread surprise by fans at the Players voting of Bale for Player of the season it appears that the fans themselves are the most ignorant of the lot!
It is reported Meireles beat Berbatov, Nasri and David Luiz…. Yes you heard me right David Luiz was in the running presumably because he has big curly hair that fans have been mesmerized over the past 10 games.
Don’t get me wrong, Meireles has done well for Liverpool this season and really grown into a very good premiership player and will I am sure be a real force next season – but player of the season? Give me a break.
Just to put things into perspective the past winners have been Rooney, Gerrard, Lampard, Henry, Van Nistelrooy and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Quite how the voting works I have no idea – but I hope there is a valid reason for this strange outcome other than football fans being as mindless as many think.
By Tom Gaunt
With the slightly puzzling choice of Gareth Bale as PFA Player of the year and the quite simply unbelievable decision by football fans to give their award to Raul Meireles, the football world breathed a sigh of relief as the luminaries at the football writers association have rewarded Scott Parker for an inspirational season at West Ham. With 5 goals and countless man of the match performances Parker has given a team certain of relegation a glimmer of hope, having already single-handedly saved them last season. He also holds the record for number of blocks (30) by a midfield player this season, but that will come as no surprise to anyone.
Parker first came on the radar as a 13 year old doing kick ups for McDonalds, but it is his hard work and endeavour that is being rewarded now rather than his trickery. In his early career he shone whilst at Charlton and secured fairly big money moves to both Chelsea and then Newcastle the former being less than successful, but it seems only recently has he started to be truly recognized as he continues to be the stand out performer in a rather average West Ham team.
The fact that there has been no true stand out performers in the league this season has probably worked to Parker’s favour, in what has to be the most exciting premiership seasons in recent memory, Parker has epitomized the “Year of the Underdog”. Recently earning a call up for England after a career left in the cold he has forced people to recognize the value of a player beyond goals and assists (although he is West Ham’s 2nd top scorer).
Parker is essentially what is commonly known as a water-carrier, a player who does the leg work for the skilful match winners. But as the great Zidane said on Makelele’s departure from Real Madrid and Beckham’s arrival “Why put another layer of gold paint on the Bentley when you are losing the entire engine”, and Parker is certainly the engine, in what is probably more like a Ford Fiesta than a Bentley.
One would hope that Parker’s consistency won over Bales lack of it, and that his work-rate pushed him ahead of Berbatov’s laziness or even that his honesty out weighted Nani’s theatrics, but perhaps that would be doing Parker a disservice. Parker can be held up as a beacon of professionalism in a game which is littered with cheats and proves that giving 110% will prevail, I just hope it is enough to keep his club up as I would imagine that means far more to Scott Parker than all the individual accolades in the world.