Photo Source: Chelsea FC
Thankfully, Groundhog Day passed for Chelsea without a repeat of Wednesday’s humiliation against Bournemouth. As ever, the media frenzy that followed painted the usual picture of doom and gloom in SW6. Whilst the Twitterati chew over the inclusion of Willian and Marcos Alonso, supporters of a certain age, me included, are left celebrating a handsome victory.
What’s not to like about winning 5-0. Well of course, ‘it was only Huddersfield’ I hear you say. Teams like Huddersfield and indeed Bournemouth have an uncanny habit of finding a different level when they play Chelsea. Bournemouth, for instance, followed up their impressive 4-0 victory over Chelsea with a 2-0 defeat away at relegation candidates Cardiff City.
There’s little point in beating Chelsea one day and losing to a team likely to be closer to your own finishing league position the next. Chelsea are similar themselves beating Manchester City becomes less important if you then lose to Wolves and Leicester City. Maurizio Sarri may call it a lack of motivation, it could be complacency or an unrelenting desire to win by the opposition but it shows the beauty of the Premier League. It’s predictably unpredictable.
Strip away all the nonsense though and a game of football is just 11 v 11, best team wins, but of course, it isn’t, the internet and the vast sums of money in the game has made sure of that. The prize money that can be won in the Premier League, for simply finishing one place higher, has devalued the prestige of winning the domestic cup competitions. That filters down to the lower leagues as those clubs chase a seat at the top table.
Whilst the clubs are worrying about moving from 14th place to 13th, supporters are left wondering why N’golo Kante is ‘being played out of position’. Does it really matter though? Sarri claims his players have yet to fully understand his style of football. I’m certainly not going to pretend I do, but professional footballers….come on….they surely get it.
Whether it’s Sarriball or Antonio Conte’s Sufferball all that matters to me is the performance on the pitch. I expect the players that pull on the royal blue shirt to play for the badge on their chest. It’s simplistic in the extreme yes, but when you’re approaching your 6th decade as a supporter the time to care about formations and tactics, if it was ever there, is long gone.
The internet has allowed everyone a shot at either being a journalist or pundit, me included and it’s shaken up the industry. Journos and pundits have to dig deeper to find an angle that the ‘ordinary Joe’ can’t. Those opinions and stories become more extreme as the pros look to outsmart the wannabes. It’s a dog eat dog existence that benefits no one in the fight for page views and clicks.
As we enter what could be a tough month for Chelsea, we’re still sitting in a Champions League spot in the Premier League. We’ve knocked both Liverpool and Tottenham out of the League Cup on route to the final. Manchester United await in the last sixteen of the FA Cup and Malmo are our opponents in the Round of 32 in the Europa League.
Yet every other week ‘Chelsea are a club in turmoil’. This media fuelled narrative that Chelsea FC are a toxic club is borne out of sheer jealousy. The recent furore surrounding incidents that have occurred inside the ground concerning race and anti-semitism and condemned by the great and good, occur, and I’m guessing, at every ground.
Of course, that doesn’t make it right, but football is not the theatre. The former Liverpool manager Bill Shankly once said, and I’m paraphrasing, ‘football is not a matter of life or death…..it’s much more important than that.’ Passion and tension go hand in hand at the football, one exacerbates the other to the point of frenzy. Keeping those emotions in check in the heat of the moment is almost impossible.
Whilst Chelsea’s squad of players and management enjoy a deserved week without a game, social media will be awash with click-bait trash about our club. When you’ve associated yourself with an organisation for the best part of 47-years, it hurts to see them so hated.
Chelsea may not always play the greatest football and if they win nothing for the next ten years, I’d not be fussed. Football is a simple game about winning and losing. I don’t over analyse what’s going on during the 90 minutes play because I’m in too deep. It doesn’t matter what I think, it’ll make no difference whatsoever. The only thing that matters is, that come the next game, I’ll still be supporting Chelsea Football Club and that’s my Groundhog Day and I’d never change it.
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