Contribution post by Helgi Llozana
‘’I told you Chelsea were the best team in the world and tonight we are. Get in there!!’’ – Frank Lampard
It has been nearly 6 years since the icon of this club would scream of joy in front of the cameras on 19th May 2012, the greatest night in the history of Chelsea.
Obviously, I can’t say that my feelings aren’t mixed. Nostalgia, pride and happiness when I think about those indescribable and unique, unforgettable emotions. But at the same time I feel sadness and pessimism when I see what’s going on at the moment, which is the reality I have to face.
So, the transfer ban – yes, outside top 4 – yes, incompetent board – yes, matchgoing fans wanting the manager out – yes, too much deadwood – yes.
That’s enough to give a strong headache to any passionate fan. Anyway, if more rationality and will to improve things is shown, then every problem may disappear, and we may easily come back to the top, where we really deserve to be.
First of all, I will start my analysis with the players. It’s being shown day after day, match after match, that a lot of players aren’t good enough, or in the best possible case, just don’t fit our system.
Marcos Alonso is a ‘’hoof-ball’’ left-back, who plays at middle third of the pitch at max, in a system where the left-back is crucial in attack, like Robertson at Liverpool and Marcelo or Alex Sandro at Real Madrid and Juventus respectively. The same goes for Cesar Azpilicueta. His passion is elite, his dedication and the desire to play for the badge has always been adorable, but his crossing, like his compatriots’, is at a very low-level. The pair of both centre-backs is also unreliable in some moments. Rudiger’s difficulty in one-on-one situations and David Luiz’s shakiness when pressed, make all of us feel uncomfortable in a lot of occasions during games.
If we carry on, there is Barkley with an obvious lack of consistency, Willian who isn’t offering anything special, Pedro, whose ‘’ageing symptoms’’ are badly affecting his performances, especially his creativity he has shown before, and so on.
We all want to see more minutes for our talented, young and fresh players like Callum Hudson-Odoi, Emerson, Ruben Loftus-Cheek for example. But this is at the same time ‘’a painful cramp’’ regarding the manager situation.
Maurizio Sarri has been here for around nine months now and the expectations are far away from the reality served to us. Pass, pass, pass and…toothless. No shots on target, no efficiency, and above all, no consistency in results.
Anyway, his biggest issue has been the stubbornness in team selections and his persistence with old players, some of which aren’t giving anything anymore, like that ketchup bottle, from which you squeeze out the final drops.
On the other hand, it’s important to point out again that the Italian had an extremely thin pre-season in his availability, inherited a defensive team, and a lot of our players, as I said earlier, aren’t the right ones to play in a sophisticated system.
In this way, I am a moderate Sarri IN at the moment, because I still believe that he could give us the attacking football and the rain of goals we have wanted for years, so a better judgment should be made at least until the end of the season, as no alternative seems quite decent enough at the moment, not the quality we want and need anyway.
Let’s come to a very delicate aspect: the fans.
From what I am seeing this season, fans are proving to be a necessity, but also ‘’a problem’’ at the same time.
A source of inspiration, the 12th player, but also a source of rows as well. Why? First of all, there is an evident division because of the manager issue and in my opinion, this is all due to the old and extremist mentality.
Our fans are used to park the bus or counter-attacking football at max and in this way, ‘Sarriball’ or better, winning trophies and being proactive in your style, seems to be a taboo for them, especially for the match-going fans.
On the other side, there is that group who defends the coach very strongly and often without rationality, trying to hide his weak points. This causes the rows and the same happens with the player issue. Where Marcos Alonso and Willian for example are loved by some and hated by others.
So, dominance of passion over rationality is harming us as a society and isn’t letting the process flow properly, because fans, despite not having the decision-making responsibilities of the board or the selection-making issues of the manager, they do have the irreplaceable weight of the supporter, which can be never vanished.
Finally, the board. This is unfortunately the most unclear topic, which brings to me the most amount of pessimism. The owner is looking to have problems with his UK Visa, so he still can’t attend games, and the one who has the control of the club in his hands is Marina Granovskaia, who I have always criticized for her lack of quickness and efficiency in signing players, and for her frustrating ‘’penny-pinching’’, which has been very damaging for the club in a lot of important negotiations.
For example, players like: Correntin Tolisso, James Rodriguez, Danilo etc.
Anyway, this isn’t the biggest issue at all. Impossible to gobble it down, but it has been nearly one year and a half since Michael Emenalo left his spot as Chelsea’s Director Of Football. And since then, in spite of some here-and-there rumours, that post is unbelieveably still vacant.
My proposal would be to appoint a man like Michael Ballack as soon as possible, whose admirable energy and vision would surely send the club to the highest levels again, exploiting properly the unique jewels called: Callum Hudson-Odoi, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Reece James and so on.
Finally, I would say that the difficulties being faced now and the situation where we stand should and could have been avoided if we were less pragmatic before. But moving with rationality, everything could be moved in the best direction.
Fingers crossed that we will have the transfer window back on 11th April. And don’t forget:
COME ON CHELSEA, KEEP THE BLUE FLAG FLYING HIGH FOREVER!