1. David Luiz can play centre half after all.
It has been a year now since David Luiz signed for Chelsea from Benfica for more than 20 million quid. He started off brilliantly having the charisma to really get the Chelsea support raring and banging a few goals last season, most notably against Manchester United. Luiz looked like a good signing, that is of course until he became a bit of a nutter and was losing his marbles on the football pitch, who can remember his invitation for Chicarito’s early goal at Old Trafford last season?
The truth is, after a couple of ropey performances that were error strewn with his positional sense, many have been calling for him to be removed from the center of defence and placed in the holding role.
Nevertheless it is rare Brazil produce mean fighting machine centre-backs. That said Luiz samba style ways had led me to believe he would be better suited at right back, mainly because he can pass and cross (Mr Boswinga), and his lack of positional sense would not be affected if in defensive midfield.
But wait a minute; was that not the same curly-haired Robert Plant wannabe in defence at Carrow Road on Saturday? Indeed it was! And yes that was David Luiz who was calm in possession, effective at set plays and strong in the tackle and quick in recovery. I know it was only Norwich I can hear people think, but hold in mind it is the same Norwich with Grant Holt in the forward line who gave JT a torrid time at the Bridge last August. Dave had to be at his best on Saturday, and he was, right in the heart of the Chelsea defence.
2. Fernando needs more than just time.
“He needs a run of games”, is the normal sentence frequented when passing up the name of Fernando Torres. Unfortunately for Nando, games and minutes is exactly what he has been receiving, especially since Drogba’s departure to Africa. It is now 15 hours and 19 minutes sinceTorres scored for club or country, which is an obvious sign he is getting match time. The more fearful statistic is he has only managed a shot total of 41 in 31 appearances, which is a clear indication the creating of chances are not being crafted.
His confidence might be shot, it certainly didn’t seem that way at the beginning of the season, but Torres has been frustrating to watch at times, namely because against Sunderland he looked lively and against Norwich, not so much. Either way minutes on the pitch are good for him as well as taking shots to score goals, and that’s something the team as a whole needs to work on. Most of his chances are fashioned by him and are rarely gilt edged, maybe that is something the team as a whole should take responsibility for.
3. Time for Malouda et al to move on.
Follow Malouda, louda, louda, Follow Malouda… (out the door!). I’m sure I wasn’t the only one thinking why Malouda was used to replace Lampard on Saturday, and then played in the middle instead of Mata?
But while I was wondering what he was doing on the pitch I questioned what he was doing at the club. When AVB took over in the summer he pertained every member of the squad had a chance to prove themselves. It seemed a sensible argument at the time, mainly because you just can’t offload an entire squad in a single transfer window.
The problem is with the keeping of some members, the squad has become deflated in motivation and the long term goals are hampered. I mean, how are Chelsea supposed to grow if we continually allow Malouda et al to fizzle whimpering shots into row Z, and then loan out the likes of Kakuta. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Kakuta is a world beater, but I am a firm believer in giving players a chance to prove themselves, just like AVB.
Of course this weekend wasn’t a sudden realisation that we needed to rid of Malouda, but considering Anelka has disappeared and Alex departure is imminent, I find it surprising that we are not trying to usher a couple more others out the door, notably Kalou and Bosingwa.
4. Creativity is still on the order.
The last transfer window saw a hot pursuit for Luka Modric and Juan Mata. Mata’s arrival immediately allowed a spark of creativity to unlock tight defences as well as providing the width to expanding the play. Much to Mata’s brilliant efforts and form this season there’s still a need to add another creative force to the squad. With Frank Lampard hitting the twilight of his career and looking like he’ll be utilised as a bit part player as each season ticks over, it is even more apparent creative players are becoming a rarity at the moment.
An out and out winger would be preferable, to allow Mata to play more infield or even switching Sturridge further into the middle, however, a creative advancing midfielder to dictate the play and make key passes is also needed. Saturday’s performance begged for another luxury player, those who can switch the play in a heartbeat and make the opposition defence uncomfortable.
5. 4-3-3 isn’t the only way forward.
The 433 formation has often been Chelsea’s main course of action throughout the years and a massive component to the success.
The problem that any team suffers once you use the same style for such a long time is that teams begin to figure out defensive structures to easily guard against conceding. Ancelotti suffered the same symptoms in his last season at the helm and Norwich played very similarly to that of Carlo’s last few games.
Norwich were very happy to concede possession in front of their goal and flood the middle areas of the pitch. The lack of urgency to switch and stretch the play caused the impotency in attack, even though chances were created and AVB has arguably shared a better success employing the 433 system than his predecessor.
What Chelsea needs to realise is that there are different variations of 433, particularly with the two holding midfielders we adopted against Man United earlier this season. It perhaps would be equally efficient to use a 451 and allow Torres the support he so much desires from an advancing midfielder. Better still, playing two up front would allow Strurridge a central berth he so badly wants and Torres to share goal scoring duties which would be to his benefit. 433 works, but so can 41212 or even 442.