Roman, Peter, Bruce, Eugene or whoever runs Chelsea. It’s time call an end to the joke. Can we have a real manager now please?
If you didn’t see this coming then you don’t know a thing about football. 1 1 0 0 1. That’s not binary code. It’s the number of goals we have scored in the last five games. It’s also roughly the number of chances we have created in the games in question. Oh I nearly forgot, we put three past Huddersfield but then they’re a third division team aren’t they? And we are supposed to be one of the big four. So it doesn’t count unless you’re clutching at straws
I won’t repeat what I wrote after last Tuesday’s sleep-fest against Olympiakos. All that is wrong with Avram Grant’s Chelsea was encapsulated in yesterdays two hours of football.
Whichever way the media men at Chelsea tried to spin it, Avram Grant was not considered some tactical genius in Israel. His main claim to fame is for producing cautious, stupor inducing teams. If Rob Beasley, himself a Chelsea fan, was to be believed during this morning’s Sky Soccer Supplement, he was considered a bit of a joke according to Israeli journalists. And given our performances under him I tend to believe it.
It’s not that the team doesn’t have a plan B in case trying to send the crowd to sleep doesn’t work. We don’t have a plan A. That is unless passing the ball right back to our keeper when we are on the edge of the opposition keeper is our plan A.
In ninety minutes of normal time today we had one shot on target, and that from a dead ball situation. We go a goal down within three minutes of the start of extra time and we manage two shots on target in the remaining 34 minutes (that’s how long we played after the Spurs winner with the injury time the ref added).
Compare Grant’s tactics with those of the Spurs coach. They totally dominate the first half, should be about four goals up and very unluckily go in at half time a goal down. He changes the system and takes off a full back to bring on a midfielder. They equalise, he makes a substitution and he changes back to his original 4 – 4 – 2 that had worked so well before going a goal down. His team then go in front, he takes off a striker and brings on an additional defender.
Coming to think of it, just a few months ago we had a manager who used to come up with these tricks but some bright spark at Chelsea decided he was surplus to requirements and presented us with this sorry excuse for a coach as a replacement.
It’s not rocket science is it? Unless your name is Avram Grant. He persists with a formation that is patently not working and it takes him well into extra time to introduce his most creative player. And then it’s all out attack, which in Grant’s book means passing the ball back to your own keeper to hoof it up field.
Let’s not beat around the bush. Grant has the best squad of players in the world bar none. I could coach that lot to a Cup victory, especially over Spurs. A look at the bench today just about says it all. Cudicini, considered the best Premiership goalie until Cech came along, Alex, Joe Cole, Kalou, all starters and key players in their respective national teams, and Ballack, the Germany captain no less.
In reality Grant could have left anyone of his starting eleven out and it would not have made one iota of difference to the strength of the team. The problem is the way they are sent out to play. Did anyone out there notice for example that Belletti, arguably the most arrack minded full back in the world (that’s until Grant got his slimy hands on him) did not get into the Spurs half once until well into extra time?
I can honestly say that I have never felt so alienated from my team ever in my life. And I am perilously close to fifty, having supported Chelsea for forty two years. So those of you my age realise that I’ve put up with a lot of crap teams over the years and never lost my often myopic optimism. Even when our central defensive partnership consisted of Micky Nutton and John Sitton, with Graham Wilkins at right back.
Things have to change and they have to change fast. What I found as equally pathetic as our performance today were the excuses Grant brought up at the post match interview, basically blaming the ref for our defeat. He said that the penalty was harsh and that the ref blew the whistle just as we were about to score. Well it’s not the ref’s fault if it took the team so long to create a one on one with the Spurs goalie. If truth be said, it was nearly a minute over the 3 minutes signalled by the 4th official. I thought the ref was ok, which is unusual for Mark Halsey, and he did give us 8 minutes injury time during extra time, which was pretty decent of the bloke.
Avram, in case you were too busy doing ball boy duties and didn’t notice, we lost because we were sh*t, just like we have been most of the games we have played since you became coach. We lost because you do not have a clue. Tottenham got no more than they deserved. In fact it should not even have gone to extra time. Forget the stats and the results in previous matches. The performances in most games under Grant have been negative, dire, boring and downright embarrassing.
I close with my predictions for the rest of the season, (with the best price I can offer you in brackets) unless Avram changes his ways, or much, much better, he is sacked within the next few days.
1. We will not win the League. (odds 100/1 on)
2. We will not win the FA Cup. (50/1 on)
3. We will go out of the Champions League to the first decent team we are drawn against, most likely in the next round. (100/1 on)
4. We will struggle to make the top four. (20/1 on)
5. We will lose our unbeaten home Premiership record. (100/1 on and same price for losing to both Man U and Arsenal)
6. Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba will shove off to wherever an unnamed coach takes charge during the close season. (20/1 on)
7. Roman will decide that this isn’t what he spent God knows what on, pull out of Chelsea and we will be battling Leeds for promotion out of League 1 within three years. (evens)
8. Frank Arnesen will become first team manager, his brother assistant manager, his cousin physio, his dad chairman, his sister international scout, his best mate will take Frank’s current job (that means doing sweet fa) and the girl he used to shag at the Copenhagen Comprehensive will become head tea lady. (Betting closed on this one, sounds too realistic for my peace of mind)
Cup Final defeats do have a strange effect on me and this rant is the result of my dire mood. But having re-read it before I send it off to the guys at the site, there is not a single word I would take back in a less depressed mood.