Friday, December 9, 2011

It's Alive

As if to prove that quantity is better than quality, here's Columnist Ed:

I’m guessing it was from a few inappropriate comments to the boss man about his relegation zone performance in the firm's fantasy league, or maybe it was that time I rubbed the top of his head at the firm holiday party in a crude attempt to make a wish (I don’t know, it just seemed like it would work at the time).  But for whatever the reason, I’ve been put on the Chelsea beat this week, so here are my comments on a team that’s seemed somewhat dysfunctional so far.

It was actually nice to see that Chelsea remember that they are a good team this week in their Champions League game against Valencia.  They looked bigger, stronger, faster, and more skilled than the Spanish side.  Except for Mata who merely looked more skilled.  Mata is an interesting player.  He’s so slow as to be a defensive liability.  He’s also small enough to get shoved around a bit.  However, he gets the most out of what he’s got by being a very creative player on offense.  I can see why he can’t get on the field for Spain, and against good teams I think his skill is not enough.  But he’s a nice player that has added a ton to the Chelsea attack this year.

Having Fernando Torres behind him has definitely changed the tempo of Didier Drogba.  There were many times over the past few years where he semed disinterested in the games he appeared in.  In the game against Valencia, I saw a statistic that nearly put me to the ground.  Drogba had run 3.83km in merely 30 minutes.  I think he went months last year without running that much.  Plus, he sprinted with the ball on a nice fast break, and put one in the net after a nice move in close space.  Drogba hasn’t lost any ability in his age; it’s all a matter of desire with him as far as I can see.  It would be a mistake to get rid of him and keep Torres.  It would be expensive to do what they should do and get rid of Torres to keep Drogba.

Sturridge is a game changer for Chelsea.  While he isn’t the best finisher, his speed and ball control help open the middle up for Drogba.  He’s a dangerous at wing or up top.  You can see why Bolton really miss him, and why demands a spot in the starting lineup for England.
Ashley Cole just doesn’t rub me right.  He’s still a talented player, but he’s such a prima donna.  Perhaps it’s from playing left fullback his whole career – a truly unenviable position.  I don’t know, I’m just sick of seeing the disdain he shows on a constant basis.  You don’t have to do this, Ashley, you may retire at any time and try something different.  Really.

Meireles is a different player for Chelsea than he was for Liverpool.  Often players make a bad choice when they force their owners hand and leave a team.  For Meireles, the decision has been a good one.  His athleticism makes a positive difference for Chelsea in the middle, who with him and Sturredge and Rodriguez, don’t look too old and slow to me.

What happened to Nicolas Anelka?  Time to let him move on.

David Luiz is a constant liabllity at right back.  He should have been sent off in his last match in the Premier League, and constantly looks like he doesn’t quite know what he’s doing.  I always think that the more your appear odd or eccentric, the more you better produce some high level game or else you risk appearing like a lightweight.  What I’m trying to say here is that maybe a haircut is in order.

Petr Cech’s soft helmet has gone from goofy to over the top with the new nose guard.  It’s just hard to take him seriously as an athlete with that thing on his head and face.  But while he blew a game earlier this year, he’s still got considerable game.

Coach Villa-Boas has received too much criticism regarding this team.  It’s simply too easy to beat up on the young guy.  Such criticism is largely, in my opinion, cliché.  Right now he’s still forced to start John Terry in the back with the unreliable Ruiz.   Terry can still play, but he’s not at the level he used to be, and Luiz, well we’ve already reviewed his game.  Without a solid back it’s hard to get it done in the EPL.  In light of the coaches club in the EPL where the same coaches get hired over and over without regard to their success – see e.g. Martin Jol, a jut-jawed individual who it seems looks more the part than acts more the part.  AVB may not know it all yet, but it seems to me he’s closer than you think.

Finally, let’s talk Frankie Lampard.  FOF likes to give him the "Who’s  Your Father?" at every opportunity.  But Frank still has plenty of game and deserves the time he has out there.  Against Spain, only he and Scott Parker looked the part, with everyone else struggling to retain possession even in those rare circumstances when England has the ball.  Frank often looks unimpressive for large stretches, but then he always finds a way to be in the right place at the right time to put it in the back of the net.  Frank’s no longer a permanent starter on Chelsea, and maybe it’s time for him to move to a different club that will appreciate him more. 

In light of the injuries to Liverpool and the relative weakness of Arsenal, I expect Chelsea to be either third or 4th this year, depending on injuries to themselves or others.  I think their depth will allow them to come on in the season that remains, especially with the players still trying to understand their new coach. 

By the way, am I the only person that thinks the Champions League anthem is a little creepy?  Give European bureaucrats too much time and space and all sorts of bad ideas pop out of their heads.

This is farlieonfootie for December 9.


  1. Graet jub bye teh cope editter, FFO.

    Oh, and here's another bad idea: the Euro.

    -- Martin J.

  2. Seresly. did Ed sent thes in bye text massage?

  3. I thought you actually meant Drogba had been "disinterred" rather than he was looking "disinterested." My mistake for assuming you know what you were writing about -- The Editor.