Even Hugh Grant was able to defeat a flock of seagulls, a little known fact revealed whilst being interviewed for a role in the “Battle of the 80s Has-beens”.
On the one hand, since this was a pre-season friendly, the match shouldn’t warrant a critical review because the players are still in warm up mode and results don’t matter. This was certainly true for our tour of the States where it was all about ensuring that each player played an equal number of minutes to get every squad member up to the same level of fitness. This makes sense from a sports science perspective. So who cares about drawing with Paris Saint-Germain and losing to MLS All-Stars and AC Milan, it’s all about fitness, team bonding, soaking up the atmosphere and making sure the players look great in their Dolce and Gabbana khakis.
On the other hand as the real event approaches performance and results do start to matter. I remember this well from my schooldays when I was receiving one to one French oral from Mademoiselle Fournier in advance of my O-Level. Personally I wasn’t too bothered that I thought “My aunt’s pen” was “Le prune de mon tarte”. It was all about getting the accent and pronunciation up to speed and worrying about the actual words a bit nearer the exam.
With this in mind, plus the fact it cost 30 quid per ticket which is no mean sum for a friendly, my review of the match is as if it were the real thing, not some meaningless training session.
Stinking! We stunk the place out. Turgid slow motion similar to the end of AVB’s reign.
Robbie has admitted that the States was all about warm up but Brighton and the Community Shield is where we settle on the likely starting team for the season and start building our patterns of play, or combinations in the modern parlance.
This being the case can anyone explain why we’d start with a midfield of Lampard, Essien, Meireles with Benayoun on the bench? Is this really the future? Where was Josh? Is Robbie seriously saying that Benayoun is more a part of our future than Josh? It really bemuses me that we can sign players like Marin and leave him out altogether and, even more bemusing, sign players and then put them straight out on loan. Surely our policy to loans is even more crazy than borrowing £100 from wonga.com?
- Cech – let three in against Brighton. Don’t care whose fault it was.
- Ivanovic – was our only attacking threat by making several runs down the right wing. Problem was that no one had communicated to Ivan that we are the new Spain, since we don’t possess a centre-forward to get on the end of crosses, so all his effort was a waste.
- Cahill – frisky.
- Terry – always gives 100%. You won’t see Terry getting chucked out the badminton for not trying.
- Cole – the Mohican isn’t helping.
- Meireles – is he just keeping the seat warm for Oscar? Josh is a fine seat warmer.
- Essien – I thought he was finished two seasons ago. Not his fault he got injured but no longer a bison and more a poodle.
- Lampard – at 34 he’s just happy to be here.
- Ramires – remember the time I was the only one who could see his potential and everyone else slagged him off? Well he was like that just a bit worse. Poor bloke, he stepped into the breach last season by playing right wing and now he’s condemned himself to that position forever. Must be galling to look across at Essien and Meireles moving at snail’s pace knowing that he’s got the drive and energy to power us forward.
- Torres – nice dummy. Yes, apart from a nice dummy to create the space for Lampard to score he was a nice dummy.
- Hazard – we’ve already managed to convert France’s player of the year for successive seasons into the Chelsea way of playing negatively. I’m surprised he didn’t run down the pier and swim home.
- Turnbull – didn’t do anything wrong but you know he’s only ever one step away from partnering Luiz as the Chuckle Brothers.
- David Luiz – cataclysmic. Towards the end of last season we all thought he was maturing. Well he’s now been sent back to kindergarten. His first contribution was an attacking run with the ball to the edge of the Brighton box, territory where normal centre-backs don’t venture, only to lose the ball and then walk back slowly to his defensive position. Next he gave away a goal by trying to be clever and then attempting to mask his incompetence by faking injury. Lastly, to try and convince all of us that he really had been injured he sought retribution on a Brighton player by elbowing him in the head and causing a mass brawl (in a friendly).
- Mikel – did what Mikel does.
- Lukaku – after the American tour I’d concluded he is just a lump but actually he was surprisingly sharp when he arrived. One very neat turn and he left a Brighton defender for dust but then was crudely hacked down in his tracks. It was a surprise all afternoon as Brighton committed several cynical fouls and the referee was too embarrassed to book them because it was a friendly.
Unused substitutes: Ferreira (oh yes, our future so we’d better not put Chaloba on the bench), Hutchinson, Benayoun (also our future so we’d better not put Josh on the bench), Piazon (must have been an amazing day out for him, gaining experience by osmosis from a bunch of donkeys that weren’t fit to trade on Brighton beach).
Post-match Robbie admitted, ‘I was expecting more from my team in terms of urgency and movement. I was looking for a better performance than the one we gave today. We were too stretched, never aggressive enough and didn’t get the ball back quickly enough when we lost it. With the ball, there wasn’t enough movement and there were a lot of things we didn’t do. We have to be a bit more focused and sharper.’
For Robbie’s sake I hope Roman was on his yacht well out of range from Chelsea TV. Robbie has got this job on the basis we keep winning but play more expansive football. I know it’s still pre-season but if Roman was subjected to this display his index finger would already be twitching and moving towards the red eject button.
Maybe our reduced performance was due to the Olympics? I mean everything else seems to have been affected by them!
In case you’re wondering I failed my French O-Level with a grade 9 so I guess it is important to be in shape as the real event approaches.
Great Britain football team crashed out of the Olympics last night losing 5-4 to South Korea on penalties. At 4-4 Daniel Sturridge stepped up to take the crucial penalty. If you were sitting in Alan Sugar’s boardroom and he shouted at you “You’ve got five seconds to succinctly summarise Daniel Sturridge otherwise YOU’RE FIRED” just show him the video. Sturridge strode forward, then stalled to make a pathetic dummy and then completed his run to gently strike the ball near the keeper to make an easy save. This typifies Sturridge‘s performances for us as he nears the penalty area and all he has to do is lay on a simple pass but instead has to over complicate it with a stupid trick. Why can’t we loan him, instead of Kevin the Brown, to some middle ranking team in the Bundesliga?