First of all, I can’t apologise enough for a no-post yesterday morning and today’s late-show of a post, it’s just not good enough and I apologise. Let me explain what happened though! On Wednesday I’d been down to the Emirates Stadium to watch Arsenal take on Borussia Dortmund, no problem there, I’ve done the drive plenty of times. On the way back, coming along the M25, I somehow missed my turn-off for ‘M1 North’, despite it being on a big yellow sign and I was only doing 45MPH at the time due to roadworks. Despite this, I ended up halfway to Heathrow so I had to come off and re-join at the next junction so as to make my way back up the M1. On my way back up, I knew there would be road works, what I didn’t anticipate was being stood still for twenty minutes near Luton. On the positive side, this meant I got to eat some food. As a result of all this, I ended up getting home at two in the morning and was far too tired yesterday to give you a post worthy of your time and despite waking up extra early this morning to make sure I did a post on time, I’ve been needed elsewhere. Bloody nightmare!
Anyway, I should probably talk to you about football. Well, firstly I must say the Borussia Dortmund fans were immense.
As is often the case, a video can only tell you half a story. From where I was sitting I had a fantastic view of their supporters and they had one or two lads stood on their chairs conducting songs etc. I wish I knew what their songs were called so I could go into more detail, but it was amazing how in-sync they were with each other, clapping at the exact same time, stamping their feet to make noise, again at the same time. In the video above where the Dortmund fans are jumping up and down is only the opening few minutes of the match and they didn’t do that again, but when they were to go two goals down, the majority of their 7,000 strong support lifted their scarves silently, to which everybody in the Emirates with an Arsenal scarf did the same, which would have been a fantastic site if you were to have been sat on the roof.
A lot of Dortmund fans had been drinking all day however, something I can vouch for as we (me and my little brother) arrived early and there were loads hanging about with cans of lager and unfortunately it led to a small melée between some Arsenal and Dortmund fans as the divide between the two was only paper-thin, leading to a combination of Police and Stewardsforming a human divide between the two sets of fans. As well as that, Szczesny received a load of abuse from Dortmund fans when retrieving the ball from near their fans. As a result, Szczesny started pumping his fists in celebration towards the Dortmund fans, clearly set on winding them up. About twenty Dortmund fans tried to hop over the hoardings, but were swiftly abated in their attempt to get at Szczesny by another combination of Police and Stewards.
All the same, it was terrific support and unlike anything I’ve seen at the Emirates from an away set of fans.
On exiting the stadium, the big screens showed the Champions League scores and one result to draw cheers from the crowd was Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 Chelsea. Now, I watch a lot of German football and I can honestly say I wasn’t shocked to see that result, Leverkusen have a set of talented players in Sidney Sam, Andre Schurrle and Renato Augusto amongst others, but should Chelsea, a club with a squad made up of hideous amounts of talent, be losing to Leverkusen? Simply, the answer is no, Chelsea should be turning up and beating Leverkusen. On paper, Chelsea make Leverkusen look very feeble, so where is the problem?
Well, the simple answer is a new manager with new principles has knocked Chelsea completely out of shape. Tactically, AVB is doing the same thing which worked so well for him at FC Porto and is now failing at Chelsea, why? Under Mourinho in the later stages of his reign, then under Scolari, Ancelotti etc, it was the norm that Chelsea were boring when their power couldn’t find a way through. If their power couldn’t win a game, their creative spark and guile was often found missing in action and for large parts, has been missing for some time.
Now, AVB is wanting Chelsea to use their guile to unlock teams, not batter through them with biceps pumping, but he wants Juan Mata, a fantastic player, to do what he does best and dictate the play high up the pitch. The problem is, Mata often has the problem of not having anyone available for a defence-splitting pass as all Chelsea know is mechanical, predictable movement.
This isn’t theory, but fact. I’ve seen my fair of Chelsea matches on the TV this season and bar the Arsenal match, I’ve fallen asleep in every single one. Even against QPR I could fall asleep in the comfort of knowing Chelsea weren’t going to get anything out of the game.
A mixture of old personnel, new ideas and an inability to perform to a different standard is currently killing Chelsea and they will find they must go through a transitional period such as this, where they lose games they should normally be winning before they find themselves.
Right, that’s your lot from me today, I’ll see you in the comments…