Tales from the Terrace #1: "He Couldn't Finish a Sandwich"
Hello one and all, and welcome to my new weekly opinions series for CFC360. Over the coming weeks it will mostly be a little bit of a light hearted look at the week gone by, although I will make serious points and offer my opinions on the major weekly talking points. Your feedback is always welcome, I’m always looking for ways to make more people enjoy what I write so let me know what you think! Another thing to note is that this column is all my opinions, not facts, opinions. Also, aside from the small note at the end, this article was written on Tuesday, before the game against Basel.
Intro over, time to look at the week gone by. The major talking point has to be the defeat at Goodison Park on Saturday, our first defeat under our new-old manager and means it’s our worst start to a league campaign in the Roman era. Startling stuff, and possibly worrying stuff, but this isn’t what worries me. I’m more worried about our inability to kick a ball between the posts. The phrase that I’d probably use to describe our attacking exploits this weekend is that we couldn’t even finish a sandwich.
Samuel Eto’o made his debut at the weekend, a man who I am a big fan of due to the undeniable talent he once possessed, and that meant he could tear apart European defences in his sleep but also due to him being the only footballer in the world with an apostrophe in his surname. What was strikingly obvious though, was how evident it was that he’d been playing in Russia for two leagues with no real motivation other than the huge amounts of cash he was receiving. Also, the old human curse of actually getting older seemed to have hampered his speed a little. He wasn’t as sharp as I would’ve hoped, and instead spent the game bouncing off of Jagielka and squandering chances laid out to him on a plate via the chief waiter Juan Mata.
I suppose Saturday could be put down to just being ‘one of those days’ where no luck was there for us, so a disappointing defeat followed. Chances were being created, as they would do when you have players like Juan Mata but as always, we didn’t take them and now we are free to moan about our lack of quality strikers. Whilst I know the fact we stole Willian from Spurs in a last minute snatch-and-grab manoeuvre was actually hilarious, I do have to wonder why we spent £30 million on a man who wasn’t really a necessary buy. Not denying his talent, I’m questioning his necessity. We could’ve bought 3/5ths of Falcao for that money, that’s his right leg, left leg and head, all you need. We could’ve bought two Paulinhos although neither of these options are biologically possible. The fact we neglected signing a quality Central Midfielder seemed stupid to me. Yes, van Ginkel has potential but our “double pivot” (a term I hate but still) was our weakest position last season and quality was needed there.
Another point I’d like to raise is that about one Ashley Cole. He has been a terrific servant to the club over the years, but recently, my god has he been poor. When played against Man United, Antonio Valencia looked like Cristiano Ronaldo, and Stephan Naismith had him in his back pocket at the weekend. Since his new contract last season, Ashley Cole has not been performing well enough consistently enough. Ryan Bertrand hasn’t been able to overtake the declining Cole yet, but he ensures we have good back up, something we’ve had since the days of the great Yuri Zhirkov*.
*I will write about some old players whenever we have slow news weeks, and I must say that if I like a player, it doesn’t necessarily mean they were any good e.g. Geremi.
The Ashley Cole debate will rage on, along with the whether or not Mikel is any good debate – he is – until the end of time, but unless Ashley puts in shifts like he did vs Bayern consistently, then well, I’m not sure a new contract is the right thing for him. He will forever be a club legend but his recent performances have not made for easy viewing. Being a Bertrandlieber, I think he deserves a crack in this Chelsea team in a bigger stage than the Capital One Cup but we will see what plans Jose has for him.
Fun fact: The new, youth encouraging Jose has so far named the highest average aged starting XIs in the league at 28.1 years old.
Our Champions League campaign kicks off this Wednesday against FC Basel, a team we should beat, and beat comfortably in our gift of a Champions League group. I hope to see Kevin de Bruyne given a run about because I believe he has a key role to play this season, and I think Essien, van Ginkel and Willian should also feature. Hopefully a comfortable win with Torres bagging 7 goals including a half way line bicycle kick will occur and then we’ll all be happy. And maybe a reappearance of Cesar Azpilacueta, who hasn’t started any games recently due to his commitments as a cowboy (below).
A Little Bit About The Basel Game:
Cut apart incredibly easily on the counter with Basel breaking through via the fantastic young Mohammed Salah. Willian made his debut and the phrase I’d sum it up with is “showed some nice touches”. The match was in general a thoroughly disappointing affair. So much creative talent on the pitch seemed to result in negative creativity as hardly any chances were made. A case of too many cooks destroying the broth. Oscar was again the shining light, but poor substitutions from Jose and our inability to find the right pass led to our demise. It’s been a disappointing week but hopefully we can sort it out in the worlds most sombre local derby vs Fulham this weekend. It’s a long season though, keep the faith.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this, it will be a weekly thing so look out for it if you’ve enjoyed it. I’d like to hear your opinions on Ashley Cole as well, declining or still got it? Feedback encouraged and always welcome, come on you Blues!