Chelsea suffered consecutive home defeats for the first time since 2002, and all of a sudden, everyone is screaming at AVB and telling him to be sacked. Here are the five things I’ve outlined for what we learnt about Chelsea in that Liverpool match:
1. David Luiz cannot defend.
How many times have I said this, how many times have the world said it. Yes, we love him. Yes, he has amazing hair. Yes, he is hilarious. But no, he cannot defend to save his life. Time and again this season, let alone this Liverpool match, we have seen Luiz go walkies. The same happened against Liverpool. He was nowhere when Maxi scored, and nowhere when Johnson scored. Naturally, I understand, he loves to attack. So AVB must do one of two things: 1) don’t let him play at all, and select the sturdier Alex, or 2) move him higher up the pitch. It’s where he belongs. He loves to go forward. Why make him a defender? He doesn’t want to be one, so putting him as one means we have one less defender.
2. AVB needs time.
I am a Chelsea man. Those who call for AVB’s head should take a long hard look at themselves. Someone on Twitter said yesterday that he had given up supporting Chelsea as we have been too disappointing. Yes, but come on. It’s just been a poor couple of weeks, and his “I’m not going to support Chelsea anymore” is worse than a baby throwing toys out of his pram. This is a transitional season, I totally understand that. Abramovich could have enquired further for Hiddink in the summer, but he chose to pay £13.3m to release AVB from his contract for a reason: to look the the future. There is no question that Chelsea are thinking ahead. But how much can Abramovich take of that. He might have put his mind to the long-term over the summer, but we all know how unpredictable Abramovich is. Tomorrow morning he could wake up and go “you know what, I think I need to look short-term again”, and before you know it, AVB’s gone. In truth, I hope this does not happen. Why Arsenal and Manchester United have been so successful in the long run is their stability. They’ve stuck with the managers when the going gets tough, and when the tough gets going they stick by them even more. Roman needs to appreciate that AVB knows his stuff. He needs time.
3. We need to learn how to defend again.
AVB clearly has brought in his own stuff. The 4-3-3 he brought from his trophy-laden year in Portugal has not gone down too well so far. He needs to alter his ways. He has brought in a high line and so we need to learn how to defend again. The attacking rhythm Roman wants is not being seen, and detrimentally, defending has had to be sacrificed in order to pave way for the experiments. It’s tough times like these where you have to group and stick as a unit. This month, the focus must be changed, to focus on how to defend. Once we get a few more wins under our belt, our players will have more confidence. That way, we can attack again. But until then, we must not keep such a high back-line. Winning scrappy gives you the same amount of points as a thumping, at the end of the day.
4. Change of formation and tactics.
Similar to my point above, but more technical. AVB has brought in a very high line. However, he has stuck with the 4-3-3 implented to such effect at Porto. This has not worked. Mikel is in the centre of the “3” midfield as a centre midfielder. In quite honest truth, that is about the most rubbish position ever. Centre midfielders are meant to be creative and pass and pass and keep it flowing, and they are also meant to help out the defence. He cannot manage that, and to be quite honest, he really does do nothing. OK, maybe harsh, and his 97% successful passing percentage is testament to his passing ability. But so? Who cares? Don’t tell me we have to field a guy just there to pass to others to do the job. As said in a previous blog, we need a 4-2-3-1. Chelsea tried this briefly in the second half, but having Lampard as a defensive midfield is no good. Have proper defensive midfield players who anchor. No need to go forward and support, just sit in front of the back four, look scary and get things done efficiently. Chelsea do not boast a fit defensive midfielder. Essien is practically the only one, and so for all the rumours of who Chelsea will buy come January, my wish is a proper, solid, no-nonsense defensive midfielder, someone in the mould of Makelele or what De Jong’s doing at City. Had the stability at the back so the attackers are at ease, knowing that they can just focus on attacking. Chelsea’s players all seem to do both. The defenders, Ashley Cole for example, attacks and defends, and wingers like Malouda attacked and had to help out too. Stop this confusion. Free Malouda, and let him be safe in the knowledge that the two defensive midfielders will sort things out for me.
5. We need to be more efficient.
Chelsea had eighteen shots yesterday, just the one goal. Liverpool had half that, and yet scored twice as much as us. We need to be more efficient. I don’t expect us to score from every shot, but at least one in two, three? Not one in eighteen, please.
There we go. Five points. How much AVB listens is another thing.