What On Earth Is Wrong With Chelsea?

It's astonishing that such a deeply flawed side are just one win off the top of the Premier League. We also have more mails on Levy, AVB, Suarez and born full-backs...

Last Updated: 18/12/13 at 10:33

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Worried Liverpool Will Become A Selling Club

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Liverpool fans in the mailbox are not too worried about sour grapes from United supporters, but one admits he's scared the Reds could end up selling their best players...

United Should Have Gone For Bruce And Hughes

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A mailbox asking why United did not go for two old boys over Moyes, what Wenger's targets were for the season and whether he's had a better season than Pellegrini..?

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Is Jose Made For 2013?
When your second-string midfield comprises of Mikel, Lampard, Willian, De Bruyne and Schurrle, you should surely be cruising past any opponent you face. Is it just me or are Mourinho's methods stuck in 2009-2010?
Greg Tric, Nairobi

Chelsea: Baffling

What on earth is going on with Chelsea eh? Obvious lack of a genuine threat up front aside, the really worrying thing is that they just don't look like they ever want to get going these days. So many opportunities to finish the game in normal time and no conviction whatsoever. We never did enough to put the tie to bed and this team just doesn't have the constitution to hang on to slim leads anymore.

We looked absolutely panicked during the second half of ET and Essien carelessly playing Ki onside to allow him to receive a ball that should have been cleared during the Victorian era is as clear an example of the difference between this team and 2005/6 as you're likely to find.

How we're one win away at The Emirates from top of the league I have no idea but it seems Mourihno is taking an age to work out how to get these players playing anything like a coherent unit for anything close to 90 minutes. Take nothing away from Sunderland - you played well and the better team won - but why Chelsea are putting in such limp performances this year I haven't the foggiest.

And don't give me that bollocks about too many players - that's like saying you can't win a war because you brought too many guns.
Simon (sh*t analogy) CFC

Lauding Lee

As a neutral I usually find Lee Cattermole to be reckless, pretty cynical, and sometimes just an idiot. However watching the game last night I couldn't help but be impressed, he covered every blade of grass, didn't stop running, and most important of all, he wasn't even booked! Even if he did score the own goal (yes it was an OG Sky, no matter how much you want to give it to your mate Lampard) I thought that was the best I have seen him play. Also how good was Giaccherini?
Ben Johnson

Levy: Celebrity Chairman

Daniel Levy reminds me of Mitch Winehouse.

I'm sick of the sight of Mitch Winehouse and his black eyebrows. I've never seen someone latch on to their child's success and get their face in the paper so much. I shouldn't even know the name of Mitch Winehouse, can you name Beyonce's father? Or Victoria Beckham's? Probably not. But Mitch gets his face and name in everywhere.

Same as Daniel Levy. He gets his name mentioned more than the Spurs manager. Daniel Levy, the celebrity chairman. He drives a hard bargain, don't you know?

Sick of them both.
Silvio Dante

Not Absolving AVB Of Blame

Brian's missive was an interesting read this morning.

I read yesterday's mailbox with the diligence of a Bond Street jeweller inspecting a second-hand diamond and I don't recall anyone absolving AVB of his shortcomings. For the majority of Spurs fans' it is too hard to tell who is to blame. There have been faults on both sides of the White Hart Lane conference table.

I find it hard to point any of my 11 fingers at Franco Baldini. He's one bloke who has stood the test of time - the list of players that he has uncovered/signed is quite phenomenal. Lamela has promise. Soldado has quality. Capoue looks good. If anything, Chadli looks like the worst buy in history and I think that he arrived before Baldini. Baldini also spent a lot of time as Capello's assistant and therefore has a good knowledge of the English game. All in all, it seems a perfectly sensible appointment to me.

Villas-Boas made some silly mistakes. Allowing Assou-Ekotto to go to QPR on loan was one, as Danny Rose is rubbish. Marginalising Adebayor another. Playing a high defensive line in a defence where Michael Dawson plays another. I don't agree that selling Caulker was a mistake; Chiriches is definitely an upgrade and at a profit of £2m.

Last season finished with a sense of optimism and it was clear that AVB was making progress. The only thing that can be said with any certainty about the abrupt and alarming reverse in fortunes is that, to coin a phrase, 'something was not right'. In the same way that 'something was not right' at the end of the reigns of Jol, Ramos and Redknapp.

The common denominator in these situations is Levy and I really can't imagine the likes of Capello, Hiddink or even Rafa Benitez are licking their lips at the prospect of working with him. Everton and Wigan kept managers who were a class above their clubs mainly on the strength of the manager-chairman relationship. Levy should take a look and learn a lesson.

Please world, stop portraying Levy as a transfer gladiator, riding on the roof of blue and white decorated milk float driven by Ledley King, with the head of a decapitated Chairman in one hand and cheque for £85m in the other. By the way, £85m was not a bargain for Bale; just look at his start for Real Madrid. Neither is making lots of money on transfers the benchmark of a good chairman. He's an extension of the manager in some ways. His job is to attract the best talent and get the most out of them when they are there.

Not to p!ss them off by being a bit of an @rse.
Mario 'using an egg with a face drawn on as a Levy voodoo doll' Di Gregorio

Putting People Right On Spurs

I'm sorry, but I just have to get it some retorts to the non-Spurs fans' thoughts about a club they obviously don't know much about.

Lamela's signing has his former DoF's, and the man who was effectively brought in to spend the Bale money's 'fingerprints all over it'. Erm, be a bit weird if it didn't. As for perceived underuse or underperfomance, the boy has enough pressure from a human aspect (can't be too easy for a 21-year-old Argentinian to move to a totally new country on his own), without trying to be Bale's replacement weighing on his shoulders. As for being '9 points off the pace', show me a Spurs fan who thought we'd win the league and I'll show you an idiot.

'AVB put on a CAM type of player and kept Paulinho forward'. You're totally wrong on both counts. Ironic, actually, as it would've been the right call to do that. See, Paulinho is best used behind the striker and Holtby in central midfield, but he stuck Pauly in CM and Holtby as the 10 - totally wrong call. Finger, pulse.

'Eriksen is overvalued'. He cost under €12m ffs! If he's half the player he seems he could be, that'd still be a bargain. None of the players we've signed are average, nor was it suggested so at the time. Hindsight is, on occasion, most definitely not a wonderful thing. Neither is smugness.

See, AVB may have done a lot of things wrong this season. He made a lot of curious team selections and substitutions, we had no definable method of attack and even our rock-solid defence collapsed by the end. That said, I'm sad to lose him as he obviously has an excellent understanding of modern football; he was simply unable, for whatever reason, to get this across to our players. There is obviously a serious problem when we lose the 0-3, 6-0 and 0-5 games in the manner we did, and in retrospect I think that a change of manager was, sadly, the only answer.

The pressure is truly on Levy now though. Make another wrong choice and his time, like all of his managerial choices' thus far, must come to a swift end.
Alex G, THFC

More On Eriksen

Christian Eriksen cost £11m. Given that Rodgers spent £10m on Borini and £15m on Allen I don't think he can comment that much on what constitutes as 'over-valued'. If you are going to question our purchases over the season please focus on the clanger that was spending £26m on a slightly younger, more continental (lazy) version of Defoe and £30m on an Argentinian kid that may never come good (although I (optimistically) think he will).

Out of interest what price would be seen as good value for a 21-year-old who has 41 caps for his country, and 113 appearances for Ajax?

If you genuinely believe Spurs signed Eriksen to stop Liverpool from getting him then you seriously need to go see a doctor. He wasn't some unheard of, 15-year-old wonderkid from Peru that noone had ever heard of, he is a well known, established player and fills a position that Spurs desperately needed to strengthen.
Adam, (Get your own scouts!) THFC

Liverpool Lucky Real Left Suarez Alone

A lot of 'blame AVB/Levy' and 'Rogers/Liverpool > AVB/Spurs' stuff yesterday. But I think that Liverpool are simply fortunate that Real Madrid wanted Bale and not Suarez.

When Real come in for a player, the player usually ends up in Madrid and the selling club are well compensated. It's one thing to turn down Arsenal trying to get Suarez on the cheap, but I don't think there's any doubt that Liverpool would have sold Suarez to Madrid for a hefty fee. So thanks Real Madrid. And that guy Aguero would be perfect for you next season.
Joel Bradley, Japan

...I see the decision to sell Bale vs the decision to keep Suarez is being championed by many as the reason that Liverpool are doing better than Spurs this season, but not for me.

The respective pursuits of the players can be summed up thusly: Spurs were offered a world-record 85m fee, Suarez is worth at least as much to Liverpool and Liverpool were pissed up the wall and only offered 40,000,001. Had Liverpool been offered 85m, particularly early in the window, they would have accepted it.

One would have hoped that they would have gone on to invest that 85m better than Spurs and still be doing as well, but after being rejected by the likes of Costa, Willian and Mkhitaryan with Suarez still there, I'm not so sure. I can't help being reminded by the phrase 'a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush'.
Alex (Arsenal lose or draw and Liverpool beat Cardiff to go top at Christmas, there's something nobody would have predicted), LFC

...Lots of people (fans and media) are making the point that Liverpool are being rewarded for being more stubborn than Spurs in hanging on to their star player this summer, while we sold Bale.

I do feel compelled to make the point that Spurs sold Bale following overwhelming pressure from Real Madrid who had made him their number one target.

Suarez was held onto when the only proper interest was from Arsenal. As far as I am aware Real Madrid never put full effort into pursuing him this summer.

If Suarez had been Real Madrid's top target this summer, 'Pool would have sold him. If the serious pursuit of Bale had come from a domestic rival, and not Real, Spurs would likely have refused to let him go (as with Modric when he wanted to go to Chelsea).

It is probably not a very important point in the grander scheme, just something that was annoying me. And, as a fan of Spurs and of English cricket, I am pretty easily annoyed at the minute.
Simon, London (THFC)

Giggling In Bed With Mailbox

I enjoy reading the bantz on Mailbox, which is pretty much stating the obvious otherwise you wouldn't have me and thousands others coming back for more.

But what I want to say here is that while I do get a chuckle here and there from the excellent stuff posted on Mailbox, some of them can send me into uncontrollable fits of laughter.

I don't know why but Rob Davies, THFC really cracked me up with his note to Mediawatch on Cliff Jones. I read it on the iPad in bed last night. The wife now suspects that I am having an affair or was engaging in some sex chat.

Lovely stuff, your Mailbox.
Lim Cheng Hoe, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Ozil Doesn't Love Arsenal? So What?

First of all, if Arsenal wasn't Ozil's first choice, then which basket-case of a club decided to turn down the chance to sign, arguably the best playmaker in Europe? He wasn't even close to being the most expensive transfers of the window.

Secondly, what does it matter if they weren't his first choice? I doubt any player in the world would choose any English club over the likes of the Spanish big two or Bayern. The fact that Arsene was able to convince a top player to leave Real to join Arsenal, just serves to put faith in the club. If they can convince Real to sell one of their best players, and convince him to join, then they're not doing too much wrong, are they?

Finally, he let a team-mate have some, for misplacing a pass? I've seen Squillaci and Gallas tell people off at Arsenal. It means absolutely nothing. Further, you can't claim his lack of interest and then point out his high expectations from a team-mate.
Girish, AFC, Chennai

Being A Born Full-Back...

As a born full-back (who later made the switch to centre-half) I just loved to defend. Still played the classic three-and-in games though. So I'll try to explain to Ed Quoth the Raven how I played football.

I got just as much thrill from stopping the opponent with a good tackle as I did scoring. More, maybe. I loved having an opponent try to dribble at me, but virtually never would take another player on myself, preferring to try to pick a pass. I was the kid who would see that everyone else had gone forward in kick-abouts, and so retreat slightly, looking to check where the opposition attackers were, and working out where to stand to have the best chance of marking all three of them. I was that kid who saw a break coming and would crouch down slightly, back pedalling, watching with an eagle-eye for a too heavy touch from the opponent so I could nick in there. If I saw someone twice my size coming towards me, then I had to go in for a crunching tackle, and damn it but the opponent had to be the one on the floor by the end of it.

When I started playing for the local schoolboy side, I was the ten-year-old kid who'd look to see where the rest of the back four were, and tell them to watch their men, or push out. I loved trying to marshal the defence, but it was never intentionally bossy - just a kind of over-exuberant help the team mentality. I didn't really care about scoring, just as long as the team scored. I can remember the first competitive goal I scored, I just kind of jogged back into position and didn't celebrate at all because it didn't really matter to me who scored it, as weird as it sounds. Actually, my favourite moment from my schoolboy football wasn't scoring goals, or even a winning penalty in a semi-final, but rather marking an opposition star player out of the game so well he (literally) didn't get a single kick.

Granted, I may just be a bit...odd.

Having said all that, I also used to practice overhead kicks in my back garden.
Greg (Rob Jones was my hero growing up) Bishop, LFC

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e was right to leave, but not just because of the money City were coming into. If I remember rightly he had a reasonable amount of chances to shine at City, but he never passed the bloody ball. Loads of aimless dribbles and 40 yard shots and not much else. I would say that if he had learnt to be a bit more of a team player he may have done better at City.

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h! And.... has it gone in!?' Well John, it is quite literally your job to tell me, so stop phrasing it as a question.

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Mail Box

Worried Liverpool Will Become A Selling Club

Liverpool fans in the mailbox are not too worried about sour grapes from United supporters, but one admits he's scared the Reds could end up selling their best players...

United Should Have Gone For Bruce And Hughes

A mailbox asking why United did not go for two old boys over Moyes, what Wenger's targets were for the season and whether he's had a better season than Pellegrini..?

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