Mails: Only one man can save Chelsea now…

Date published: Monday 7th December 2015 10:54

Rafael Benitez Chelsea Football365

Keep your emails coming to theeditor@football365.com

 

Calm down, calm down now
Well that was inevitable. Seriously am I the only liverpool fan who doesn’t think we’ll win the league after a couple of decent performances.

We looked great in a diamond formation with two strikers midweek. I’d like to see sturridge and benteke given a chance in that set up.

We’ll win midweek and suddenly be hailing  ourselves as eventual league winners again only to be made to look stupid. Maybe this time we could collectively attempt quiet optimism
MartinJackson

 

Well done Newcastle, hope you continue an upward trend. As for us, well a good reality check.

So, now hopefully up some LFC fans (and players) will shut up, because yes there is still a possibility of a title challenge in this strange season, but don’t tempt fate by saying so. Just wait and see, unlikely things can happen. Although when you need a goal, continuing with uncreative options like Allen & Lucas with 1 one up front is never going to work.
Mike Woolrich (in Jurgen we trust), LFC

 

1. Not a terminal result by any means but frustrating to have a performance the polar opposite to the Southampton game

2. Firmino cannot play number 10. It’s false nine or nowhere I’m afraid.

3. We really really really missed Emre Can

4. Klopp needed to think more about his starting line up. A midfield of Lucas, Allen and Milner would never work with Benteke up front on his own. More energy was needed with Can out therefore Lallana /  Henderson should have started. We looked too static, Ibe was our only threatening attacker.

5. Whilst Moreno was unlucky to have his goal ruled out, when you fail to have a shot on target you can’t really complain.

6. Can Emre play now
Alex (We go again) Jegede

 

Fellow Liverpool fans saying things like “this really could be our year” and other ridiculous hyperbole, please, please, please stop.

Apart from sounding silly and delusional, you give rival supporters too much fodder when these results inevitably occur. If Arsenal are doing their best Arsenal impression, as this site likes to constantly say, then surely this is vintage Liverpool: Dropping an absolute sh*t after a run of decent matches.

This is akin to Rodgers’ many press conferences after a run of positive results saying all types of rot about momentum and character and outstanding…. Then we lose 3-0 at home to West Ham, as one of many examples.

We sucked today, we were second best, and it’s unforgivable. Well done to Newcastle. Their fans deserve better and they certainly got it today but Liverpool were just a shell of the team that scored 10 away from home in their last 2 matches.

I’m f*cking fuming.
Nick V. (This rant did NOT make me feel better), Idaho, USA

 

Once again, premature title talk from fans (and media) which transmits to players. When will we ever learn? “Chat shit, get banged” ffs even Jamie Vardy knows it!
Tommi LFC

 

Klopp to blame too
So we wasted 60 minutes of the game watching Benteke look completely at odds with the rest of our team. Then when we finally brought him off it was too late to change the momentum of the game and although Newcastle’s first goal was a bit lucky we never once looked like we might actually score; for an hour we created nothing then for thirty minutes we looked like we couldn’t hit a barn door. I appreciate Moreno’s goal was fair and should have stood but we shouldn’t have been in a position where we were relying on the linesman getting one call right in order to get a draw. Liverpool were dreadful today against a team that hasn’t even managed to win a point per game on average.

It’s something strange that comes over Liverpool, but for the past two years, every weekend where a few of our rivals drop points we always fail to capitalise. I saw a few articles this week where some idiots in the squad mentioned the title so I guess some things still guarantee that we will lose, despite no more Brendan talking about it too.

You actually have to question Klopp’s team selection for the game. Collocini has lots of positive attributes but you can say without doubt he’s not mobile. Why did we pitch him against an equally immobile Benteke? Firmino isn’t a good midfielder, why was he in the hole? Origi scored three against Southampton and can run fast, he’s barely played so why not give him another start? Ibe was so bad against Dummet, why didn’t we switch him over to the other wing? I thought it was right to leave Sturridge on the bench but the rest of the decisions didn’t make sense.

I’ve moaned about this already, but Clyne is horrendous in the attacking third. To the extent that I don’t see the point in him getting that far up the pitch at times, he doesn’t offer any kind of threat and the best I’ve seen him manage this season is to just not lose the ball.

This is a frustrating result mainly because of how many teams around us dropped points today. But it’s equally frustrating because it seems the manager and players were equally to blame; it’s hard when you’ve got sh*t decisions coupled with sh*t performances.
Minty, LFC

 

Players? Nope. Van Gaal is still the problem
Another weekend, another predictable performance. Someone suggested in the mailbox that we should be blaming the players rather than van Gaal and, while I agree with that to a small extent, I have to maintain that the lion’s share of the blame be apportioned to the manager for a few reasons:

1) It was ridiculous when Gary Neville suggested it and it’s even more ridiculous now van Gaal has claimed that we need a world-class player to start scoring goals. First off, if you’re basing your tactics around the presence of a top 1% player then you’re on a hiding to nothing. There are probably less than 10 players in the world right now who you could put in that bracket so it’s not like you can easily acquire one of them. Secondly, building the team around one player or at least relying heavily on them quickly turns into over-reliance i.e. what happens when they’re injured/have an off day? Thirdly, there are plenty of teams who don’t have a world-class player in their ranks but still become successful with the right tactics, attitude and application, so I refuse to believe it’s a necessity.

2) While some of the players are clearly not playing to their full potential, it is the manager’s job to motivate, train and utilise them in a way that gets the best of them. The environment in which they operate on a day-to-day basis is created and cultivated by the manager and the environment at United at the moment seems awful. I’ve mentioned it before but it’s down to things like players like Depay being marginalised, the situation with Valdes, Rooney’s continued inclusion, the exclusion of Herrera, the negative “hard-to-beat” tactics…none of these things are conducive to creating a positive atmosphere, so lethargic uninspiring performances are inevitable.

3) The manager is wholly responsible for the state of the team, from their happiness (as mentioned above) to their health and the actual personnel present. While Luke Shaw’s injury was clearly down to the recklessness of an opposition player, the rest of the injuries we have sustained this year are muscle injuries, which means they are either being over-exerted or not looked after well enough between games. It seems to me that the manager’s methods in training are clearly taking their toll on the players, so it’s no surprise that we find ourselves short at the moment.

Furthermore, van Gaal has now had three transfer windows in which to bring in cover for the squad and, while central midfield was significantly strengthened in the summer, almost every other area of the team has been ignored. We have two senior strikers, one (maybe 2 if you include Rojo) left back, one true right back, and three centre backs (two of whom are injury-prone). Out of those players we have lost one striker, the left back, backup right back, and two of the three centre backs – is anyone surprised? We were crying out for defensive and attacking reinforcements, yet they were ignored. Not only that but van Gaal, in his wisdom, sent out Wilson on loan (where he scored at the weekend). Genius, my arse.
Ted, Manchester

 

Outstanding character
Apart from the fact that Benteke isn’t cut out for this team, Lucas cannot make a forward pass to save his life, Firmino doesn’t function without Coutinho, Milner.. umm is just sh*t and Liverpool were piss poor overall… it’s actually nice to have a manager who calls it as he sees it.

It feels good and optimistic to hear that we were lacking creativity/pressing all over the pitch and the areas we need to improve, instead of those trite post match assessments flush with words such as ‘outstanding’, ‘character’ and so on.

Klopp’s got this. Not to worry.
-Abhinav, LFC, Chicago.

 

Leicester conclusions
A few conclusions on the team currently top of the league:

– Ranieri’s switching of our full backs about 7 games ago has been key to the shoring up of our defence. Pearson favoured De Laet and Schlupp, who are both very good going forward but neither particularly solid defenders. Ranieri has now switched to Simpson (who was never favoured under Pearson) and Fuchs. Our wingers don’t cover enough to allow for such offensive full backs, so this switch has led to much better defensive performances. Our goal difference over last 7 games is far better than the start of the season. Pizza ahoy.

–  We are not a one man team as has been suggested, though an injury to Vardy or Mahrez would obviously have a big effect on creativity. We’ve been lucky enough to be free of injuries so far. We do have relatively good squad depth, but the quality isn’t as good as many other teams.

– N’golo Kante has been the signing of the season so far. He will never appear on MOTD and won’t win any player of the month awards, but his contribution has been nothing short of phenomenol. He wins the ball in midfield so many times in the game and then sets up quick attacks by feeding Mahrez or Albrighton. Ho we got him on the cheap, i will never know. An injury to him would be the biggest problem for us.

– This may be naive of me, but instead of thinking of who we will lose in upcoming windows, i’ve been looking at where we need to strengthen. I think the main areas are a quick centre back and an upgrade on Ulloa. Though neither are particularly easy to find.

– The spine of the team – Schmeichel, Morgan, Drinkwater and Vardy have been with us for a number of years now. All involved in that sickening defeat to Watford in the playoffs a few years ago. I think this has been key to the togetherness shown by the team as a whole.

– The work of our scouts should also not go unnoticed, picking up players now worth well over £10m from the conference and the French second division for peanuts.

– Our next four games are Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool and Man City. None of them won this weekend. We will be going into each game with a genuine feeling of being able to pick up at least a point.

– We have now been top of the premier league for longer than Man Utd since Alex Ferguson left them. It’s unlikely to last, but who cares, this is just incredible at the moment.

– Congratulations also to Watford, whose form appears to have been largely overshadowed in the media by us. They are 9th and probably safe before we’ve even got to Christmas. It is one of the strongest openings i can remember from a promoted club for many a year.
Toby (Best season of the premier league by far) Mitchell

 

Bring back ‘the interim one’
Another clueless display from Chelsea and we’re now getting dragged into the relegation battle. We haven’t been this poor since the early nineties and I didn’t think I’d long for the days when Frank “The Own Goal Disaster” Sinclair was our best defender. The last time we played well was when Rafa Benitez was in charge. We need to bring the “interim one” back and seeing how things are not going that swell for him at Real he should become available soon. Jose blew it the first season he was in charge when we should have walked the league and we got lucky last season when everyone generously just gave us the title by playing poorly.

Like Paul from Nigeria eluded to we have sold great players and brought it deadwood. Cech, De Bruyne, Lukaku, Schurrle, Mata, and Luiz would be nice to have in the current squad and only Courtois could be considered as an equal to Cech but the rest of the replacements would have been better off being replaced by the academy kids we send to Vitesse.

We are risking losing our best young players with rumblings already filtering through the media from the camps of Loftus-Cheek and Musonda. Loftus-Cheek sits on the bench and watches Fabregas being utter pants game after game and when he played, he played well but got hauled off for not tracking back enough at half time.

I would expect losing if we were integrating the academy kids and would not mind having a few seasons where we are in transition but when the answer is to loan out full internationals and buy Hector and Papy on deadline day I wonder what is the question?
MJ (Los Angeles)

 

Who’s gonna win the league?
The most ridiculous premier league season had its most ridiculous weekend, making the league even more beautifully open than ever before. I will have to be a spoilsport here, only (!!!) 4 teams can win the thing.

Leicester. They can. They’re clear at the top, they don’t play in Europe, with any sense they send a clutch of 12 year olds out to lose the FA cup 3rd round. Their next few games are against Chelsea, Everton and Liverpool. Every single one should be a treat for whoever watches, these three games will also make my own prophecy look either deluded or on point.

Arsenal. So much has gone so badly wrong for us this season, but we’re still well in touch, 2nd only behind Leicester. At this rate we will run out of players, but if returning players stay fit we should have a really good unit. Laugh as you will, but Arsenal’s injury crises as well as form also seem to invade one half of the season more than the other. We can do it.

Man City. They really should win it. When your reserve centre halves cost more than £30 million each, you should survive an injury should ameliorate Silva’s injury. Every team challenging is light of decent strikers on the bench, even despite Aguero’s injury their patchy form is just bizarre.

Man Utd. Every time I watch them, they’re absolute toilet. Their points tally is incredible. Find another decent attacker in January, couple that with Rooney injuring or dropping to the bench, and I’m very scared of them. If they win it, give that iffy fax machine a medal

Liverpool, West Ham, Spurs – I don’t see it. Despite running around a lot Klopp’s LFC aren’t picking up any more points than Brodgers version. Both West ham and Liverpool can only regularly beat teams better than them, both have weird struggles against lower placed teams. For Spurs, everything has gone right for them so far, and they’re still 6 points off top. Recent PL history says that teams operating a high press tend to fade after xmas, I’m expecting this for Spurs especially. Just adding to the entertainment having a group of also ran’s who can beat anyone in the league. Hats off to them
James Gooner

 

Tony Pulis fan mail
You probably had some angry emails from my fellow Spurs fans about James McClean’s horrible challenge on Mousa Dembele, which should have been a red card.

But I just wanted to say a word of praise for Tony Pulis. It isn’t pretty, but his West Brom team did an absolute job on Spurs on Saturday, giving us by far our hardest match this season.

They threw themselves into every tackle, were rock solid at the back bar the one moment caught out by Dele Alli, and didn’t give Spurs a second to get the ball down and play.

I thought West Brom were in trouble this season after a poor start, but Pulis has galvanized them and they look safe for another year. The crowd was sparse, and quiet initially, but by the end they were right into it.

I was proud of my young Spurs team for withstanding such a physical onslaught, in tough conditions, even if it seemed frustrating to drop points initially.

Pulis won’t get any credit because the football is so ugly, he doesn’t care about developing young talent, and he routinely wastes millions on terrible transfers. But, boy, he can get a team organized and ready to fight, and that still matters hugely in the English game.
Charlie, THFC, Somerset

 

Some more weekend thoughts
*Odion Ighalo absolutely brutalized the Norwich defenders. Sebastian Bassong and Ryan Bennett might not be the most formidable of opposition, but Ighalo’s performance was as dominant as any from a number 9 this year.

*Stoke’s entertainers rightly got the plaudits against Manchester City, but Erik Pieters and Philipp Wollscheid have been superb on the left side of the Potters’ defense. Both have taken a clear step upwards in class this year.

*Garry Monk is probably not a bad manager, but leaving Leon Britton alone in front of the back four against a counterattacking machine like Leicester City was frankly suicidal. Unfortunately, he got what he deserved.

*The folks up in Geordieland are much too smart to call the win over Liverpool a turning point. Newcastle showed up for once, but were mediocre at best all over the pitch. Liverpool were dreadful, but would still have had at least a draw if the linesman had been paying attention.

*Michail Antonio and Victor Anichebe — lookalikes!
Peter G, Pennsylvania, USA

 

2 questions for me from this weekend:

Should he continue, for the England Number 1 spot, is there a point before the euros where Jack Butland’s form & ability puts him ahead of Joe Hart’s reputation?

And did Chelsea just lose a relegation battle 6 pointer?
Joe, AFC, Manchester

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