What are we to expect from Chelsea? And mails on Ramsdale, Southgate, and The Pogmentary…

Date published: Friday 17th June 2022 6:45 - News Desk

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel.

The Friday Mailbox asks where we see Chelsea this season, while defending Gareth Southgate and highlighting Paul Pogba’s lack of self-awareness…

Get your views in to theeditor@football365.com


What are Chelsea?
Not to want to stop your daily columns about how the 4th best team in England last season are going about the summer window, but there’s this weird acceptance that now that Chelsea are no longer under the constraints of HM Government licensing laws, they’re just going to get back to doing what they’ve done for the last 19 years.

The way that Chelsea were run for 19 years was unbelievably success but, when you step back from it…………….intensely weird. A state of affairs best summed up by the presence of Baba Rahman on their longest serving players list (2 contracts signed since his initial signing) and not having played for them for coming on 6 years now.

Which leads me onto a question I’d really like answered: what even are Chelsea now?

It seems unlikely that they’d be able to undertake major and much needed squad surgery without the ownership basically just throwing money at it (as they would previously) or getting rid of a number of ageing and sometimes underperforming players (again, see the Baba Rahman example of prior action). For the last few years at least they’ve basically existed as an island bridging the top 2 to the rest of the chasing pack but it seems today they’re a lot closer to competing for those 3-6 places than they’ve been to 1-2 (bar the odd ‘Mourinho’ season) for the last 19 years.
Simon, London


Fixtures fury
I’m gonna moan for City.

What no one points out is how often we get to start at home for the first game of the season! And todays fixtures show, that not only do we start away again, but we end away too.

Since Pep took over in 2016, we’ve had – Sunderland ( H), Brighton (A), Arsenal (A), west ham (A), wolves (A) , Spurs ( A), West ham ( A)

Last game of the season- Watford(A), Southampton (A), Brighton(A), Norwich (H), Everton (H), Villa ( H), Brentford ( A)

So in the past 7 seasons we’ve started away 6 times- how is that anywhere near fair? True we can beat most teams but came unstuck against Spurs, West Ham is now a tricky game.

In the past 7 seasons, we’ve finished the season at home 3 times. Woop woop.

It’s random but not that f***ing random


Ten Hag’s tough start among 10 interesting things we noticed about the Premier League fixtures


Pogba really does embody everything thats wrong with modern society. It’s hardly becoming of anyone to discuss money in public but certainly not when its the disgust at earning 300k a week when the world is entering a recession – or at any time. By all means earn it, dont flaunt it. Add to that the fact that he’s the most self entitled footballer of all time I really don’t know why anyone would touch him with a bargepole. Oh he won a world cup – that hasnt been mentioned for 4mins. So did Giroud, Kleberson, Guivarch, Lloris and COUNTLESS other bang average players. Pogba really needs a reality check, he embraces his critics because good players get criticised apparently. Errrrr no they dont, De Bruyne, Salah, Van Dijk, Kante – there’s no 50/50 split about whether they’re good or not. At most its 90% regarded world class players. If Pogba (or any player) has 50% of doubters he should take that as fairly conclusive that he’s not the player he and his agent think he is.
Billy Pancake.


Ramsdale v Pickford
Just read Ian King’s article on Ramsdale. Wondering why that wasn’t published when Pickford was getting (and still gets) “monstered.” I mean it took THIS to get an article out of King on goalkeeping analysis from the media (social media included?)
TX Bill (I support Everton so of course I wrote this to the mailbox…I’m hugely biased here) EFC


Aaron Ramsdale monstering betrays that football doesn’t understand goalkeeping


Kane’s antics
A lot of talk in the mailbox about Southgate in/out, but I haven’t seen much mention of Harry Kane’s latest effort at cheating after his ‘lamentable dive’ (The Guardian’s words) in the 77th minute against Hungary.
He does it so often – rolling around, knees tucked into stomach, clutching ankles in agony – at crucial points in matches when his team needs a way back into the game, that it is more and more obvious every time.
So, an honest question for England fans: When he does this, what do you feel? Do you even bother to shout ‘Penalty!’ anymore? Do you scream at him to get up? Or do you just sigh?
A, Dublin


England and the art of overreacting
There’s no argument that recent results have been disappointing. The Hungary result was pretty shocking, no question about it – but not the end of the world. No one will ever go down in history for winning the Nation’s League, it’s still just glorified friendlies. So no one should be fed to the wolves for underperforming in it.

The results that count are in the World Cup and the Euros. And that’s one semi-final and one final appearance – better than anyone since Sir Alf Ramsey, as is very well documented indeed. If a couple of the lads had put away those penalties against Italy, would Gareth be under threat now? Of course he would not, he’d be Sir Gareth of Southgate and a legend for the rest of his lifetime. Very fine margins between a man being a legend or a laughing stock.

Not that anyone is laughing of course, it’s all pretty angry stuff out there. But a lot of people are saying Gareth isn’t getting enough out of this group of players. He *literally* could only get more out of them by winning both tournaments. Are people really looking at *this* group of players and saying they’re *so* good they should win absolutely everything in sight?

They’re talented without a doubt but they’re not on the level of the Golden Generation. Seriously – compare the amount of Champions League victories between the two groups. Now *that* was a wasted generation of talent and Sven was the scoundrel wasting it.

When Gareth took over we’d been beaten by Iceland and we were an absolute joke. There was no connection between the team and the fans and it had been a while since we’d even been able to hope, let alone believe.

6 years later, we *expect* to win everything and a Gareth who doesn’t is a fool of the highest order. But in reality he has overachieved given the resources, given the situation he has taken over.

He’d definitely earned one more tournament, I for one think he’d earned a couple. Qatar may be a disaster, but even if it is, he’ll still end up massively in credit.

I have a strong suspicion the public will only truly appreciate Gareth two or three England managers down the line. When a plucky but ultimately futile attempt at a quarter final is the limit of our achievements.

In short the reaction to this defeat is so over the top, it’s right back down the other side of the hill and up another bloody tall one after it.
James, Liverpool


…England are currently ranked the 5th best mens team in the world. Our average place in the ranking is 10th . As usual, people have overhyped English players and think that we have a world class team that should win every match. All of the England players in the premier league look good because of the foreign players around them. When you look at teams like France and Belgium with genuinely world class players like Mbappe and De Bruyne who also have many great players in their teams as well, I cannot believe that people feel a different manager could make England better.

The simple truth is: we have a reasonable group of players that could win trophies (and we have come close in the last two tournaments) but a fair amount of luck is required. Southgate is working to make them a team that plays a system so the loss of one player is not a catastrophe. Is it exciting and are we gung-ho? No. Is it almost certainly the best chance we have of winning anything? I would say yes…

Pompey Stew (I’d be much more upset if I was Belgian – that is a true golden generation being wasted…)

England manager Gareth Southgate

Gareth knows
The Gareth/Boris comparison kinda falls down when you consider one of them has the best record at major tournaments of any England manager since the only guy who actually won one. Think we all need to calm down a little bit about a few glorified end of season friendlies with players/formations that are unlikely to deployed in Qatar. Southgate and Holland usually have a plan for major tournaments.


…I thought I’d weight in on Gareth. I dislike him for the very stupid reason that he’s right.

A lot of the criticism directed at him is that England has a glut of skillful attacking talent and that with a different manager we could play silky, exciting football. This is all true, but misses the point.

Southgate has worked out that the way to win international tournaments with a group of knackered players he gets to coach one every few months is to play defensive football. It’s about minimising big chances either way and relying on finishing or skill at penalties to advance in knockouts.

I resent him because I don’t want this to be true. I want to believe that the way to win is to play exciting football, but it isn’t. Gareth Southgate is the right manager for England, and offers us the best chance of winning the world cup, even if it makes our eyes bleed.

I can understand that people may think it’s worth a smaller chance of winning to play better football. I personally would like to see a world cup win, however negative the football
Dan, Plastic LFC



Glazers won’t go
I fully support ‘Ryan, Bermuda’ in his Glazer cynicism though I don’t agree with his conclusions. You say the Glazers are reducing spend in order to enrich themselves and then do a cut and run sort of manoeuvre. Given that’s pretty much what David Cameron did to the UK and knowing his alleged predilection for an oinker lets say you think the Glazers are Swine. That’s fair enough, a pork barrel buffet fits quite nicely with how they have spent over the years and I can even see the physical resemblance but for me there is a creature which far better epitomises the Glazers.

They have shown much more in common with a parasitic tape worm. Parasites survive by stealing nutrition from their hosts, they lurk out of sight, and are difficult to get rid of. A good tape worm will go unnoticed for years contributing nothing to the host all the while slowly growing itself. There is only one reason a parasite would abandon a host, if the parasite isn’t getting enough nutrition for it to survive then it must go elsewhere . The Glazers take about £25m out of United each year in dividend which is about 4% of total revenue, they will not leave unless that is threatened. Even if revenue dropped significantly they could still maintain this this figure fairly easily.

I don’t see the Glazers ever selling, would you? £100m every 4 years from a business that I contribute nothing to and bought with someone else’s money. United is the golden goose, even when the team is effectively terrible it still shits gold. They aint ever walking away.
Dave, Manchester (Apologies to pigs, they’re brilliant and don’t deserve association with such disgusting people)


Second coming
Dear Arsenal. If this news about Fabio Vieira is true then please, please, please give him the number 4 shirt.

Could make our opening game interesting if the Arsenal fans start a Vieira chant and no-one can work out which Vieira they’re singing about.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London


Winter World Cup
Thanks a lot Alex, South London for extending my argument to ridiculous proportions and then criticizing the result.

My point was simply that there’s nothing wrong about a winter world cup and no one should be banned from hosting if that’s the only suitable time they can host.

As for the winter Olympics, I know it’s for different kind of games for winter conditions but my point is it’s a way to accommodate others who would otherwise never be seen if we rigidly stick to summer events. Your beloved game can’t be played in the summer? No worries, we’ll have another version in the winter.

Qatar clearly is not at the bottom of the ocean or situated on an active volcano. Football can and definitely is played there. Football is a sport that can and definitely is played in the winter.

Qatar specifically, in this particular instance, being the host complicates the point, I’ll admit. Qatar shouldn’t be hosting the world cup but for different reasons. Reasons far more important than geography, available infrastructure or ‘discernible football heritage’, as Paul Mcdevitt put it. Though how I’m not sure how to measure this heritage or what the minimum should be before being eligible to host events.

But my general point about winter world cups stands.

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