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Messi is cheat mode
Watched the Barca v Chelsea match having Messi is simply cheat mode.
Where the f*ck would Barca be without him?
After reading Daniel Storey’s piece, I came up with a few contributions of my own.
Marina is ruining our club. Please Roman, fire her and hire me, I promise I can do a better job. The club must restructure the board to work to the strengths of the manager they have chosen.
Conte has been a revelation irrespective of results. his tactical nous sometimes does not get the best out of his players but that’s down to the players and their belief in his idea. We need to keep him and back him in every sense and at least get him a couple of world-class recruits.
If Hazard and Courtois want to leave, sell them and be done with it (knowing the board, they will probably sell Hazard to Man City since strengthening a rival is no problem to Chelsea)
Sell Pedro and Fabregas while you’re at it too. They cannot perform at the required level and should be upgraded.
It has not been a bad season so far. We still have the FA Cup to play. Hopefully we can witness an improved form from our January signings and make a few more world-class recruitments and be charged and ready for next season. A period of managerial stabilisation will do us some good.
Paul, CFC (Still proud champions.)
…As a lifelong Chelsea fan I’ve seen at all. I’ve seen horrendous displays from the team, bizarre management tactics and decisions, totally unfair refereeing decisions, players absolutely falling apart and losing their heads, but just now with what I watched I wasn’t angry, sad, frustrated, screaming, stressing or sweating buckets riddled with anxiety, I was actually laughing. I was laughing at how ridiculously good this Barcelona team could be even playing at 50%! We genuinely tried our hardest, we really did try hard to beat them! Even after going a goal down we picked ourselves back up, held on to the ball, kept attacking, did nothing, got countered, conceded again with the most calm efficiency I’ve ever seen, they barely even celebrated. It was the most ‘boys against men’ game at the highest level.
Did Conte get his tactics right? I think so, the formation worked, we kept possession, looked positive going forward without really creating a chance, due to lack of creativity? Not really, I’ve never seen a Barcelona team defend so well and so competently. Would playing Hazard as a false 9 worked better? Maybe, but we can’t pass well enough without giving the ball away which probably would have led to us being countered more than we already did and seeing how efficient they were in front of goal it could have been 4-1 if we were lucky.
Did the players lack commitment? No, I think they never really stopped trying and after going a goal down they didn’t let it get to them. There were 1 or 2 player in particular who did not play well (I might add if Courtois thinks he’s going to EITHER of the Madrid clubs he’s having a laugh! I think even Getafe would hesitate) and every individual mistake was punished, badly, but again they never gave up, even though it didn’t get them anywhere.
So what exactly went wrong, apart from every single Barcelona player showing why they have the right to wear that shirt. Personally, I think this Chelsea team, a TEAM that Conte has built, got exposed as what they truly are, some quite average players with no leaders on the pitch. Courtios to get beaten TWICE through the legs, sure by the greatest player of all time, but in the Champions League last 16 it’s not good enough. Azpil has been phenomenal at centre-back but he’s still a left/right back and it’s not his natural position, against opposition that good, it showed. Christensen is amazing for his age and will probably go on to become a Chelsea captain, but is he ready yet to be the ever present centre back we need? Unfortunately no.
I love Marcos Alonso, he tries so hard, pops up with a goal when you need it (unlucky to hit the post!) and is such a presence down the left side, but in this he looked like what he is, a former Bolton and Sunderland left back. Couldn’t defend at the back couldn’t deliver going forward, couldn’t put a decent ball in the box, but did ok harmlessly passing is to Willian & Fab in the middle. The latter was bad, showed why Barca were happy to let him leave, couldn’t pass, couldn’t tackle, no penetration.
The only other player I want to mention is Hazard. The man we have all, all football fans, being saying ‘he could be the next Messi/Ronaldo’ ‘if he adds XX to his game he’ll be the closest to them’, I think we need to stop with this now and realise he’s probably at peak Joe Cole level, lovely to watch sometimes and clearly a nice guy but just quite simply isn’t the world-class player we all thought he could be. I know people will read this and still think ‘no he has that ability to become that player’, but much like a recent F365 article on Danny Welbeck, Hazard is 27 now! He has just about 100 goals, Messi is three years older and has way over three times that amount! I’m sad to say, he just isn’t going to be the player we all thought he would be. I’m not even going to talk about the striker situation as it’s been talked about to death, but as for players being exposed, Giroud showed why he couldn’t start a game in that terrible Arsenal team.
I’m not saying “these players are crap get rid!!” I like all those Chelsea players, I’m just saying that Conte has an ability, like he did with that very average Italy team, to motivate players into a unit that works and grinds out the result then all work for each other to see it through! To be honest that’s what Chelsea FC has always thrived on, that’s our style, that’s what we do. In the past we’ve won a Champions League like this, but we had leaders all over the pitch, in every single position and even, up until last season, John Terry on the bench/in the dressing room! Unfortunately we only have one now and that’s Conte, but I’m not sure if the players can’t help but look at him and think ‘why does he care we all know he’s gone next year, even he does’.
So when you have all of that facing this incredible Barcelona team who, thank god, were playing at 50/40%, you get exposed as a team of very average players led by a man that doesn’t really want to be there and lose 3-0. So I can’t get angry, frustrated or livid, I just laugh at the absolute gulf in the sheer quality of the players this Barcelona team has compared to this strange cobbled together half transition (which in the summer will be a transition between a transition) team with a manager shouting instructions whilst leaning through the doorway of the Stamford Bridge emergency exit.
I think, as a Chelsea fan, I don’t know what to feel, I can’t be annoyed as it’s a totally fair result, I don’t want the players to all be shipped out because I like them but I feel a lot of them aren’t good enough for the very top level, I want the manager to stay because of his passion and energy and connection with the fans, but it’s clearly not working for him, the club or the players. Strange situation.
Russ CFC (I keep forgetting we have Ross Barkley?)
At least it was better than Man United…
Slightly drunk after watching that, and definitely quite angry of the final score. In the end though, we did play well, we should have scored, and most importantly – that was a damn sight better than the absolute shower I watched the previous night under a specific, nameless former manager.
It’s the small victories really.
Ben, London, CFC
False dawn for Premier League?
A lot of noise was made by the English press about five Premier League teams making the UEFA Champions League last 16. It was touted as proof of the resurgence of Premier League dominance.
After two games, England’s five has become two, while Spain’s three remains three.
I think we can all agree that talk of dominance was very premature.
…I have to say I am very disappointed in Chelsea, Spurs and Man Utd.
When all five of the English representatives got through to the knockout rounds, we all thought England was going to be the powerhouse of Europe once again.
However, the way those three sides just wilted and gave their ties away to the opposition was pathetic.
Barcelona were average in both legs And were there to be taken. Chelsea were so soft it was untrue.
Spurs had Juve firmly by the balls but suddenly remembered they were Spurs so let go without hesitation. Cowards.
Then there was Man Utd. A display that will go down in history as one of the most pathetic in their history.
We now rely on Man City and Liverpool. Both these teams were gifted ties against weak opposition and got through comfortably.
God knows what will happen when they play one of the big boys. We could be left with no teams at all in the semi final which would be a disgrace.
@ToonBano (unless they play each other…could be for the best)
…So I had to wade in on this debate brought up by Hugo. There is another sane person out there it seems. Of course you get the belligerent Premier League aficionados who are adamant that the Premier League is far superior in every way to La Liga. More competitive, harder to win etc etc. Even former players like Ray Wilkins make these ridiculous assumptions that a team like Sevilla would be in the bottom six in the PL. Really? While I admit La Liga is dominated by the 2 giants of football I have no doubt they would dominate the PL too if you put them in there. So the case for the PL defence is that Spurs topped Madrid and Chelsea topped Atletico in the group stages this season. Right. Where are they both now in the competition? As the league shows Madrid have been bang average this season. They’ve been beaten by the likes of Girona, Betis, Español, drawn home and away with Levante, knocked out of the cup by the mighty Leganes but when it comes to the crunch of a QF with the superstars of PSG what happened? Atletico have only started finding form in the last two months and are probably the favourites for the Europa league.
So Sevilla are a bang average side that United should be destroying yet got played off the park for the most part. If they were just a bit better in the final third it would have been over in the first leg. Celta were an average side that United just beat last season by the skin of their teeth. Seems like all Spanish teams save for Real, Barca and Atleti are just average eh. The one thing I’ll say about Spanish teams like Sevilla and Valencia etc and I’ll include the Spanish national team is that when the going gets tough they can easily down tools but when they put their heads down and get to it they are better than the English at playing football. More comfortable on the ball and not so defensive minded.
Btw Chelsea could easily have battered Barca? So two shots hitting the post from long range and another long range effort scored count as a battering? A poor Barca performance still meant dominating that lot on the ball.
To sum up, yes the PL has a wider audience and is perceived to be more exciting but that doesn’t make it superior in footballing terms. Games are no longer easy wins for the likes of Real and Barca other than the odd game but we’ve seen plenty of those with City and Liverpool and United at the start of the campaign. Maybe watch a game in Spain that isn’t Madrid and Barca. There are some cracking games. Exciting attack filled games. Better than most of the dross you see outside of Liverpool, City and Arsenal games. I include arsenal for the comedic factor. There are a lot of shit games too don’t get me wrong but do you really think Sevilla are a worse team than Burnley or Everton or THAT much worse than a United or Chelsea that they should be battered? Please!
United need new blood…in the dug-out, on the pitch and in the boardroom
Manchester United constantly fail because they have hired declining managers – yesterday’s men who have had their day (although Moyes’ ‘day’ was finishing fourth in 2005, but that’s a whole other argument).
LVG is a manager who peaked in the 90s; Jose peaked in 2010. They repeatedly sign players in their late 20s who are starting the descent in their careers.
Here’s a novel idea; crazy enough that it just might work (and by that I mean a glaringly obvious approach being used by anyone with an ounce of sense).
1. Pick a manager under 50 years of age so that he is actually excited to achieve something and not some jaded shell of a man trading on past glories (all three of our selections been this profile) He should play attacking football but pretty much all young managers do to some degree anyway.
2. Sign players in the age range of 22-25. As they improve their games they will reach their peak together. At this point you will either have a great team or a large number of sellable players.
3. Define what is important at the club. If it is winning trophies why was Moyes hired? If it is style of football why was Mourinho hired? If it is academy players why was LVG fired as he pretty much stood up to the media every week to protect the young players he was playing?
4. Ed Woodward should be sidelined. He is the high school virgin being allowed to hang out with the cool kids. He is so desperate for acceptance that it clouds the ruthless judgement which got him such a role in the first place. If need be get a respected football man as the recruiting head, someone who can go toe to toe on a football debate and has the credibility to push back managers, players and agents.
It is all so sad. United has lost its appeal and it’s character. It is a soulless corporate black hole.
Mr F, MUFC
It’s a team game…
Avid F365 reader but first time contributor…
A thoroughly enjoyable read of the many mails and articles today on Man U & Sanchez – I couldn’t agree more with most of it. The Sanchez deal has completely derailed Utd this season, disrupting the balance of the team whilst holding back the rapid development of Rashford and Martial in the LF position in the first half of the season. It simply hasn’t worked out. Sanchez is a slightly younger version of the Rooney who laboured towards the end of his Utd career – slow, greedy, demanding of the ball, absolving younger players of supposed responsibility, wasteful in possession and generally attempting hollywood passes for individual glory. Not qualities required in a team sport. How Fellani gets in the team for a knockout CL game or Pogba has the balls to collect his salary in 2018 are other big Qs I simply cannot understand but is for another time.
You can only look at English progression in the Champions League this year to see it is the selfless, hard-working team ethic where all players take equal responsibility that works. Man City and Liverpool are perfect examples of this. Yes sprinkled with prodigious talent but both attack and defend as a team and do not rely on individual moments of brilliance. Signing a player like Sanchez is the antithesis of this approach, especially when form has completely deserted him.
On a brighter note, this all bodes well for England this summer as the only world-class player we possess is Kane, whose primary job is to finish – if we get the rest of the team playing and creating chances as a solid unit with no obvious focal point it could actually cause teams some trouble (oh dear, pre-tournament faint hope is back)
Jamie (Cobblers…no, really)
Sympathy for Alexis and Man United (from a Liverpool fan!)
I don’t understand all the furore over how ‘poorly’ Sanchez is playing. At Arsenal it was only when he was put in at centre forward did he really kick on wasn’t it? It was why Giroud never played and Welbeck got pushed out wide?
If Utd want to play to his strengths they need to drop Lukaku don’t they ?! If they drop Lukaku and play 4-3-3 this also fits into Pogba’s best position doesn’t it ?
Mourinho will have no excuses next season once he spends another 200m but finishing second after their very poor league position last year is surely an improvement isn’t it ?
Getting Matic was a coup?
From what I have seen Valencia looks solid and Young has been playing well?
Bailly looks class?
Lindelof seems to be improving?
They still have De Gea ( no question mark needed…)
Mata (when allowed to play) does well?
Ian (too many questions) LFC
Absolutely gutted to see the news of Mark Hughes appointment at Saints this morning. Shows how far the club has digressed in the past couple years – from an exciting project who could attract promising upcoming managers and players – to stale, directionless and picking up past-it managers.
If anyone even thinks about trotting out the never been relegated line …..