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Chelsea’s season started off with a roar under Carlo Ancelotti but now it seems likely to end in a whimper. I have been trying to make sense of why bad things happen to good clubs ( mood music would be good here) and here is what I think are some of the reasons (excuses as some cynics might point out) why we’ve lost our form in the last few weeks:
1. Champions League
Let me be the first one to confirm to everyone out there that YES, we were rubbish on the night. Now, having said that I do however feel that we have been getting a very raw deal from referees in the Champions League. Last year against Barca was truly horrible and its probably because of that terrible display of referreeing that this year’s ‘pretty bad’ referreing is not being paid much attention. We had at least one if not two sure shot penalty claims in the second leg at home. The Inter defenders were groping our players to the extent of the whole thing being nauseating and very disturbing! Even if we don’t consider these penalties which we should have got in the second leg, I cant help but think about that foul on Florent Malouda in the box in the first leg, which once again was a sure-shot penalty. Had that penalty been given, it would have completely changed the tie.
2. Jose Mourinho
What can I say? He is the Special One and his tactics were spot on. He knew exactly how to wind Drogba up, how to stop Chelsea playing and how to utilise his most potent weapons in the magnificent Wesley Sneijder and the incredible Samuel Eto’o. He knew exactly how to play us and play us he did. Mourinho is a great tactician and that is the reason every single club with dreams of conquering the world and money to spend, want him. I was never one of those who agreed with Roman’s decision to sack Mourinho but then I guess Roman had his reasons or may be just his ego (which I am guessing is hurting reaaal bad right now).
3. Carlo Ancelotti
The past few weeks, ever since the Champions League exit, more and more of us are singing woeful laments about losing the Special One to Inter. Now I have nothing against singing (except I prefer hitting the happier notes), but lets not forget that Carlo Ancelotti is a great manager with 2 Champions League trophies to his name. He has a lot of experience handling big name players and managed to get more out of Kaka than Real Madrid are managing to now and more importantly he got more out of Andriy Shevchenko than Mourinho ever could. His only fault this season to me seems to be his rather conservative use of our younger players, may be thats an after effect of having come from the slightly more laid-back Serie A. Hopefully, he has learnt albeit the hard way that ours is in fact an ageing squad! I feel its too early to count him out and that he will get it right at Chelsea, he just needs time.
We are not a very ‘lucky’ team, are we? We don’t get decisions our way and well, we get the worst injuries at the worst time. Michael Essien is probably my favourite mid-fielder and his absense has had a huge impact on us. Ashley Cole’s injury was a major blow too, especially seeing the form he was in! Add to that Petr Cech (who actually is our only goal-keeper) and then our substitute goalkeeper Hilario (which probably worked to our advantage!). And now when its crucial for us to win all our matches, Ivanovic who’s been probably Chelsea’s best player this season is injured. I know other teams have had their share of injury problems with United playing with an entirely make-shift defense at the start of the season and Arsenal were without RVP and Cesc and so we shouldn’t really use our injury problems as an excuse but all I am saying is it affected us and probably we should have coped better with it but we didn’t.
5. John Terry’s Off-field Scandal
As much as I’d like to believe that revelations about JT’s personal life have nothing to do with our football. It seems they do. Basically because JT and the rest of the team are human and negative news as much as they try and not let it affect them, affects them all the same. Remember the Manchester City game? I mean I don’t think even Manchester City thought that such a result was possible but with the whole Wayne Bridge ‘will-he-wont-he-shake-hands’ nonsense reaching fever-pitch on the day wound Manchester City up so much that it cost us 3 (precious) points.
Those were the gory details of our fall from top of the table, but the good news is, it is not over yet. We have a game in hand against Portsmouth tonight which helps us make up a bit of ground. Our destiny is in our hands and our plan really can’t get simpler… win all the remaining games. Ktbffh.