For a while now I have thought that the Premiership title is out of reach for Chelsea this season and the Stoke game really proved the point. If we had been United we would have got an extra time winner off of someones backside and walked away unashamedly with all of the three points! But Stoke did very much deserved their point and arguably more from the game.
The best Chelsea can realistically hope for this term is to chase Arsenal down for second place which will be a feat in itself. In my opinion Ancelotti made a huge mistake taking Ramires and Nicolas Anelka off which totally changed the teams performance during the second half. I understand the logic of wanting to rest players ahead of Wednesday night but with a bit more imagination from Carlo we could have made a couple of substitutions that would not have taken the game away from us when we were in the ascendancy. There is nothing like a win to generate fresh legs for our European night next week.
If Rudolph [Sir Alex Ferguson] in the stands at West Ham can bring Javier Hernandez on and then move Ryan Giggs to left back at half time why can’t Carlo be as imaginative?
David Luiz made a couple of errors which cost us Stoke’s goal in the first half. If Jose Bosingwa had gone off and Michael Essien drafted into the right-back slot we could have moved Luiz into midfield (who won’t be playing Weds anyway) and bought Branislav Ivanovic on to partner John Terry in the middle. Fernando Torres could have come on for the ineffectual Florent Malouda.
I’m sure with Ramires, Luiz and Frank Lampard bombing forward to support Torres, Didier Drogba and Anelka we would have kept the pressure up and ‘could’ have scored that elusive second goal. As it is Chelsea are in real danger of falling between two stools with Carlo’s insistence that we must use the ‘whole’ squad during the month of April. Players like Salomon Kalou, Jon Obi Mikel and Malouda are bringing very little to the table at the moment and so we MUST continue to play the likes of Ramires and Anelka during this busy and very important part of the season.
I don’t go along with this ‘players get tired’ nonsense. Ramires will run all day and every day with a fantastic engine as will Lamps and Essien. These players would rather play competitive games than train, so give them an extra day off from training whilst they are playing all of the games. In fact, both Essien and Lamps will have only completed roughly 50% of the season come May due to their injuries this term.
If Carlo really must rotate certain players what the hell is wrong in using young Josh McEachran in midfield? I don’t believe he will rotate the bulk of this team as I cannot see him leaving Petr Cech, JT, Ashley Cole, Lamps or Essien out of any of the games.
I do not believe we have good enough back up in the form of Kalou, Mikel or Malouda let us hope that Roman Abramovich sells them in the summer and brings some more REAL talent and depth into the squad. Players like Alexis Sanchez and Sergio Aguero would do nicely and would help see off what I’d argue is very average United team and also make sure that we don’t experience another November and December tragedy as we suffered during the winter months of the current.
As for our European adventure, I hope it doesn’t come down to the luckiest or most imaginative manager otherwise we may as well concentrate on that second place Premiership finish now. We need the players to up their game for United but more than that we need Carlo to up HIS game for the rest of the season!