The “New” Chelsea: Years in the making

The Prima Punta translates to the primary goal-getters in the team, these players are typically finishers, like Didier Drogba, Fillipo Inzaghi, Ruud Van Nistlerooy, Hernan Crespo. And the seconda Puntas are secondary strikers, goal scorers who offer a bit more in terms of dribbling and craft and are more likely to add to the intelligence of the build up play, players like Nicolas Anelka, Sergio Aguero, Alessandro Del Piero, Luis Suarez etc.

Some players can be more than one. Carlos Tevez, for example, is the primary goal-getter for Manchester City, but also a Seconda punta. Lionel Messi can be considered all 3, a Prima, Seconda and a Fantasista.

Now, with most teams playing a 4-3-3 formation there are no longer 2 strikers being played and so instead of a ‘Seconda Punta’ teams employ a Velocista on one wing, a player with great speed and dribbling ability as an asset to help break down defences. The fantasisti are then moved to the alternative wing position. What’s the significance of all of this? Well, when you think of most great footballing teams you would be hard pressed to find the major elements missing, especially in attack.

Barcelona had the likes of Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto’o and Messi, or their current trident of Messi, David Villa and Pedro. Juventus had Zidane, Del Piero and David Trezeguet, Roma had Antonio Cassano, Francesco Totti and Vincenzo Montella.

Even if we are to think in terms of the Premier League in Arsenal’s ‘invincibles’, Robert Pires was a great goalscorer for them from the left position (Seconda), Thierry Henry was a prolific goalscorer (Prima) and then Dennis Bergkamp played right behind Thierry weaving his magic (Fantasista).

This footballing philosophy is important to understand because, it is evident to me that Chelsea have been patiently tried to assemble the perfect composition of players. Bruce Buck the summer before last promised a ‘marquee signing’, Chelsea tried, but, ultimately failed to bring in any of their major targets. Last season, Chelsea were knocked out of the UEFA Champions League by Mourinho’s Inter, who effectively knocked out Mourinho’s Chelsea.

It was still his team, most of the players that had played, had played under him, the Blues still played the same formation, Chelsea still lacked that guile, that craft, Chelsea were still mechanical. In crunch matches this season especially against Manchester United, Chelsea were not fluid in attack, Chelsea lacked imagination.

United had the perfect formula, Rooney was there to create the fantasy, Hernandez was there to goal-poach and Antonio Valencia or Nani was there as the Velocista. Sure, Chelsea had their own goal machine in ageing malaria hit Drogba, but, with Kalou and Malouda it’s hard to attribute them to one of my previously defined roles. Malouda isn’t enough of a goal threat to be considered a true Seconda punta or fast enough to be considered a Velocista and Kalou is arguably a ‘super-sub’.

The Stamford Bridge club’s movements in the market since Ancelotti has been here clearly suggests they are building a new team founded on Italian philosophy, Roma confirmed they had rejected a bid for Daniele De Rossi back in 2009, the midfielder with currently one year left on his contract. We now know that last summer, not only were Chelsea close to landing what truly is an incredible talent in Neymar, but, also Chelsea tried and failed to buy Fernando Torres.

Signals suggest that Chelsea are finally preparing to land the majority of their targets this summer.

Having already secured a new Prima Punta in Fernando Torres & Midfield destroyer in Ramires and also having the pleasure of welcoming back Seconda Punta Daniel Sturridge, who has impressed whilst on loan at Bolton this season. Will Chelsea welcome Fantasista Neymar? Will Chelsea welcome light-weight Regista Daniele De Rossi? Will Chelsea welcome Velocista Alexis Sanchez.

Ancelotti may well be leaving Chelsea, but, he has contributed to the vision of this “New” Chelsea. Not to mention being the man to lead Chelsea to their first ever double winning season and whatever happens, Carlo has been a credit to the club. KTBFFH