Wednesday, May 30, 2012

New place, same scenario!

Chelsea's recent successes have indeed elevated the team and Abramovich's empire as a true global brand. Although Di Matteo has done the job last season by achieving the impossible the coach (and players) remain vulnerable to the whims of the owner. This was what we effectively pretended would not happen after becoming European Champions. Our sentiments suggested that he should be given the opportunity to manage the squad with its new, scintillating personnel changes. Truth be told, Di Matteo could meet the same fate as his predecessors once Abramovich's "Nero-esque traits" manifest itself when pressures build up in the boardroom. There is, of course, the tendency, as those attributes would suggest, to go "big". Chelsea officials are said to have offered the ex-Barcelona boss, Guadiola, £11m-a-year and an assurance that there will be no pressure on him to win major trophies in his first two years in charge. I think all the ex-coaching personnel heard that one before.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Chelsea FC: A brief history

From the early days as the butt of a music hall joke for the lack of success, to being 1954 - 55 champions following a revamp. From the glamorous, talented and flamboyant team which emerged in swinging London in the mid- 1960's to put the club on the footballing map for the first time, to the financial and on-pitch woes that almost forced its extinction in the early 1980's. From the rejuvenated side of the mid-1980's that returned it to stability, to the cosmopolitan renaissance of the late 1990's, which saw it challenge for honours again, to a takeover in June 2003 under the leadership of the enigmatic Jose Mourinho which contributed to its current status as one of the dominant teams in the country.

Di Matteo's strategic objectives

We tend to forget what the role of a caretaker coach is which generally entails performing a prescribed level of damage control. It becomes quite evident in the build-up for next Saturday's showpiece event against four-times winners Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena. His statement, "We'll practice different solutions, just in case", further hints at this approach.
His role also expects him to constantly make alternative plans. John Terry and Branislav Ivanovich are both suspended and Luiz and Cahill will remain in a race against time to recover from their hamstring injuries. Right back Bosingwa will be likely to replace one of them with one midfielder possibly having to drop back into defence, such as John Obi Mikel, Michael Essien or even Orial Romeu. This line-up will likely to have a run with the already relegated Blackburn. Defender Sam Hutchinson, who only made one substitute appearance as yet is also expected to start.
The good news, however, is that Di Matteo will jet out to the German Cup Final on Saturday to watch Jupp Heynckes Bayern against Bundesliga Borussia Dortmund in Berlin. He will be analyzing their pattern of play and have seen them play before in the semi-finals.
With Chelsea's resolute spirit, we hope to see the same turnaround against Barcelona. Or did that win come at too high a price?