Thursday, 22 November 2012

Chelsea, Lightning won't strike twice

I took my daughter to the cinema last sunday to see  MADAGASCAR 3. Watching the movie, I was struck me by the absurdity of the plot. However, the characters were pretty humorous, which made for  the desired entertainment  in a movie of such nature.
There is something about the news of Roberto Di Matteo's sacking, and the context of the long history of managerial dismissals at Chelsea under Roman Abramovic that brings  Madagascar 3 to mind. In their case, it's becoming ludicrous,  and a turn-off.  Folks say, it's soccer, and sackings like this at a big ambitious  club is part of the game. Such comments or thoughts lack intellectual gravitas. If it's an emotional whim,  it's primal and depraved. It's record breaking stupidity for a club to spend £90 million in eight years as compensation for  firing managers that they gleefully employed. Perhaps, somebody  ought to tell someone to redefine their objectives because it is fast becoming impractical and outlandish. Inventing another game to suit their tastes seems more probable than what they set out to achieve going down this route.

REBRAND : One could visit a restaurant and request the best vintage wine and get it. With soccer,  it's a different reality. It's not about requests, it's a contest. Let's walk the story back just over a year ago : Chelsea paid in the region of £ 10 million to Porto to secure supposedly the brightest young coach in Europe - Andreas Villas Boas. His task, or as Chelsea requested,  the new manager was to revamp the squad, play entertainingly, and win trophies. Chelsea wanted a shift from the tedious style they played. The young coach got lost in the impossible route to achieving those lop-sided objectives, got distracted, and sacked as a  consequence. The manager was fine. But there was something wrong with the task he was handed. In comes Roberto Di Matteo, who amalgamated the squad, got them playing pragmatically, and achieved the most spectacular of successes by winning the FA cup and the elusive champions league. That was a monumental feat given the team was all over the map before he took charge. 

Read : Jose, the blues are coming to get you

The thirst for a manager who sprinkles gold dust did not abate with Di Matteo's amazing triumphs. So evident was the club owner's hesitation to hand him the job full time even after his accomplishments, that it took the fans' outcry to sway him, and apparently grudgingly, to make Di Matteo Team Boss full time

Read, Roman, do not look past Robbie


A WORK IN PROGRESS :  I am of the opinion that Roberto Di Matteo's  work on the Chelsea Version 2.0 project was going in the right direction.  He had established the fundamentals of an exciting and attacking team employing the 4-2-3-1 formation. The trio of Oscar, Hazard, and Mata gave us a very clear indication of their attacking potential ; and Di Matteo used Lampard, Obi , and Ramires astutely as formidable anchor men in midfield. The squad is united and content, and individually there was never that sort of alarming deep in form or performance ; and that tells a reasonable observer the manager was doing a good job with the transition, performance, and results. Yes, a few results had not gone their way, and John Terry's suspension,  and subsequent injury weakened the team somewhat. On the whole, there was no need to initiate pressing the panic button. But this is the view from the rational school of thought. Unfortunately, Chelsea use warped standards of measurement, typically void of conventional wisdom when it comes to hiring and firing managers. Therein lies the crux of this insane syndrome they suffer from.


WEAKNESS: Captain John Terry missed most of the games they lost this season, and the pairing of David Luis  and Gary Cahill  crystalizes the problems they have as an alternative defensive pairing. These two are far from complimentary as a unit. Was it not obvious they ought to strengthen in that area  ? The choice of spending vast sums on attacking talent was more alluring. Who builds a team like that ? Then there is the goal scoring problem that seems to have been ducked in terms of finding another top class marksman  The owner  paid the outrageous sum of £50 million to Liverpool for a striker on the decline, and struggling for confidence after injuries. Drogba was made to be his hinderance.... off Drogba went to China, and Fernando Torres still has not found his groove. They were shy to confront the reality : "  Fernando can score goals, we do not need another striker "..... I imagine was the conclusion.  Waste of money,  scarce little football sense - that's Chelsea's world of heresy.  Rather than venting fury on managers, The owner of the club need to send the heads of his advisers for examination. The entire plan involving player purchase, style of play, and ambition is haphazard  and lacking in truth and credibility. It's lie that carries a siren

Read : Why Chelsea  shall fly into strong headwinds


THE BENITEZ OPTION : Here we go again, the new half cooked plan is to re-unite Fernando Torres with Rafa Benitez, and the magic cure is found. One imbecilic decision to another. Benitez got sacked from his last two jobs at Liverpool and Inter Milan respectively ; and the latter he joined as European  and Italian League champions. He proceeded to make a complete mess of events there in the six months he managed them. If Chelsea really want to play attractive Football, Benitez has a  CV that is not compatible with their illusions of playing the game so beautifully. No, I am mistaken, it's another in the series of stop-gap measures, or an interim manager as they are called ; except that Chelsea would expect lightning to strike twice, and Rafa Benitez goes on to win the League, FA cup, and the lot.  How deluded !  Just another retrogressive step. 


BOUNCE : No matter what happens, Roberto Di Matteo leaves with his head held high. He carried himself with dignity and honour always.  He will enjoy the bounce from his achievements of last season for a long time to come. Chelsea have unwittingly enhanced his career, education,  and name recognition. Not only that, he came across as a very intelligent manager, tactically clued-on, and very intellectual at post match conferences. For a guy who had not much experience managing a big club, to me,  he barely put a foot wrong in his short time in charge. His eyes always burned bright, and he chewed enthusiastically from the touch line. I sensed a man strong on the inside, and powerful in his convictions, hence i do not shed a tear for him. In fact, he is lucky to have left the mad house, and the extra cash to take away ain't that bad too.
This is not exactly a sad ending for Di Matteo.  He joined Chelsea as an assistant manager, never in his wildest dreams would he have thought he would manage Chelsea to winning that historic champions league final in Munich last May. No sacking can take take that off his CV, and i am sure he is going to land on both feet when he takes his next job.
Chelsea bifurcate into another chapter of their infantile and expensive  fantasy. Benitez keeps fellow spaniard Pep Guardiola's seat warm, or does he stake a claim to the hot seat ? There are times when money cannot purchase all kinds of fantasy and fun, simply because it's not practical. There is a limit to everything, and even though football is brilliant and sometimes unpredictable, it's dynamics never defies established wisdom.