Last night’s Chelsea v Fulham match at Stamford Bridge was so hard to watch. Neither side able to keep possession and string four or five good passes together. Watching the match I was wondering, is this the Chelsea that Roman Abramovich really wants to see?
Abramovich has spent around 800 m on Chelsea since fallen in love with football after seeing Real Madrid v Man United European Cup game years ago. He loved the excitement and attacking play and decided to buy Chelsea.
Last season was Chelsea’s most successful in the Abramovich era, but reports in the media suggest that he was not enamoured by Roberto Di Matteo’s pragmatic playing style last season that won the FA Cup and Champions League
Abramovich is said to have wanted a more free-flowing tika-taka style of football so he went out and bought Hazard and Oscar this summer to along with Mata.
And in the first 8 games of the season Chelsea was that. They played some terrific free flowing football, at times a little too free flowing, as they were rarely able to keep a clean sheet, but attractive to watch.
But the usual Chelsea November swoon cost Chelsea another manager and Abramovich went in the completely opposite direction with the hiring of Rafa Benitez.
The free flowing football has gone and Chelsea over the last two games has morphed into more of a long ball team, that is pragmatic and honestly hard to watch
Rafa will point to the fact that Chelsea are much better defensively now, two clean sheets in his first two games, but the free-flowing tika-taka style of football has gone.
But not all of Chelsea’s problems are Rafa related. Chelsea has now gone six games without a win this is a team clearly lacking in confidence.
Chelsea brought in some exciting young talent this summer but they seemed to have run into realities of Premier league football. That is lots of games, all of them hard. Plus its winter in England. That means dark, cold and always raining. There is an adjustment period to get used to that and they are going through it now
When you are struggling, you need leaders to stand up in the dressing room and led the team. Chelsea doesn’t have them
Abramovich wanted to get younger and reduce the player power at the club. So Drogba and Anelka left, Essien was sent out on loan. Lampard and Cole are leaving in the summer and Terry is injured. There is a leadership void in the dressing room that Cech and Luiz are trying to fill and they are struggling to do this.
Next month Chelsea could be crowned World Football Club Champions for the first time. But you would not know it at the moment. The club feels like it is at war with everyone. With the media, fans and with themselves,.
You have the Terry and Clattenburg racial abuse cases and the way that Chelsea handled/are handling those still hanging over the club. You have a fan base that does not want Benitez as manager and have been very vocal about that in the last two home games. And you have a captain wearing Roberto Di Matteo’s number to the first practice under Benitez.
When Roman Abramovich woke up in his London mansion this morning, you have to wonder if he was asking himself, is this what I want? It is pretty clear that he wants Pep Guardiola to come in and manage the side. Which is why the Rafa appointment makes so little sense as he is about as far from Guardiola as you can get.
So is pragmatic football what you really want to watch Roman?