@ChelseaFC brought beauty back to the game

The lads got it done

Today was the kind of day that you wait weeks for, and it wasn’t just because the Blues came out victorious with a win at Tottenham. The match was a pure 90+ minutes of incredible play, showing Chelsea in rare recent for.

Match Formations

Frank Lampard set the boys in with a new formation, one that worked very well to their comfort zone. Both of the goals were scored by Willian, first at the 12 minute mark and then again right before the whistle blew for half-time. There wouldn’t be another goal in the match, but Chelsea held off Tottenham thoroughly throughout the remainder. Tottenham simply couldn’t get it together.

Though Chelsea had only a little more than half of the possession, check out how dominate and effective the Blues’ play was. More shots, more shots on target, better pass accuracy. Tottenham is a fairly technically proficient team. They simply weren’t creating opportunities today.

Now for the Ugly Bits

Sixty minutes into the match, Rudiger fouls Son, who then kicks his foot up (cleats up) into Rudiger’s chest and Rudiger goes down. It looks blatant. Son gets the red card after a bit of theater from the Spur and gets sent off. Shortly thereafter, you could hear the Spurs crowd taunting monkey noises at Rudiger.

The referee halts the match momentarily to handle the report from Rudiger that he’s being verbally taunted and Spurs supporters in the stands are making monkey gestures at him. As all of this is happening, someone throws a drink out onto the pitch at Chelsea’s goalkeeper, Kepa. There are three different PA announcements about refraining from racist behavior in the stands. Three. You can’t make this up.

And this is the sour to a great match-up. Going in, you had all the drama of the story line between Spurs’ Mourinho and Chelsea’s Lampard, the master and the student. You have a young Chelsea team that are steadying their pace as they hold onto the top tier of the table, while Tottenham is working to right the ship as they’ve come out of a dark period under their former manager. Lampard brings in a very effective formation and things start clicking immediately.

Then you have the idiot Spurs supporters who caused all the ruckus in the stands near the end of the match and swayed all the attention from a perfectly good Chelsea thumping to a storyline of racist actions by supporters.

There should be cameras everywhere in the stadium. As Tottenham review the incident, they should be able to figure out who was behind this ugly distraction. And, to be completely transparent, an ugly distraction is the watered down version. I can’t imagine that whoever is behind the incident are REAL supporters. And, if they are, it says a lot about the state of our beautiful game. A lifetime ban from English football would be a starter. Getting a good thwacking from some visiting St. Pauli’s guests would be one better.

People from all different walks of life and places the world over come together to make soccer the greatest sport ever played. If, as a supporter, you have to rely on vile, racist/homophobic taunts and insults to defend your club’s short-comings, cash in your chips and get out of the game. I hope the Premier League, and every league for that matter, make a very strong stand that individuals who display these ugly tendencies have no welcome in our stadiums. They’re not real soccer fans. They’re not true club supporters.

The Honest #Truth about #Tottenham

McKayla only acts unimpressed

Here’s the thing, at the core, Tottenham Hotspurs are an incredible team. For all the joking around and dogging on the early season blunders, Tottenham have all the assets to give any team in the Premier League (and the Champions League) a real run for their money. And under Jose Mourinho, they’re going to become a colossal force to be reckoned with again.

Past 5 Premier League Matches (as of 12/3)

Before October 27, there was a draw against Watford, a loss to Brighton, a loss to Bayern, a draw with Colchester (Football League Cup Third Round), a loss to Leicester City, a draw with Olympiacos, etc., etc., etc.

The main criticisms of this season’s team has been:

  • Inconsistency in match-ups: Up until Mourinho stepped in, they win, they lose, they draw. Part of this is due to the inconsistency of the composition of the team on field. Mourinho will iron that out. Prior to Mourinho, there had been 94 games where Pochettino ran an unchanged team, which appeared to ruin morale among the team.
  • The mid-field still needs sorting. Dele Alli and Eriksen still play too deep in the field to really improve their chances at the box.
  • Their injured goalkeeper Hugo Lloris has had a delay in return to play and that has impacted their core defense.
  • They’ll need to take the domestic cups more seriously. You can’t just focus on wins in the Champions League.
  • Winning with clean sheets will be a good indicator of the quality of the team. If they can start clearing matches 2-0 or 3-0, it will be a good sign that this is all turning around.

I think that based on what we’ve seen across just a handful of matches, the Spurs are on their way.

The club is starting to get back to its original form. Tottenham holds 5th place, tied with the Wolves, and is six points off Chelsea. It’s reasonable that Tottenham could be a Top 3 team by the end of the season.

When Players Take the Dive

As described by Wikipedia, diving means:

In association football, diving is an attempt by a player to gain an unfair advantage by falling to the ground and possibly feigning an injury, to give the impression that a foul has been committed. Dives are often used to exaggerate the amount of contact present in a challenge. Deciding on whether a player has dived is often very subjective, and one of the most controversial aspects of football discussion. Players do this so they can receive free kicks or penalty kicks, which can provide scoring opportunities, or so the opposing player receives a yellow or red card, giving their own team an advantage. Diving is also known as simulation (the term used by FIFA), Schwalbe (German for swallow), and, in the U.S., flopping.

Wikipedia

I despise diving in the beautiful game. It’s too dramatic and too easy to do. As much as I believe VAR has generally been inappropriately implemented in the Premier League, there is another type of diving that I dislike even more.

Oops. You must be trippin’.

Have you noticed how quickly a team can turn around as soon as a new manager is brought in? Not to pick on Tottenham (ok, yes, we’re picking on Tottenham), the club’s free fall into the abyss has somehow be righted since Mourinho came onboard. And to be honest, there’s no way that Jose could have implemented a fully new set of attacking parameters to right the course this quickly, especially when he admitted they weren’t changing the way the Spurs play right away.

This, my friends, is the more erosive form of diving. The team turns on a manager, for whatever reason, begins sacrificing their performance and their own club, only to churn a manager and side-step any responsibility for their own performance. Sometimes, this can backfire or suggest there are deeper problems for a club than a player dive could impact, as can be seen with Manchester United over the past three years.

But one only needs to look at Tottenham’s performance over the past season.

  • Dial back to mid-July; Tottenham beat Juventus (2-3 at Juventus)
  • They’re then defeated by Manchester United at home on July 25th (remember, this is present-day, sliding ManUnited)
  • Tottenham beats Real Madrid and Bayern, but loses to Inter Milan
  • Then, the Premier League season begins
  • Tottenham beat Aston Villa
  • Tottenham draw against Man City
  • Tottenham LOSE to Newcastle
  • Tottenham draw against Arsenal
  • Tottenham beat Crystal Palace
  • Tottenham draw against Olympiacos (UEFA Champions League)
  • Tottenham LOSE to Leicester City
  • Tottenham draw with Colchester (a League Two team during the Football League Cup)
  • Tottenham beat Southampton
  • Tottenham LOSE to Bayern (UEFA Champions League – Lose is a kind word. Bayern racks up 7 goals against Tottenham)
  • Tottenham LOSE to Brighton
  • Tottenham draw against Watford
  • Tottenham beat Crvena Zvezda (UEFA Champions League)
  • Tottenham LOSE against Liverpool
  • Tottenham draw against Everton
  • Tottenham again beat Crvena Zvezda (UEFA Champions League)
  • Tottenham draw against Sheffield United
  • Then Pochettino is sacked and Mourinho steps in.
  • Tottenham beats West Ham
  • Tottenham beats Olympiacos

The last two games represent the longest winning streak for Tottenham since the Premier League season began. In the last two matches, Tottenham seemed to have returned to their quality form.

I mean, maybe a coincidence, but at the same time, did the players cut their arms to save the whole body? I can’t imagine that this was anything more than an internal coup against the former manager. But, even though Mourinho has a history of getting teams to perform, he’s also the strong and hard-to-take medicine that could have been avoided.

Tottenham’s Saturday Test

A brand new manager, an away match to prove themselves and regain the trust of the fans. Today was a big day for the Spurs. After Week 12, they had found themselves slumping in the table rankings with less and less hope. Then, the owner sacked their previous manager and brought in Jose Mourinho, a somewhat divisive manager that can either turn a club around or make things much worse. (And this isn’t to say that Mourinho is a bad manager, but things do get awfully dramatic when he’s steering the ship.)

So, today’s Week 13 match placed the Spurs against West Ham United (#COYI). The Hammers have been hanging around the bottom of the table (currently in the 16th spot). This would normally be a blow-out match for Tottenham.

Official Stats

Ok, the obvious first. Tottenham won. They had essentially two days to pull it together with their new manager. But, also remember, this is a champion-level team. It’s shocking how close the stats look. Moreover, the Spurs appear to have had a great first 50 minutes and then gave the Hammers the opportunity to bring it back together. The amount of possession that the Hammers carried was simply amazing when you consider the last 20 minutes of the match. West Ham’s passing accuracy was incredible consider the Spurs should be a “defender” style team. On target shots to shots overall would be 40% for the Spurs and 36% for West Ham United.

Bottom line: Both of these teams have been playing below their caliber. Hopefully, both can turn it around in the coming weeks. I’d like to see the Hammers get back up to mid-table, but at least the Spurs pulled this one off. Jose was in rare form as an apparently supportive manager on the sidelines, not doing the usual sulking he’s known for. At the very least, the rest of the season will be interesting to watch.

Talkin’ Tottenham Blues

In the ever-developing death spiral of Tottenham, apparently the club bosses decided the lads needed a few doses of the worst tasting medicine. Pochettino is out. For some unbelievable reason, Jose Mourinho is in as the club’s new manager.

I’m going with “a massive mistake.”

As much of a controversial move this is, what does Tottenham have to lose? Check out the board after Match Week 12.

Not ideal for Tottenham at all. (Side note, Chelsea looks great in the 3rd spot.) Three draws and two losses in the last five matches. Whew. That just spelled “Adios” for Pochee. Plus, for as strong of a club as Tottenham have been in the past few years, they could never win.

And although I’m not a Spurs supporter (Forever Blues. Blues Forever.), I know this song and dance from Jose’s time with Chelsea and then the unbelievable unraveling of ManUnited. And, I’m not the only one who’s calling this a mistake. Twitter (the world’s greatest destination for armchair quarterbacking) is literally losing its mind today.

But, you’ve got to give it to Mourinho. At the core, Jose is an incredible manager; likely one of the greatest, if:

  • He has a team willing to play his ways.
  • There are no outspoken players on the team that would go against Jose.
  • The team is literally a great team and can be motivated to win.
  • He’ll have money to spend (which Tottenham’s owners haven’t recently been willing to pass out the cash).

As an assistant coach in the mid-90’s, Porto and Barcelona were in impeccable style. His time leading Porto, Inter and two-runs with Chelsea, showed what he’s capable of. Then, you’ve got issues with his integration with Real Madrid and ManUnited that sour the track record.

But, the club has deeper issues with players, personnel and a composition that likely won’t fit with Jose’s managerial style.

Read more here:

Gulp! (Note: This is the Sun’s site, so readers be warned of some scandalous side bar ads.)

Gulp, gulp!

Gulp, gulp, gulp.

Godspeed, Spurs. Can’t imagine this dance with Jose will last more than two seasons, but maybe?!?!