Monday, March 03, 2008

146. Falling Slowly

Heard of the song Falling Slowly? No? Well you should. A really great song that, with an Oscar to boot for those doubters amongst you (though I’d probably have to qualify that by saying that the Oscars aren’t exactly consistent in awarding the truly great as opposed to the probably ok, case in point the snubs to Pan’s Labyrinth and Closer for best picture in recent years, and in the case of Pan’s Labyrinth, it didn't even get nominated in that category, and didn't win best foreign film either! Bloody hell).

Well anyway, yeah, Falling Slowly is a great song. And those who wrote it and performed seemed like genuinely nice people. Probably just like you and me, with hopes and dreams, and probably with some personal demons as well (who doesn’t have those, right?). Basically people who’ve been through shit, probably are going through it right now, but still hopeful of better things to come and maybe even turning things around for themselves.

Now, listening to some of the lyrics of the song, my mind can’t help but wander to the recent developments at Chelsea. Well we all know that Avram Grant is not a Jose Mourinho, that’s pretty darn apparent. Whilst Jose was a GQ model masquerading as a football manager, Avram's more akin to an Uncle Fester pretending to be a mental patient who thinks he's a football manager who dresses like a mortician. The only similarity is that they both play functional football which hardly makes for a spectacle for viewers. The only difference is, Jose mostly won when it counted (except for those heart wrenching losses to Liverpool).

Avram just doesn’t cut it. I’ve always had my doubts about him, and they were pretty much proven after watching Chelsea’s limp display against Spurs in the League Cup Final the other night.

What a truly wretched performance it was; they were out fought, out passed and out thought by the underdogs and deserved everything they got, which was nothing. Chelsea under Mourinho more or less performed the same way countless times, but they always managed to scrap by, through sheer strength of will. Chelsea under Avram seem to be pale imitators, basically directionless and plain lucky to go unbeaten so long (which is more or less attributable to the quality in the squad rather than any exceptional coaching).

Yeah, so Chelsea’s like that verse in the song, the bit about games that play themselves out, will never amount to anything other than they’re meant. Because that’s how exactly Chelsea are like now, playing meaningless games with themselves, deluding themselves that they’re more than they are. Chelsea are not a big club. True, they have the money and the players, but they don’t have the pedigree or football to back it. They don’t take the breath away like a Barcelona or a Milan. They don’t have that one genius that brings the fantasy that Roman so clearly wishes (sorry Joe Cole and Shaun Wright Philips, you’ve never been and never will be marquee players).

So on and on, they play this song and dance, Avram fooled Roman into thinking that he would bring fantasy football to Chelsea. Avram fools himself into thinking that he’s actually brought fantasy football to Chelsea. Terry and Lampard fool themselves every day into thinking that they’re untouchable to the team. And worse of all, I fool myself into thinking Chelsea will one day play with the flair of Gullit’s and Vialli’s teams with a winning difference.

So Chelsea are truly falling slowly, into a quagmire of dreariness. They fit in with the more downbeat aspects of the song, and have nothing of its hopefulness.

But even as I write this, Chelsea did manage a halfway decent performance away against Fulham. Scoring 4 goals away from home ain't too shabby it must be said.

And what of Arsenal? If there's one team I wouldn't mind taking the title this year it would be them, only for the fluid football they play. But alas, it looks like they're choking once more as they did a few years back. The sickening injury to Eduardo notwithstanding, Arsenal's young men have looked bereft of the ideas and the attacking innovation they wowed spectators with when they were in scintillating form throughout most of the season. The pressure of the juggernaught that is Manchester United is taking its toll no doubt. Let's just hope that the two leaders fall to bits and the Blues somehow rise from the ashes and take it. Though probably it would be best to see them end up trophyless, resulting in Avram getting the sack and Roman getting egg on his face, and all the rest of us rejoicing. Still, there's this bit in me that's always hopeful. But hope don't float, or does it?

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