Wednesday, September 21, 2011

233. A Season of Flourishes

My team Chelsea is a state of transition. Arguably, they've been in such state for the last 3 to 4 years. The season of the Double was an anomaly.

Ancelotti was the right coach, at the right time. He managed to coax out one last hurrah from the likes of Lampard, Drogba and Anelka. He saw that there was a trophy or two left in them. His method suited them. He did what he could, and when he couldn't deliver, he was disposed in cold, methodical fashion. Rightly or wrongly, he was out.

A replacement was found. Young and suave, multi-lingual, with a team that conquered Europe (albeit in a second-tier tourney) with vibrant progressive football. Villas-Boas was brought in at great cost. The man Abramovich chose to rebuild this aging and stagnant Chelsea side.

So far, with the spectacle that was the defeat to a youthful Man United, he's shown that he has the balls to play the sort of attacking football that Abramovich craves. He's also proven that he's not afraid to make tough decisions like the substitution of a rapidly fading Frank Lampard. He wants his team to play fast, fluid one touch football, with an emphasis of speed of thought and vertical passing.

So far, Torres has been the greatest beneficiary. It will take sometime yet to completely rebuild him into the Torres of old. Truthfully, the Torres of old may never again emerge...but Chelsea fans worldwide will settle for 75% of that old Torres. And in Juan Mata, they finally have the bit of flair and creativity that Chelsea had so lacked since the departure of Robben.

This Chelsea is still a work-in-progress. A trophy might still yet be beyond them this season. They're still a player or two lacking. Luka Modric would've made a vast difference to re-ignite an engine room so dependent on power and explosiveness rather than guile and control. Terry is no longer the Terry of old, his lack of pace and sometimes poor decision-making has cost Chelsea dear this season.

Modric, Hazard, Gotze. If only it were possible.

Nonetheless, this season looks to be an exciting time for Chelsea. With a few more months, and a wider understanding of the manager's ideas, this team should do well...and be a bigger threat to the continent next season.

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