Yep. We lost. Again. As a fan of Chelsea, this is humiliating. As a fan of the rational explanation to things, this is also increasingly confounding. Chelsea FC, football juggernaut of the first decade of this century, the English haven of some of the world's best players and brightest rising stars has seemingly imploded. The schadenfreude and cat-calls from other clubs - I'm looking at you, Arsenal and Man U fans - on top of the media feeding frenzy that has exploded with this collapse just adds to the confusion surrounding this. Well, one thing is for certain - we have a problem. In this column, I'm going to ditch the old format and look at what has really surrounded Chelsea: the solutions, stop-gap or otherwise.*
*A word to the wise beforehand - I am a rabid Red Sox fan, so I am a tad sick and tired of seeing the teams that I love crash and burn spectacularly. Be warned that the following opinions may be bitter.
So, I've broken this down into two categories, as always: the Good (or the seemingly benevolent) and the Bad (or the absolutely crazy). Now, obviously, there are going to be issues with my rankings with certain posters here, but hey, the Internet is a free place. Without further ado....The Good:
1) Redesign the Team to Complement Torres' Strengths: This has been quite an interesting proposal, as it goes against the grain of some of the diehards. In the past, our team has truly been centred around Drogs, but now that he is in the apparent twilight of his career (sparkly soccer player ahoy?), the team really should be oriented to suit Torres. All arguments about form aside, you don't just blow 50 mil on a new toy just to bench him - he is a proven striker and deserves to be accommodated as such. As for the counter argument, see The Bad #1.
2) Ramires as DM: Now, hold off on the haterade for two seconds here. If you were watching the same game I was yesterday, you'll know that Chelsea, with Sturridge on, dominated the second half. Hopefully, you'll also notice that when Ramires was subbed off for Meireles, our defense crumpled and Johnson scored. Of course, while that is partly the fault of Mr. Cole's horrendous defending (which I refuse to even talk about that) I believe Ramires as DM is an excellent choice until Romeu matures, or until Mikel sorts out his problems.
3) A Defensive Influx - Gary Cahill and Alvaro Pereira: Colour me crazy, but our defense just isn't doing the job, and the Chelsea Special (buying talent in the January transfer window) seems to be more and more likely. As for Cahill, being the only good player on Bolton is a little like being the sanest man in a mad house - its not pretty. However, he has been solid for England, helping them earn a clean sheet against a superior Spanish side and working well with JT to boot. I think he would be a smart buy, and with Arsenal declaring disinterest, I think we can get him for a low price. Which brings be to Pereira. Yep, another Porto prospect we have been linked to, so expect a high price. However, he is a player who worked well under AVB's high line last year, and hopefully he could add some depth to our creaky defence.
4) Loan out David Luiz (should #3 come to pass): DL is an excellent player, but he needs more first team football, and he needs to mature a bit. I'd like it if he stopped taking stupid fouls, and I think he could benefit from a loan spell. I expect to hear a lot of backlash from that one though.
5) Sell the Deadweight and give the youth some playing time: Anelka, Kalou, Drogs (sadly), Alex and Bossy are increasingly out of place in this team. Starting Drogs over Torres, for example, was the disaster most of us predicted. But, hey, there is a reason this one is the last on the good list - I'm not entirely comfortable with it.
And, of course The Bad:
1) Sell Torres and Buy Someone Else: Seriously? I mean....SERIOUSLY???? Yes, the man isn't up to form, but for God's sake that is a childish argument! I refuse to dedicate more space to the idiocy of this argument.
2) Sack AVB and get Guus: Again, guys, really??? The manager shoulders some of the blame, yes, but you don't sack a manager after 12 games and claim to be a reasonable fan. Ye gods!
3) Sell the Deadweight and buy Goetze, Hazard, Neymar (i.e. Everyone): Surprised to see this on the bad list? Well, so am I to be honest. This was originally one of my seemingly benevolent options until I realized how silly it sounded. Yes, we're going to bid for Hazard, and hopefully for Goetze, and yes we are going to keep tabs on Neymar, but remember: Chelsea isn't the same team from the early 2000s! We aren't the richest team on the block - ManCity, please stand up - and we can't just overpower these talents with just money. The system needs to change first, kids. Why do you think Barca And ManUtd have consistently attracted talent? Why do you think Chelsea of the Jo'Mo' era attracted talent? Simple - we won. Anyhow, not the answer. Not by a mile.
4) Bench the Deadweight and play the youth: Are you out of your mind?!?!? Next!
5) Just buy SOMEONE!: Panic buys = trouble. As I've said before, the team really needs tweaks in order to return to form, not colossal changes. Lets just hope for a calm January, with limited purchases.
Anyhow, that's my take on it. What I really want to know is how the WAGNH community feels about this. I know there are areas which I have left things deliberately vage because I'm still not 100% sure what exactly would be best for the club, and I want your opinions. As always, questions and comments are appreciated.