AVB Has Tough Decisions To Make – Star Players Could Sit Out

Posted: August 29, 2011 by superjourno in Champions' League, Chelsea, England, English Premier League, Transfers

There are shades of Arjen Robben, who scored 15 goals in 67 matches for Chelsea, in the Blues’ new boy Juan Mata. The Spanish 2010 World Cup winner also scored on debut in Chelsea’s 3-1 home win against Norwich. Mata came on in the second half to add some excitement to what was rather a dull first half by Chelsea, bar Jose Bosingwa’s fifth minute goal. There’s no doubt about Mata being a regular at Chelsea after the dream debut, that player is the real No. 10 (I apologise to Yossi Benayoun, who I think is a good player, but just hasn’t done enough at Stamford Bridge). There will be question marks for the next two league games, and some cup matches, as to who has to sit out to accommodate Mata.

Florent Malouda made way against Norwich, but a more permanent replacement needs to be made. But before dwelling on how we fared in our third Premier League match, let me explore a little bit why Mata reminds me of Robben. Yes, they are both left-footed and are very creative. Mata won the World Cup with Spain, and Robben was at Soccer City in South Africa as well playing for the Netherlands, who lost 1-0 after an extra-time goal from Andres Iniesta. Mata scored 10 goals for former club Valencia last season and we all know that Robben was a 10 goals a season kind of player. So, with this we say hello to creativity and have to confront Frank Lampard to say: something is missing Frank. Had it not been for manager Andres Villas-Boas ‘brave’ decision to pull off Malouda for Mata, Chelsea might have been in trouble against Norwich.

Mata is certainly the kind of player we need and it’s even more exciting to learn that he snubbed both Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspurs to sign a five-year contract with Chelsea. Being able to play as a left midfielder or winger, and even just behind the front men, is an added advantage to see us win the Premier League at the end of the season. It’s early days and I for one don’t want to punt him up as the next best thing at Stamford Bridge, but we all have to admit, he looks a sure bet to help us to success.

This is what the coach thinks about our new man, who faces his former teammates in the European Champions League after Chelsea were pitted against Valencia in the group stages.

Villas Boas: I think all the players are creative, they just express themselves in different ways. Mata is different from other players, and found some good spaces today [against Norwich]. For a player with only two training sessions he showed some quickness.

Villas-Boas’ major headache: If we do indeed get Luka Modric in the final hour of the transfer window, picking his midfield players on match day could turn into a nightmare for the manager. But for now let’s say Modric will stay at Spurs. Then Villas-Boas is still left to making a final decision – possibly on the eve of a big match – on who to bench to make space for Mata. He can play where Lampard and Malouda usually operate. And his best days are still to come at Stamford Bridge. But this is good for rotation. With the FA Cup, Champions League and Premier League matches still to be played, we certainly look to have enough depth to get positive results.

There’s also been criticism about playing John Obi Mikel and Ramires in the starting line-up. Although Ramires can make daunting runs and get us in scoring positions, he can be a bit too defensive – then playing the same type of style as Mikel.

Our manager has some tough decisions to make.

  1. Fani Ntlele says:

    I agree that its between Malouda and Lampard! I do think that as Chelsea supporters, we have to accept the fact that Lamps has past his days. There’s also a case of Sturridge coming back into the team and I’m hoping that Modric doesn’t stay Spurs. We now have to catch up with Man U and Man City, we are the only real team left from London!

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