Archive for January, 2012

Match Facts (Pre-Norwich)

Posted: January 20, 2012 by GaryCRobertson in Chelsea, facts, pre-match, stats

Here are some stats and facts ahead of our game against Norwich:

Chelsea have won the last five clashes with Norwich in all competitions scoring three+ goals in each fixture (there have been exactly four goals scored in each of those last five meetings).

Norwich haven’t kept a clean sheet in their 10 Premier League games at Carrow Road this season. Poor.

Chelsea have won five of their last 12 Premier League away games (won 5, drawn 3, lost 4). Room for improvement.

Frank Lampard’s last four league goals have all upgraded draws into wins by a single-goal margin. Impact.

41% of the goals Norwich have scored have been headers, the highest proportion in the top flight (this is good seen as we haven’t conceded a goal from a corner this season).

Norwich have also conceded the lowest percentage of goals from headers (11%). Ball to feet tactic?

Chelsea have picked up the most cards in the Premier League this season (48 yellow, three reds). Brutal.

Chelsea have won the joint-highest proportion of aerial duels in the Premier League (58%). Towering.

The Blues have lost just one of their last nine Premier League matches (won 5, drawn 3, lost 1). Strong.

Chelsea have drawn 99 Premier League away games.

@GaryCRobertson

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Aiming For A Trophy

Posted: January 19, 2012 by GaryCRobertson in Cech, Chelsea, English Premier League, Essien, Goalkeeper, midfield

Chelsea have never gone two successive seasons without winning a trophy since Roman Abramovich bought the club all those years ago. Cech believes we can keep that trend up:

“We set a standard in recent years, and that’s the way it is at a big club – especially here. We want, ourselves, to win something. We don’t want to go another season without trophies, so our aim is to end this season with silverware.”

Brilliant attitude.

Despite this season being of significant change and alteration under the reign of Villas-Boas, Cech still believes it’s no excuse for not winning any silverware. The addition of Gary Cahill from Bolton and Essien back from injury is giving the squad a strong look as we enter into the second half of the season.

Obviously it’s unfortunate Essien couldn’t make the African Cup of Nations however it’s nothing but excellent for us. Our first team central midfield choices now consist of Lampard, Romeu, Ramires, Essien, Mikel and Meireles (with McEachran now on loan with Swansea until the end of the season). Pretty good, eh.

Cech is also conscious that it will not be an overnight job to make the “new” Chelsea a success:

“You can see this team, there have been changes in recent years because you can’t stop players ageing. It’s normal in a top club that people change. We changed the manager and a bit of the philosophy, so it needs time.”

After all, patience is a virtue.

@GaryCRobertson

Terry Glad Players Are Unhappy

Posted: January 19, 2012 by GaryCRobertson in Andres Villas-Boas, Chelsea, Terry

The heading will of course give the wrong impression but the following post should explain all.

Terry claims everyone at Chelsea wants to achieve the same goal. And rightly so. He also says that he’d not be impressed if there were players who were content to sit on the bench. Terry also explains how the media warp, players being unhappy about not featuring in a game, to being annoyed at the manager.

“Unfortunately when people do not play, you get people writing ‘this player is unhappy with the manager’, which I don’t think is the case – they are unhappy they are not playing. For me, whether you are young or old, you want to play every single week, regardless of the competition. That desire is what I want to see. If there are some players in our squad who are unhappy that they are not playing, I would rather that than players prepared to tick along, collect their wages and not care if they are in the side or not. For me, it is a good thing to have, a passion and belief they should be playing.”

Basically John Terry has looked at players stating their unhappiness from a different perspective and I think he’s really hit the nail on the head.

Lampard is not unhappy at Villas-Boas, he is unhappy to be not playing. Over time that could change but from my understanding they have a good relationship so we shouldn’t need to worry too much.

I’d like to think Malouda is silently improving in training and adapting to Villas-Boas’ style but things are looking just a little bleak for him.

So, apart from a minor amount of cases, next time you see a player grumbling because he’s not playing, the chances are he is trying very hard to improve and get back into the team. Competition for team places will keep the playing standard high.

Can only be a good thing, surely?

@GaryCRobertson

It took a while, but now Gary Cahill has been confirmed by Chelsea to have passed a medical and signed a contract in what has been believed to be a transfer fee somewhere in the region of £7m.

Seemingly Cahill passed the medical “with flying colours” on Saturday morning and then proceeded to watch his new teammates defeat Sunderland 1-0.

The stories claiming Cahill was holding out, only for money, were quite possibly false to disrupt the entire transfer.

Cahill had this to say about joining Chelsea:

“Chelsea is a massive club, it is a club that looks to win trophies season in season out and it is a big opportunity for me to be a part of that. Opportunities like this you can’t turn down.”

What’s more, Cahill is eligible to play in the FA Cup as Bolton kept him out of their squad which drew 2-2 against Macclesfield Town in the third round. Bonus.

In September 2011, Gary Cahill scored on his first competitive start for England (3-0 win vs Bulgaria). He is expected to be one of England’s first choice centre backs in the coming years.

Welcome to Chelsea, Gary Cahill.

@GaryCRobertson

Another Backing For Torres

Posted: January 16, 2012 by GaryCRobertson in Attack, Chelsea, Rivals, Torres, Transfers

Harry Redknapp, I’m not a huge fan of him but his recent comments regarding Fernando Torres are worth sharing:

“I think Torres is starting to look the player that we all know he can be, the player he was at Liverpool – he is a top player no doubt about it.”

It’s encouraging for a manager from a different club, albeit a horrible rivalling club, to speak positively on Torres considering there are so many who jump on the slating bandwagon. For this, I am grateful to Redknapp for the first, and possibly the only, time…ever.

When we think Spurs, we now think about Modric moving to Chelsea. A saga that really should have finished a while ago. There were rumours doing the rounds that a potential Modric-Torres swap deal was in the balance but Redknapp put that false information to bed by saying:

“There is no way [Torres] is coming to Tottenham and no swap deal is in the offing for Luka Modric, I think Chelsea will get the best out of him [Torres].”

That’s that then. Surely the Modric rumours will cease from here on in?

@GaryCRobertson

Not Going With The Flo

Posted: January 16, 2012 by GaryCRobertson in Attack, Chelsea, Rumours, Transfers

Someone’s getting fed up of not starting games under Villas-Boas and has used the media as his tool to try and change the situation. Yes, it’s Florent Malouda.

“I am the kind of player who needs to play week in, week out and the manager knows that.”

Malouda has started only 4 Premier League games this season – it’s little wonder he’s complaining. Juan Mata has been preferred in the left midfield/wing position as Villas-Boas implements his own style on Chelsea.

Malouda also says:

“I am expecting to start more games because that’s my standard and it’s what I’ve been doing for the last two seasons.”

Hmmm, if that’s what he wants then I think there is a high chance Florent will not be a Chelsea player by this time next year. If that were the case and he were to leave, there would be significant interest from clubs all around the globe.

For example, Palmeiras, who are managed by former Chelsea coach Luiz Felipe Scolari (shudder) could be interested along with several French clubs. I also read recently that Stoke were to bid £7m for him which I doubt.

What’s really unfortunate is how he was such a key player for us in the last few seasons and then all of a sudden he’s been shunned to the bench and Mata has arrived. Planning for the future is most definitely in the present for Villas-Boas.

@GaryCRobertson

Lukaku Ponders Summer Loan Move

Posted: January 16, 2012 by GaryCRobertson in Attack, Chelsea, loan, Rumours, Transfers, Youth

Romelu Lukaku is keen to get more playing time with Chelsea and has revealed he would be open to a loan move if the opportunity arose to improve his long terms chances in the first team.

“If my situation at Chelsea does not evolve between now and the end of the season, it may be better to be loaned out for a season.”

The only problem is that because Lukaku has already played for two clubs this season, he would not be able to join another club on loan until the summer transfer window arrives. So, he is keen to plan ahead, something I think is very admirable – it’s clear he wants to succeed:

“A loan this season is not possible, as I have already played for two different clubs (but) if this situation endures, it might be better to play for another club for a year and then come back.”

Lukaku has featured only seven times for Chelsea since his move from Anderlecht but hopefully he will get some chances while Drogba and Kalou are on duty with the Ivory Coast at the AFCON. Fingers crossed.

@GaryCRobertson

Cahill in, Alex out?

Posted: January 14, 2012 by GaryCRobertson in Bolton, Chelsea, Defence, England, English Premier League, Rumours, Transfers

Andre Villas-Boas has confirmed that English defender Gary Cahill is very close to becoming a Chelsea player after passing a recent medical on Saturday:

Gary passed his medical and should be our player soon.

It’s taken awhile but it shouldn’t be too long now folks.

Cahill, who has been capped for England seven times, will cost Chelsea somewhere in the region of £7 million (according to media reports – yeuch) and will be an immediate replacement for the imminently departing Alex. Cahill was due to be out of contract in the coming months with Bolton, so Chelsea took advantage of the situation with a bid – the rest is history (if everything goes through correctly that is).

Onto the subject of Alex. Reports say he could join Queens Park Rangers sooner rather than later. On the other hand, a Chelsea spokesman said: “I can say at this time there is no agreement between the clubs.” Who to believe?

Villas-Boas will be holding out for as high a bid as possible as he is all too aware of Alex’s financial worth: “We know Alex’s market value and we’re just not going to let him go quite easily.” It would also seem that there’s significant interest from foreign clubs meaning QPR may not be where Alex ends up. After all, he has already said he’d prefer to move away from England. Maybe he will link up with Ancelotti at PSG?

Nothing is decided just yet but in the next few days, we can be sure to expect Cahill to arrive, Alex to depart or both.

@GaryCRobertson

Match Facts (Pre-Sunderland)

Posted: January 14, 2012 by GaryCRobertson in Chelsea, England, English Premier League, facts, pre-match, stats

Here are some stats and facts ahead of our game against Sunderland:

Chelsea have won two of their last six home Premier League games (won 2, drawn 1, lost 3).

Chelsea have won 13 out of the last 14 Premier League clashes against Sunderland (won 13, lost 1).

There have been five 90th minute+ goals in the last six Premier League games between Chelsea and Sunderland.

Chelsea are the only team who have not conceded a goal from a corner this season.

There have been 35 goals scored across the last seven meetings involving Chelsea and Sunderland, with 3+ goals in each of those matches.

Chelsea have lost only one of their last eight Premier League games (won 4, drawn 3, lost 1).

Chelsea have kept one clean sheet in their last 12 Premier League games at Stamford Bridge.

Sunderland have earned more points (13) since Martin O’Neill took over in six Premier League games than they managed in the 14 games before he took over this season (11).

Martin O’Neill has only won three Premier League games as a manager against Chelsea (won 3, drawn 6, lost 7).

Referee Phil Dowd has given more penalties away than any other referee in the Premier League this season (7).

@GaryCRobertson

(Opta)

Don’t brand Fernando a flop just yet

Posted: January 14, 2012 by GaryCRobertson in Attack, Chelsea, Guest, Strikers, Torres

Here at Chelsea Headache, we are always glad to host articles written by football fans (preferably of Chelsea origins) and today, Aidan Sweeney is delving into the subject of a certain Fernando Torres.

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Four goals and seven assists in fourteen starts and 8 substitute appearances is hardly what Chelsea fans were expecting from Fernando Torres this season. However, is Torres solely to blame for the current problems that surround the fifty million pound man? I think not. Despite having been already labelled as the ‘most expensive flop’ ever by the majority, I still believe there is time for Torres to turn it around.

It’s been nearly a year since his move to Chelsea and Fernando Torres has had to deal with numerous issues since his move. His wife gave birth to his second child only a month before he switched clubs, hardly something which would help a player settle down easy at a new club. He effectively lived in a hotel away from his wife and children for the first few months of his time at Chelsea which can’t have helped him mentally. There was a new level of pressure on the man himself. Whilst there had always been a high level of interest in Fernando’s performances, it was nothing compared to what he faced at Chelsea. Every time he played and didn’t score (which was unfortunately most of the time), it was major news across Twitter and the following days back pages. Such level of interest had to be expected though seeing as his transfer didn’t just make the back pages of newspapers, it also made the majority of front pages the following day. All of these were off the pitch issues, it was far worse on the pitch.There wasn’t a single player at Chelsea who’s vision and passing ability was as good as Steven Gerrard’s or Xabi Alonso’s, players who Torres thrived off at Liverpool. Dozens of Torres’ goals at Liverpool were assisted by defence splitting, world class passes from Alonso or Gerrard, Torres hasn’t had that level of service at Chelsea. There’s no denying Lampard can pick the odd pass out and Mata has the ability to slip a ball through a few players to Torres but he still isn’t being allowed to sit on the last man and run in behind which is how he loves to play. Another issue was just how slow Chelsea played. Players like Anelka, Mikel and Lampard played at such a slow pace it didn’t help Torres or the team. Anelka has thankfully moved on whilst Mikel has hardly kicked a ball the past few months which is good news but if André Villas-Boas really wants to implement fast, flowing football at Stamford Bridge then he needs to remove Lampard from the equation. One noticeable difference between how Torres played at Liverpool and how he has played during his time at Chelsea so far has been how often he drifts out wide. At Liverpool Torres didn’t have to go and seek the ball, he didn’t have to drift out wide to try and create space. He spent the majority of his time sitting on the last man, patiently waiting for Gerrard or Alonso to find him with that killer ball. Instead we’ve seen Fernando coming deep and in fact becoming more of a number ten. The statistics speak for themselves, he has nearly double the amount of assists than he has goals and that isn’t what Mr Abramovich paid fifty million pounds for.

What continues to frustrate me week in week out is seeing Juan Mata shifted out on the left wing when he clearly is not a left winger. He is the only player in the current Chelsea team who I believe has got the ability and the vision to continuously find Torres’ runs; so in my opinion, Mata has to play centrally. Probably the closest we’ve ever came to seeing the best of Fernando Torres at Chelsea was away at Old Trafford and it was obvious to see why he thrived during the second half of that game. United played with a high defensive line, Torres sat on the last man and Mata saw enough of the ball to play Torres in on goal numerous times. Whilst that game will always be remembered for the way Torres put the ball past David De Gea’s left hand post, I saw enough in the game to firmly believe it can work out for Torres at Chelsea. There is no denying that for the majority of that second half, it was Torres back to his world class best.

It is clear that things have got to change at Chelsea and there is no quick or cheap solution. If I was André Villas-Boas then I would address the following issues: Mata has to play centrally behind Torres. As I’ve said above he is the only player good enough to continuously play those killer balls for Torres. It might not leave Lampard very happy but a midfield of Mata, Ramires and Romeu is the future for Chelsea and hopefully it will be the present midfield very soon. A left winger has to be signed. I will always have fond memories of Florent Malouda, especially the day he walked through Man United’s defence at Old Trafford to set Joe Cole up and it’s always sad to see players who you once admired slowly decline but with Malouda it’s been more than a slow decline. It’s hard to believe he’s the same player and the sooner he leaves Chelsea the better. A left winger who will actually stick to the wing will open more space in the middle so it isn’t as congested as it is at the moment, hopefully meaning Torres won’t have to drift out to the wings to find space which in turn should open up little pockets of space for Mata. Torres has to be given a run of games. With the ever declining Didier Drogba away at the African Cup of Nations, Fernando should get a run in the team over the following month but it won’t benefit Chelsea at all if Torres is benched again as soon as Drogba comes back because Torres brings a lot more to Chelsea’s play than Drogba. Torres also has to look at himself. Surely he can’t be happy with everyone labelling him a flop? We’ve seen it very rarely at Chelsea but he has to find that hunger within himself to go out there and be that world class player he knows he can be. He’s free of the injuries which haunted his time at Liverpool, he has to see that as a positive and really seize the chance he has been presented with through Drogba being away.

So whilst the majority of you continue to laugh every time Torres plays and doesn’t score, remember he has four and a half years left on his contract and at only twenty seven, he’s got arguably his peak physical years ahead of him. I believe it’s clear to see though that changes have to be made at Chelsea and until they are, we can all expect Torres to continue to struggle. Don’t brand Fernando a flop just yet though, give him and AVB time to implement changes and I’m sure we’ll see Fernando Torres back to his best once again.

For more Football/Chelsea/Torres related debate, follow me on twitter: @aidansweeney93