Transfer & Crosses ….

I could see the frustration and disappointment among fans for the lack of transfer activity of CFC. I, for one, am not surprised by it, but find myself genuinely happy for the developments that have occurred over these last few months.                                                                                                                                                                                                               
In the week of his appointment, AVB exercised his command over first team affairs at the clubs by sacking Englishman Clement and appointing Roberto as well as promoting Holland. Now, I have noticed a change in the way we are dealing with transfers.                                                                                                                                                                    
Just have a look at following statements of the club in announcing deals for Courtious & Romeu.
Courtious : “Andre Villas-Boas has confirmed Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is undergoing a medical in England after we agreed terms with RC Genk for the transfer of the 19-year-old on Sunday“.
Romeu: “Andre Villas, speaking in Bangkok, has announced that Chelsea has agreed terms with Barcelona for the transfer of Oriol Romeu, a 19-year-old defensive midfielder”.                                                                                                                                                                   
It is a welcome change from the days when the club delightfully announced the capture of players only for the managers to suffer not knowing what to do with them. These two ones that have been made by the manager, not the club. Maybe, it is a way of letting fans know that if they do not perform, it is indeed AVB’s mistake and not the club’s.                                                                                                                                                                                                  
So be it – It is obviously better than the club buying you players such as Shevchenko, Torres and making you struggle to fit them into your system. Even then the manager is blamed and shown the door anyway. AVB is acting shrewdly in the market, he is not ready make any panic buys – he wants the right player at the right price. He is giving fair chance to youngsters to prove themselves, already Rajkovic has stood up and impressed him in the pre-season games.                                                                                                                                                                       
It does not mean that we will not be making any transfers, everyone knows that we need a creative midfielder and a winger with pace. AVB has promised that he will be very active in the market during the first week of August. I believe he is assessing the squad’s strengths and the Non-HG slots available. One slot is currently available at the moment (until January) because of the injury to Essien. Romeu is only 19 now, so we have two years to clear a slot for him (should he stay). Now that Courtious has been sent on loan to Atletico, it has become impossible for us to get rid of Hilario (we clearly do not trust Turnbull anymore). Should Rajkovic succeed in his approach to the panel then Paulo (who has been a loyal servant for CFC for many years) and Bosingwa might well be sold to clear up the slots. One of Malouda or Anelka might also be sold which would also free up three slots ( and four until January). Maybe that could help us see Pastore or Modric and Mata in CFC colours!                                                                                                                                                 
One can understand Uncle Zampa’s campaign to sell Pastore this summer and Levy’s determination to keep Modric. With FFP in place, this would be the last year where clubs are able to spend big on players. If it does not happen this year, they could end up staying there until their careers or clubs would have to sell them for a lesser fee!
Onto the other topic now, one of the reasons for our poor showing has to be our crosses into the opposition box. Not just crosses, our general set-piece deliveries and free kicks were pretty poor. When was the last time we genuinely scored with a clean free-kick? Maybe Alex against Arsenal, when Drogba was sick with malaria – there was no-one to take the free-kicks efficiently! He’s 33, we will have to find someone soon who could fill his boots.                                                                                                                                                                                           
We struggle to clear the first man of defence with our corners and set pieces! We all know we need a creative midfielder to take a man out through skill/pace and play balls through the middle for our forwards. But what will happen if you create the wall through the middle, you need fast wingers who can put excellent crosses into the box – allowing for several dimensions to our play.                                                                                                                          
In the game against Kitchee, our pressing was excellent throughout (part of Porto’s success last season was due to their collective pressing), Yossi was particularly exceptional in closing people down. It shows that players are buying AVB’s ideas and once the season starts, we will be able to see the flair that we all crave.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
It showed enough evidence to suggest that our crossing has not improved (except one Ferreira cross). Look at our second goal, Malouda’s cross was deflected slightly by a defender before another one dragged it into his own net. For our third goal, Malouda volleyed a cross, which went off the foot of the first defender which luckily found Drogba who scored. Then our fourth goal saw Yossi’s cross being blocked by a defender before it was pulled back by Danny. We were lucky against Kitchee, but all those three of those chances could have easily gone to waste! I hope AVB looks into it seriously and gets it right before the start of the season.                                                                                                                                                                                          
Bring on Aston Villa for the Barclays Asia Trophy Final – The First of many to come!!!                                                                                                                           
By Venkat M S S
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