A good lot of things have happened since my last blog. A fighting draw at Stoke, then a last gasp winner against West Brom, plus the signing of ‘Mata’ who scored on his debut, and let us not forget about deadline day signing of Raul Meireles.
We have been through it all, I could see the disappointment among fans for not signing a playmaker. We tried to sign Modric but Levy did not let that happen and Sneijder’s wage demands were too high in this FFP world. Apart from them I cannot see a playmaker who would transform the side, we should be happy with Joshy taking that role and saving us £40 million (at least £28m if u consider Meireles as a challenger).
Nice to see that media, along with some of our own fans, have already written us off after just three matches. Yes, the performances against Stoke, WBA & Norwich weren’t great but Manchester United played performed in a similiar way last season, where they won matches that they did not play well.
That is the hallmark of Champions, you could see the spirit in turning it around. AVB was not afraid to change things when they were not going right – Seven points in three games with a new manager is not bad. Already I can see claims of “Lampard’s career is over”, “Drogba should have started ahead of Torres”, “AVB is stupid in playing high defensive line with JT and Alex”, “We lack tempo, pace and a playmaker” plus “Chelsea will finish third or fourth – Which is fine coming from the media but not our own fans.
Lampard is not in the best of form, but what would you do with a player who is a legend, someone who has raked up nearly 20 goals a season from midfield for the last ten years, who despite being out of form still continues to put in more than 100% in every training session? It is tough to keep him out after just two matches! AVB knows better than us all – Otherwise he would have not been placed in charge, he watches the same matches as us, but he gets to see the players in training.
Mata injected much needed creativity in the attack when he was introduced against Norwich and Lukaku made a refreshing change. Sturridge will be back from the next game, which will give us a huge boost. Imagine Mata, Torres & Sturridge as our front three – Mouth watering stuff. Old players will have to be phased out, this might well be the last year here for Drogba, Torres, Malouda, Ferreira and Hilario. That would leave us with five slots for next year to inject fresh blood or to give our youngsters a chance.
Why does AVB start Torres ahead of Drogba in a 4-3-3? Why does he play a high defensive line with JT & Alex? Doesn’t he know that they don’t have pace? It is because he wants them to get accustomed to the system. Surely, he can play deeper now and make them and us feel better. But, is it what we need? When you want to play attacking football like Barca, you cannot build your team around Drogba and a deep backline. This is not to say that Drogba is not great, like Lamps he is a legend at the Bridge but time has come for us to move on; choose a system which we all love to see. JT and Alex struggle with this high defensive line, but they have to get used to it, to get to where we want to be. To press higher, win the ball quickly, pass the ball with tempo and play attacking football. When you see this Barcelona team, it plays with the same system no matter who is picked, they play the same line even when Mascherano or Busquest play as CB. AVB likes to incorporate his system so that whichever player comes in, can take over and play the same way – Surely all the players have it in them to adapt. The transformation cannot happen overnight, it needs time and patience, it needs intelligence and most of all support.
We all want to see our team winning with flair but how do we go about achieving it? Everyone wants instant success, those same fans blame Roman for changing managers too often, and even resorting to booing their own team. Great teams are not formed overnight, it comes through struggle and hardwork. Madrid, have spent millions, yet have not won La Liga for three years. Sir Alex did not win all his trophies in his first season. This Barcelona team, even with Messi, did not win the La Liga until 2008-09.
AVB knows all this, he is making the changes and will win matches but for now he is trying to build a team that plays the type of football we want. It may take even a season; patience is the virtue of excellence. Surely, the booing does not help. Great teams have always had the support of their fans through the tough times. When you get behind them and support them during difficult times, then they will have belief which will lead them to succeed. No player goes on to the field to lose, winning and losing are part of the game, but the pride of performances is what gets you going. It is the same for fans, being part of the team whether it is losing or winning gives you the feeling of pride which very few other things can do – That is when you are ‘fans’ & not ‘glory hunters’. Let us unite in doing our part to help the team get there, get behind them and give them much needed support to push on for the title. We will leave the rest of the part to AVB and company, In AVB we trust.