Dark clouds gathering 3
This is written in response to what certain unnamed sources indicate has transpired in our dear club since our Saturday loss to West Brom. This was reported late today on the Fox Soccer channel though the actual sources quoted as is typical of this sort of "news" is not identified. This may well be idle chatter and I hope it is but the events if true are deeply worrying to me and should also concern anyone who has the best wishes for our dear club at heart.
Apparently following the loss to West Brom, RDM who is usually the epitome of calm even in a storm was very disappointed, animated and unhappy about the performance and a heated discussion then ensued behind closed doors with the players where views were aired as to what the problems were.
The issue of shoddy defending was brought up with several senior players including Petr Cech airing their views as to the way forward (so far nothing unexpected or untoward)..the script then reportedly changes to the dark side because RDM apparently decided that going forward there was a need for a more cautious approach that placed primary focus and importance on defensive solidity..with this in mind he then reportedly drafted his outline of how the team would be formatted for the upcoming Juve match and that El Nino would not be starting in that match.
Apparently some time after this discussion which had been a behind doors team members only meeting word of the meeting made its way up to the upper heirachy of our club and there was an immediate and firm rebuke of RDM particularly regarding El nino not starting against Juve. Further it appears RDM was then told in no uncertain terms that the upper echoleon are losing patience with him based on recent results and that his job was not secure.
Again whether this is true or not I cannot say but I am very worried..I had a few times so far this season mostly tongue in cheek asked why El nino has started every single game for us when available and mentioned that maybe RDM has been "instructed" to play him. It seemed an outlandish notion but now this may not be so far fetched after all.
We all remember the legends that made the rounds in Cobham of the "player power cartel" that followed the exit of Jose. It appears we may have the next version of this cancer now brewing. If there is any truth to this we are in a very bad place. Virtually all of us here on VC after the display against West Brom felt El Nino did not deserve a starting spot for the upcoming Juve match..if he does start come Tuesday I for one will seriously suspect that RDM was coerced into this decision with the threat of losing his job should he leave out Torres and the results not go as the top Echeolon want. The secondary issue of what mandate he received from above as to style of play is a matter for speculation but raises the serious question of how a coach can manage a team effectively and command authority and respect from his players if tactics and strategy are mandated from elsewhere.
I know there are folks on VC who don`t value what we have in RDM and consistently seek to undermine him. I also know there are those who are so enamored by flowing attacking football that they lose the plot in this intoxicating lust for Jogo bonito but can we be pragmatic for a moment? Based on our recent displays is it unwise for our coach to be concerned about our defensive woes and seek a return to better competence at the back?
We go into a Juve game of momentous significance. We already managed to tie the ignominious record of the Champions League champion (or its prior equivalent) who have lost to the Europa league champion (or its prior equivalent) in the European Super Cup by the largest margin when we got shell lacked by Atletico Madrid in Monaco. We are now facing the very real danger of being the first Champions league champion not to get out of the group stages since this new format was designed. If we lose to Juve on Tuesday and as expected Shaktar beat Nordsjaeland we will be in the dangerous position where Shaktar and Juve can draw in their final game and see us out no matter what we do against Nordsjaeland at Stamford bridge.
With this in mind it is clear that the Juve match is one we cannot afford to lose no matter what. We don`t need to win but we must not lose. We don`t need to be flashy, flowy or entertaining in that match..what we must be is efficient, supremely focused and effective..we must not concede and that is why a cautious water tight defense first approach would be a wise one to use while putting out our best counter attacking finishing options to try and grab a goal or two on the counter.
In my mind to go after Juve Mano-E-Mano as though we are Barca would be suicidal. This cautious approach however seems to have drawn a stern rebuke from the upper Echoleon. The problem I see though is should be line up as usual with Mazacar, Torres up front, whatever backline we can muster with Cole and JT still out injured and Mikel + Ramires in the midfield and we yet lose to Juve, RDM will again be the fall guy and with subsequent BPL games against City and Fulham none of which we are anywhere certain to win the dreaded question needs to be pondered again;
Is RDM going to be the next casualty in the rotating coaching shooting carousel gallery that is Chelsea FC?
It is almost ironic in a way that just as our game against West Brom last year saw the last of AVB another game against the same team this year has now brought this ugly theme up again with a return fixture Champions league match (against Juve this time as opposed to the one against Napoli last year) against a Serie A side being the apparent rubicon deciding event. All I can do is hope and pray that all ends well in Turin not just for RDM's sake but far more importantly for Chelsea FCs sake because if that game goes south I fear decisions may be made in the heat of the moment thereafter that may not bode well for the club.