Chelsea - Pursuing Beauty: Making sense out of RDM's sacking
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Pursuing Beauty: Making sense out of RDM's sacking

The root cause for the recent mess surrounding our club is attributed to the desire of the owner to see his team play an attractive game.

Being not a professional himself, Roman's perception of a 'beautiful game' is not much different than that of a billion other football fans around the globe.

One needs to understand what makes a football game 'look pretty' to a non-professional eye in order to understand the reason behind the sacking of so many top managers at Chelsea.

'Easy on the eye' is a phrase frequently used by pundits to describe what looks pretty on a football pitch. It is very descriptive of RA's and many others' expectation.

In a business where spectator's opinion matters the most, an artist needs to be careful not to make his craft too complicated for the average mind. And football is such a business.

Simplicity is an important aspect of beauty. Human mind tends to reject patterns that are too random for its processing capability. Many of the day to day activities in our lives are grey and boring for any spectator to watch because they are not dramatized for stage performance. They are fast, brute and direct to achieve the maximum efficiency possible.

That's a perfect analogy to the way Chelsea has been playing for the past eight years. It is not beautiful, for a neutral viewer, when Drogba receives the ball from Cech, bully his way through defenders and pull a power full strike.

Only a few can appreciate the amount of talent and endurance such a stunt requires. People would rather have this fast and complex action be broken in to a string of simple ball passes. This is where Mourinho and his team failed to impress RA.

JM doesn't like to dictate what his players need to do when they are attacking on the opponent's half of the pitch. As he repeatedly claimed, he gives his players the freedom to express themselves. However, when the opponent has the ball, his team organizes itself into one of the strongest defensive unit the football world has ever seen and he's got everything to do with that.

Unfortunately for him though, majority of football fans don't seem to appreciate the beauty and heroics of defending. On the other hand, teams with a passing football game plan and attacking mentality like to do things a little different.

FC Barcelona is master of this order. Here, every player is expected to do simple things. Most of their moves on the pitch are close derivatives of what they work on the training ground. Their goals are results of well drilled attacking moves, nothing happens spontaneously.

This is what makes their football much more appealing for viewers; they choreograph football to the point where it looks like an HBO comedy special or a Shakespeare tragedy. For the reasons mentioned above Barcelona FC brand of attacking football demands more from the manager than that of a defensive team.

Like I tried to mention earlier, defensive team managers are mainly responsible for team organization when the opponent has the ball, the rest depends a lot on individual quality of players on the pitch. People say Pep Guardiola is just lucky to have superstars in his team and he'll struggle once he takes over a less galactic one.

The truth, however, is that without any major signing and after offloading Ronalidnho, Pep's team of 2008/09 season was a huge, huge improvement on that of Frank Rijkaard. Now we all know who has the last say when it comes to finding our identity. Personally, I don't mind Chelsea in either of the two categories. I used to enjoy our invincible defensive play and the discipline our players showed to defend against the might's of Catalonia both under Gus Hiddnik and RDM. But the owner has his own idea.

What's yours?

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: zosBlue Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday November 28 2012

Time: 1:42PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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@zosblue, this a well written article filled with quality, we need more of such on VC, I wrote something a bit similar in another article about identity, decisions and style, we need to play different patterns and not the barca way alone, we need to first learn the passing game where we'll hold possession of the ball and recycle the ball from the defence to an attack that is lethal, we need to get players to do what the coach wants, we currently have players in this cfc squad who gives the ball away unnecessarily, (if u doubt that, watch tonights game and remember me), our players don't hold possession or press teams, we need to have stability too in the dug outs both at the youth and first team level, I read an article about the shakter coach, the man have been there since 2005(correct me if I am wrong) and we all saw who benefited from that, roman has ro stop firing managers like a madman, his hunger for instant success will make chelsea implode!! Stability is the way forward, if he really thinks pep is the man, give pep a contract of 5 years with no pressure!
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28/11/2012 14:00:00

"It's possible to play attacking football, like Barcelona, with these players," Benitez told reporters. "But I have spent some time with Roman, and we were not talking about the Barcelona style. "He wants to see his team play well. We watched the under-21s - me, him, Michael Emenalo and John Terry - and we were talking about the opposition players. Roman says he wants to see the team playing well and winning, but not with the Barcelona style. He knows we don’t have [Lionel] Messi, Xavi, [Andres] Iniesta - players who have been working together for years.".................Read more:
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28/11/2012 14:07:00

Nuff said^^
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28/11/2012 14:10:00

Football is a game of art with two obvious aspect: Attacking and Defending. There is no way you can completely seperate one from the other hence a team cannot foolishly go on attacking without defending or completely focused on defending without thinking of attack. They are the two vital aspects of the game but the key is simply finding the right balance and that will make it look easier on the eye. That is where the job lies and not every manager has that quality to find the balance. Howbeit, as desmond rightly said, stability is very important. Given the right environment and enough time to work, we can acheive that balance in chelsea fc.
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28/11/2012 14:12:00

felt what Abramovich really wanted was a manager with "a clear idea". "Twenty-six years in charge and I can guarantee I've had a lot of different owners, presidents and chairmen," Benitez said. "If you have confidence in yourself and explain yourself, everyone can understand. "My impression of [Abramovich] is he's a nice person. You can talk with him. He likes to see you have a clear idea: 'I think it's white because of this or that', or, 'This is black because of this or that'."...............
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28/11/2012 14:21:00

Exaclty what I've been saying all along. RDM probably didn't have a clear idea or he didn't know how to communicate it, especially when tempers were high after the Juve game he didn't have answers so he had to go
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28/11/2012 14:23:00

Releasing Meireles made sense if RDM had played Romeu more often for him to improve. It was a plan that RDM didn't implement, he had to go
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28/11/2012 14:24:00

likewise Essien
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28/11/2012 14:25:00

People actually admire Barcelona for their style of passing which is obviously an art of attacking but fail to understand that their pressing of the ball is an art of defending(side pressing,double pressing,forward pressing e.t.c) they have mastered the art of pressing which made them a pretty decent was a pretty balanced team under Pep...They scored lots of goals and didn't concede many.
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28/11/2012 14:32:00

@Mq so you feel RDM made the decision to let Meireles go...Well Rafa obviously made the decision to let Lamps and Ash go as well. The board made the decision. I feel Robbie gave us a brand of attacking football we have not seen at CFC for a while,we were every media pundits sweet heart for a while,but like every team it takes a while to achieve balance between defending and attacking. As long as we keep changing managers the club will continue to loose an identity as every manager comes up with a plan/style.
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28/11/2012 14:35:00

The Barcelona brand of football was a project for almost two decades,a brand of football,Pep was part of as a youth player,first team player,captain,Reserve coach and First team coach.
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28/11/2012 14:38:00

@nelyvanile, my exact sentiments on this whole fiasco called barcelona style an attacking display.
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28/11/2012 15:15:00

I am very much an advocate of stability and long term planning which demands patience,tolerance and understanding. Unfortunately the owner doesnt see it that way. I for one ,though got tired of Robbies tactical lapses,was ready to let him learn from his mistakes and effect the changes,correcting the inherent flaws with time. Truth is Roman never saw him as a long term handler and so didnt trust him to bounce back,and it sure appeared he could not. . All i have to do is take my beloved team the way it is. We can only but hope Rafa get it right,not for him,but the sake of our beloved club.
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28/11/2012 15:26:00

What people fail to realize is that,Barca as a team is very good at pressing. We are so terrible in this aspect that it really frustrates me. Our players and staff arent robots after all,they are humans and they watch football and probably understand it more than the average joe,but no one has tried to implement that. THE 6SECOND RULE AT BARCA WAS IMPLEMENTED BY GUARDIOLA,it simply shows the guy is a genius in his own right even if im not a fan of his. We dont need to have Iniesta or Xavi to keep possession. If we can just press well off the ball like the barca players do,this team will be able to have more possession and thereby create more chances. Also,i think the talk about our defence is somehow exaggerated. If you look at the table(which never lies btw),you will find that we are joint third with least goals conceded which brings me to the conclusion,if we had a good enough striker to lead the line,The pressure on that defence wouldnt have been this obvious. Other than city,all the teams above us have conceded more!
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28/11/2012 15:46:00

@MQ has linked to the exact quotes that need to be considered here. We have never sacked a manager for playing "boring" football. Even Jose in his final days wasn't let go because he was playing masterful defense, more he was let go due to "differences of opinion" with the owner. Something that to my understanding from reading various Jose interviews he has now cleared the air on with Roman (hense my belief that he will likely be the next Chelsea manager). As for "What Roman wants...." I can only believe exactly what Benitez has said.... It may well have started with Roman questing for a more exciting style, but the guy is a successful business man and values winning above all else. He's not going to watch the team lose week after week and miss out on trophies despite playing wonderful football. As a case in point, Wenger would have been sacked 5 years ago if Roman was the owner of Arsenal. No success = pack your bags. I firmly believe that the first thing Roman wants is for the team to be competative in every match. I bet teh beating at the hands of Athletico was the first thing that set the alarm bells going. Then the capitulation to Juve after being two up at home would certainly have left a bad taste. Like it or not, RDM was not fired for being boring. Nor was he fired for not playing Torres. He was fired because the team was not competing with others and the levels of performance on field were simply not up to expectation. The more I think about the Rafa appointment the more it makes sense to me. Roman knows the fans and players won't like this. The won't like Rafa as a person, but by god will the team have to perform. He has no friends here. If people want to play then they need to perform or out they go. Petr Cech has already said as much in a recent interview.... Pick up your game or pick up your bags and ship out. Mourinho is the master of the siege mentality and AVB tried (but failed) to do the same.... If you're not with me then you're against me (Alex/Anelka requested transfers BEFORE being shunned from the squad). Rafa is not going to take any $hit from anyone and I think that is going to lead to either an improvement of focus on the field or an implosion in the back room. One thing for certain is that player power is slowly coming to an end at Chelsea and it appears that Terry and Cech know it all too well and are already on the "Back Rafa" bandwagon.... Very smart moves indeed
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28/11/2012 15:48:00

I liked your idea of bringing your point by analysing the social context of human being.
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28/11/2012 16:18:00

I am laughing out loud at bizarre's comment, mate u really have a way with words and with the way u make ur opinions known, in a simple and straight forward way, I'll be learning from urs and gabeu surely..
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28/11/2012 16:50:00

Whoever is it that started this stupid rumor of RA wanting us to play like Barca did a good job.... I think people should understand that RA is not stupid and even if he is, the advicers around him can not all be stupid together... RA may have demanded for an exciting brand of football and used Barca as a reference point but not necessarily asking that you must play like Barca or get fired... Win matches by playing good football is what he probaly meant and if you want to play ugly, make sure u keep winning... And about the relase of Meireless and Essien, RDM must have given his opinion before those players were eventually released. If as a manager, u know the release of some players will have negative impact on your chances of winning, then it is your duty to convince management to retain such players or resign if the management feel otherwise.... If you must accept to go on with the job with a team you know will undermine your effort then u must be able to improvise or pay the price when things go wrong. All the talk of managers not having a say in transfers and losing their jobs cos of that makes no sense, nobody was forced o accept the job offer..... and you can always resign if the terms doesn't suit you....
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28/11/2012 17:01:00

we can play our own style of attractive football, dortmund and bayern somehow play attractive footie but it is not tiki taka, arsenal too. we can play our own attractive footie, we have wingers, creative players who like playing through the middle, we can play tiki taka when we have neymar, and with mazacar behind him we will be exciting to watch, use our wingers for planB with lukaku striking, for all this happen we need a stable manager and good management of players.
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28/11/2012 17:06:00

There's a total misunderstanding here...Barcelona are the point of reference whenever you talk about teams that play exciting football. Arsenal play exciting football,Swansea play exciting passing footy,Dortmund do,Shakhtar do...I could go on and on about teams that play really exciting football,but its whenever u address a team that plays exciting passing football its termed 'Barcelona esque' football...That's probably where the comparism came from. Emenalo visiting the Barcelona Academy quite often,the chase to acquire Guardiola...There's no disputing that Roman wants his team to play exciting footy,and the best team at that in the world is Barcelona. So you can as well say the comparism are justified.
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28/11/2012 17:22:00

@3nity...I studied the art of Pressing back as a teenager,while under the tutoring of my father who is a coach,and I can assure you mate its not an easy feat. It has to do with a lot of understanding between team mates and co-ordination...Misconception in the timing of pressing can leave u totally opened,and ull definitely be exploited. Depending on the type of Pressing you employ,the hardest to implement is the 'Double Pressing' as its more involves two players attacking the opposition on the ball from different directions,9/10 times he ends up loosing the ball,but its hard to implement bcos,there has to be a co-ordination and timing involved,the two players pressing leave there positions open,and need other players to pluck that position ready for another launch of Pressing...Its pretty difficult to explain without chalk boards...Anyways,watch Shakthar and Dortmund...they implement the art of pressing as well.
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28/11/2012 17:30:00

Very nice debates on here. Bottom line is RA emphasizes good football,but the basic prerequisite for holding your managerial position is keep on winning or atleast,do not appear clueless.
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28/11/2012 17:33:00

The brand of footy we have been known for over the years though has brought us tremendous success,but it is certainly not very attractive. Yes,i can have it anyday over playing sexy and losing titles. But if there's a chance in the world we can get them titles while playing beautiful football,why not? Thats the new philosophy i guess. Might really not be the Barca type of footy,but should be one that maintains good balance between attack and defense,thus,score more n conceed less with good degree of possession and passing game. That can bring up the prestige you know. re on point. Barca can be used as example,that doesnt really imply we have to be another them. We are more or less copying some of their principles to rebrand our football. About our game against City,noticed we were very disciplined,didnt conceed a single card. Nice place to build on.
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28/11/2012 18:29:00

now, we are talking .
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28/11/2012 18:33:00

What happened in the west brom dressing room done for RDM.
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28/11/2012 18:40:00

not playing torres against Juve is what done for RDM.
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28/11/2012 23:16:00

well said bizzareblue.... well said. I'm pretty sure the reason RDM was let go was simply the fact that his team was outplayed many time and also appeared incompetent and defensively disorganised(look at the goals conceded esp in recent weeks)... We were outplayed by Athletico,juve,westbrom and even the second half of the liverpool match(imagine that).
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29/11/2012 01:59:00

Well said Bizarre :)
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29/11/2012 06:45:00

@nelyvanile, yes, it takes a while some time to finetune the team. But, maybe the board thought that they are giving time to the wrong guy. I hope RA will give long enough time if he was convinced about the direction the manager has. He gave AVB till March (from November till March - 4months) to bring the things back to control. But AVB lost in that, and ultimately he was sacked. We should not forget that RA was very much furious because fo events which led to AVB sacking. He liked AVB very much. He likes Pep...if he can get Pep, I am sure he will give him lot of time to make things right.
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29/11/2012 08:02:00

Nice Bizarre
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29/11/2012 08:08:00

@Desmond, thanks man. I feel like we've discussed people and events for too long (with out having any fun in the process). Its time to go back to discussing ideas.
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29/11/2012 08:10:00

@Bizarre, I agree RDM was fired for not being competitive. That is the immediate cause of his sacking. But it is not the ROOT cause. I think you are undermining RA's obsession with exciting football (I'm sure you've seen him jerk his limbs with thrill when he watches the game). Yes he expects his team to be competitive but he has equal desire to see Chelsea become an exciting team to watch. Has success been the dominant factor in his involvement with the beautiful game, RA would've listened to his business man instinct and wouldn't allow a thing as silly as "differences of opinion" get in the way between him and Jose.
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29/11/2012 08:14:00

roman and torres sitting in a tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G roman loves torres wants the fat roman obliged...but osc-mat-haz were clicking so well under rdm....but that matters not owing to roman's love for torres.
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29/11/2012 08:23:00

roman and torres sitting in a tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G roman loves torres wants the fat roman obliged...but osc-mat-haz were clicking so well under rdm....but that matters not owing to roman's love for torres.
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29/11/2012 08:23:00

@3nity, I had to cut out at least a quarter of my original article for it was too long. In the original post, I also tried to emphasize, considering the sort of players in our current squad, the importance of a 'high pressing game', the need for taking risk.....I'm glad you raised the six second rule in FC Barca. May be you also noticed that Guardiola has designated dribblers in a lineup while the rest of the team is expected to move the ball all the time :0)
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29/11/2012 08:32:00

GR8 ARTICLE ZOS. For every beautiful creation there has a base. so in football also u should have a base for any kind of football whether it is attacking or defending. At present the reference point to football is Barcelona simply because of their style. it is elegant, beautiful, mouth watering and above all entertaining for neutral fans. Barcelona didnt started this in 4 years but implemented by cryuff 20 years before continue to upgrade their philosophy of attacking football and implementing this through their academy is biggest plus they have. if Roman want to see attacking football then i think he have to completely restructure the club. there should be one system in a club so that it would be very easy for the coaches to integrate the youth players into first team. at present i think reserves and first team plays same formation which i think suit most of our reserve players as they are playing this system for some time and there will be no problem for them to come and play some minutes for the first team.
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29/11/2012 12:00:00

Doesnt make sense, but the upcoming sacking for our worst care taker manager ever would make sense. Sack him. The sooner the better
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29/11/2012 12:09:00

im fed up with saying this we need stability cant anyone see this , you cant keep firing managers and start again its a mess and look whats happening now unlike last season when robbie took over the players played for him this is not going to happen now with rafa,we will be trophyless and not even in the top 4 so wont qualify for the champions league next season ,Disgraceful. im mr angry and i aint alone
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29/11/2012 13:46:00


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