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A cautionary tale

The first day of this year`s knock out games for the champion`s league have now been completed and essentially those two series are essentially over in my book before the second set of games are even played. There is a lesson we must learn from these two games that I hope Jose and our boys have taken note of.

In both games a penalty was awarded and in both games a player was given their matching orders. One guess as to which teams essentially tied up the series as a result (hint in both cases it was the team that ended the game with 11 players and got a penalty kick to boot) . The lesson to be learnt is obvious; this is the Champions league and not the BPL, the referees in this competition are a different breed and if you give them half the excuse they will insert themselves in the game and decide the outcome. With Chelsea FC this is an even more germane issue. You only need recall how many PKs we conceded in our runs to the Champions league title in Bavaria and the Europa league title in Monaco to appreciate that we are not exactly UEFA`s darling team. Needless to say our manager is also not exactly the favorite of Platini and co.

The point of all this is the following; We dare not tempt fate when we take on Galatasary. I cannot imagine what Pellegrini was thinking by starting Demichellis against Barca of all teams. When I saw the line ups I literally said to myself that he would regret that decision and it was almost as if I was clairvoyant (BTW I am not) because the guy single handedly ended that series for city with a bone head tackle that would probably have been called the same way even in the BPL not to mention in the Champions league against UEFA and Platini`s favorite team. While Demichellis did the dark deed on the pitch one can reasonably say Pellegrini is ultimately to blame because he made the call to start the guy despite all the warning signs from the guys prior appearances.

With this in mind much as I love the guy I must be honest; if I see David Luiz listed as one of our Center backs against Gala I will be praying hard for divine mercies because that will be a cause for major apprehension. Against tricky mobile strikers like the drogs and Borac Yilmaz , David Luiz in Center defence is a penalty and possible ejection just waiting to happen.

Luiz has shown his value in center midfield and has partnered very effectively with Matic in one of our best showings this season(unfortunately we wont have the luxury of Matic for the champions league which would be another reason to move Luiz there to partner either Ramires or Lamps). As a Center back though, Luiz simply hasn`t demonstrated the cool and calm head required to safely navigate a champions league game against quality opposition without incident. To be brutally honest that he has not conceded a PK thus far in his recent CB appearances is more the result of the benevolence of the referees involved than himself. I am sorry but that is the plain truth as I see it.

Lest anyone think I am singling out Luiz for some hard words, I would hasten to add that our entire back line and frankly the entire team need to have drummed deep into their ears to defend with smarts and calm. They need to stay upright when making tackles especially in the 18 yard box…sliding tackles especially there are a recipe for disaster. The rugby tackling techniques and other dark arts that players often get away with in the BPL will likely get called and punished severely in the champions league especially if we are the offenders. The same goes for hand balls, pushes etc. In the final analysis our defenders should be willing and ready to allow the attacker go without a tackle if they are the last man and hope Cech can save our bacon rather than risk a very low percentage dangerous tackle that could see them get red carded, concede a PK (which essentially hands the opposition a goal) and may then tilt the entire tie heavily against us. We don`t exactly have an offense that has been confidence inspiring so starting behind on goal aggregate and a man down could end up being a fatal blow for us.

Our players must also be very careful about riling the refs. These champion`s league refs generally have short fuses and especially for anyone wearing a Chelsea jersey they are literally looking for any half excuse to brandish a card. Our players also need to be reminded that as long as it remains 11 vs 11 I fancy our chances against any team in Europe. We always have a chance 11 v 11 but down one or two men those odds plummet severely. We need to make sure that despite the fact we have experience doing this in the past ( and yet managing to prevail ), that this time around we actually make things a little easier on ourselves by not getting any player ejections and not conceding any foolish Penalty kicks. While I realize that our chances of winning the Champions league this year are slim I would like us to be the last BPL team left standing and so outlast City, ManU and the gunners. To do that we need to at least get past Gala who are no push over. The experiences of City and Bayer Leverkusen so far offer a cautionary tale of exactly how not to approach this upcoming tie if we are to prevail. KTBFFH.

( and by the way despite this counsel i also fully expect Jose as he has now made standard training protocol for his teams prepping for 'big matches' to include some drill training for 10 v 11 just never know!!!)

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The Journalist

Writer: GabeU Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday February 19 2014

Time: 3:18AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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Viva Chelsea.
Pavel Permiachkin
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19/02/2014 04:04:00

I think Terry should be well enough by the time we play Gala. So far from what we seen from Jose I don't expect him to do what we all been calling for and that is move Luiz to midfield while Iva should be a CB mainly or at least cover in cases like this.
Pavel Permiachkin
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19/02/2014 04:06:00

For all i know David luiz is not a center back but a midfileder he scares me anytime i saw his name as one of our center back in a game hope JT recovers well to play
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19/02/2014 06:16:00

I too think JM should partner luiz n matic in the pivot.the inconsistency of rami should be enough to the manager not to use him in some matches.
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19/02/2014 06:17:00

Matic is cup tied ,probably Luiz and Mikel in the pivot as Terry will be back . Ramires and Iva are two players that could pick up red cards just as easy as sideshow .
Michael Reid
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19/02/2014 08:16:00

Whew! can i promise my boys will not get red carded nor give me heartache in any competition?? Never! Que sara sara, may the god of soccer be with us! why do we keep asking for iva to vacate RB when its clear as daylight that he gives us aerial advantage and threat we can use in set pieces. He is one of the best when it comes to heading the ball, he can mark, he can tackle, can hassle, not easily beaten and yea sadly with a dreadful cross. But then for him to vacate the position for Azpi so the left side can be as porous as a basket, that i will not support. Hence, am with jose on this.
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19/02/2014 10:39:00

We need to be alert and focused throughout. We are no strangers to refereeing disasters.
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19/02/2014 11:44:00

our midfield is not good enough ....and without matic its even more weak...player like rami and mikel are not good enough to play in our our only chance is playing luiz oscar pivot and use schrulle eden willian behind striker....rami and mikel should be kept far away from our first team...they both are not good enough....
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19/02/2014 12:23:00

@foreign_viewer your best coach @city needs help
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19/02/2014 13:20:00

Rami/Luiz or maybe even Lamps with one of them. Mikel's typical 5-6 out of 10 "he did nothing wrong" performance is just not enough if we want to win.
Pavel Permiachkin
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19/02/2014 13:48:00

^^ Exactly. That somes up Mikel perfectly.
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19/02/2014 14:51:00

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19/02/2014 14:51:00

Shlok27 has it right...a Mikel/Lampard/Ramires pivot is a disaster. Moreover, CFC can't play Mikel and Ramires on the pitch at the same time as they lack creativity. Its like CFC plays with 10 men. However, change to a 4-3-3 with Oscar/Luiz/Lampard in the midfield. Or substitute Schurrle for Lampard? Regardless, CFC lacks Matic and the correct pivot players. NO Ramires/Lampard/Mikel in the pivot. CFC needs to resolve this long term issue. Neither Ramires nor Mikel should be starters for this team. If CFC wants to win the league, there is no way either can start. Oscar needs to show up and have a good game.
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19/02/2014 15:17:00

Honestly I am surprised that lately shloks post don't really bug me and I actually agree with some of them O.o
Pavel Permiachkin
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19/02/2014 15:28:00

while trolling about luiz is a poor defender ,also mention how terry has costed cfc ucl games .also how iva and cahil are also erratic at the back.its a fact that no fun here is better than scollari,benitez or anceloti in trusting luiz.plz stop this english bias and let mou decide.
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19/02/2014 15:56:00

Luiz will move to midfield with lamps. And JT with cahil
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19/02/2014 16:22:00

@pavel, sorry to say but we have actually won enough cups with mikel in the team but i understand where you are coming from
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19/02/2014 17:43:00

though luiz offers more impetus, aggressive and fight than mikel. which is why i will choose him over mikel in the big games but i fear he might end his career not actually knowing the best position he fits in like demichelles is...
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19/02/2014 18:09:00

That argument doesn't change the fact of what I said. We won the CL with Bosingwa, Kalou, past prime Malouda, Bertrand as LW etc. etc.
Pavel Permiachkin
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19/02/2014 18:39:00

It changes it because you said 'if we want to win' hence am trying to tell you mikel playing doesn't automatically spell defeat.
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19/02/2014 19:01:00

He doesn't but if we want to win implies that we put our best 11 with the most optimism to win. Like if we play Barca or Bayern tomorrow I am picking Matic if he was able to play ahead of Mikel. The 5-6 out of 10 "hw did nothing wrong" performance just wouldn't sit right with me, especially when we start chasing games. How many of those trophies did we win where it couldn't have happend with someone else in his place, and that especially includes the CL everyone clinges to.
Pavel Permiachkin
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19/02/2014 19:08:00

So yes if we want to win against a good strong side I am not picking him.
Pavel Permiachkin
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19/02/2014 19:11:00

Mikel was the man of the match against bayern if am not mistaken. Against barca, he was awesome. Now tell me what you mean by making that comment of yours, childish as usual I guess. You will never cease to make me laugh. "If we want to win" indeed! Is high time your dad started locking up his computer at home before going to work.
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20/02/2014 12:55:00

Yeah very awesome. I am surprised you did not go as far as to say we needed him those games and we won because of him. Lol if we want to win I want our best 11 out there with individuals who contribute the most, not him.
Pavel Permiachkin
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20/02/2014 14:08:00

Luiz has played in the CL before, this is not his first showing. He will know how to control himself. Having said that, I do agree that midfield is his best and less dangerous position.
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21/02/2014 02:28:00

If we get a Swede I'd rather just stay home to watch the game with some mates because if I go to a pub I'll most likely breakout in handcuffs. Ovrebo that donkey still haunts my dreams.
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21/02/2014 05:48:00

It seems CFC fans learnt totally nothing from the two games. They di not see that football has changed and defenders have to be very good with the ball and plays more offensively ie Dani alves and Alaba.
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21/02/2014 07:56:00


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