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Chelsea Change Must Begin Now

Saturday 10th December 2011
It has become apparent that this season that under the tutelage of Andre Villas-Boas, Chelsea have adopted a far more stylish way of playing. If this is to bring trophies will be discovered, but what we have seen is a Chelsea side that are willing to attack sides patiently, and use intelligence to break open opposing sides. The new manager has assembled a talented squad with creative players littered all over the park, and from defenders to forwards, the Blues are not short of players that can carve sides open.

We can start at the back, Chelsea seem to be playing out of defence far more this season. On the flanks Jose Bosingwa and Ashley Cole have been given license to roam freely, giving them opportunities to cross and beginning to create spaces all over the park for others to exploit. Without doubt this has caused my problems, with Chelsea struggling often why they get caught on the break, as they leave gaps at the back. In the centre things have changed largely with the introduction of the technically gifted David Luiz, who seems to spend more time marauding in midfield or on mazy forward runs than putting in his shift at the back. The Brazilian has been criticised rightly for his lack of defensive work, and some supporters may wish he put as much effort into marking and tackling as he does his exquisitely executed bicycle kicks.

The captain John Terry continues as always to read the game and encourage his team, as well as provide the solid structure from which Chelsea can build on from the back. This season however has been the beginning of some scepticism towards Terry, with some being of the opinion that he is become too slow, especially with the new high line implemented by Villas-Boas. The defence may no longer be as strong as it was originally, but more players are likely to score goals, especially Terry and Ivanovic from dead ball opportunities, and David Luiz wherever on the pitch he may have wandered. The midfield is now a very different place. Many of the players have stayed the same, but Chelsea are of a different mindset and the style in which they are currently plying reflects this.

At the heart of everything now is Ramires. The 24 year old has gradually worked his way into Chelsea fans hearts, and after a slow start to his Chelsea career he is now beginning to have a great impact. Blessed with an incredible engine, and quick off the mark, Ramires has the pace and awareness to run away from his marker and is starting to master the run behind the defence from midfield. This trademark of scoring goals from late midfield runs can be applied to another player, fans favourite Frank Lampard. The Englishman may have temporarily fallen out of favour with Fabio Capello, but although he is not as manoeuvrable as in past times, his passing, eye for goal and dead ball prowess is matched by few others in the club. After being left out of this weeks game at Valencia however, some now doubt how highly Villas-Boas rates the attacking midfielder, or whether this is just a part of his rotation policy. The major change however, is the introduction of Juan Mata to the squad. The ex-Valencia playmaker has settled quickly at the Bridge, and has been the main catalyst for change so far this season, bringing a needed essence of creativity and technical superiority to a sometimes impatient midfield.

The young talented Oriol Romeu has come in from Barcelona and looks a very impressive prospect, and could fill the void that has been vacated with the injury of the immense Micheal Essien. A big issue with Chelsea currently is their lack of wingers, which could contribute to them being outplayed out wide. There is little doubt that when he produces, Florent Malouda is an extremely important player, but every season he does appear to go missing for a stretch. Other than that however, without spreading Mata, Anelka or Sturridge onto the flanks, Chelsea do appear to be struggling in that area. Going forward Chelsea have many choices. If we are to see the old Fernando Torres return, his form will play a crucial role in the pursuit of silverware for the club this year. His quick feet and clinical finishing are what fans expect to see, and if he can forge a partnership with either Didier Drogba or in my opinion, more likely Daniel Sturridge, then Chelsea will be playing host to a strong striking partnership. Sturridge has come on leaps and bounds since his loan move to Bolton, and the potential is was so evident he could fulfil, is now coming to fruition.

Didier Drogba is beginning to looks back to his brilliant best, as a powerful, bullying player, he strikes fear into every defence he plays, and on his day is a centre-backs nightmare. Villas-Boas side are also harbouring Nicolas Anelka in their ranks, although some of his recent performances have been unconvincing at best, and he has recently handed in a transfer request. Lastly the Belgium wonderkid Romelu Lukaku will provide added competition, and have time to learn from Didier Drogba, which can only aid this talented young mans future. Chelsea are approaching a new era, where they must plan for the future and set a stable base to stay as one of the top clubs in England for a long time. They have the players to do it both now and in years to come, and with a young new manager who will hopefully be here for the long haul, have the structure in place to enforce these ideas.

Chelsea has everything in place to continue its success, and it must do all it can to sustain these positive times at the club. We must realise that trophies will not come every year, and that managing to be in a position to seriously compete in all competitions is one we must try to maintain.
Jack Wedderkop
Hopefully going to start writing a few articles for the site, and getting involved in the forums. A massive Chelsea fan, although you may catch me at Portsmouth games as they are local. Hoping both teams have good seasons. Favourite players of my lifetime include Frank Lampard, Eidur Gudjohnsen, John Terry, Didier Drogba, Arjen Robben, Rivaldo, Lionel Messi, Ronaldo (Brazil) and Zinadine Zidane.

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