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Cisse Magic Means Glory Or Bust In Munich

Sunday 6th May 2012
A tired and flat Chelsea performance against Newcastle United was punished by two stunners from Papiss Cisse and a well organised Newcastle side, which now leaves Chelsea in the precarious position of having to beat Bayern in Munich to qualify for next season's Champions League.  Despite our recent revival, it seems that a few spectacular performances on massive European nights, when the players are desperate to succeed cannot cover up the clear shortcomings of the squad: there are no wingers of any real quality, and we are far too reliant on Lampard and especially Mata to provide quality passing and creativity from central areas.

This was exposed against Newcastle, as we played our 57th game of the season and sixth in the last couple of weeks, with Mata and Lampard rested there was no quality in the middle of the park, as expected. Mikel does his job well; reads the game, breaks up play and moves the ball on to supposedly technically superior players. However when these players are: Meireles, Sturridge, Malouda or Ramires, who aren't natural wingers, the system doesn't work as the midfield move the ball sideways and the wingers don't take players on.

Meaning that versus Newcastle we moved the ball slowly, with no cutting edge, which in turn left the relatively impressive and sharp Torres isolated and frustrated. Defensively we were solid despite what the 0-2 score line may suggest, the teams were separated by two moments of magic which we could have done little about, the second goal being as good as any I have seen live.

Newcastle, with the immense Coloccini in defense and Tiote marshalling just in front had little problem keeping us out, our only real chance was a Malouda header well set up by Torres, but poorly executed. Meaning that Tim Krul had a much quieter game than he could have expected playing Chelsea away, which may well be why he was so keen to hold on to the ball whenever he had it.

On a positive note though, it does seem as though the board have identified wingers as a priority as they have acted quickly to sign Marko Marin from Bremen, who is a lively and quick winger, but one who has never realised his potential and justified his reputation from a young age. I imagine though that he will get plenty of chances next season to prove himself, and hopefully he can provide some of the width and pace we lack. In addition to this a creative, passing midfielder would be greatly appreciated. Last season we unsuccessfully trailed Modric all summer and he is the right sort of player, however I would prefer to see Cabaye sign, as he: would be cheaper, has had a better season and is more productive in terms of goals and assists, whilst also being a very good passer. A right back, striker and another winger would also go a long way to strengthening our squad, as a summer clear out is inevitable.

Despite missing out on the top four (barring a minor miracle) we have still had a brilliant finish to the season and if we do manage to go one step further and beat Liverpool and Bayern then I doubt any Chelsea fan will be overly concerned about where we finish in the league, especially if it means we have the chance to kick Tottenham out of next year's Champions League. We may well lose both games, but major cup finals are the high point of being a football fan and I imagine a football player, so I certainly wouldn't swap being there and the opportunity to win silverware, for a quiet end to the season and the ‘fake trophy' of a top four finish.
Ben Carey-Evans

Total articles: 8

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