Monday, November 21, 2011

Chelsea vs Liverpool - reviewed by fans

The end of the international week brought back smiles to quite a few Football fans around the world. On Sunday, the Premiership fans around the world watched on as Chelsea hosted Liverpool at Stamford bridge. Games like this draw up millions of viewers from around the world, and as Liverpool beat Chelsea away from home for the second year running, 2-1, I got the views of 2 of their dedicated international supporter.

The Chelsea fan's perspective - written by Mohamed Harb, who you can follow on Twitter - @figo29. Also have a glance at his great blog, Here's what he had to say:

A wise man once taught me never to write letters or articles when I'm angry or happy, but instead to wait until I am neutral with the way I am feeling. However, I cannot hold myself back from lamenting a poor display and another Chelsea loss. Chelsea conceded in the dying minutes of the game against Liverpool to receive their second consecutive home defeat and the third in their last four league matches. 

Where should I start? Mikel? Terry and Luiz? Drogba and Malouda? That’s almost half the team. Old, predictable, error-prone, uncreative, and distracted, are some of the words that I can throw at the current Chelsea squad. Juan Mata should be questioning his agent now about his move to Stamford Bridge as he was left alone with a God-like role to try and save the day. 

The team, if we can call Chelsea that at the moment, were outsmarted in the first half against a solid Liverpool. A lacklustre performance by Drogba added to the poor showing. The second half had some lively moments from the men in blue but those moments were only enough to score one goal. Liverpool were the side with more possession throughout the game and even when they were under pressure they managed to reorganize themselves and attempt counter-attacks directed at the heart of a shaky Chelsea defence composed of John Terry and David Luiz. 

I still have faith in Villas-Boas and I do hope that Abramovich will splash his millions in January. But until then, and when Boxing Day comes around, some tactical rectifications are needed. Villas-Boas did one right thing against Liverpool though; that was the inclusion of Ivanovic instead of Bosingwa. However, just reiterating what I've said previously, Mikel should not be a Chelsea player anymore because the club is bigger than him (I guess Sir Alex Ferguson will write one day how he is happy that he lost the battle for Mikel's signature years ago). AVB should trust Oriol Romeu from now on in a midfield supported by Lampard and Meireles. Mata behind Sturridge and Torres should be enough for the upcoming matches, while Drogba, Anelka, and Kalou should start packing.

12 games are already gone and 12 points are separating Chelsea (now fourth with Tottenham yet to play Aston Villa) from Manchester City - who are leading the table. If that’s not enough for Chelsea’s management to change things now, then all I can say is the Wolves will eat us alive next week. 

The Liverpool fan's perspective - written by Patrick Makhoul, who you can follow on Twitter - @pat_makhoul. One of the most passionate, yet reasonable, Liverpool supporters you'll ever find: 

Coming into this game, Liverpool were unbeaten in eight games since our defeat against Spurs, but three of those games were draws against teams we should have beaten, where we had so many chances, but somehow wasted them. Liverpool still have one of the best defensive records in the league, but it doesn't feel that way because those draws felt like losses! Things didn't seem to be so uphill for Liverpool coming into this game and as a fan, I try to consistently remain optimistic, but at times (as all fans know) it can be a difficult process. We seem to forget that this Liverpool team is new and is in the process of being rebuilt. Sometimes certain things take time to "click". 

I wasn't sure what to expect with this game against Chelsea. I was hoping they wouldn't bounce back from their poor run of form against us. What was also worrying was the fact that Torres seemed to be regaining his form before he stupidly got sent off and missed three games. There were three players I thought could win the game for Chelsea and I wasn't looking forward to watching them play against us and those were Mata, Torres & Sturridge, so I was (pleasantly) surprised when AVB decided not to start Torres or Sturridge. 

What was a bigger surprise to me, was Dalglish's team selection. He dropped Downing, Henderson & Carroll, and instead brought in Bellamy, Maxi & Kuyt, which I thought was a great move. We dominated the first half thanks to his team selection. Suarez, Bellamy & Maxi played well together and the first goal was proof of that. Lucas was brilliant in the middle of the park and Adam was a key player as well, helping out with the first goal. Agger and Skrtel were solid in the back, G. Johnson was slightly average and I thought he could have done more against Malouda. Enrique was pretty good, but he needs to be more decisive as he moves the ball forward. Suarez wasn't able to bring his fantastic form from international duty with him and didn't seem quite himself at times.I wasn't sure why I was worried though, Chelsea did nothing in that first half. David Luiz was indisciplined and was the weak link in their defence. Mata failed to produce much and Drogba was a distant figure because he wasn't getting any service. So as the first half ended, I was cautiously optimistic.

The second half started with a positive change for Chelsea, as Sturridge came on for Mikel. It took 10 minutes for them to level the scoreline with a great cross for Sturridge to finish off. But it was a soft goal to concede and there were blatant errors that should have never happened leading up to that goal. The first one was that Malouda should never have gotten that amount of space to get into that position and the second was the fact that the defence should have dealt with it and not let it get through. A few minutes later we were nearly punished again if it were not for the brilliance of Pepe Reina, Ivanovic's low cross would have gone in. It was all Chelsea from there, we were on the back foot but our defence held firm, until Malouda had a free shot that he scuffed.

I was glad to see Dalglish give Henderson a shot in a role he'd be more accustomed to than playing on the right. He showed some of his potential when he came on. My heart started pounding at a much faster rate as I saw Meireles and Torres getting ready to come on, I had a flashback to earlier in the season when Meireles played a massive role in us securing 3 points against Arsenal. But it didn't matter, because three minutes later we witnessed the brilliance from an unexpected player, Glen Johnson, who has talent, but I don't think anyone expected him to score - and in such a fantastic manner! I'm sure even Messi would applaud! Charlie Adam set up the pass to Johnson who evaded Ashley Cole (it might have even been a nutmeg) as well as Malouda to score the winning goal. Did I mention it was brilliant?

We still have a lot of work to do, fourth place is a realistic position we can end up in, but the team will need to work hard and show more determination. Kenny needs to find a solution for our second half blues. I think what this game showed is that we have depth in our squad with players like Maxi, Bellamy and Kuyt who can come off the bench and perform when they need to. We won tonight because the teamed performed well even under pressure by Chelsea, we didn't rely on Suarez much and even though we missed some chances, the team didn't quit and ultimately succeeded to find a way through to score a magnificent winning goal.

1 comment:

  1. The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.