OUR old pal Michael Conway, Chelsea’s exiled supporter – An Englishfan in New York – reacts to the champions’ reverse at Manchester City…
TO USE a golfism, the Champions have started this season with the equivalent of a Post Birdie F*** Up!
The only good news is that it’s early days and there is plenty of time to improve. I did hear that no team has won the Premiership after not winning one of their opening two games. Mind you, Chelsea should have different priorities this year. Last season it was imperative for us to win the League after not appearing on the winner’s podium for a little too long, this year it is the Champions League that should be top of the club’s shopping list.
Manchester City were deserved winners today. If not for some heroics from our new goalkeeping No.2, Asmir Begovich, it could have been embarrassing.
He thwarted Sergio Aguero on at least thee occasions in the first half. The Argentine forward showing his good sportsmanship by clapping at one of the latter efforts.
City have won back-to-back to start this season, freshened by a couple of big off-season signings, they already look like the team to beat.
Unlike last season, it would be the defensive end of the pitch that would be the cause of our biggest concern. In particular it would be our captain/legend that would start to take his well-earned bow.
Jose Mourinho, substituted JT for the first time as his manager. This should be no surprise to anyone. It has happened a little quicker than we’d have liked, but was inevitable.
Mourinho’s move was prompted by City running riot in an our penalty box for most of the first half. Ivanovich had Raheem Sterling, with Kolorov as Best Supporting Actor giving him dizzy spells. And Aguero was like an Osprey circling his prey. If that wasn’t enough, Yaya Torre’s right boot was primed if Chelsea managed to half-clear it to the edge of the box. Get the picture?
Aguero eventually broke through with his usual zero heartbeat on the six-yard line.
Kurt Zouma was brought on at half-time, as JT took his place on the bench as a spectator. Left an odd feeling in the pit of my stomach… Jose has his work to do. Which he will.
We certainly looked more balanced in the second half, but rarely threatened, even though we had a lot of the ball in the vicinity of the City box.
Our attacking formation never appears to be at full throttle unless Oscar is on the park. Jose’s starting eleven was our usual away (more defensive) team, with Ramires replacing Oscar. I still have a big soft spot for Ramires, but he is unlikely to score when needed.
Our player ratings were below par, certainly in comparison to City’s.
Fabregas, Hazard, Willian and even the busy Costa were all mid-range.
Whereas City’s Silva, Yaya, Fernandinho, Kompany (pictured), Kolorov and new boy Sterling all had significant impact on the game. On top of that, Aguero is the most dangerous forward in the current Premmy.
Kompany’s second and Fernandinho’s third put paid to any semblance of hope that we’d salvage a point.
A record breaking attendance at the Ethiad left with a big smile on its face.
Mourinho has had to shake both Arsene Wenger’s and Manuel Pellegrini’s hands, accepting defeat, within a month. He must be seething.
Jose normally creates an issue to deflect attention away from his players at times of stress. This time the pressure is on him! The Eva situation has not helped. This sideshow was not intentional.
We must have realized this season would be much tighter than last, it would be impossible for it not to be!
Onwards and Upwards. I have full confidence that Jose will rally and I would have a little wager that we make the Champions League final. I am not writing off the league this year, but let’s understand Roman’s priorities.
From a global branding perspective we need to give those two upstart Spanish sides a run for their money!