Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Is pride, the never-failing vice of fools.

I viewed the Chelsea – ManU match last night, the first for Chelsea after the mid-week overthrow of Jose Mourinho. Before more comment on the management chaos, a few notes on the game:

1) Though perhaps difficult to accurately gauge given the early send off of Mikel, Chelsea seemed a little rudderless. This could also be partly due to the absence of Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard, I suppose, but, nevertheless, the side seemed off.

2) Re the Mikel send-off, in slow-motion, a yellow would have been appropriate; however, viewed at normal speed, the tackle looked pretty rough. I still say a bad decision. And, moreover, that bad decision led to a worse one in the second half. I’m referring to the terrible tackle by Joe Cole on Ronaldo in the 73rd minute. That should have been a straight-up red in my book. No doubt the result of pent-up frustration—Chelsea, after all, had little choice in this match but to bunker down and hope for a counter-attack goal, but, still, it was pretty nasty. I’m sure it drew only a yellow due to the earlier sending off.

3) Ashley Cole needs a good butt-kicking. What a whiny pansy. Thought for a minute that Rooney might administer that much-needed butt-kicking after Cole went down in a heap from a phantom foul by Rooney in the 2nd half. It’s one thing to draw a call through some timely dramatic embellishment. But Cole then sits on the turf crying to the ref while flailing his arms. And he did it repeatedly. Ugh. I would’ve carded Cole, not Rooney.

4) The penalty awarded to Saha’s was another terrible call. I would’ve carded Louis.

5) ManU controlled the match, were not seriously threatened, but they are not exactly clicking offensively. I guess it doesn’t matter too much when you have Vidic in the back playing so well. Same for Wes Brown—impressive showings.

6) Michael Carrick was clearly my man of the match. Great vision and superb passing all game long. A masterful performance.

7) Avram Grant: long-lost member of the Adam’s Family? I have no doubt that his appearance terrifies little children.

Enough with the game. Now, I must pass along this must read from the Observer. A revealing article that makes me feel bad for (1) Jose Mourinho, and (2) Chelsea fans. If accurate, getting out of there was a wise move by Jose. Talk about being under-appreciated and micro-managed. Way too many egos in the front-office, and, rather stupefyingly, no faith in Mourinho. And that vignette about Abramovich lecturing Essien on how to play the midfield? Ludicrous. Abramovich might be worse than Jerry Jones; he might be... Daniel Snyder.

And, has anyone else noticed that Mourinho seemed to be right about John Terry? England fans should be a little worried about their national team captain possibly being immune to criticism. Maybe it could have been handled better by Jose, but I don’t recall Mourinho complaining to the press about Terry’s play. It seemed like it was a private concern that was just leaked.

Contrast life at Chelsea with the all-is-hunky-dory situation over at Arsenal: stable management situation where management trusts the manager’s decisions (which, btw, are repeatedly vindicated).

And recall the comments of Steve Coppell highlighted here a few weeks back:

"We’re coming to an age of the new owners, the new breed, who are not going to buy a club and say: ‘I bought it for £200 million, you look after it’. They’re all going to be: ‘I want to put my pound of flesh in there’.
“I’m old school, I suppose, but I want someone to say to me: ‘I made my fortune in electronics, you know about football. I’ll look after the business, you take care of the football, and we’ll both get on with it’. That’s my environment to work in.”
It is why Coppell signed a two-year contract extension last season instead of his usual 12-month deal. “I know the chairman is not going to s*** on me,” he said. “If I do the job crap, I get the sack, I understand that. But, on a whim, he isn’t going to come in one day and say: ‘I didn’t like what you said in the papers, you’re gone’.”

And, Coppell got tiny Reading to the EPL, and, despite early struggles, here’s betting they stay there at the end of this year.

(And what if Tottenham’s management left Martin Jol alone for a while?)

The lesson is clear: owners have to work hard to find a manager that they trust. But then, to find success, they need to actually trust them to build and run the club. And if you’re not satisfied with the product, can the manager at the end of the season and find a new one. But this degree of mid-season meddling will just never work.

Slurpo-san, what says ye about the match and the club--from whatever part of the southeastern U.S. you are currently in?

One last coaching note. Timely Juergen Klinsmann appearance in the papers. I still say he ends up with the LA Galaxy.

1 comment:

Slurpo-san said...

Slurpo-san here--back in Chucktown for a few days, that is, until I'm dragged south again by prosecutorial incompetence on Monday. And besides, who really needs to attend TAP class anyway? (this next week will mark the 3rd consecutive class I've missed due to crappy travel...next up, December's class!)

I think Scott-o accurately described the match--at first glance, Mikel's tackle was horrendous, but on further review, it was a yellow at best. But that perfectly highlights the problem with replays and the endless second-guessing it breeds. Still, it was harsh and obviously affected the match. Nice to see Tevez get off the mark, but there still can be little doubt that they miss Ruud. Tevez and Rooney are just too similar in their style of play, so here's hoping that Saha gets some more time. I also thought Terry should have rec'd a yellow card for trying to grab the ref's hand when he pulled out th red card--that's just plain disrespectful and I thought they were cracking down on that? As of today, Chelsea has been charged by the FA with yet another example of "failure to control their players" after they hounded the ref. But I think its a hollow charge unless they also penalize Terry--he's the captain and the other players certainly follow his lead.

on a side note--bummer to see ManU crash out of the Carling Cup, but I'm not that disappointed. First, the Carling Cup is by far the least important competition, ranking well behind the EPL, UCL and FA Cup. Second, given the fixture congestion that always affects the top teams, this may prove to be a blessing in disguise.