Monday, February 13, 2012

Dalglish and AVB get it wholly wrong

King Kenny?
Firstly, let us draw a line under the Evra/Suarez nonsense. Dalglish made himself look ignorant, arrogant and entirely out of touch with reality with his barbed and aggressive post match interview defending his player.

Luis Suarez has behaved disgracefully and the direct intervention of the US owners was warmly welcomed. It's just a pity that Dalglish couldn't have shown some dignity without being instructed to do so, being given lessons in how to behave less crassly from Americans?

So on to the football and as we have stated several times before, Liverpool are going nowhere under Dalglish. Realistically they are no closer to the top sides than they were twelve months ago. A midfield containing Spearing and Henderson hardly inspires confidence and Dalglish's tactics left much to be desired.

One constant theme that has run through this season is that ManYoo's new keeper De Gea is 'dodgy' and cannot handle crosses. In front of him was an increasingly fragile Rio Ferdinand and the mediocre Jonny Evans. Armed with these facts, Dalglish chose to go with one only up front and leave the one man keeper wrecking machine that is Andy Carroll on the bench. It is also worth noting that Carroll had been putting in improved performances recently, if anyone could have unsettled De Gea it was he.

Liverpool were duly dispatched without too much difficulty with a late Suarez consolation flattering the scoreline for the Anfield side. Dalglish's negativity ensured that Liverpool never had a realistic shot at winning the match and his tactics are wholly to blame.

Andre Villas Boas
Chelsea fans are not everyone's favourites granted. In the same way that other fans can behave in similarly vile manners, they have been guilty of many distasteful instances over the years. One thing however that the crowd at Stamford Bridge typically does do is back their manager no matter what.

Since Abramovich's arrival, Mourinho, Hiddink and Ancelotti all enjoyed great support. Even the much maligned Grant and Scolari as well as the entirely wacky Claudio Ranieri were on the whole treated fondly by the blues' supporters and received their backing for the most.

AVB endured taunts from the travelling Chelsea fans on Saturday and the writer of this column for the first time in twenty years found himself thinking 'he has to go'. It is tough and probably premature to be calling for his head given the three year plan, the age of the man and the transitional phase that the team is in. With the financial fair play regulations however, finishing lower than fourth is not an option.

Ironically it may be that Abramovich's itchy trigger finger gives AVB a reprieve as the publicity (and cost) associated with his perennial sacking of managers means the oligarch would look highly foolish firing yet another manager so quickly.

In the same way that young players are 'bought for the future', AVB in his early thirties was hired with an eye to the next few years. The problem is that whilst no one expected Chelsea to win the league this year, the bare minimum is really third place as even fourth carries the danger of a qualifying tie for the Champions League.

Chelsea were entirely awful on Saturday. Without meaning any disrespect to Everton, the Toffees are a hard working and honest Premiership side at best and Chelsea could have played for a week without scoring against them. The worrying part is how a Chelsea side so poor can find a way to garner enough points to finish in the top four.

Tactically Chelsea were not at the races. Going forward they seemed to have no options in attack yet they always managed to look stretched when being attacked despite apparently having no players in advanced positions. With Terry on the sidelines, it seems odd that Gary Cahill was not selected given that he would have offered stability at the back and allowed Ivanovic to be deployed at right back.

Much of Chelsea's misery lies with Torres. Add 15 goals (as should be expected reasonably) to his tally this season and Chelsea could have possibly another 10 points. This however would be papering over the cracks of a team, especially in midfield that is woefully short of pace, ideas and quality.

It looks like Torres' career at Chelsea could be over come the Summer, the irony being that wherever his cut price destination is - possibly back to Atletico - his confidence may well return and the goals will hopefully come for him again. He cut an incredibly forlorn figure on Saturday as he again could find no way into the game.

There could be more than one Stamford Bridge employee heading back to the Iberian peninsula with their tails between their legs - albeit it with trouser pockets stuffed with cash - come this Summer. Did someone mention Jose Mourinho? - No Nonsense.