Chelsea 4-1 Norwich

It looked dyer from the outset, but the Blues quickly turned it around and dominated the end result, beating Norwich 4-1 courtesy of Torres, Lampard, Hazard, and Ivanovich, respectively. Mata proved crucial in distribution.

Go Blues!

Chelsea 2-1 Arsenal

Chelsea had their first game of the season against one of the traditional top sides, and they came away with three very nice points. The Blues scored on a pair of set pieces on Saturday, with Torres getting on the end of the first and a Juan Mata delivery settling into the back of the net for the second. . . . (WAGNH: “Arsenal 1 – Chelsea 2: Initial reaction and community ratings”)

Chelsea came away with the away win in this London derby against Arsenal thanks to goals from Torres and Mata.

To summarize the magnitude of this win, I give you an excerpt from WAGNH:

Chelsea had managed to more or less cruise through the opening stages of their 2012/13 Premier League campaign, but they’d yet to achieve a signature result. Wins against Wigan, Reading, Newcastle and Stoke are all well and good, but it’d be difficult to proclaim that the Blues had reached their old level without beating more serious competition. Undefeated Arsenal at the Emirates was always going to be the first major milestone of the new season.

And the Blues came through with flying colours. Roberto di Matteo kept his front line more or less unchanged despite a relatively poor performance against Stoke City, and they answered with goals from both Fernando Torres and Juan Mata — goals against an Arsenal side which had only conceded twice in their opening five fixtures. At the other end of the pitch, sloppy defending gave the Gunners far too many chances, but Petr Cech came up huge to preserve what was eventually a 2-1 victory. (WAGNH: Chelsea come away from Emirates with impressive win”)

Chelsea 1-0 Stoke

Chelsea FC Match Report

Chelsea beat Stoke at home 1-nil, but it was a battle, and it was very narrow. Cole scored his first goal in two years, I believe. Great for him, and great for the Blues, as Cech kept a clean sheet, awarding us the win with their combined contributions.

Hardly did we take to the wings. For the most part, we tried to Barcelona our way in through the middle. Unfortunately, Torres was one dimensional, making runs forwards or backwards, but hardly ever sideways or diagonal. If we play only one forward, we need a striker who is multi-dimensional and also goal hungry. He works hard, I know, but without proper blend, he’s just being unproductive, which keeps our offense largely ineffective.

I would say that we could try a 4-4-2, but I can understand reticence against leaving the midfield partially exposed. But we used to play a 4-3-3. Why couldn’t we play a 4-4-2? For that matter, couldn’t we do a 4-3-3? Let’s look.

4-4-2

Cech
Ivanovich – Cahill – John Terry – Cole
Mikel
Oscar – Mata – Hazard
Sturridge – Torres

4-3-3

Cech
Ivanovich – Cahill – John Terry – Cole
Oscar – Mata – Hazard
Sturridge – Torres – Moses

If we have 6 attacking players from the midfield on up, we won’t need Ivanovich to push up, leaving us exposed in the back, along with Cole. Hence, we won’t need a holding midfielder such as Mikel. We have so much offensive talent now, a 4-4-2 or a 4-3-3 may be the only way to take full advantage of it.

In fact, if you consider today’s lineup, we found ourselves approaching our path to the goal too narrowly. Here was the lineup:

Cech
Ivanovich – Cahill – David Luiz – Cole
Ramires – Mikel
Mata – Oscar – Hazard
Torres

But, functionally, here’s how it really looked:

Cech
David Luiz – Cahill – Cole
Mikel
Ivanovich – Ramires – Mata – Oscar – Hazard
Torres

Or, alternatively,

Cech
Ivanovich – David Luiz – Cahill
Mikel
Ramires – Mata – Oscar – Hazard – Cole
Torres

Or, also,

Cech
Mikel – David Luiz – Cahill
Ivanovich – Ramires – Mata – Oscar – Hazard – Cole
Torres

Unfortunately, we played congested, trying to link up all of our midfielders centrally, resulting in one too many passes all too often. Someone needs to display a little selfishness, or the wing runs need to be there to add the width. I’m not saying to get into a crossing game of 50/50 balls, but we need to add width and add dimension. We were too congested in the midfield as the fullbacks pushed up and as Ramires pushed up. It’s the same thing as too many cooks in the kitchen–it doesn’t work. We need to accommodate the midfielders that we have and try and spark some life into the forward line, and I think that a 4-4-2 or a 4-3-3 will help do just that, at least on paper. But I digress.

We won, isn’t that enough?

Chelsea 2-2 Juventus

Well, sad we didn’t start our Champions League debut defending our title with a win and three points, but glad to see Oscar making an impact.

More Mikel flamer fuel with his losing the ball and failure to drop and defending resulting in the Old Lady’s equalizer.

Torres the pedestrian? Well, I didn’t really watch the game, so I can’t substantiate, but if he doesn’t leave a consistent impact soon, I bet we offload him in January.

Carefree. KTBFFH!

Chelsea Formation and Starting Lineup

Chelsea couldn’t win away to QPR today. Here’s the starting lineup employed:

Cech
Ivanovic, David Luiz, Terry, Cole
Mikel, Lampard
Ramires, Hazard, Bertrand
Torres

We no longer have Essien, so I’m just not keen on a double pivot here. I would rather see this lineup:

Cech
Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Cole
Mikel
Ramires, Mata, Hazard, Moses
Torres

I would sub on Oscar for Ramires, Lampard for Mata, and Sturridge for Moses. Keep Torres on. He has the golden boot–let him play and maintain confidence. Keep Hazard on, since he is, well, hazardous.

Having a single holding midfielder with complete trust in our back four, I feel that with our midfield ingenuity we can create more offensive chances and still keep the opposition at bay.

Depending on what happens in January, I might change my opinion, but for now, I would opt for a 4-1-4-1 formation.

Chelsea 0-0 QPR

Chelsea FC > Match Report | We Ain’t Got No History > Initial Reaction

Queens Park Rangers managed to keep us at bay while we were on the road. Unfortunately, with all the skill of Hazard, he couldn’t find the net on two prime occasions. His first was early in the first half, and when he should have gone far post, he opted an in-step near post curl, proving an easy save for Cesar. His second was late in the second half, after Moses was able to cross the ball low, he failed to stand up and put his knee over the ball, resulting in a sky high effort, but it was an absolute sitter. Unfortunate. Torres had a good run into the box, beating the entire back line, but instead of taking it with his right foot to the far post, he tried to cut back and use an in-step far post curl. However, it went straight to Cesar. Unfortunate. And though everybody said Hazard will win the most PKs this season, he had one moment that appeared to me like a PK decision, but alas the referee did not award one. Such were the offensive efforts of the Blues on this day.

Most notably, we did not allow a goal, but not for lack of chances. Mikel gave away a prime opportunity for Cisse–which will prove to be more fodder for Mikel haters–setting up the ball on a silver platter for QPR’s number 9 to feast upon, but Cech was up to the task and held him up masterfully whilst the back four dropped back into the goal line and nothing came of it. Earlier in the game, the pirate that is Granero–the recent Real Madrid signing for QPR–placed in a cross to J. S. Park, and Ivanovich and David Luiz were both caught ball watching, leaving Park for a free header, but, fortunately, it went straight to Cech for an easy save.

Offensively, we were unfortunate. Defensively, we were fortunate. As a result, we walked away sharing the spoils.

This game was an improvement by comparison to last season’s fixture when we lost 1-nil and had two sending offs for Bosingwa, who is now a QPR left back, and Drogba (Do you remember him?).

The commentators of the game made some points that I will respectfully disagree with, most notably that Chelsea will miss Drogba. Who won’t miss the legendary number 11, the African Messiah, the colossal powerhouse that is Drogba? Remember that Torres thrashed QPR in our home game last season. Remember that we lost to QPR last season. In perspective, all things considered, Torres is a different player, but one that we can be quite pleased with. We are already fairing better than we did last season, and though we don’t have maximum points anymore, we are still undefeated and have shown comparable improvements from last season.

Now, at 80:00, Torres was subbed off. He didn’t take a seat on the bench, but instead he decided to go straight to the locker room. Is he still unhappy with Chelsea?

Carefree.

Love Me Some Track Jackets

I love track jackets. My first one was an Adidas kit back from my freshman year of high school. I don’t remember its name, but it may have been part of the first Predator lineup. In any case, I was hooked. I ordered it too large for me, but I loved it. I got a Nike one my sophomore year; and I got another Adidas one somewhere in that high school timeline. I became a collector. In college, the soccer team got track jackets on loan, and I loved that one, too. I bought one from American Eagle even.

Regrettably, I went through a fashion phase in which I got rid of everything that was Medium or larger, since I was actually a size Small. So much for my collection.

Once 2010 World Cup hit and I was by that time a fresh soccer consumer, I began rebuilding my collection. First, it was the 2010 Italy track jacket, size Small. It fit me perfectly. Second, it was the 2010 England track jacket, size Small. It didn’t fit, and I had to exchange it for Medium. Puma and Adidas Smalls are great; Nike and Umbro require Mediums for me. I have yet to obtain a Germany jacket, since none of them really appealed to me, but there is one currently that is pretty nicely clad in green; however, I’m in no hurry to obtain one, since I am not a big fan of national team soccer in the same way that I am for club soccer. And why would I rush to get national gear when I could be building my collection for those teams that I hold near and dear to my heart?

I switched gears in my collection with this intention, adding first to my possession Inter’s 2011-2012 white track jacket, available exclusively from the Inter Shop in Italy (sorry, Soccer.com). I got it in Medium as it is a Nike piece. It’s a little loose, but I’ll be the first to recognize that I am no longer a size Small. Hey, I’m getting older, what can I say?

Next up in my collection will soon be the 2011-2012 (and apparently 2013) Chelsea Anthem track jacket, which I purchased in Medium from Soccer.com. Now all that is left is to get one for Real Madrid. Currently, they only sell their 2011-2012 Anthem track jacket, but they debuted the first leg of the Spanish Supercup in blue stripes rather than gold, and that is the one I want.

After that, I won’t be collecting any more track jackets for a while. Well, maybe a Germany one come next World Cup in 2014. We’ll see.

Until then, I’ll want to complete my club scarf collection and begin a club soccer socks collection. I’m a devoted fan, so sue me.