Most, if not all, Chelsea fans were glad to see the back of AVB in March this year. He's a man with all the ego of The Special One but only a fraction of the great man's ability (and none of his man management skills). So him popping up at Sp*rs in the off-season was seen by most of us as a good thing, as mid-table mediocrity for them (or worse!) will no doubt follow his being appointed.
AVB for his part undoubtedly feels hard done by, and wants revenge against his former employers. But unfortunately for him, that's an itch that's going to be left unscratched, as Chelsea today produced an excellent (if at times disjointed) display that blew Sp*rs out of the water.
This must've been a cracking game for the neutral to watch, with goals galore and defending of the Key Stone Cop variety from both teams. Chelsea largely dominated the first half, and deservedly went one nil up before the break through a powerful Gary Cahill strike. But the start of the second half was a different story, as AVB put a rocket up the Sp*rs players' collected a*ses at half-time. I say this because they came out after the break like a team possessed, and were quickly level through a (hand ball) goal from that tw*t, William Gallas. And boy didn't he enjoy celebrating it (says everything you need to know about the guy).
Things quickly went from bad to worse for Chelsea, and it wasn't long before we were 2 v 1 down and looking decidedly second best. At which point I turned to my girlfriend, Alex, and said: "I will settle for a draw now. Just so long as we don't lose, as I really hate losing to them". To which she replied (wise Chelsea fan that she is!). "I'll settle for a win, thanks."
And a win she got, thanks to two goals from man of the match, Juan Mata, and a late tap-in from Sturridge.
Mata's on fire at the moment and is thoroughly deserving of all the plaudits he's getting. At the start of the season Hazard was pulling the strings for us, and was looking truly world class. Then Oscar popped up to show us what he's made of. Now it's Mata's turn to shine. And to be fair, I don't think any of us care which one of them does the business. Just so long as the business gets done!
Sp*rs were without Bale and Dembele for this match (Bale because his girlfriend was going into labour, and Dembele through injury) so we shouldn't get too carried away with the victory. But make no mistake, our coming back from 2 v 1 down was a statement of intent that we will not lose this season without putting up a fight. And that more than anything else is what we should take away from this game. Citeh have this spirit. Man Utd have this spirit. And now the 'new' Chelsea have it too.
Other things worth noting today were that Cech was back to his impervious best, that Torres couldn't hit a barn door from the inside, and that - sans JT - the centre of our defence looked decidedly shaky at times, and a better team would've punished us.
I've been saying for a while now that our first 11 is unbalanced, and that we're still a few players short of a really 'great' team. Aside from the obvious (being the need to buy Falcao or Neymar), we need to buy a strong, defensive midfielder to help protect our back four. Because let's face it, we've never really replaced Makalele have we?
Ideally we need a beast of a man, who's a strapping six footer (as the median height of our team is way too short now) who eats and craps wrought iron girders for breakfast. Mikel is a good back up, but who among us wouldn't rather see someone like Busquets' name on our first team sheet? I'd throw Yaya Toure's name into the mix here too, because he's a spectacularly good player. But at 29, and with a huge wage bill, I don't think he fits in with the new direction the club is taking. That said, it's not my money, and Man Utd could've used the same argument against buying Van Persie in the summer, and do you think there's a single one of their fans who's wishing they hadn't bought him because he's approaching 30 and is on huge wages? No, me neither...
Which brings me to my final point: Luiz is a liability. And I would happily see us swap Luiz for Busquets (they're worth similar money), and then go back into the transfer market and buy a replacement in central defence. In the meantime, can someone tell me why RDM isn't playing Cahill and JT as our starting central defenders (when JT's available)? A good solid English pairing like that (the best local grown talent in the land, no less) is something we should foster, not hide away from.
Brian M Logan