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  1. Thank You Roman

    It has become obvious the past few days that no one in the West is looking for peace or to broker a deal, and that's bad news for the world. After the oligarchs, you will hear more and more of justifications for the No Fly Zone in western media, which is a disaster. The vibes are very 2001 where the West decides to dramatically alter history after a tragedy, weaponize that 9/11 tragedy for more devastating consequences and ripple effect for the next 20-30 years at least. Every Russian is a target now, whether they're linked or not to Putin - the same way you could take down any Muslim person on account of suspicion of terrorism. No legal proof needed. Next, Russian students abroad and so on. Completely out of control. Can't believe people trust these politicians, the first victims are Ukrainians, the next victims are every Russian in the west turning into a pariah, and next ... who knows? There is no interest on peace, or to stop this. The measures are so extreme and so collectively punitive, there is no way back. The law is out of the window, so this is most definitely why Roman has to go. It's UK/US pressure, with well built-up smear campaigns, and the tribunal of Twitter and public opinion. Certainly, no proof ever needed. As for potential new sellers, as far as I'm concerned, only the Dodgers previously had such a massive sale operation, and the Dodgers are well set up for success because it was expensive to buy and making money off them was limited anyway. You buy the Dodgers & the Lakers for prestige and to win. So it could be the same owners, the Guggenheims ... just like every US billionaires, they're not squeaky clean (and unsurprisingly, Old Money America is horrific morally just like Old Money Britain is), but this is not about clean money as proven by the sanctioned sale of Newcastle by the UK. US money is very safe in the UK since the UK does whatever America wants. When America wages yet another war, the UK will be full participants and supporters. If it's not the Dogders' Guggenheim group setup, I doubt the next seller is doing PR rounds. Serious interested buyers are discreet.
  2. Thank You Roman

    Of course, anyone absolving the West have forgotten how NATO proceeds. It's the same logic in MENA countries, where people are not scared of fighting for freedom but they are scared of being forced by the West to pick between dictators and terrorists. US pushes Eastern Europe to pick between NATO and Russia. US's intentions aren't peace in Ukraine otherwise there would have been no coup in 2014 and there would already have been multiple referendums in separatist regions and neutrality treaties respected. That's how peace is achieved: when two sides, as different as they can be ideologically are willing to compromise and agree that in the interest of both parties, peace is better than war. NATO isn't a defense pact, a defense pact doesn't interfere in the shaping of an entire region and doesn't intervene in Yugoslavia and doesn't lobby for new members. Instead of Ukraine understanding the fragility of its situation (multiethnic, separatist regions), it's been emboldened to confront a far more powerful neighbor, sent to the wolves. US finds a way to go to war with Russia without American blood being shed, and without economical consequences, which will be Europe's burden (good luck Germany). The NATO whitewashing currently being done in the media is exactly what Western imperialism is about. NATO flags in protests over the world? Amazing. The Palestine, Iraqi, Syrian and Yemeni people have every right to feel the injustice of the media coverage, it's not whataboutism, it's the reality of how fundamental hypocrisy is to the West's ethos. The cannon fodder here is the Ukrainian people. Well, at least Europe is openly admitting to its willingness to welcome white people instead of brown people. Poland have no issues welcoming refugees from Ukraine (same "ideological beliefs", I wonder which) while they let Afghan refugees starve in the cold this past winter. Poland are good guys now. Russophobia has been pushed to the point an MP has called for every Russian student and citizen to be expelled and journalists are this close to calling Chelsea fans war criminals. Peak Cold War days. Decades later we laughed at the propaganda posters, maybe they're relevant again. A smart PR move by RA, it's basically a token gesture, but oligarch sanctions are the most token gestures of all anyway.
  3. Thank You Roman

    RA is not part of the 100 names. This will upset lots of football fans. I'm having a lot of fun reading Twitter people asking, no, demanding, to seize Roman's yachts and give the money to Ukraine (size by NATO? NATO cares about refugees?), and seize Chelsea Football Club and uh,,, sell it back to the Chelsea fans! Arbitrary seizure of private property with no legal justification, end justifies the means ... Western imperialism is a hell of a drug.
  4. Thank You Roman

    I'm guessing people were waiting for Chelsea or Abramovic to be named tonight in the sanctions. Instead, one of Manchester United's most important sponsors, Aeroflot, has been banned. I wonder what other clubs have state sponsors from countries openly leading wars at this very minute?
  5. Thank You Roman

    The "RA can't own Chelsea FC anymore" sanctions would lead the PL to a halt, period. And set a precedent for when China becomes the new Russia, or the US wages another war somewhere that France disagrees with (little chance of the UK ever standing up for itself), or Saudi Arabia decides to go beyond Yemen and so on. The UK welcomes money from everywhere, and the worst places on earth, before deciding this one good, this one bad. They didn't stop Saudi Arabia from buying Newcastle, because they don't want to stop money from anywhere coming into the UK. No money would come to the UK if they basically freeze an entire club's ownership, 20 years after welcoming them openly into the country. Investors would be wary. One thing you can always count on with the Occident is its moral hypocrisy mixed with its love for investment money.
  6. Thank You Roman

    Which is why we all know it's not happening. The oligarchs posturing is PR, the Kremlin isn't influenced by oligarchs - they have rules of non-collusion which clearly Roman follows (and that's how RA won all his court cases). But it's good PR and it's "we're doing something" to mention him in meaningless parliament talks.
  7. Thank You Roman

    The UK Parliament has no other use than to mention oligarchs in a time of war, knowing well that the Kremlin isn't advised or influenced in any case by oligarchs. Big bad Roman Abramovic and his football club. Labour MPs? Good, easy, nice PR. Wonder where were the MPs when the entire crown family of Saudi Arabia, a country responsible for practically erasing another country from the face of the earth, bought assets in the UK? Or is that one permissible.
  8. Chelsea 2 Lille 0

    Wanted him gone? That seems a bit childish and extreme. You should be able to block members or ignore them. In all cases, the conversation is poorer for it. We can go back to a million posts about how x or y was overpaid, I guess.
  9. Chelsea 2 Lille 0

    Abraham also probably left because the contract talks had stalled for 18 months and the club triggered an extension that meant he didn't get a raise (that Mount & co got in 2019 with new contract). Added to the manager's preferences, and the club's business model that requires players sales regularly (so people will simply have to accept it, City have fake sponsorships, Chelsea have players sales), and a good business deal. Abraham gets to start each week, even through his droughts (which, believe it or not, have happened this season, you just don't hear of them as when a guy plays for Chelsea), and he's one of the highest paid players in all of Serie A (a serious bump). Guehi, Livramento ... all end of contracts and extension talks failing because the players had game time expectations that are impossible to be met at Chelsea (playing 90' every weekend). They were sold before leaving for free. Pretty sure they would have happened anyways. Not much to say about the game. Unsurprinsingy, people extrapolate a lot from one game. There was a lot of pressing at times, but lots of period of times without it as well. It was controlled in a different way because Lille were pressing a lot more than Palace, and leaving tons of space in transition, at the end of the day, 1.2 non-penalty xG in both games. Scoring early changes perception a lot. But as expected, the intensity will be higher when it matters as @thevelourfog pointed out the last game. We had to beat Lille in the first leg, we can stomach draws in the league. Intensity has drawbacks though, after playing 42 games already: more injuries. Which is why control & structure are the priorities in the rest of the season to manage intensity and save the energy levels of the squad. The injuries haven't stopped, they will keep happening - players have been overloaded since the Euros, so I'd say it's reasonable to control games with possession if need be or with off-the-ball compactness if need be, and up the intensity in key moments. February is not the time to experiment and change an entire approach. I'm starting to think Kanté is maybe managing his own self these days, upping his output in big games and making sure he doesn't overdo it in lesser games. 60 minutes max in "routine" PL games against deep blocks that don't require lots of ball winning should hopefully be the norm until the end of the season to minimize injury risks.
  10. Crystal Palace 0 Chelsea 1

    We played many half decent sides in this run of form: Spurs 3 times, 3 wins -- the same Spurs that have outplayed every other Top 6 side by counterattacking them, Liverpool (a fair draw where we had spells of dominance), City (unlucky not take a point away as they've never created less in a game all season), so that argument is false. While we're dull and boring, it's more than we play down (or up) to our competition. So no, we don't crumble when we play a half decent side, that's incorrect. Every game is tight, so the easy games but also the hard games. We play to the level of our competition. It's a risk mitigation strategy that was enough to get back into Top 4 last season after being 10th or 9th half way through. It's the smart way to go now that we're 3rd and still have a chance in CL, FA Cup & the League Cup. Very rarely you will go from a 66 points side to a 90 points side, which Liverpool & City are this season. It's been done twice actually: Leicester, then Chelsea the year after with no European games, no injuries. You have to first be a 75 points, a 85 points before becoming a 90 points team. We were well on our way to be a 80 points team (on course for 90pts even after Matchday 12 where injuries hit more and more), what happened is injuries, COVID, a ridiculously biased schedule. That ended our title charge because this is a year where the title winner will have to win 90 to 95 points. You want to know what happens when injuries hit a team? Liverpool had 69 points last season, they had 2 long term injuries, and a few minor ones to starting players, that's about it. We have had injuries well before October with attackers missing 2 months, then CMs missing 2 months, then WBs missing 2 months and out for the season. Despite all this, the team is on course for 76 points, which is a step in the right direction. The same way when Mourinho took over a 75 points team, led it to 82 points and finally won the title with 87 points with games in advance. It's literally what both Guardiola & Pep have had to do, Guardiola won 78 points in his first season taking over a 66 points team. After 2.5 seasons (so a lot of squad turnover already) Klopp had 75 points. So yeah, we're trending upwards. You cannot try and be a 90 points team by just creating like City & Liverpool. You first need the structure and the organization and the control over games. We tried to create as much as them in 19/20 by committing 6, 7 players without structure, the results were disastrous: 54 goals conceded. In fact, if we had gone for a risk control approach that year we'd have been comfortably Top 4 instead of throwing games away trying to score at all costs. It's boring, it's dull - well sure, compared to City & Liverpool - 6, 7 years under their current management with their squad fully healthy. It's hardly the anomaly, I don't see any other Top 4 contender supposedly playing exciting football, even Arsenal and their short number of games played and full weeks to prepare, they grind out games as much as Spurs, Utd, West Ham or Wolves. It's also the reality of most top teams in Europe that are grinding through congested schedules: the almighty Bayern, Inter, Real Madrid, PSG; they all don't look fabulous once they have a few injuries and tons of games to play. Funny that you quote Sarri, 72 points is more than we've had since 2017 + a title at the end of the season. So clearly the right strategy. Absolutely no point exhausting the players, putting them at risk, to try and chase something that's about personal preferences of style. The right strategy in the current situation is clear and it can lead to some more deep runs to win trophies. The end all be all of the sport.
  11. Crystal Palace 0 Chelsea 1

    Havertz is 22 and has had excellent performances (or excellent spells even, from March to May 2021, he was playing at a high level consistently) that point clearly to a special talent. I don't know how you watch play against Real Madrid or City and not think so, forget the CL final goal. So yeah, a bit of patience won't kill anyone. He's not a net negative in the team, he still plays fairly well most of the time. At what position, there can be a debate about that. A month ago, people decided Ziyech was our worst player ever and should be sold, despite clear evidence of talent as well. Same about Kovacic or Rudiger or many, many examples before. This team has lost 3 PL games all season, two of them against the leaders. Has a League Cup final next week and is still in the CL & FA Cup - competitive in all fronts. Being the 3rd best team in PL is hardly en embarrassment, it automatically makes you a Top 8 team in Europe given how far ahead the PL is over other leagues. This is all in a season with an unprecedented injury/COVID crisis and with more games played than any other football side in Europe.
  12. Crystal Palace 0 Chelsea 1

    That's correct, the moment 90+ points are out of the window, it doesn't make sense to chase every game and risk losing, Spurs lost 3 in a row and are still in the Top 4 race with one win, draws won't doom us - chase the 3 points is what City did yesterday, went for the win, got an equalizer, still went for it and lost as they left gaping holes defensively all game. Currently the title will be won on 90 to 95 points, so draws will be diabolical for those 2 sides for sure. I'd say we'll have to do enough for 75 points, which would be the most for a 3rd place team in the past 5 years. If we pick up good form, 80 points isn't impossible with a softer schedule, strength wise (still packed). Ideal scenario IMO is not to end up with decisive games every 3 days in May like last season - although it helped to keep the team extremely wired mentally and physically (and helped for the CL final against a City team that had wrapped up its season weeks before).
  13. Crystal Palace 0 Chelsea 1 's definition of big chance is a joke; it's not a metric recognized by any serious analytic tool. Havertz has 0.33 xG/game and 0.11xA/game - while not great, certainly not "GK level bad" - he's also played less than 50% of PL minutes available. It's been a disrupted season again for him, it's what happened last season where he picked things up in March and beyond. It would also be much better if he played in the areas close to the box and not forced out wide or deep - which can and should be corrected. His best games have come as a 9 and everything suggests he's still a better fit as the striker. Then again, you could point out that Kanté has been pretty damn bad last few games - even Mount who's proven quality, so maybe the issue goes deeper (physical, tactical).
  14. Crystal Palace 0 Chelsea 1

    I've got to say Tuchel is getting away with one with all this Lukaku talk. The good thing is that if TT thinks the issue is Lukaku he'd have been dropped for a few games then, test out the theory then make the decision. I'm guessing he doesn't believe so, which is correct. There have been games where Lukaku has been very much involved but missed chances and then it's a different issue again. Tuchel got away with the wrong game plan and passivity in changing the gameplan. The 4222 worked previously because it didn't sacrifice width - on the left Havertz had Alonso willing to occupy every position in the final third, while being supported by Mount's excellent ball progression ability (which Pulisic absolutely doesn't have and if anything he's an ideal second striker in this particular system), on the right Azpi & Ziyech have certainly developed an understanding and Azpi knows exactly when to go wide and when to occupy central positions. He's right that the system doesn't change much except going from building up play from 3+2 to 4+1 - that's correct, however the width was completely lacking and it meant both Havertz/Ziyech were too restricted and wide at times without fullback support (they're not typical wingers with speed & acceleration on the wings). Sarr & AC is certainly a fullback pair for the ages: not much contribution in build up (AC is safe, Sarr easily rattled under pressure) and not much contribution off the ball. No surprise that things looked better when Alonso was on the pitch at least. So my issue is if you're looking for a RCB/RB combo, surely Chalobah is a better fit than AC, as far as I'm concerned he's been available for a while. A back 4 of CBs, when 2 of them aren't particularly risk takers, being unproductive shouldn't be a surprise. Tuchel will for sure get meme'd about his excuses (jet lag, colds) - when you watch the interview, the question is about having a week to prepare (a good relevant question, for once), and him responding it wasn't a typical week. Felt it was very much about him than about the players, that he clearly didn't prepare the best way possible for multiple reasons. He got it wrong, and that's perfectly fine, it happens to every manager in the world. My question is certainly why wait for so long to make the obvious changes required - and why ruin those subs with the introduction of RLC that made the team worse in midfield control (he said he had words with RLC .. "feedback" - well, he better, but that's on him. RLC's been proving he's incapable of playing as a 6 and he keeps playing him there to predictable results, effectively finished the game with Kovacic playing high and having to clean up after RLC). His subs have been uninspired for a while now, and maybe that's exactly that: inspiration that he's been lacking, or decisiveness (given he's been making subs at HT if required) so hopefully it's back with high stakes games that require meticulous game planing. Champions League is back and hopefully that does bring the best out of him again. My overall theme about this team hasn't changed: it's still the team that's played the most football in all of Europe this season with the most international players logging heavy minutes in the summer (and Big Picture wise, I'm not surprised a lot of top teams in Europe have been looking similarly lackluster: Bayern don't press anymore, Real Madrid sleep walk through games, PSG are a switch ON/OFF team - there are basically not a lot of elite teams at the moment, they just happen to be in the same league as Chelsea) - to me this team's DNA under TT is intensity. When the team plays with intensity (the Tottenham games don't get any credit somehow despite Spurs clearly outplaying every other top 6 team under Conte so far), the control is there, the chance creation is a natural result of the pressure & counterpress, and yes it's certainly not as spectacular as Liverpool & City (which are putting up attacking stats analytically that are unprecedented so they make everyone else look bad) but it's more than enough to be a 80pts team. However, the injuries keep happening on a regular basis so the lack of continuity, or even space for experimentation, has been an issue (Mount, now Azpi, CHO, Werner's absence). The disruptions keep coming, maybe it's an excuse. But it's not really, because results wise, this team is on a 2pt/game basis which is a continuation of the 2ppg that TT has averaged last season - with way more injuries/COVID. In fact, on course for 76 points which would be a close to a 10pt improvement over last season (and the best point return since 2017) while still being involved in every competition (and a few more games to win some titles), so it's certainly very hard for me to press the Panic Button. Things change fast in football as proven by City running away with the title and now being in Liverpool's radar due to one loss only, or the extremely volatile Top 4 race. Yesterday was a big result, a little lucky? probably, but I also thought we should have beaten Everton comfortably and easily took points from City so the points tally overall is still a good reflection of where we are. I don't see it as a negative, I see it as a proof of how good this team can be if ∼75 points is the the bar for a team plagued by injuries/COVID/fatigue. That should be the standard, so my reasonable expectation is going by that, further improvement (intensity, game planning, individual form that includes your Lukakus but also, and most importantly your Kantés) will put us in the 80-85 points range type of team. Good thing, the Champions League & League Cup final are coming and that inevitably means upping the intensity mandatorily.
  15. Transfer Talk Topic

    I wish I shared the enthusiasm for Traoré, maybe 2 years ago he was still coachable but he'll be 26 soon and he's just an average player who's good at getting past people. Given the way our fans get frustrated at our own pretty good players, poor guy would get slaughtered at a club with more exposure. Spurs are rumoured to be interested. They've been for a while. Would be funny given they spent serious money on Emerson Royal in the summer. I know people believe Conte could work his Moses magic into him, maybe he can, but I have serious doubts. Traoré might work in counterattacking styles of football but he's a lot less effective when he has no space to run into, and dribbling is literally his main contribution.