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Michael Tucker

West Bromwich Albion 2 Chelsea 3

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Sarin   

Nah I agree. Terrible first 20 minutes. Looked like he was trying to do way too much and stuffed everything up.

Was better later and I would say towards the end of the game he was actually good.

Still the worst game I have seen him play.
Though many of our players have been poor, I thought his first 20 minutes were as bad as Ivanovics efforts against Swansea.

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I don't want to get involved in any long Matic debate, but anyone defending his performance in this game, needs to go back and watch the game again. Seriously, he was appalling. Slightly better second half, but still very ordinary. If his prime objective out there was to protect the back4, then he failed miserably. And if that had been Mikel delivering that rubbish, he'd be being slaughtered on here (and rightly so). That Fabregas was pretty dreadful too, doesn't make Matic's effort any more acceptable.

Quite apart from the penalty (from a completely stupid and unnecessary challenge); the equally stupid and unnecessary challenge that got him booked, and the one which followed (that on most days would have been a second yellow and off), he was so far out of position (mostly way up field) so often, that I really began to wonder if he'd been told to play as a No.10. Fabregas didn't hold and protect because he can't. Matic didn't hold and protect because he mostly wasn't there.

Good morning Michael (or Good Day to you!).

I don't think anyone diaputes he had a bad game. First 20 is the worst I've ever seen from him and although he did improve as the game wore on he was poor overall. Last season has bought him

some leeway from me but he can't produce that rubbish with any sort of regularity.

I must say I was surprised Willian was taken off while keeping Fabregas on though. It felt like we needed the legs and Fabregas isn't exactly that. As we were 3-1 up I would have thought Fabregas for Mikel would have been the sensible sub once JT was off (and Cahill introduced by subbing someone else).

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Good morning Michael (or Good Day to you!).

I don't think anyone diaputes he had a bad game. First 20 is the worst I've ever seen from him and although he did improve as the game wore on he was poor overall. Last season has bought him

some leeway from me but he can't produce that rubbish with any sort of regularity.

I must say I was surprised Willian was taken off while keeping Fabregas on though. It felt like we needed the legs and Fabregas isn't exactly that. As we were 3-1 up I would have thought Fabregas for Mikel would have been the sensible sub once JT was off (and Cahill introduced by subbing someone else).

And Top Of The Morning to you too, Dave.......:).

Agree with all of that. I may have looked to drop Willian back into the deeper role, initially at least. I still remember when Mourinho played Mikel and Matic as a combo last season. On two or three occasions they looked made for each other, but another couple of times they kept getting in each other's way. I still think that it's worth a try - whether it's alongside Matic, or Fabregas, is probably down to personal preference I guess. Let's not forget in all this that Matic is really an attacking central midfielder, who was converted to holding after we originally sold him. Sitting and protecting isn't his natural habitat.

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And Top Of The Morning to you too, Dave.......:).

Agree with all of that. I may have looked to drop Willian back into the deeper role, initially at least. I still remember when Mourinho played Mikel and Matic as a combo last season. On two or three occasions they looked made for each other, but another couple of times they kept getting in each other's way. I still think that it's worth a try - whether it's alongside Matic, or Fabregas, is probably down to personal preference I guess. Let's not forget in all this that Matic is really an attacking central midfielder, who was converted to holding after we originally sold him. Sitting and protecting isn't his natural habitat.

The Matic-Mikel combo did look decent at times last season and I'd definitely prefer that over a Matic-Ramires pairing anytime. But the problem with playing Mikel is that pressing isn't his natural game and it shows. Maybe Jose could get it to work by tweaking our style but it would scare the living hell out of me having Mikel, Terry and Cahill trying to close that space we talked about yesterday while being exposed to a pacey striker/inside wingers.

That could get ugly:(

I still feel our squad is very much a work in progress. Too many square pegs in round holes. Jose and the club has had five windows to rectify this...

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xCELERYx   

"The press" is ridiculous anyway with only two central midfielders, regardless what combination is used. Better off letting them hold central positions, play from deeper, keep a better shape, and be more rigid. Make it harder for sides to pass through us and break because two bodies will be there to at least offer some sort of obstruction. Just let sides have more ball against us and then use the pace we have in attack to exploit sides, aided by the passing abilities of Cesc to orchestrate things from deep.

In theory, closing down sounds good. The downside is it leaves more chances for players to end up out of position and easily beaten.

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Vinod   

"The press" is ridiculous anyway with only two central midfielders, regardless what combination is used. Better off letting them hold central positions, play from deeper, keep a better shape, and be more rigid. Make it harder for sides to pass through us and break because two bodies will be there to at least offer some sort of obstruction. Just let sides have more ball against us and then use the pace we have in attack to exploit sides, aided by the passing abilities of Cesc to orchestrate things from deep.

In theory, closing down sounds good. The downside is it leaves more chances for players to end up out of position and easily beaten.

Pressing high up is patently a style that warrants more energy, focus and co-ordination. It needs to start right from the forwards through to the goalkeeper.

One part of the problem is if even one player is out of position or slow or hesitant, you expose yourself. Personally given our late pre-season, sluggishness of our forwards and Cesc Fabregas; pressing high up is not the best approach. It does not matter if Matic plays or Mikel. The only way pressing will work is if the forwards and the midfielders work their socks off without the ball. I haven't seen that happen since last December.

The other bit to guard against is balls over the top behind the defenders I.e. getting exploited the way we exploited Barcelona in that famous 4-2 win. That needs pacy centre-backs. However if we have seen pacy strikers being managed by off-side traps.

TBH, if we wanted to play medium block and steady build-up, Mata and Lukaku would have been an useful options to have.

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Zoowraa   

Good morning Michael (or Good Day to you!).

I don't think anyone diaputes he had a bad game. First 20 is the worst I've ever seen from him and although he did improve as the game wore on he was poor overall. Last season has bought him

some leeway from me but he can't produce that rubbish with any sort of regularity.

I must say I was surprised Willian was taken off while keeping Fabregas on though. It felt like we needed the legs and Fabregas isn't exactly that. As we were 3-1 up I would have thought Fabregas for Mikel would have been the sensible sub once JT was off (and Cahill introduced by subbing someone else).

I didn't mention this in the thread earlier in the week as many other talking points. However, I thought two of the three substitutions Jose made were frankly odd. I have never questioned his substitutions in the past because I could always see some sort of logic in them.

Like you mentioned, I really don't understand why we kept Fabregas on the pitch in this circumstances on Sunday. He is a luxury with 11 in a team, let alone 10 and he was still giving the ball away uneccesily on occassions when we were reduced to 10.

The other odd one was Falcao on for Costa for the final 15 mins. Costa was using his body to hold off defenders throughout the game, you can lump it up to him and he will hold onto the ball and buy valuable time or win a free kick. Falcao is just bang average with his back to goal and always has been. My view on Falcao has long been he cannot play as a lone striker, I really can't fathom either of these calls.

If we needed to bring Costa off, we would have been better off sticking Hazard up top as he can at least hold the ball very well. To be honest, at the time, I really felt these decisions were going to cost us and I think Jose got a little lucky here for what I think we're two bad decisions. It did make me question if the pressure got to him a little in this match, his reaction at the final whistle suggests he was feeling it in this match.

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I didn't mention this in the thread earlier in the week as many other talking points. However, I thought two of the three substitutions Jose made were frankly odd. I have never questioned his substitutions in the past because I could always see some sort of logic in them.

Like you mentioned, I really don't understand why we kept Fabregas on the pitch in this circumstances on Sunday. He is a luxury with 11 in a team, let alone 10 and he was still giving the ball away uneccesily on occassions when we were reduced to 10.

The other odd one was Falcao on for Costa for the final 15 mins. Costa was using his body to hold off defenders throughout the game, you can lump it up to him and he will hold onto the ball and buy valuable time or win a free kick. Falcao is just bang average with his back to goal and always has been. My view on Falcao has long been he cannot play as a lone striker, I really can't fathom either of these calls.

If we needed to bring Costa off, we would have been better off sticking Hazard up top as he can at least hold the ball very well. To be honest, at the time, I really felt these decisions were going to cost us and I think Jose got a little lucky here for what I think we're two bad decisions. It did make me question if the pressure got to him a little in this match, his reaction at the final whistle suggests he was feeling it in this match.

Agreed.

On Falcao. it may cost us not having a proper target striker as 2nd or 3rd choice. Remy is a floater and Falcao - well right now I don't think anyone is sure of what he is. A target man he is not though.

A lot of people complained about us re-signing Drogba. In the end it was genius. We need someone like him to give as an out ball opportunity.

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Interesting, just glanced at this match feedback and straight away I see references to Matic.

Another fellow Chelsea supporting friend says he is important to the team and is just having a bad start. And yes he does provide some quality passes, but I really do have concerns lately of just how many mistakes he is making on the pitch. In the West Brom match it was barely seconds before he slipped the ball to the opposition, and it didn't stop since.

I really hope his head is in the game at the next match.

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