Today on the site I want to focus on two of the most defensively influential players we have seen at Chelsea in Claude Makélélé and N'Golo Kante.
Both are arguably the best in their positions at Chelsea when both players are in their prime. For Claude Makélélé that would be in 2004-5 and 2005-6 seasons when he was recognised for being the best at the role he played for the team. He was so good back then, he had the position playing just in front of the back four named after him - it became known as "Makélélé' role".
The diminutive French midfielder came to Chelsea from Real Madrid which was a real surprise back then but instantly gave Chelsea a sense of stability by patrolling that area in front of our back four. If you think back to how we played back then, we played with a three-man midfield in Jose Mourinho's 4-3-3 formation and started with Frank Lampard and Tiago playing either side of the Frenchman.
Claude Makélélé gave these two licence to roam and push forward and Frank Lampard in particular thrived in doing so because he knew that Claude Makélélé would mop up anything in the space he had left behind with his forward runs.
It's worth noting that Claude Makélélé never pushed forward beyond the half-way line in games so as not to waste energy but, when called upon he would cover the ground from side to side and ten yards forward so quickly, that he became so effective in games. His positional play was excellent and he always managed to put himself into the right position to stop the opposition attacks.
N'Golo Kante has literally set the Premier League alight with his performances in the two and a half years he has played here. Another diminutive Frenchman, plucked from obscurity in the French second division by Claudio Ranieri at Leicester, Kante has immediately proven to be on of the bargains of all-time with his influence on these shores.
In my opinion Kante operates in a different but just as effective way to Claude Makélélé in that he is much more dynamic. He has boundless energy and is willing to step forward to join attacks, to make excellent runs with the ball at his feet using his pace to surge into the oppositions half to start an attack but also, to get across that pitch from side-to-side, or to step forward and win the ball back in the opposition half.
Kante played an instrumental role in Leicesters title win and Chelsea's fifth Premier League title last season. For someone who isn't the biggest, to put himself about the way he does and to have the influence he has over players that are bigger than he is, well that's a real credit to him.
Both are slightly different in how they operate within the framework of the Chelsea team when they were playing at their peak as Kante is now and Claude Makélélé in 2004-6. We could ill afford to lose them both which speaks volumes.
So here's the question:
"Who would you prefer playing at their best for Chelsea? Claude Makélélé or N'Golo Kante?"
I would love to hear as much opinion on this as possible so post your comments below!
Chelseadaft | Five-minute Chelsea FC News | Claude Makélélé or N'Golo Kante - YouTube
It's Tuesday, it's another boring couple of weeks waiting for the international break to be over. This is Chelseadaft's five-minute Chelsea News!
Pedro | Morata | Christensen | Eden Hazard | Alonso | Chelseadaft's Chelsea News. - YouTube
Pedro on Morata and our goals for the end of the season.
Speaking after our victory over Leicester this weekend, Pedro has spoken of just how important the goal scored by Alvaro Morata is and will be for Chelsea between now and the end of the season. He said:
"Alvaro is a very good player and a very important one for us. It's important for him to score and to help the team. The goal will give him more confidence from now until the end."
Speaking of our run between now and the end of the season he added:
"It's a good chance for us to finish the season well. There is a good atmosphere in the changing room to change this situation and to fight until the end for our targets."
FA CUP draw rigged??
It comes as no surprise that Tottenham and Manchester United fans vented their frustrations in recent days with the outcome of the FA CUP draw. Petr Cech and Gianfranco Zola conducted the draw and these fans are of the opinion that Chelsea got the easy draw. Andreas Christensen seeks advice from a Chelsea legend.
Andreas Christensen has been outstanding this season, of that there is little doubt, but in recent weeks it has become clear that there is a mistake in him and creeping into his game.
He has revealed that he has sought advice from John Terry who had made an appearance at Cobham last week and JT explained that these things happen. Terry made an important point when he said that if a striker makes a mistake and misses a goal, he has the opportunity to score again. When a defender makes a mistake to concede a goal, you cannot change it.
It seems that Christensen has taken the point on board and has moved on.
Eden Hazard is not a false nine.
That is the opinion of Belgium boss Roberto Martinez and a sentiment I have to echo here. Hazard is wasted playing up as a lone striker with his back to goal being man-marked. He is much more effective playing out wide or off of the main striker.
William Gallas believes that Chelsea should sell Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois.
The ex-Chelsea defender believes that we should sell both players in the summer to Real Madrid if bids come in for them because they are easy to replace! Courtois maybe, but we cannot replace Hazard!
Thibaut Courtois out for a month - will at least miss Tottenham.
The big Belgian goalkeeper who has come in for criticism over his open-legged performance against Barcelona missed out on Leicester this weekend and has a serious hamstring injury forcing him out of action with Belgium and Tottenham in two weeks time.
Manchester United eye Alonso
Manchester United are the latest club looking to make a move for Marcos Alonso in addition to Barcelona and Real Madrid this summer.
Chelsea eye Luke Shaw.
Luke Shaw is looking to force his way out of Manchester United this summer after the treatment he has received from Jose Mourinho ever since the "Special Once" arrived. Chelsea are believed to be interested. Could it be as a replacement for Alonso?
In this episode we focus on the victory over Leicester in the FA Cup, what the papers say, another win for Chelsea Ladies and some worrying news for two of our players as far as the World Cup this summer goes.
Leicester City 1-2 Chelsea | FA Cup | Chelseadaft's 5-Minute Chelsea News | 19.03.18 - YouTube
Them: I was largely too cold to care. Wes Morgan, God help our forwards if they couldn't outrun that donkey. That diving rat Vardy and a few others. I could see a peroxide abomination on the pitch so Mahrez must have been out there.
Us: Very few days off. Good. If I've got to stand out in this cold so should everybody else. Bakayoko is back. Took adequate precautions against inevitable nappy sh*t tsunami the second he misplaced a pass.
They still insist on showing the highlights of every match in the title winning season while plagiarising the theme music from the Da Vinci Code. It's getting tedious now. Fifteen years on.
A sea of blue and white bin-liners tied to flag poles before kick-off in the home end, large away showing for the cup tie that had both teams poised as little as 90 minutes away from Wembley. Typically intricate diamond and triangle pattern on the pitch that they love obsessing over at the King Power. If you look really closely it's a map for the thick likes of Vardy to show him the way to the goal.
I don't recall us touching the ball in the first minute. But Morata hadn't fallen over either. I applaud Eden, Dave, Christensen and Alonso for not wearing gloves. Cesc too when he came on. Real men. For that flurry of possession though, all Leicester got was one sh*t shot off before we started to participate.
A great ball from Alonso set Eden off on our first run, and by the end of a pacy first ten minutes we'd had the better of it, but not fashioned any real chances. A lucky deflection almost cost us at the back, but it was well blocked by Christensen and from the subsequent corner the Leicester header was over.
You should know that I can't fit all of Craig Pawson's refereeing transgressions into a couple of lines, so I'm just going to have to keep referring back to the Frank Spencer of the referring world. From now on, "doing a Pawson" is where a referee stands dumbly in the middle of the pitch not knowing what is going on before quite obviously guessing which way to call a decision. And gets it wrong. He is especially bad at masking this, and he started by giving random corners to the home side when they'd knocked the ball out themselves. Not satisfied with this level of ineptitude, he awarded them a free kick for accidentally getting sat on when the Leicester player was already on the floor nowhere near the ball. And by watching three players foul Moses at once and waving play on. I should add that his decisions didn't change the result today, but I'd be remiss if I didn't take the chronic p*ss out of him for stealing a living for my own enjoyment.
Morata, who was much better today made a promising run into the box but it was successfully blocked. Probably by Wes Morgan. The home side managed a long range shot that looked half threatening but it was saved by Big Willy. There wasn't exactly a whole lot going on the way if goal scoring opportunities, but my feet were going numb, and I was suppressing the urge to throttle anti-Morata nappy sh*tters nearby by counting down the 17 minutes until I could eat my Cadbury's Picnic. As much of the play was hashed out in the middle of the field, we had probably too long a conversation about how Zappacosta looks like a cross between Dick Dastardly and the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Don't get me wrong, this was not a boring game. But alas I am a millennial with a crippled attention span. It was competitive, though not exciting at this stage and there was lots to be positive about. Christensen had played really well, As had Kante, who basically ran around doing a share of everyone else's work as well as his own as usual. And here's a stat for you: Morata fell over I think six times, four were definitely fouls, one more might have been. The fact that only two were given is down to Craig Pawson being a bellend. This is a ratio I can live with. We genuinely looked like a football team attempting to create something, and not, as the case was at City, like eleven baffled blokes who only met each other five minutes before kick off. So although it was still goalless as we approached half time, this was not depressing. Just colder than watching Leo DiCaprio freezing in the water while Kate Winslet hogged the whole bit of driftwood to herself.
We survived Big Willy's daily brain fart on 36 minutes. It was a doozie, him bombing out towards the touch line and trusting Bakayoko to get it clear while he ran back to his goal. I'm not digging him out today. Just like Morata reminds us all of Drogba early on, Bakayoko is to me what Ramires was in his first season. Some players take longer than others. He's a good player. According to Blue Squirrel Conte battled strong opposition at the club to get him during the process of sealing the deal last summer. Write this term off, get him through a proper preseason, uninjured, and trust that he will get better as Rami did. God knows he came good in the end, and he was excruciating to watch at first. If not then we can make him Roman's official food taster and I'll say no more about it.
Anyway, on the pitch it looked like being level at the break until a perfect pass from Little Willy found Morata, who slotted it past Mr Potato Head (Schmeichel) There was a split second when the Spaniard was running on goal and we were behind and directly in line with him and I thought he was going to smack it over the bar, but he placed it like the pro we know he is, but haven't seen for a while. We were in front at half time. He'd not been amazing, but today's overall display and a goal was a significant step back in the right direction.
Bakayoko had picked up a booking in the first half, because Pawson is an inconsistent f*ckwit, and he was replaced be Cesc before play restarted. Straight away Willian managed to wriggle forward and pass the ball across the box, but nobody was there to get on the end of it. Shame. Morata followed this up with another strong run, but we failed to double our lead.
This is why Craig Pawson sucks as an official. Willian hacked down. Doesn't give foul. Looks like he considered it at length. Not a head injury. Stops play anyway. It either is a foul, or it's not and you play on. You don't faff around in between the two decisions because you feel bad. This is why he's a complete disaster in charge of VAR and should never be allowed such technology again. He's confused enough with the job he's got now, never mind adding to it. Frankly I'd be amazed if it transpires that he laces his own boots up.
Leicester were by no means out of it, and the tie wasn't over yet. The game got feisty quickly, which is what happens when you've got a lunatic in charge. Leicester were bombing forward in search of an equaliser. A relatively comfortable save from Big Willy on 55 minutes and then we almost hit the jackpot twice in one hit, Morata narrowly missed smashing it in and getting Mr Potato Head, nasty sh*t that is, in the chops at the same time. Leicester made their first change just after the hour mark, and it paid off, just about, on 76 minutes. Three times the ball was blocked, and saved once, and still Big Willy nearly kept it out. It would be that little cheating rat Vardy there to steal a goal. This is entirely Gary's fault. Not Cahill. Gary in front of us. Fifteen seconds before it happened he said: "You just know they're going to get an equaliser and then we'll have to stand here in this freezing cold for another half an hour." Damn you Gary. Damn you. We had the ball hit the woodwork five minutes later, thanks to Morata again, but he was judged offside by Dobby the House Elf, who seems to been moonlighting as a bad official who has about as much grip on the offside rule generally as my mum.
We now had a proper cup tie, open play with both sides looking for a winner for the last ten minutes. Pawson almost managed to orchestrate a punch up. He also did nothing when Maguire attempt to sever one of our players' legs, then redeemed himself when he bizarrely plucked some common sense from the ether to bring a free kick back, and then he booked Moses for a minor transgression. Sigh. Morata nearly saved us from extra time, but Mr Potato Head saved it and after a stellar amount of time-wasting a paltry three minutes were added on before we were forced into extra time.
Half an hour more in -7. No more chocolate for sustenance. Couldn't bend knees now. Did our best to get rid of nearby nappy sh*tters.
"Well that's it then, replay!" They said. We all nodded non committal way and prayed for 30 minutes of football without Morata getting mugged off in our ears.
It nearly worked. And I apologise to the guy that took the flak when they figured it out and came back and we all abandoned him to his fate.
Little Willy soon made way for Pesto. (I'm too cold to battle autospell) Pretty much the whole first half of extra time consisted of trying to resume circulation in our legs and me trying to take notes with frozen fingers. Starting to get jealous of DiCaprio's body temperature at the end of the film now. Cahill for Christensen and pampers throughout the stand started filling. You knew that whatever happened, it was going to be Gary's fault.
Arsenalification was resumed (Passing ball around edge of box and not doing anything with it) until out of nowhere the smallest bloke on the pitch scored with a header. They must have thought we were morons when Kante put another high ball in towards a player who only comes up to Morata's armpit. But Pesto out-foxed (get it?) Albrighton, who had survived what he made out to be brush with death when he ran the clock down earlier, Chilwell (I know, who?) and Mr Potato Head. Have that. Suckers.
We got Giroud, wearing f*cking leggings, for Morata to see the game out and we clung on despite some Keystone Cops defending (thanks Gary) and Leicester throwing the kitchen sink at us as extra time ran out. Ironic when they booed about the lack of injury time (didn't care previously when they were wasting it) and the referee (who was generally awful but somehow managed not to impact what was always the right result).
So: The cold weather has produced a massive spot on my forehead. I'm going to name it Jose, because like him it's full of sh*t. But my knees bend again. Gary & Co have missed their train. Puel reckons they deserved a different result. I reckon he's an idiot, and that he looks like a dodgy second hand car dealer. Leicester were by no means awful, they put up a good fight, and we never looked like running away with it, but the one goal they did score was luckily bundled over and other than that they looked pretty toothless. Vardy wasn't even ever really in a position to do his usual run and dive scam on the ref. He makes Alvaro look like a tower of strength when he leaves a leg dangly and flings himself giant chin-first to the ground.
A semi-final awaits us against Southampton. So you'd have to say a fair chance for some of our players to get to another final and atone for not turning up to the last one. Also, Sp*rs fans are moaning that the draw was a fix. Good. It makes me happy when they're unhappy. But nobody that has the Diving Little Sh*tbag on their team is allowed to make judgments re cheating about anything. Ever.
International Break Time! Which means I'd rather pluck out my eyelashes one by one than watch the football on offer. I'm going to fulfil my nine year old self's Free Willy inspired dream of going Orca watching. Later, peasants.
Antonio Conte takes his Chelsea side recovering from the disappointment of defeat to Barcelona in midweek, to Leicester for the FA Cup Quarter Final at 4pm UK time this afternoon.
The question for all of us is just how many changes should and will Antonio Conte make this afternoon? Will the likes of Eden Hazard, N'Golo Kante, Cesc Fabregas and Thibaut Courtois maintain their positions in the starting eleven or, will Antonio Conte decide to rotate his players?
Leicester City vs Chelsea | Antonio Conte to rotate? | Match Preview | FA Cup - YouTube
For me we have three options:
Willy Caballero, Gary Cahill, Davide Zappacosta. Danny Drinkwater, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Emerson Palmieri, Pedro and Alvaro Morata all come into the side to start the game.
Just four changes to the side that were beaten in Barcelona, Willy Caballero, Gary Cahill, Danny Drinkwater and Alvaro Morata come into the side. One change.
Just one change to the side from Barcelona, Alvaro Morata comes in to replace Olivier Giroud.
What do you think Antonio Conte should do today? How many changes should he make? It's a massive, massive game and this is our last chance to win silverware this season in addition to our push to finish inside the top four.
We expect a reaction to Wednesday and expect the win by playing well. COME ON CHELSEA!!
Chelsea were beaten tonight 3-0 by Barcelona with Lionel Messi scoring another two goals to dump Chelsea out of the Champions League.
Barcelona 3-0 Chelsea (4-1) | Mistakes punished | Lacking in the final third | Vlog reaction. - YouTube
In this Vlog Episode, we take a look at our overall performance, mistakes made, players not delivering what is being asked of them on the biggest stage and the fact that we were really lacking in the final third.
Champions League Highlights: Barcelona 3-0 Chelsea - YouTube
Antonio Conte and his Chelsea team face Barcelona tonight knowing that they need to score. I believe he will start the game with a 3-4-3 formation with Alvaro Morata up front.
I have been torn all day trying to decide whether or not we will play with a three-man midfield with Tiemoue Bakayoko coming into the side in place of Willian, alongside Cesc Fabregas and N’Golo Kante. However, after Willian’s comments made in the press conference ahead of this one where he has stated that they will approach the game in exactly the same way, that indicates to me that we will play with three up front but not the false-nine formation.
It’s was undecided for me as who will start up front despite my earlier Tweets this afternoon. Olivier Giroud will offer us an out-ball which will be needed at times with Barcelona dominating the possession of the ball and Chelsea defending deep, but in saying that, he just does not have the legs to get in behind which is what we demonstrated to be an option in the first leg.
If Chelsea can get Willian and Eden Hazard in between their midfield and defence on the ball as much as possible, we can have the same success as we did in the first leg and create chances to score. This for me is why I would play Alvaro Morata from the start as his pace could be key in behind their defence and onto balls from these two opening up Barcelona.
Chelsea have the ability to win this tonight and score not once but twice to take us through, we just need to make sure we remain compact at the back.
We are just hours away now. What do you think of our chances? Who do you think starts the game and what formation?
August’s opening-day defeat to Burnley was a shock at the time, but it has proven to be symbolic of a season in which Chelsea have struggled to match the heights of the last campaign. Defeats to Watford, Bournemouth, Crystal Palace and West Ham have followed, and more recently, Antonio Conte’s men have also slipped out of the top four.
At the end of February, Conte was forced to admit that we may not finish in the top four and consequently face the prospect of missing out on Champions League football next season. The bookies appear to agree, seeing Chelsea as an outside bet to finish the campaign above fifth.
What has gone wrong? There is no single factor that can explain the decline, but a number of problems have combined to produce this (so far) disappointing campaign.
The most obvious, but possibly the most important, is the transfer business that was done last summer. Instead of building on our strengths and adding to the squad, Chelsea ended up desperately trying to replace two key players: Nemanja Matić and Diego Costa. None of the players brought in have been able to offset the void they left behind. Álvaro Morata has so far proven to be a pale imitation of Costa, and without Matić, the Chelsea midfield has been less dominant and resilient.
Another factor that has counted against us is the extra strain placed on the squad by Champions League football. Last year, we had the luxury of resting key players while rivals were playing midweek in Europe, but this time around, Conte has had to manage simultaneous European and domestic campaigns, and the lack of depth in the squad – which is probably weaker overall than last season’s – has been exposed.
It is also true to say that other teams have caught up with Conte’s tactics. Both Liverpool and Manchester City have improved this season, though that could have been expected given the abilities of their managers. What has hurt Chelsea most this season has been the ease with which lesser teams have managed to overcome the challenge of the 3-4-3 formation.
Last season, Conte’s tactics proved irresistible and we were able to sweep all before us, but this time around, every team in the Premier League seems to have an effective plan to counter the system, either by mirroring it or by targeting the potential weaknesses within the formation in central midfield and behind the wing-backs. Conte has tried to adjust by dropping an extra man into midfield, but that has simply led to fewer goal-scoring opportunities. Last year, Chelsea were setting the pace tactically, but this year, we seem to be playing catch-up.
With the Premier League title race effectively over, we now face a battle to get back into the top four. Of our remaining games, Tottenham and Liverpool will give us the opportunities that we need to close the gap, but it will be tough. Victory at the Nou Camp tonight will be a huge feat, and will surely give us a much needed boost to finish the season the strong.
Whether we make it into the top four or not, it is clear that Conte and the club need to go back to the drawing board this summer to ensure that next season doesn’t see a repeat of this disappointing Premier League campaign.
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