Tuesday, 17 March 2015

English Clubs. Champions League...

A bit late on the Chelsea 'de-brief' but Cheltenham got in the way. The only thing more mysterious than Dark Matter was Chelsea's inexplicable performance against PSG. I understand the point about 0-0, 1-0, and 2-1 score-lines (all of which we had at some stage during the match) being enough to get us through, but if you are going to have a defensive strategy, then you need to be more confident in its execution! If you are not, then you need to put the game to bed with goals - especially if the opposition are down to ten men. PSG were brilliant, granted, but there were periods of the match where we should have dealt better with the situation.

Luiz scored a fantastic headed goal. Well...it just had to be...

The 'defence mentality' is logical of course, as long as you have a good defence, which Chelsea do. 'Defence' always wins out against 'Attack' over the long term, be it in football, NFL and I assume most other relevant sports like rugby and hockey.

The pundits have been banging on about English clubs failing in the Champions League after Chelsea's exit, but I am not sure that there is an inherent problem. Man City have been 'mis-managed' in their campaign (they could still beat Barcelona!). Liverpool are building, Man Utd, not in Europe, but in transition. Arsenal are clinging on but you never know! English clubs will be back. I don't think Chelsea had anyone to fear in the competition and have proved themselves against the likes of Barcelona and Bayern Munich. Ultimately, they had one poor match, which is usually costly at this level.

Chelsea's Champions League/European Record - Last 10 Years

2004 - Champions League Semi-Final
2005 - Champions League Semi-Final
2006 - Champions League 2nd Round
2007 - Champions League Semi-Final
2008 - Champions League Final
2009 - Champions League Semi-Final
2010 - Champions League 2nd Round
2011 - Champions League Quarter-Final
2012 - Champions League Winners
2013 - Champions League 1st Round/Europa League Winners
2014 - Champions League Semi-Final

The one issue for English clubs, especially towards the latter stages of the Champions League and towards the end of the Premier League season - is fatigue. In the Premier League, virtually every game is a 'battle', your toughest game could come against Liverpool or Sunderland, you never know and it does take its toll.

Contrast this to Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga for instance, who in the current season to date have won around ten of their domestic matches by scoring four or more goals. The top teams in the European Leagues often have a much easier time of it.

Personally, I always wanted Chelsea to concentrate on the Premier League this season. It's about time we won it. Europe can wait...

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