FA Cup Winners, not losers (Chelsea)

Arsenal denied Chelsea the pleasure of completing the double. Double the pleasure wasn’t to be for Chelsea, but to say us Arsenal fans had half the pleasure is just wrong. It was a performance that pinged out assurances that the Arsenal machine was going to give its update a run for its money. 

The club should get new players and move on those who aren’t needed. The club should also give those youngsters on the cusp of a first team breakthrough a more relaxed opportunity to play. The club should not use the League Cup to give youngsters minutes. Afterall, it’s another cup English teams have to play for. Can we really be picky about silverware at this stage? The club should break its wage structure to keep Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil. Speaking as a fan of the club, all I want to see is a winning effort being made to keep these two. I will not talk ill of Arsenal’s ability to keep world class players if one or both move on, as long as the effort being made uses all the resources allocated to the cause. It has to be less of an Arsenal effort and one more on par with the other top teams in Europe. 

It pains me to say this, but maybe Arsenal should ease the burden on those essential players who always end up getting hurt. Have them compete with other class players for their spot. On that note, I want all of us to take a moment and daydream about Mertesacker blocking the rain for us and intercepting on our behalf to bring the club another dash of sunshine in the form of an FA Cup. 

His performance was truly inspirational. One would not know that he spent over a year on the sidelines based on the cup final performance alone. I also want to give a shout out to Rob Holding for not falling victim to Diego Costa’s shenannigans. It was hilarious to see him smile over the fuss Costa was putting up. He also put in a mature performance that deserves recognition. Cannavaro who? Ramsey should always play finals. It was interesting to see Mezut drop back a line and play as a central midfielder of sorts. 

P.S. Excuse my shitty attempts at being clever!


Chelsea 3 – Middlesbrough 0

Venue: Stanford Bridge

Why?: Boro getting relegated, Chelsea keeping lead over Spurs

Player Analysis

  1. Fabio – was always pushing up the field to help Boro on the attack,but he got caught marking the back of Alonso for Chelsea’s second goal in the 34th minute. According to StatsZone, 9/46 passes were in the attacking third. 7/9 of those attacking third passes were successful or 78%. He also created one chance and had 2/3 successful take ons. What’s interesting is that he only attempted one long pass and two crosses,without success. In a position based system, where his defensive shortcomings could be covered, he would be important in maintaining position for a team that plays in their opponents half. The reason being that 45/46 passes were short. This shows he keeps the ball moving while penetrating forward within the attacking third. His back should have been to his own goal as he attempted to mark Alonso as opposed to his back facing the Chelsea attack. Was he joining the Chelsea attack? I also noticed him get caught of position during the second half which forced him to rush back to his defense. 
  2. Alonso – was also pushing up the field to give Chelsea not only an extra man in attack, but his penetrating runs to the left post have them another passing land. Those runs made possible his four attempts in goal. 2/4 attempts or 50% were on target and one was blocked which shows his proficiency in front of the goal today. StatZone also has 3/4 of those shots inside the penalty area which reinforces how close those diagonal runs were to the left post. Another interesting stat is that all four of his shots were with his left foot, and to me, it seemed like Chelsea was more dominant on the left side of the field. The stats also show he received the ball 33 times. Just like Fabio he had 2/3 successful take ons and 12/43 passes were in the attacking third. A 28% conversion over Fabio’s 20% gives him the edge. The only attacking blip is that he failed to put in any crosses. Even with this last stat, it’s hard to nitpicky because he was a threat all match. Put this man up front!

Match Summary

It was a match Chelsea dominated by employing a high line that passed its way into the Boro goal by playing on their side. This game clearly showed that these Chelsea players can not only interchange positions, but that they also move up the pitch to spread defenses into opening up space. Fabregas was the architect who dictated what direction the attack would build and was their to receive the ball when it needed to be circulated once again to continue the attack. It’s fascinating how mechanical this team is and the FA Cup final against a newly employed Arsenal back three will be something to see.

Legs open, legs closed? That was the question of the match as Brad Guzan ate up there goals, with two going between his legs.

Clap, clap, clap your hands was the topic on hand as the Chelsea owner went from a 1st half yawn to happily clapping during the dying minutes of this match. Conte was also in a clapping mode towards the end of the second half.

John Terry made an appearance!

Scouting Knows No Frontiers

Containing talent in one region, for a club to use, is the antithesis to modern football globalization. In some romantic way, filling up your talent pool, with regional talent, is a source of pride. Would it be economically prudent? Are the resources (players) available to develop in the region? The consistency of talent might not always be there for clubs of a specific region to use. They could go the way of Mexico and hope a talented generation of players breaks through the youth structure. Chivas de Guadalajara and Athletic Bilbao are two such clubs that keep foreigners away through club policy.

The former expands its net as far away as the countries borders, while the latter defines its limit to the Basque region of Spain. Does culture translate into football? It might be efficient to have players speak the same language, share regional ties, and be tied to the history of the land. If you stop and think, a lot of what we think and do is tied geographically. It’s in our nature to insulate ourselves in our local communities, yet keep our minds global by watching the news or traveling. Football falls into this way of thinking. Both examples are moving contradictions that can tip to much to one side. This brings about an extreme that unlocks many pros and cons for these clubs to play with.

Scouting across multiple countries increases the odds of bringing in more diversifying talent. It may bot always bring in successful talent that can be use on an every time basis, but that is why you play the odds. A good youth program paired with decent scouting can compete for a season or two in their respective leagues before they are stripped by the bigger funded clubs. It is in good nature to say that these better funded clubs also have robust scouting networks. This brings the question, are multimillion dollar injections good? Do they benefit the game? The crux of sport is winning. Competition brings out the primal in us. Some would say the answer in yes if you want to win trophies. Manchester City and Chelsea are examples of clubs who receive multimillion dollar injections. They will be leveling out into stability in the upcoming years. The other extreme would be Valencia trying to find a rich investor or investors to take over the club.

On the flip side a local talent pool forces you to strategically allocate sources due to artificial limitations. It breeds a familiarity among local football youth teams and would be players to the club. This also creates a sense of community between fans and club. The region is being represented. The people are being represented. A sense of pride prevails. That one boy who dreams of one day breaking into the first team can whip the crowd into a frenzy over a game winning goal. Does it turn into success? Does the team win anything? If I take the case of Athletic Bilbao, the answer would be no. Athletic Bilbao have made it to the Copa del Rey and the Europa League cup finals, but a trophy to show for it does not exist. Many factors play into a club’s trophy season. Scouting talent is one of the many bricks making up the wall.

  • Chivas de Guadalajara is a Mexican Club
  • Athletic Bilbao/Valencia are Spanish Clubs
  • Manchester City and Chelsea are English Clubs