After many miserable days, the Easter weekend finally saw the return of some Premier League action. It also bore witness to possibly the final few nails in Antonio Conte’s coffin and the departure of Alan Pardew from West Brom, a club sitting nicely at the bottom of the table.
What’s Happening at Stamford Bridge?
Chelsea are fifth in the league right now and it is, for me, quite hard to believe that they were the champions last season. You forgot that, didn’t you?
On Saturday, Christian Eriksen’s dipping wonder strike and Dele Alli’s brace condemned the Blues to their fourth loss in six games. It also marked Spurs’ first victory at Stamford Bridge since 1990.
Alvaro Morata, struggling for confidence, led Conte’s men in front when he beat Davison Sanchez and Hugo Lloris to Victor Moses’ curled cross.
It was wasteful of Chelsea not to have taken their chances, especially since they started quite brightly, and thus, allowed the North Londoners to slowly grow into the game.
Eden Hazard looked out-of-depth; he was slow and just not the player he normally is. Maybe the weight of carrying Chelsea’s offence is slowly getting to him. Maybe the Real Madrid transfer rumours are getting in his head. Maybe a change of scene would be good.
When Chelsea let Michy Batshuayi go to Borussia Dortmund on loan, they were releasing a perfectly good, athletic forward with the ability to bag goals but just wasn’t given the chance to. Look at Michy now – banging in goals for fun, despite Dortmund’s slump.
Morata and Olivier Giroud are rather one-dimensional, target-man types. Yes, they provide a physical presence yet their overall play is not well-rounded enough, too direct and predictable and leaves much to be desired.
In my opinion, only two members of Chelsea have been consistent all season and they are Cesar Azpilicueta and N’Golo Kante. Every game, you see the heart and dedication they put in, even if the score lines and their performances (rarely) suggest otherwise.
Oh, also, Andreas Christensen has been quite the liability. I’d rather see Gary Cahill or David Luiz in his place. The Dane is either leaving the back line too exposed or he’s too scared to go in for the challenge. His positional (un)awareness is frighteningly bad too. For heaven’s sake, Andreas, you are a centre-back. Have some guts.
Conte has experimented quite a bit with his midfield combinations and something just isn’t clicking. Fabregas, we must all remember, isn’t the Arsenal or Barcelona version anymore. Marcos Alonso is doing well, just inconsistent and a tad bit slow. Moses could part the Red Sea once in a while with his crosses. Other than that, I don’t understand how he consistently makes the lineup with his questionable passing and random shots.
With all that being said, I am, nonetheless, a firm believer that Conte has what it takes to make things right next season. If he’s still around, that is. He won the title in style in his first season so don’t tell me that he’s losing his touch. It might just be a bit of a rough patch.
Arsene Wenger is a different story, however. He really is losing it. Anyway, considering Roman Abramovich’s ruthlessness and the perpetual manager merry-go-round at Chelsea, we might not even see the Italian make it out of April, puoi farlo, Antonio!
Pardew Rhymes with Adieu (Coincidence?)
Once again, we bid farewell to Alan Pardew. That’s not to say we or Mr. Pardew didn’t see it coming. Who are we kidding? The Baggies have lost eight straight games with only one win in eighteen.
There was an article on The Guardian that titled Pardew as a “serial-fan-disappointer.” I can see why. This man has held five Premier League appointments and I’ve never heard the fans say, “We love Pardew.” Quite the contrary, in fact.
Even while he was doing an alright job with Newcastle, the Toon fans just didn’t take to him. Neither did the fans at Crystal Palace. Or West Brom. He had zero appeal, whatsoever. He had the looks of a polished businessman who didn’t know nuts about what he was doing.
Ian Wright is predicting that Pardew will find it hard to get back into top-league managing after his departure from West Brom. We all know how this story will go, don’t we?
Stoke City, West Ham, Swansea, Huddersfield or any other team consistently in the bottom half of the table will sack their manager because they face a “relegation battle” then Pardew’s name gets thrown in the mix because “English managers know the game best”. Next thing we know, he’s hired by Southampton. Next thing we know, he’s sacked. Again.
It also came to light that things were shambolic behind-the-scenes. Pardew ill-treated youngsters like Sam Field and Oliver Burke. He could hardly garner respect from the senior players. He mishandled Taxigate. Story of Pards’ life – eat, sleep, fail, get sacked, repeat.
I’ll just put this controversial view of mine out there. All the British managers are quite sub-par (looking at Moyes and Hughes and the like) and Gareth Southgate is the only bright spark. But, Pardew is below sub-par. Hope I won’t have to see his cocky face in the Prem for the next few seasons.