Sunday, 22 February 2015

Measured ranting

Sometimes it's nice to let off steam.

First, the frustrating treatment of Chelsea players in recent matches. The last two games have seen the opposition get away with relative impunity. Eden Hazard was fouled 9 times in Paris, and this was allowed to happen with minimal punishment. I needed two hands to count the number of fouls (including one that was a booking in itself) Marco Verratti committed before the referee finally took his name. Fabregas went into the book for his first tired foul. Barnes went into every challenge yesterday with a dash of mischief, kicking at the Chelsea player when jumping for the ball. The challenge on Matic was horrific, but there aren't any "Barnes crimes" headlines (He didn't even get a yellow card, let alone a post-match lynching from the media).

This is worrisome. It gives opposition players the message that they can get away with violent conduct, while Chelsea players should expect the worst for any transgression.

About Martin Atkinson - That was a performance of such extraordinary ineptitude it brought back memories of Tom Henning Ovrebo. Two penalty shouts that would've been given on any other day weren't heeded, and a Chelsea player was sent off and another booked for retaliation against a Barnes tackle that, on many days, would've been greeted with a straight red.

Chelsea's Matic is sent off for pushing Burnley's Barnes in anger
 Nemanja Matic sees red for pushing Barnes in reaction to a dangerous tackle (Photo Credits: Irish Examiner)

Had Chelsea been fighting relegation, that refereeing performance could've ended up costing the manager his job and the club tens of millions. In fact, there could yet be clubs aggrieved that Burnley managed to get a point from the game.

There might not be an actual campaign against Chelsea, but nobody seems to be in a hurry to prove Jose Mourinho wrong.

After watching the last few games, I find it a bit incredible that Cristiano Ronaldo is considered the best player in the world.

His goalscoring record is outstanding, but there seems to be little else to his game. Any time he gets the ball, Real Madrid seem only seconds away from having to defend a counter-attack. The goals he scores are usually the only meaningful touches he takes all game. He was a lesser goalscorer but a much better footballer at Manchester United, where he would routinely beat players and drive forward moves rather than only be at the end of them.

Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates scoring against Atletico
Lionel Messi is the world's best footballer - and has been since 2009 (Image credits: International Business Times)

Lionel Messi, on the other hand, takes a full part in build-up play, makes some brilliant passes and is outstanding when moving with the ball. He has lesser physical prowess but is a more exceptional footballer. It's not like he's invisible in front of goal either - Messi has scored as many goals as Ronaldo this season, having played the same number of games. I find players like Messi, Robben, Isco and Hazard better to watch than Ronaldo.


  1. After routinely strong-arming more technically gifted opposition over the past few seasons to eke out dubious wins, Chelsea now complain about being tackled out of games. The level of irony here is alarmingly high. There ought to be a word for it. Come to think of it, there probably is. Perhaps some Chelsea fans can dredge it out while they're out hunting for excuses for inept performances?

    1. Being tackled out of games is fine, Stoke try it and sometimes get their way, nothing wrong with it. When you're denied penalties and when players like Barnes go completely unpunished for their conduct throughout the game, something's not right.

      If the performance isn't fantastic from the players (it wasn't), it's still alright if the result is arrived at under normal refereeing circumstances. It wasn't.

  2. For the record, both PSG and Chelsea committed 20 odd fouls in that match. Chelsea sat back and left Hazard as the only attacking outlet (which they do more often in big European clashes that befits a club of their supposed "rank and stature"), which logically entails that he would be fouled the most. A smidgen more commitment towards going forward would have seen Chelsea's attacking burden distributed more evenly among other players, leading to a less outrageous total on Hazard. But of course, when results don't go Chelsea's way, it's all about us against them, isn't it?

    1. While both teams shared fouls committed, there was no one Chelsea player going around fouling people like Verratti was. And even when Chelsea don't "sit back and leave Hazard as the only attacking outlet", Hazard is still the most fouled player. So much for 'logic'.


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