The Worst Player to Play for your Team

Over the last week I had asked my twitter followers to come up with players who were the worst to play for their team(s) the only stipulation being they must have played during your lifetime. I got some interesting answers and you will find the full collection below. If you want to add your own feel free to do so in the comments section. Also if you are one of the players on this list I am sorry.

For me, the worst player to play at Chelsea during my lifetime (I could have gone for Fernando’oh) is Asier Del Horno, commonly known as Del HorrorShow. God bless Ashley Cole is all I will say here.

AC Milan

@ScolariFan: Digao and Amantino Mancini

Aston Villa

@jamiewh_: Bosko Balaban. Although he hardly got a fair deal

Barcelona

@solarcell13: Olegeur

Bayern Munich

@brittanyschray: is it mean if I say Breno

Cambridge United

@robbro7: Kingsley Mbome, Igor Latte-Yedo, Courtney Pitt, Danny Webb, Shaun Marshall, Phil Bolland… All laughably bad

Chelsea

@emmabung: Fernando Torres

@ishansays: Mineiro

@kingkeir: frank Sinclair only because he missed a penalty that made me cry after my first ever Chelsea game

@ScolariFan: Ben Haim

@BenjaminRees: (Slavisa) Jokanovic was actually my first thought.

@RahulChels: Torres. Without a doubt.

@Krishprash: Tal Ben Haim.

@MahmoudZaqout: Tal Ben Haim.

Fulham

@thomasmcilroy: (the legendary) Ahmad Elrich

Juventus

@ElpidaAl: Amauri but he proved himself quite useful last season. 😉

@fabiobarto:  Amauri. Tiago. Poulsen.

Leeds United

@IlGiganteBuono: Tough one that, there have been too many. Might have to go with Paul Okon considering we were playing in the PL at the time

Liverpool

@imahon: D’jimi Traore at Liverpool was fairly abysmal.

@samee_24: Andriy Voronin, Sebastian Leto.

@shazilzarook: Christian Poulsen.Worst at Liverpool ever even maybe.

Manchester City

@anisbazza: Stefan Savic. Still more titles than Gerrard + van Persie combined though.

Manchester United

@AlexCoatesy: Luke Chadwick

@VVF47_MUFC: Bebe, Dong (Fangzhou) and (Massimo) Taibi

Newcastle United:

@LeShandy: Ameobi, any of the 3. Although Tomi is probably the least shit because he never played a first team game.

Norwich

@AlexCoatesy: Luke Chadwick

Real Madrid:

@RahulxC: Faubert, Woodgate. Over 20 games – Pavon, Diogo

Tottenham:

@BenMcAleer1: Gregorz Rasiak.

West Ham:

@tomvictor: Wayne Quinn

@BigDan_83: Marco Boogers

 

And there is the list, like I said if you disagree with any of the above or would like to add your own leave a comment below.

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2012 Team Of The Year

For my team of the year I have had a very difficult time picking players. Primarily the reason being it is very hard to judge a player over two halves of seasons. My point being that in the 2011/12 season a player could have been forced to play out of position by his old manager but his current manager, and with perhaps better players around him, may have found the best position to get the best out of the player. I have tried to go with consistency over flashy moment or purple patches (Mario Balotelli for example). I selected a 4-3-3 formation as it is my favourite and I can get enough midfielders and forward players to fit into it.

GOALKEEPER

Petr Cech Chelsea – He went the correct way for all six penalties awarded in the Champions League final, saving three of them. It was his, and Didier Drogba’s, persistence that put Chelsea in the Champions League final. This season as well he has contributed immensely to Chelsea’s cause and if it were not for him Chelsea would be in a more troubling situation.

There really was only one other I considered for this spot and that is the magnificent Gigi Buffon, it was a coin toss in the end with the Juventus shot-stopper just missing out.

RIGHT BACK

Lukasz Piszczek Borussia Dortmund – Right back was very difficult to fill but I went with Dortmund’s Polish full back Piszczek. His performances at Euros were certainly standout and it led to reported interest from Real Madrid and Chelsea. What impressed me most about Piszczek were his attacking movements that were always causing problems for the opposition full-backs. Whilst his defending is a bit susceptible, four assists from a right-back this season speaks volumes.

There were a couple I thought that could push Piszczek and they were Lichsteiner of Juve and Pablo Zabaleta from Manchester City, decided to go with Piszczek due to his attacking traits but that shouldn’t discount the other two who have had a great 2012.

LEFT BACK

Jordi Alba Barcelona/Valencia – Finding a left-back who has impressed this year is difficult but it was down to two choices and I went for Alba. His goal in the Euro 2012 final and his seamlessly easy adaption to the Barcelona squad were the key for him being selected. Like Piszczek, his attacking skills are excellent and in a Barcelona squad containing Messi & co he has done very well to stand out. As well as being a vital part of the Valencia side that secured a top 4 finish last season.

Ashley Cole was the other I considered for this position but I gave it to Alba as I felt my XI needed a bit more attacking from the full-backs.

CENTRE-BACKS

Giorgio Chiellini Juventus – A mastodon at the back for the Old Lady. Far and away the best defender of the year, his solidity and leadership ensured that Juventus went the whole of last season unbeaten and this year he has only improved that. His willingness to get forward and his passing ability have made him an absolute must in my team and I have even given him the captaincy.

Mats Hummels Borussia Dortmund – Another Dortmund player but Hummels, like Chiellini, has been beastly. Hummels is great at reading the game and his performances over the past year have seen him help his Dortmund side to a league and cup double as well as finishing top of a Champions League group that contained Manchester City and Real Madrid. Like Chiellini, Hummels is a great ball-playing defender but he does know when to clear the ball away, averaging 11 clearances per game in the Champions League this season!

Vincent Kompany was one I was really touch and go on but his poor second half of 2012 made me swing it Hummels’ way.

MIDFIELDERS

Andrea Pirlo Juventus – The architect, the way he masterminded Juventus to the scudetto and Italy to the final of Euro 2012 was magnificent. The semi-final was arguably the best midfield performance I have seen all year, obviously helped by the space Germany gave him but that shouldn’t take anything from it. If Juventus are to go far in this season’s Champions League then Pirlo will play a defining role, lord only knows what Milan were thinking when they sold him.

Mesut Ozil Real Madrid – Ozil continues to impress me, I would say behind Ronaldo he is the best asset Madrid have. He may not have the frequency of passing like a Xavi or a Pirlo but Ozil does know when to play the perfect pass. Very much an integral player for both his club and country and Real would be foolish to let him go. His free-kick technique isn’t bad either!

Andres Iniesta Barcelona – Iniesta is one of the players who I should hate (2009 Champions League semi-final) but I adore immensely. His movement and passing are an absolute joy to behold. His performance in the final of Euro2012, particularly the pass to set up Silva’s goal, was sublime. Not been too bad this season, just the eight assists in eight league starts…

Xavi Hernandez was desperately unlucky to miss out but I went for Ozil as I felt it would be a bit unfair on Real Madrid. Not taking anything away from Xavi he would walk into any team in the world.

ATTACKERS

Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid- One of the two best players in world football. You could argue his second half of the year hasn’t been as prolific as his first but to score over 50 goals in a calendar year is no mean feat. His brace at the Camp Nou last season all but secured the title for Real Madrid, and he will certainly make any team of the year.

Lionel Messi Barcelona – I really don’t think an explanation is needed.

Asamoah Gyan Al Ain – A wildcard so to speak, but the Ghanaian has had a wonderful year in the UAE scoring for fun. He has continued the streak this season with a stunning 20 goals in just 12 games in the UAE Pro League. It isn’t his finishing only that has earned him a place in my XI, it is his all round play that gives him the nod ahead of many of his contemporaries. His back heel assist this season (can’t remember against whom of the top of my head) was an absolute joy to behold. It is an absolute pleasure to have him playing in the UAE and hopefully he can lead Al Ain to the Asian Champions League.

Obviously with Gyan getting a place in my XI meant no room for Didier Drogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Antonio Di Natale, Roberto Lewandowski, Robin Van Persie, Sergio Aguero or Radamel Falcao. It was very difficult but I went with Gyan as I felt he deserves more recognition for the hard work he has put in over the past year.

Do you have your own XI feel free to post below – or if you agree/disagree with mine.

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Chelsea under Benitez: Not spectacular but solid

As Rafael Benitez gets set for his second game tonight against Fulham, there are some interesting points to be made following the 0-0 draw versus Manchester City. The game wasn’t that spectacular but defensively I thought we were very solid with various individual performances impressing me. I know how I and many other Chelsea fans feel about Benitez but I want to take an objective look at his first match and what he did well and what needs to be improved over the next few months.

Firstly his decision to start with Branislav Ivanovic and David Luiz at centre-back was odd as to my recollection this is something that hadn’t happened very often, if at all. Nonetheless he went with those two and centre-back and surprisingly Cesar Azpilicueta at right back and Cahill benched. No questions about the left back, thankfully.

In midfield and upfront it was the usual set up with Mikel and Ramires sitting, Oscar playing slightly deeper than usual. Mata and Hazard did play in the usual right side and left side positions with Torres the lone ranger (or donkey?) upfront.

In terms of the match itself defensively we were very solid, David Luiz’s interceptions were crucial and the pairing of Ivanovic and Luiz seemed to work a treat against City’s rather insipid attack. I think Benitez went with Azpilicueta because he knew Mata wouldn’t be playing as a winger and would cut inside so Azpilicueta gave us width on the right side and unlike Ivanovic this season he also had the energy to defend. Ivanovic at times this season has been very lacklustre in his defending when he plays as a right-back so that could have influenced Benitez.

Personally I thought Azpilicueta had an excellent game and he could benefit the most from the change in manager. The back four was very solid, but David Luiz in particular put in a great shift.

What I did notice, and as have many others, that unlike during Di Matteo’s reign when Luiz went on one of his attacking runs both Mikel and Ramires sat back – during Di Matteo’s tenure only one would sit with it usually being Mikel. Ramires’ pace meant every time Man City threatened to break he would be able to deal with it.

Oscar, as I said above, played a much deeper role with the formation often resembling a skewed 4-3-2-1 as opposed to Di Matteo’s 4-2-3-1. Whilst personally I thought the attacking side looked seriously blunted there were signs of Benitez putting his stamp on things. Primarily why I thought we looked poor going forward is that Benitez didn’t want us to lose his first game. Objective achieved.

Mata and Hazard, whilst in their usual roles, were a bit wider than usual and told to stay wide most of the times. I thought both were ineffectual but Pablo Zabaleta was exceptional blocking anything down Chelsea’s left. I think Mata and Hazard will be more effectual as time goes on but it will be a while as they will now have to do more tracking back.

Fernando Torres is not worthy of a paragraph but he shall have one. The ‘striker’ was monumentally useless again and I disagree with Benitez complaining about lack of service. He has lost that yard of pace which essentially (and sadly) rendered him useless in a team that only plays one up front. As I said in the previous post, he needs to re-invent himself and stay forward as opposed to lying deep as he has been.

Overall there were many more positives as opposed to negatives with the team being far more organized and disciplined than under Di Matteo. You have to crawl before you can walk.

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For Fernando Torres, Rafael Benitez is the kitchen sink

Rafael Benitez is not any Chelsea fans cup of tea but could he put our season back on track? I, like many, was sad to see Roberto Di Matteo go after his wonderful exploits at the end of last season. However I do think he was not Roman Abramovich’s choice and his hand was forced following the Champions League win, but that is a theory for another day. Benitez comes with a very good repertoire in that he took an average (not in a condescending way) Liverpool side to a serious title bid in 2008/09 and various Champions League runs. However it is his comments that alienate Chelsea fans against him, calling our club soulless, passionless and plastic isn’t going to endear you to anyone.

But that is beside the point for this article and I will try to be as objective as possible. Benitez is far more organized and disciplined than Di Matteo, certainly you could point to the end of last season but that was an oddity. So far this season we have conceded far too many goals without John Terry and Di Matteo insistence to go with Mata, Oscar and Hazard led the team to being very ill-disciplined defensively and often left Ashley Cole and David Luiz woefully exposed (as we saw with Shakthar at the Bridge). Benitez will make it a far more rigid system and I think he could ‘drop’ one of the trio or indeed make them play more as wingers as opposed to the more central roles they were accustomed to under Di Matteo.

The players I think that could suffer the most from Benitez are either Ramires or John Obi Mikel, as above Benitez could shift Ramires to the right wing position he occupied earlier in the season but it will be interesting to see who he plays in the Xabi Alonso/Lucas role he employed at Liverpool. As has been suggested Oscar could profit the most from this managerial shift as Benitez will look to him to play the Steven Gerrard role and supply through balls to Fernando Torres. I don’t think Oscar has been as effective in the Premier League as he has been in Europe so perhaps this move could bring the best out of the Brazilian.

Speaking of Fernando Torres, it would be silly to say Benitez has been brought in to get the best out of his compatriot. Benitez just happened to be the most qualified alternative out there that was prepared to accept a short-term contract. Obviously Benitez has experience in dealing with Torres and with the backroom appointment of Xavi Valero it does show that Benitez will make Torres the focal point of the club during his stint at Chelsea. Torres should thrive in a Benitez system with Oscar or whoever supplying through-balls but my question remains does Torres have the pace to get onto those passes? He has yet to show that extra yard of pace he had at Liverpool and that could be the one big downfall of this system.

Benitez will have to do a lot to even get the Chelsea fans to consider him a suitable replacement to Di Matteo, with Manchester City up first Benitez is going to pull an absolute rabbit out of the hat on Sunday.

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The Real Lack of Leadership at Chelsea

With Roberto Di Matteo being sacked there are now two issues at Chelsea and both concern the lack of leadership at the club. Obviously the managerial one is fairly easy to replace and in an another post I shall discuss my views of the sacking of Di Matteo (and the new appointment) but for now I am going to concern myself with the more pressing lack of leadership and that is the on the pitch leader.

Since Abramovich took over there have been proven leaders on the pitch, the likes of John Terry, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba remained a core of the side until the end of last season. However this season without the Ivorian has seen Chelsea suffer. Since John Terry got his ban and his subsequent injury against, barring that ridiculous league cup tie against Manchester United, Chelsea have managed to win only two matches and have failed to win six matches (including the one he played in Shakhtar and the one he started against Liverpool). In addition Frank Lampard also had virtually no role to play in these matches, leaving Petr Cech to captain the side on multiple occasions.

Now I am a big fan of Petr Cech but I do not think he possess the leadership quality of a Terry, Lampard or Drogba. Moving to a goalkeeper captain after our three previous captains had more infield positions will always be difficult for the players to adjust to. A perfect example of this would be yesterday’s 3-0 thumping at the hand of Juventus yesterday, at 2-0 down the heads just dipped and no one looked like trying to change the match. No one offered any inspiration or motivation and the players were just looking around for someone to do something or say something. That never happened and we hardly even looked like threatening to find another goal and ended up conceding another.

Another problem this leadership hole poses is David Luiz. Luiz feels without Terry alongside him he needs to be the leader and then engages in kamikaze runs up and down the pitch often leaving him out of position and leaving us vulnerable at the back. I do think he needs to be told not to do that but if he could channel that into something more vocal as opposed to ‘physical’ then I think Luiz is the perfect candidate to be the next Chelsea captain.

The toughest job will be finding a player who can earn that respect, play consistently and be vocal on the pitch. There are candidates at Chelsea with my pick being either Gary Cahill or David Luiz but this is something that needs to be done on a long term basis and we cannot have a situation similar to Arsenal whereby our captain wants to leave the club at the end of the season.

Finding the next manager for Chelsea might be a fairly straight-forward job however appointing the next captain is far more difficult and that is what the hierarchy at Chelsea must be considering as it is vital to the club’s future. It is the only role at the club that has offered any semblance of continuity.

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Welcome

Hello this is my football blog and will be filled with mostly football related posts.

 

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