Dissecting a bit more from Monday’s thrashing of Tottenham again now. I’ll reiterate a again first though that it was the hugely impressive 4-1 result that counts here and essentially is what will always matter the most.
But as I have already highlighted this week on my Substack site on a couple of occasions, there are still some concerns.
The biggest one for me is the lack of experience. We have all seen how the young players we have signed do have leadership qualities and can potentially become real leaders on the pitch. And I am seeing fight from many of the players, which is fully refreshing.
But there was a period in the Spurs game where we were folding under pressure, under the cosh during the first 15 minutes when really Spurs should have put the game out of reach for us.
As well as out setup being wrong, I noticed something else. I looked around and Chelsea’s players were quiet, they were hiding, heads were dropping, and panic was ensuing.
Enzo Fernandez for me is a real captain, I’ve seen so many examples of this since he’s been here and I think if he spoke fluent English then he would be our captain. I’m taking nothing away from Reece James and I think he can grow into the role, but right now he isn’t quite there and is just too quiet when the chips are down. James leads by example rather than his voice, and some captains are just like that. I love RJ and he’s a huge player for us. But I think this young group need a vocal captain. As I said, perhaps he soon develops into one.
Chelsea’s inexperience and lack of maturity could have cost us in this game, and we all saw it.
In games like this, sometimes you need a player to motivate and speak to the rest of the team, advice them to hold onto the ball in advanced areas to take the pressure off, and lead on the pitch. You need more than one of those players, and in this period against Spurs on Monday I saw none.
Players need to stand up and be counted in games like this. Put in a strong tackle, put out some words of wisdom, lead by example – and I didn’t see that.
Don’t get me wrong, as I said above, I have seen vast improvements in leadership, passion, and mentalities in this squad this season and I have mentioned that a lot. I’ve been really impressed by that from a number of our players and it’s so refreshing. I love how part of the data being looked at for new signings is personalities and mentalities of the players we are signing. We really needed that.
But the data also needs to run for a couple more experienced players to come in for core positions on the pitch, we REALLY need that.
As I’ve said and will continue to say, this is why I want to see us sign 27-year-old (28 in March) Ivan Toney to be our focal point in attack, and why I would also look to replace Thiago Silva with experience when it comes to it. I just think that a couple of more experienced heads will go a long way to helping us in situations like we saw against Spurs when we were so close to folding over completely.
A lot of us have been saying this since the summer and wanted to see more experience coming in. The U25s rule is just completely daft (and I still doubt it’s existence).
I get we are building for the future and want a young squad, but balance is one of the most important things to add into any element in your life, especially in a football squad.
These players WILL develop and mature, of course they will. But when you set targets such as making Champions League football THIS season, you need a squad for the here and now to do so. And the here and now for me needs more proven and experienced players in it. Not saying go and buy a bunch of 30-year-olds this January, but planning for our recruitment moving forward should also be about looking for experience as well as quality, and IF there was any daft U25 rule in place, scrap the heck out of it!
We know not all experience is good experience, so we need to target a specific profile and personality.
I’ll keep banging this drum, and I know many others on here agree and will as well. Give the youngsters some needed support in-game and on the pitch.
Just remember, the very reliable (and he’s not the only one) Sami Mokbel of The Daily Mail reported this back in May:
“Mauricio Pochettino knows Chelsea severely lack guile and know-how and has told the club to prioritise players with Premier League experience.”
Give him his tools.