The Hammering of Wolves: A Sign Of Things To Come

The Hammering of Wolves: A Sign Of Things To Come

Chelsea beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 6-0 in the third round of the Capital One Cup in a match that was ridiculously one-sided. Even though Wolves are now a second division side (it’s also worth noting that they rested a few key players) the result can be described as nothing less than a drubbing considering the fact that Chelsea were not playing a full-strength XI. Chelsea’s bench consisted of players like David Luiz, Eden Hazard, Marko Marin and Oscar while players like Victor Moses, Oriol Romeu, Cesar Azpilicueta and Lucas Piazon were given a run out.

This resounding victory has given Chelsea fans plenty of reasons to smile. However, Chelsea’s overall performance in the last few matches (excluding this one) has been unimpressive. This has led to the team being criticized from some quarters. A lot of that criticism is unjustified if you ask me. It’s not just because of the fact that the team has recruited quite a few new players in the summer, but the problem stretches back to the beginning of the 2011/12 season.

When Andre Villas-Boas was appointed as Chelsea’s new manager in the beginning of the 2011/12 season, there was one word that was constantly used to describe his Chelsea “project”: transition. The transition from the older style of play that Chelsea used to a more fluid, attacking style that would not only ensure plenty of goals, victories and trophies but also ensure a style of play that was enjoyable to watch. It was an ambitious project to say the least. AVB was confident he could pull it off and Chelsea fans believed in their new manager. However, a string of lackluster performances followed by reports of dressing room unrest and a silly attempt by AVB to assert his dominance in the dressing room (the starting XI he fielded against Napoli in the Round of 16 1st leg match in the CL) led to him losing his job before his project ever really took off.

AVB’s assistant Roberto Di Matteo was appointed interim manager till the end of the season. His main aim: secure Champions League football for next season before Chelsea attempted to rebuild once again. In other words, the long-term “project” was put on the back burner simply because short-term targets were not being met. Chelsea finished 6th in the Premier League, but witnessed a remarkable turnaround under Roberto Di Matteo and managed to win not only the FA Cup but the Champions League, hence guaranteeing Chelsea’s participation in Europe’s biggest club competition once again.

Roberto Di Matteo was rewarded for his two-month stint as interim manager when he was handed the job on a permanent basis. Not only that, he saw a flurry of attack-minded, creative footballers arrive at the Bridge who would aid him in the process of rebuilding an aging Chelsea side. But rebuilding is something that won’t happen overnight. You can stock any team with a number of attacking players but they will take time to gel and find their feet at the club before they are able to come together and produce an attacking style of play. The players may show flashes of brilliance but as a whole the team may not function properly. That’s exactly what’s happening at Chelsea at the moment.

Eden Hazard has shown his brilliance on more than one occasion and Brazilian wonder-kid Oscar had a sparkling debut against Juventus in the Champions League. But as a whole the team has still looked like a bunch of talented individuals who just happen to play for the same team. The players are not yet on the same wavelength but I’m not too worried. It takes time for a new-look team to come together and produce football with plenty of attacking flair. There may be some matches where the performance may be average but where the desired result was achieved (the match against Stoke can be used as an example). Such matches can often decide a season.

However, the match against Wolves was a clear indicator of things to come in the future. Chelsea dominated possession and constantly looked to score, something that hasn’t happened in the last few matches. The players looked comfortable on the ball and passed well for most of the match. Most importantly, chances were being converted. 3 goals were scored in the first 17 minutes of the match and 6 different players managed to get on the score-sheet. While it’s unreasonable to expect us to win each and every match in this manner, that time isn’t too far away when Chelsea will dominate games in a similar manner. We just have to patiently wait for the transition to happen.

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