Was Ferguson right all along about Chelsea?

January 21, 2009

Chelsea gear up for an easy-looking FA Cup tie at home to Ipswich Town this weekend knowing the match will be anything but given their recent form.

The crushing 3-0 defeat to rivals Manchester United recently was just one of a string of lacklustre performances and while their struggles may come as a shock to many, United boss Alex Ferguson saw this coming some time ago.

Looking into his crystal ball last July, a month before the new Premier League season had started, Ferguson boldly stated that new manager Luiz Felipe Scolari had inherited a Chelsea squad which had already peaked and that progress was unlikely.

This season’s performances include six draws and three defeats in the league, while they were losing 1-0 at home to Stoke City last weekend before late goals gave then a 2-1 win.

A League Cup exit at the hands of Championship (second division) side Burnley and a 1-1 FA Cup draw with League One (third division) side Southend United before nervously going through in the replay would also suggest that Fergie may well be right.

“How can they accelerate beyond what they’ve done up to now when you see the ages they’ve got?,” Ferguson told the Times.

“I don’t see outstanding progress in a team that’s in their thirties,” he added.

John Obi Mikel, 21, and Salomon Kalou, 23, are the only established first team players under the age of 25 in a Blues side made up of many big-names who have struggled to deliver this season.

Germany captain Michael Ballack, former Barcelona midfielder Deco, Florent Malouda and Didier Drogba have been inconsistent among others. Injured Joe Cole is out for the season.

Is this all Scolari’s fault or is Ferguson right and will ‘Big Phil’ now need time to dismantle the current crop and build his own side capable of competing for silverware?

PHOTO: Chelsea coach Luiz Felipe Scolari looks confident during his unveiling. REUTERS

10 comments

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I never thought Ballack would fit in. I always saw him as a replacement for Scholes at United. Joe Cole is a big loss as he could play on either wing. It’s likely they will finsh third this season.

Posted by Mark | Report as abusive

THe real problem with Scolari is that he is trying to play the Latin-american style of football with a team full of europeans. He needs to purchase big now; the economic crisis looks like has taken up that option too.

I’m not sure whether Ferguson is playing a mind game when he said that Chelsea squad had already peaked and progress was unlikely, but it appears to be true based on their current performance.

I think Scolari needs another season to build the Chelsea squad that is truly his.

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Stuttering Chelsea are indeed in decline but even though they are being highlighted for their poor form, they are still only 2 points off the pace. Big Phil does seem to be spending too much time looking for excuses in the last couple of months, he needs to get back on the Title horse and try and ride a winner.

Posted by Chris Gladwin | Report as abusive

It is unfortunate that a man of Scolari’s calibre’ is stuck with a squad full of “dead wood”, it will result in a poor rating on his behalf, to me it seems he has two options, either he gets rid of the likes of Ballach, Drogba, Malouda, Deco, and all the other 1st team regulars who are underperforming and have played their role in the Beautiful game, or just simply “JUMP SHIP”

Posted by fatninja | Report as abusive

Scolari is in a no-win situation.

For one he has a bunch of experienced professionals but barely any youngsters to ease into the squad. Look at Man U, they are using Rio Ferdinand’s injury lay-off to give Jonny Evans some playing time, in which he has excelled.

Two, the man running Chelsea is a Russian results-driven one with a very limited knowledge of football. Once again a comparison with Man U is necessary. How long did it take Ferguson to make his mark there? Certainly not in his first season.

Good luck Scolari is all I can say!

Posted by Tom | Report as abusive

Yes.

Posted by Bob | Report as abusive

bottom line is no one speaks about nani, anderson, rafel, fabio and other under 22 yrs old that man utd have bought for cheap and have brought them up to be soon world class players and not speaking about n.cmpbell on loan 17 yr old d.welbeck (manchester born) ..now mention liverpool or chelsea´s youngesters um um there is none so who gnna be at the top of the league in the next 5 yrs man utd or arsenal plant ut seeds to grown into tree´s

Nani, Anderson bought for cheap? HA. Anderson’s fee was around 18 million pounds, while Nani came for a cut price 14-17mil.

ok mr jack if u know so much why havent you mentioned 1 what team u support lol poss chelsea o.a.p´s….and i think u have your figures wrong on both nani and anderson so how much u know so ha… never the less what about johnny evans, flecther, rafel, fabio, fraizer campbell…how much did they cost all together and i think you will find out that you wouldn´t even be able to buy 1 chelsea o.a.p so that my point end of really will wait for the reply….lol

Posted by b.dot bosha | Report as abusive