The irony shouldn’t be lost on you. Chelsea’s aging Blues may find a way to keep their creaky legs running along, but they desperately need a miracle blue pill for the mind. They say games are oftenAi??won in the arena of the mind, even before the first studs have touched the turf. On that count, Chelsea are incredibly weak – their recent run of results, notwithstanding.

 

Moving Sculpture - The Thinker

 

There once was an era at Chelsea when the manager was confident enough to relish the prospect of going toe-to-toe with the very best sides in the game ai??i?? be it Rijkaardai??i??s Barcelona, Fergusonai??i??s United and Rafaai??i??s Liverpool. That was the Mourinho era, when Stamford Bridge was a veritable fortress.

The subsequent Avram Grant era, while short-lived, dealt the Blues a heavy psychological blow with that penalty shoot-out loss to Manchester United in Moscow. Scolariai??i??s tenure ended in two losses at Stamford Bridge. But it was under Ancelloti, that Chelsea would taste arguably the worst psyche-scarring moment of the noughties.

The decline in aura around Stamford Bridge truly began not with the advent of the petrodollars at Manchester City era but when Manchester City landed at West London in the midst of the Terry-Wayne Bridge saga. Carlo Ancelotti fielded his strongest side, and pretended that all was fine. The normally uneventful encounter played on the nerves of the Chelsea players while Manchester City seemed to look forward to the clash to exact vengeance on behalf of Team Bridge.

 

Captain, Leader, Liability?

Ai??Ai??

Chelsea clearly did not know how to handle it; Wayne Bridge was up until then one of their favorite sons and now he was pitted against Chelsea and their Captain, Leader and Legend – John Terry, who had just been sacked from the English captaincy for the same scandal.

After an early Chelsea goal, City equalized and then never looked back. They carved The Blues apart leading 4-1 at one point, before Chelsea grabbed a consolatory second goal and reduced the margin of defeat. Stamford Bridge was no longer a fortress ai??i?? it was a ransacked, ravaged and desolate place.

Thereafter, other teams visiting Chelsea began to see Stamford Bridge as a place where they too could hope to do better than manage a draw. In seeking to find a weakness in Chelseaai??i??s armor, they were gifted with injuries to key Chelsea players whose absence meant Chelsea ceased to compete realistically for the title.

Except for Mourinho no other Roman-era manager at Chelsea has been able to handle all the mental aspect of the game with aplomb. Jose knew how to keep the entire spotlight on him as opposed to the team. That misdirection freed up the players to worry about on-field matters, rather than off-field ones. With Mourinho long gone, the psychological weaknesses have been laid bare.

 

Hot & Cold - Liverpool, A Thorn In Chelsea's Side

 

The same psychological weakness played on Chelseaai??i??s mind during the Liverpool game earlier this year. It was Torres’s first game against his former employers and Liverpool were understandably more motivated than Chelsea and it showed in the result, and in Torresai??i?? debacle of a debut.

Every time some uncomfortable news about Chelsea makes the headlines, the club and the players start to behave in an extra-cautious manner as a response to any perceived slight they may have committed towards their opponents. That martyr-like mentality can have disastrous consequences on the field.

Chelsea lost their fangs during Terry-gate, and lost it again after facing Liverpool in the aftermath of the Torres-Meireles purchase. It was almost like Chelsea felt they owed it to their opponents to lose the game. Their abject performances were almost apologetic in nature.

Chelsea need an overhaul of their mental make-up if they are to prepare for the long haul.

 

  • They can start with resting John Terry more frequently and getting Lampard or Cole to step in as captain for the next season and a half. Terry holds a certain degree of responsibility for the current psychological weaknesses against the Manchester clubs (courtesy the Moscow miss and Wayne Bridge episodes). With Terry no longer seen as the central nucleus around which the club revolves, the chances of Terryai??i??s failings causing a sapping of Chelseaai??i??s morale will automatically lower. Terryai??i??s ups-and-downs as a player cannot remain a barometer of the clubai??i??s fortunes.

Ai??

  • Chelsea also need to stop going soft on some opponents. The club need not apologize for perceived slights in the bedroom or the transfer market. So let Terry get on with his philandering, and let Liverpool fans boo Torres as a traitor. The West London club should take that in its stride and let the blowback only stoke the burning embers within.

Ai??

  • Torres needs more support on the field, not off it in press conferences. Take Liverpool for instance – they got Suarez in and the ploy succeeded, Spurs have Modric and have used him to devastating effect. It is time Chelsea started buying high-performance low-cost players who are passionate about the quick, passing game. You canai??i??t play a pressing game with old legs. Torres needs those kind of players assisting him.

 

What's In His Head?

 

  • Chelsea need to stick with Andre Villas-Boas no matter what happens this season. A new system and a new team need to be built, and with it, hopefully a new mental approach to the game. Drogba might still be their best striker today and only someone like Andre Villas-Boas can dare to plot a future without him. Sooner or later, Chelsea is going to have to face up to the fact the Ivorian is not going to be a perennial presence in the club. With Drogbaai??i??s role in the club reduced, Torresai??i?? will bloom and that can only be a good thing.

Ai??

  • With Anelka and Alex moving out in January, Chelsea have a great opportunity to blood quicker and more gifted youngsters. Villas-Boas has to play youngsters like McEachran, Van Aanholt, Bertrand, Romeu, Lukaku more often along with Sturridge. These young minds are unencumbered by the scandals, prejudices and the burdens of the past, and as seen with Jones and Cleverly in United ai??i?? youth seem to have a certain degree of self-belief that experience has not tempered.

Ai??

  • Chelsea ought to set their sights on winning the Champions League as the top priority. The senior players are more likely to be glad to mentor and make way for younger replacements, if theyai??i??ve already achieved everything there is out there to achieve.

 

It's All Up Here, Folks

 

  • Winning against City sets into motion the reversal of the tide.Ai??The BluesAi??need to keep the momentum going and take advantage of the psychological edge that comes with beating the title favorites. Beating Tottenham and then eking out a win against a Vidic-less United should figure highly on the mental renaissance plans of the backroom staff. Chelsea become an altogether different proposition with Unitedai??i??s scalp under their belt.

Ai??

The current win against Manchester City came at a time when Andre Villas-Boas criticized the media for focusing all their energies on him rather than the players. It sure turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Perhaps, it wouldnai??i??t be too out of place to suggest to Andre that his taking a page out of Mourinhoai??i??s handbook and staying in the media spotlight to shield his players from the glare, might be the just what the doctor ordered for the club as a whole.

Ai??

– Sriram H.
– with inputs from Sanish Fernandez

Ai??

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7 Responses to “What Chelsea FC Really Need – Viagra For The Mind”

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  1. Yantrik says:

    I poorely reseached article !. How is the writer equating loss of improtant matches to pshycological turbulance. He is making it sound as if he has some access to the players , and as if players were terrified to be on the pitch. Terry gate is now aeons year behind and but somehow writer seems to be oblivious to this very fact. Writing for the heck of it is not a great way to earn money.

  2. Michael says:

    Surely Chelsea need to see to it that they do away with the old guard and build a new team of low earning but hungry young players. Players who are low profile but with a need to win trophies and leave a mark.

    Am not happy that we are being linked to high profile players who will gobble a huge wage bill and have played at the highest level and have nothing to offer.

    We are in need of young young blood which is both fast and talented. Why the rumour on De Bruyne has died leaves us to wonder.

    Chelsea needs to get closer and have a serious policy of not buying anyone with a price tag over 30 and anyone who wants atrocious wages coupled by carrying a huge price tag.

    In as much as Didier is playing Chelsea needs to offload him and make FT9 their focal point. He needs the support and i think the base of fast movement of the ball is already there with MATA and Romeu.

    Young wingers are there and they need to be bought before the likes of Citeh, Madrid pounce on them. I dont see Chelsea dont want to buy Shaqiri, Ayew and De Bruyne who could be got at a combined fee of 30-35 million?

    Instead of paying 40-30 million for L Pippita Chelsea could use that money to try and sign a real number ten- GANSO, MARKO MARIN , c. eriksen could fill that void and offer real creativity whilst our width will also be addressed by lighting speed and skills of Shaqiri and De Bruyne or Ayew.
    The right back will need a new young right back and there is Ceasar Azipilicueta in France.

    The defence could be shored up by Matts Hummels, Subotic or JAN vERTOGHEN.

    TORRES/ STURRIDGE/ LUKAKU

    VARGAS/DEBRUYEN/ MATA/ AYEW SHAQIRI/ STURRIDGE

    GANSO/ ERICKSEN/ MARIN

    ROMEU/RAMIRES/ RAUL/ ESSEIN
    COLE/ BETRAND LUIZ/ JT HUMMELS/VERTOGEN AZIPILICUEATA/ BANE

  3. trueblue says:

    No disrespect but this is a Bullsh*t article. STFU!

  4. Baggy says:

    Yantrik – I think the author has a point. Chelsea doesnt have the mental toughness that United has/have. They’re the onlt side that goes thru a long bad patch every season before bouncin back

  5. Aashish says:

    You might have a point here. Let me stress, ‘a’ point. Rambling on without any valid arguments, let alone proven facts or a good research, does not make a good article. This utter lack of depth disgusts me and am sure a lot of avid readers would concur.

    Bring in perspective, not a thought. I find that a few good authors, Sanish, Karan, Uday, and a few others are keeping this ship afloat. Stop alienating readers with such adolescent projections, which can be detrimental for THT.

    And write more about Liverpool will you?

    -YNWA

  6. Yantrik says:

    This is an absolute rubbish article, case in point ‘Drop Terry’ – argument given ‘Bed Room activities’ , ‘Penalty Miss in Moscow and hence timid to face Manchester’ – Now any casual footy fan worth his salt can see fallacy in this argument, it seems that Writer is in bed with Taliban style moral policing . More baffeling is to ask Lamp/Cole to step up , i think writer still seems to be trapped in timelapse, for his information its 2011 and not 2009. And age numbers go up for cole/lampard too.
    Hardtackle needs to get its act together and write some articles which are good and fact based , i find most of the articles here potray their opinion as facts.