As Chelsea are going to play West Brom today, I thought it would be good to write an article on the contrast of the two teams. Chelsea who apparently play ‘sexy’ football, and West Brom who have done the most simple thing well.
West Brom are off to a flying start in the League this season, thus being the most impressive side in the League so far, but they are level on points with the other most impressive team in the division, which is Everton.
What makes West Brom’s start so admirable is the difference in quality in the starting line-ups between West Brom and Everton. West Brom don’t have the likes of Fellaini, Jelavic, Pienaar or Baines, instead they seem to have a squad which can do all the simple things right. This isn’t a stylish or fancy side, such as Chelsea, in fact they are quite boring to watch, but what they lack in attraction they make up for in efficiency.
As Celtic proved against Barcelona, you don’t have to have loads of the ball win a game and West Brom’s average possession rate is 40% this season and a pass completion rate of 75%. What they have really done well at though, are their shots on goal. West Brom have only had 49 shots on target throughout the season, but they have managed to score 17 of those shots, which works out to be a goal for nearly 3 shots on target. Only Manchester United, Chelsea and Fulham have a better ratio in the League. So the more shots that go in means the more games you win. Simple enough, really.
They have good individuals, notably Odemwingie, Lukaku, Yacob and Morrison, but while its obviously quite a cliché, their success is down to the team and it is impressive as to how well Steve Clarke has drilled them. Steve Clarke has managed to get a decent team together, with little money spent, and managed to get the best out of them. Simplicity itself.
Does Chelsea really play ‘sexy football’? Or is the media over-hyping because they have two fancy footballers that can pull off a good trick or a good pass every so often?
I guess Chelsea do play sexy football if it means that they can pass well, but loads of teams can pass well whilst not being called ‘sexy’. These two fancy footballers that I am talking about are Hazard and Mata; I am not saying Oscar because I think he is really over rated. I haven’t seen him do anything to deserve his status of a ‘sexy’ footballer, apart from his goal against Juventus in the Champions League. Yes, Mata has been in some good form of late. Yes, Hazard can do a few step overs, they are ‘sexy’ footballers, but two individuals don’t make the team, they need more flair and trickery in their team to be sexy.
I just don’t think that Chelsea is a ‘sexy’ team, they’re a good team, but not ‘sexy’. Last season, Tottenham had what Chelsea had this season, if not better, in the form of Bale, Modric and Lennon. They are good footballers that have pace, can do a good trick, and could score the occasional good goal, but no one ever called Tottenham a ‘sexy’ team. I think that Chelsea have some way to go before they are called a ‘sexy’ team, they are nowhere near the standard of the current Barcelona team, or the old Brazil teams with Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Robinho, who actually played ‘sexy football’, which involves a lot of flair and a lot of trickery, not just being able to pass it well.
They haven’t got a ‘sexy’ striker either in Torres, he hasn’t got massive holes in his game, but it is just the little things, the clumsiness of his touch, the lack of acceleration and pace in his game, and he lacks the flair that Chelsea need to truly be a ‘sexy’ team, and the truth is until they get rid of Torres they won’t be a ‘sexy’ team. But Chelsea shouldn’t worry too much as it seems that they are in the market for a new striker, and if they get one of the strikers that they are linked with, Neymar, he would add to the style of the team that is already there in Mata and Hazard.
But it should be an interesting match today, and I think that if West Brom play with a lot of discipline and if they work hard, as they have done so far this season, then it could be an interesting result.