Ball Harambee By Bagga Wilks
From the opening whistle to the final whistle, Mancini’s Manchester City
outplayed Benitez’s Chelsea. Benitez didn’t come with a match plan and
Manchester City dominated mid-field for the first twenty minutes. The Chelsea
manager failed to make an adjustment.
Last season, Yaya Toure came back from the African Cup somewhat
fatigued. This year before going, he looked like a spent force. This year, Toure
returned from the African Cup rejuvenated. In the match up against Chelsea, the
Ivorian gave his best performance for the season. He scored in the second half
after Frank Lampard had missed a penalty.
Yaya Toure is a well paid mid-fielder and demonstrated on Sunday why he
is regarded as one of the better mid-field players in the world. When he and
David Silva are clicking, City becomes a formidable offensive force. Aguero was
not at his best in this most crucial of games. When Tevez joined the fray in the
second half, he showed his worth as his strike put City up 2-0. That was match
What ails Chelsea? They performed like players who are not well paid and
nothing is at stake. Juan Mata, their playmaker, was missing. Lampard was
outplayed in mid-field. Chelsea in big games lack chemistry. On the field, they
Manchester City ran all over them. Ramires did not play well. And when
Benitez made a change and brought in Victor Moses and Oscar, both failed to
have an impact on the game. Chelsea has an abundance of talent and a wealth of
resources but their season is a reflection of their purchase of Torres for $50
million. Money has been squandered and the owner will have to recognize that
greatness is not achieved overnight but through steadfastness and sticking with a
coach who, over the years, hopefully sooner not later, will be able to synchronize
the abundance of talent.
Arsenal and Chelsea are sailing in similar boats. The boats are experiencing
choppy waters. In the case of Arsenal, the boat is not yet sinking but it is taking in
Arsenal was trashed Bayern Munich at home in the first leg of the UEFA
Champion’s League 3-1. They barely pulled out an eleventh hour victory against
Aston Villa this past weekend.
The newly acquired playmaker, Cazorla, came alive in this game and netted
a pair of goals. Arsenal has slipped from the days of Henry, Viera and Berkamp.
The players acquired over the summer are still adjusting to the rigors of the EPL.
As in yesteryear, Arsenal’s defense is porous. With the departure of Alex
Song, there is no specialist defensive mid-fielder and the only creativity in mid-
field is Wilshire.
Arsenal’s acquisitions have panned out to be duds. And the young players
on the farm are still struggling with their development.
Whither Wenger? He is a coach who has lost his luster. He achieved
greatness many moons ago. He should exit graciously. Wenger is now ready for
Arsenal’s wax museum.