May 20 2013 Latest news:
Paul Lagan, London24’s Chelsea blogger
Monday, June 25, 2012
So England are out of the Euros, kicked in teeth by Italy on penalties.
The simple truth is that the boys played averagely during the whole tournament, getting average results.
So it’s of no surprise when you end up in the average position, namely quarter-finals.
Of all the comments, so-called experts said of the lads in white, prior to last night’s loss was that ‘they were playing like Chelsea’.
Well excuse, me, but haven’t Chelsea just become the champions of Europe?
To compare England to Chelsea is plain daft.
Player for player, Chelsea are superior.
Let’s take position by position and ask which would you prefer in your side.
Assuming a classic 4:4:2 formation, who would you take as a goalie - Petr Cech or Joe Hart? Poor old Hart struggled to kick the ball in all four games and his sticking tongue out antics come the penalties was embarrassing. He never got close to any of the four Italy strikes and the one the Italians failed to convert was a miss rather than a save by Hart.
Cech did not cover himself in glory either if truth be told, but gut instinct is that while Hart could become one of the greats, Cech actually is, so it’s 1-0 to the Londoners.
England and Chelsea share the honours where JT and Ashley Cole are concerned, so England grab a couple of points but The Blues keep a 3-2 lead.
Jolean Lescott or Gary Cahill? Had Cahill not gone lame per tournament, the former Bolton centre-back would almost certainly have joined JT at the centre of our national rearguard - 4-2 to the Londoners.
At right-back was ex- blue Glen Johnson. Compare his wayward defending to that of Jose Bosingwa, who during the Champions League final, showed composure, style and positional acumen - virtually every time, you’d take Bossy over Johnson.
Chelsea are now 5-2 ahead and looking good as we head into the midfield.
James Milner, Stevie G, Scott Parker and Ashley Young. Hmm, now why, oh why was Milner and Young chosen as first-choices? It beggared belief that Milner was in any way shape or form better than Theo Walcott who was used as an ‘impact’ substitute, but he was chosen and his contribution to the England cause was next to zero. Young was marginally better. Add Mr Square pass Parker and you have an ineffectual midfield that left Stevie G trying to cover the deficiencies of the other three. Stevie did well, but knackered himself over the four games. The fact he went down with cramp after about 65 minutes last night spoke volumes.
Of course had Lamps being fit he most likely would have ended up as England first choice, even if he may not have started the tournament ahead of Parker.
Mikel, Juan Mata and Salomon Kalou, along with Lamps as a midfield quartet had all the necessary ingredients for success. Grit, guile and class, three qualities sadly lacking by the Three Lions. I make that 3-1 to Chelsea, with Stevie G just preventing an England midfield annihilation. Eight -three to Chelsea.
Up front we had huff and puff Wayne Rooney. The striker did score in the Euros - with a goal my grandmother would have tucked away, but he was clearly not match fit and frankly, when England needed his class, it failed to shine.
Chelsea had Didier Drogba - what can you say about the dearly departed (from SW6) hit man. He always scored when it was needed. His goal in the Champions League final and his final spot kick to lift the trophy showed that Commeth the hour, Commeth the Drog.
Another one to the Blues.
Danny Wellbeck or Florent Malouda. Tough one this, as Malouda certainly played better for France than he did for Chelsea, while Wellbeck played better for his club side than the national side.
I’m going for a draw on this one 1-1. So overall it’s 10-4 to Chelsea.
England did not lay like Chelsea, they played like Fulham, they played like WBA, they played like Liverpool. What was the common denominator of those three sides? They were all managed by Roy Hodgson.
England were punchless up front, uninspired in midfield and shaky in defence.
The same characteristics Hodgson bestowed on his club sides. It’s no surprise that under the Croydon-born manager’s tutelage, they never won anything.
The same will continue to be the case for England under his guidance.
England played like Chelsea? Do me a favour.