Wednesday, February 4, 2009

UF POWER POLL: Now That's Just Wrong.

Dear readers, I hope you enjoyed the introduction to the UF Power Poll which featured yesterday. Bigus had an issue with the voting criteria that allowed a certain, sliding, nonperforming club, to appear in the top ten. I lodged my complaints formally and provided a compelling argument to state my case. In fact Perry Mason would have been proud.

Alas, the UF crowd denied my request to remove the votes for Chelsea based on my research. Instead my blog-eagues implored me to follow up with a post. Follow me after the jump to find out why Chelsea FC's inclusion in the top ten of our Power Poll for European football is just outright ridiculous.

First of all, let's take a look at Chelsea over the last couple of months. They have a manager who clearly cannot communicate with his team, evidenced by some fallouts with key players (see: Drogba, Didier). Scolari is a man with little league experience and none in the top leagues of Europe, a man who often looks confused in front of the press.

They leak goals and futz with new defence routines that the players cannot understand (see: Southend highlights). They are playing an unfamilar formation with players out of position (see: Malouda, Florent and Kalou, Salomon) They have lost their coach (Steve Clarke) whose impact was pivotal to their success. Their defence leaks like a sieve, while Clarke's new team (West Ham) look defensively sound and unbeaten in six.

Meanwhile, their owner and bankrolling fantasy football tzar Mr Abrahmovich, appears to have lost interest. He spends more time worrying about his financial affairs than those at Stamford Bridge, something that's clearly demonstrated by his absence at games and lack of financial support in the transfer window that just closed. Chelsea just loaned a player who appears (to many of my friends) to have failed elsewhere. Quaresma appeared very little for Inter Milan this year and Jose sent him packing. Chelsea have sold in January and spent nothing in return, while European rivals splash the cash and enjoy good form on the pitch. Domestically Aston Villa have strengthened, Arsenal too.

Now let's look at the football. Over the last 2 months they look uninspired, lazy and lack any kind of creativity in the final third. The lack of any width is evident and it has damaged them greatly. The creativity to create chances has gone. Even during games that they have won, it has not been there. They hold plenty of possession but offer nothing in the final third of pitch.

Last weekend they could only offer a paltry 2 shots on the Liverpool goal and were bossed around with 10 men AND with 11. Their previous game, against Boro', was no different. They needed late goals at home to beat a side struggling to stay in the Premiership. They were manhandled at Old Trafford. Slapped around. They just managed to scrape through in the Champions League also, beating CFR Cluj 2-1 at home. This ain't the Chelsea of last year. Not close. This is a team on the skids.

The Blues have also won just 3 of their last 8 Premier League games. West Brom, Stoke (a game in which they needed a late injury time winner from Lampard) and Middlesbrough, three teams that are struggling around the relegation places of the Premier League. They also failed to win at home against Fulham and West Ham.

Two months, 12 points. Terrible form for a team that sits in the UF European Power Poll at number 9, above Arsenal no less. The Gooners may have had a ropey season but they are currently unbeaten in the last 2 months, after losing 4 of their best players to long-term injury to boot.

Dazed and confused: Scolari demostrates how Alex and Terry should stand still at corners

So where should Chelsea really be in the standings of Europe? Well let's look at the form of teams in the top four European leagues, Italy, Spain, Germany and England.

The below is the order of points gained over the last 8 domestic fixtures:

Barcelona WWWWWWWW 24 points
Manchester United DWWWWWWW 22 points
Aston Villa WWDWWWWD 20 points
Real Madrid LLWWWWWW 18 points
Hertha Berlin DWWWWLWW 19 points
Genoa WDWWWDDW 18 points
Roma WLDWWWWD 17 points
A C Milan WLWDWWDW 17 points
Inter Milan WWWDLWWD 17 points
Bayern Munich WWWDWWDL 17 points
Cagliari WLDDWWWW 17 points
Juventus WWWWDWLL 16 points
Hoffenheim WLWWWLDW 16 points
Hamburg LWLWDWWW 16 points
Atlhletic Bilbao LWDWWWLW 16 points
Everton WDWWWDDL 15 points
Fiorentina WWWLLLWW 15 points
Arsenal DDDWWWDD 14 points
Liverpool DDWWDDDW 14 points
Wigan WWWWLLDD 14 points
West Ham DLWWDWWD 14 points
Sevilla WWDDWWLL 14 points
Malaga LWDWWWDL 13 points

Chelsea are currently the TWENTY-THIRD best team out of the top 4 leagues in Europe based on form. West Ham are better than Chelsea right now. Oh Bigus? What's against the French? They have representatives in the Champions League?

That's what French football fetishist and UF scribbler the NY Kid is going to argue.

Ok Kid. Now let's add France:

Bordeaux DDWWWWWD 18 points
PSG WLWWDLWW 17 points
Lille WDDDWWWD 16 points
Nantes LWWDDWLW 14 points
Toulouse LDDWDWWD 13 points
Rennes DWDDWWLD 13 points
Nancy DWLLWWLW 13 points
Lorient WDWWLDDD 13 points

So out of the top FIVE leagues in Europe...Chelsea are the THIRTY-FIRST best team in Europe... THIRTY-ONE!

I could add the top sides from Portugal, Holland, Czech Rep or any other nation that allows Champions League entry for its elite. But if I did that, Chelsea would likely disappear from the top 40.

But Bigus, that's just two months, what if you make it 10/12 games? Want that instead, Chelsea fans?

I doubt it. I would have to include a home draw with Newcastle and a home defeat by Arsenal, a team who are unbeaten in 11, signing a top player this month (Arshavin) and just 5 points behind Chelsea in the EPL table. So if I add those results along with their win against the mighty West Brom, it is likely that Chelsea will slide further down the European form rankings.

Look, don't get me wrong. Chelsea have been a big side in Europe over the last few years, especially last year. After reaching the Champions League final and challenging for the Premier League title they would have been in the top 4, but now? Really? Top Ten?

My original point here was to prove that currently, through form and circumstances Chelsea FC do not belong in the Power Poll top ten. I was called a fu*ktard by my good friend and UF's very own Chelsea rep, Autoglass. But research prevails, It appears that they should rank way outside of the top ten, let alone be ninth! Who's the fu*ktard now?

Am I nuts to conclude this and ask for a team's current form to be considered as criteria for the top ten? Shouldn't results count for something? Am I crazy to ask for Chelsea's removal from the UF PP? At the expensive of Juventus? Bayern? AND Roma, who have taken 17 points in the last 8 and have won 4 of their last 5? The same Roma that beat Chelsea in the Champions League 3-1 in November?

You decide...Comment below.


By the way I used for my research.


Mike Georger said...

I love you.

phil said...

I'm standing and applauding. And everyone in the library is moving away from me. Well done, BD. You wrote a great article, and made a social pariah.

The NY Kid said...

Hey, you're preaching to the choir. Some of us didn't have Chelsea in our Top 10.

Hehe - worse than Lorient!

Andrew said...

Well played. The research bit on present form was key.

Question: should the club coefficient rankings play a role in the Power Poll?

Keith said...

When I look at Villa's form laid out like that, I gotta say I'm pretty happy; especially having watched the matches and feeling like it's been a slog since the New Year. AVFC have been doing what 'Pool did in the start of the term, grinding out points here and there. I'm actually shocked to see Villa amongst Barca, Real and United on current form.

Autoglass said...

I think that we should base the Power Poll on who you've beaten. Something like this....

Ipswich Town beat Burnley 3-nil on August 16
Burnley beat Arsenal 2-nil on Dec 2
Arsenal beat Manchester United 2-1 on Nove 8

Therefore, Ipswich Town is better than Manchester United.

Makes about as much sense as Bigus' logic. Though I do have to hand it to him for his research. Well and thoroughly done, Bigus.

ü75 said...

Now we see why Lyon aren't running to an eighth straight title. Hard to believe they are dropping points at a rate worse than Chelsea.

As a caveat--I use soccerway as well, and they have a disclaimer that for legal reasons all matches may not be displayed. I haven't looked, and have not seen this enforced on the site, but buyer beware anyway.

The Fan's Attic said...

Well, I think the power poll did its job--stir up controversy, rancor, ire and debate.

Everybody has their own criteria on how to rank these teams. Next time, I'm going to base it off the quality of the WAGs.

Real Madrid will surely be number one with Sylvie Van der Vaart on its side.

The Likely Lad said...

ok, so answer these questions:

-of the 30 teams listed "ahead" of CFC, how many would be favored or even half-likely beat them in a head-to-head? Hint: not 20.

-if chelsea were to have played the schedule of say, Nantes or Cagliari, how many more points would they have taken? Hint: a bunch.

-chelsea suck. i hope they lose every game the rest of the year, and the next 10 after that. but they're better than bigus admits.

Bigus Dickus said...

Hows that Likely? Cheslea failed to beat Newcastle, Everton, West Ham, Fulham, lost to Pool, United, Arse...I fancy 3/4s most of that list to take a point. Chelsea are done.

Keith said...

Now, now, Bigus. Let's not pour dirt on the Flying Hackmen until the 21st.

King Garry I Of Swandanavia said...

I'd put forth an arguement for Scottish football to be included in this list, but I fear I'd be laughed off the internet.

Everyone knows that its the Old Firm who win the league, but given that we had 5(maybe?) teams in European competition at varying stages this season, surely thats a bonus point?

Given that I'm too lazy to do my own research, I think it was Celtic, Rangers, Queen of the South, Hibernian and Motherwell(?) who were in continental action this year. Tragically, no-one progressed beyond the opening stages of their cup.

Scottish football in Europe: Like rushing to the phone in time for the other end to hang up.

ü75 said...

I was told that if I voted for SPL squads, I would be fired. Besides, do you really want everyone to know that the form SPL squads is Hamilton?

King Garry I Of Swandanavia said...

I could have told you that about Hamilton.

The rest of the SPL couldnt buy a goal at the minute.

Celtic's big signing this year was the boy who twatted the bar against us in the cup semi last week. Willo Flood(exactly, me neither).

I see big things in his future. One of them being a long spell on the bench. He did ingratiate himself to the faithful though, I suppose.