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Pat Nevin: Serving Suggestions


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Blues legend Pat Nevin has spent the past week studying strikers. In his latest weekly column he shares his findings. The story on Saturday against Sunderland was all about Andriy Shevchenko, as I exclusively revealed it would be four days previously in this column. OK, so if you get it wrong as often as I do then the law of averages starts working for you instead of against you. Anyway the bold Ukrainian was in the right place at the right time to bullet in the vital opener to take the heat off the team. In his illustrious past he has scored all sorts of goals, but there are three types that are his stock in trade. Firstly, the classic hanging on the last defender's shoulder, timing it perfectly to run into space and on to a through ball, before firing it past the advancing keeper. This type of finish will almost certainly become more rare the older he gets and the less able he is to streak clear of fitter, younger men. His second most memorable style of goal used to come from those vicious long shots from outside the box. He still has a kick like a mule but Frank Lampard generally expertly patrols that area at Chelsea. The third specialism for Sheva were those simple six-yard box finishes, just like Saturday's. They look easy enough, but the real talent is having the knack of being there at the right time. I have no doubt that this natural striking instinct is still 'in his locker' but it hasn't really been the style expected from a Chelsea centre forward over the past couple of years. Didier Drogba is of course the complete centre forward, actually he is the complete one-man forward line, but he is also one of a kind in the modern game. Chelsea have played to the Ivorian's strengths for the past few years but an adaptation to that style may be necessary in his absence, however long it turns out to be.0,,10268~3493507,00.jpg There are great teams around the world whose entire raison d'etre is to get the ball across the six yard line, so that their natural striker has little more to do than make sure he is between the posts and able to divert the ball, with any part of his body, towards the goal. Last week I witnessed the masters of this game plan at first hand and surprise, surprise it was Sheva's old outfit AC Milan. The man playing in the position of goal hanger at the San Siro on the night was Filippo Inzaghi. I watched him closely to see what I could learn about the dark art of hanging around the six-yard line, waiting to pounce at the first momentary lapse from a defender. I learned a great deal. First of all, when he is outside the penalty box he controls the ball further than I used to be able to kick it. He was hopeless, almost to the point of being funny. His balance was so bad, he appeared to be wearing roller skates and the whole aura of ineptitude was only brought into clearer focus by almost balletic movement of Kaká behind him. Then after 70 minutes of ineptitude he popped up to score the winner against an aghast Celtic defence, though not before missing the worst sitter I have ever seen in my entire life. Have a look at that one on YouTube if you haven't seen it! The goal that he did score propelled the Italian to the very top of the all time Uefa competitions scoring charts. How could this be? Think of all the great players he has left behind in his wake? The answer is in his very specific style being perfectly suited to his team. Kaká, Pirlo, Cafu and a myriad of others have spent years getting into positions to deliver the right kind of ball across that six-yard box. From that sort of range with a goal in front of him, Inzaghi suddenly develops an impeccable touch - most of the time. Sheva is still a far better player than the Italian and I am sure if Chelsea decided to major on getting behind the opposition full backs over the period when Didier is out, then Sheva is perfectly capable of ensuring that he takes up the right positions at the right time. With the resulting goals we may well be able to keep up with United and Arsenal in DD's absence. Tomorrow against Valencia should be a fine opportunity to work on some new ideas with the group already won. It also gives a chance of resting a few who have had a gruelling time internationally. What would be a shame would be the surrendering of our incredible home record of no defeats since?well almost since I was playing. (A bit of an exaggeration, but it does feel that way.) Another Sheva goal would help and remember the system and style that Milan play was pretty successful for them in the Champions League last season. You never know, it just might work.Source: Chelsea FC

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We should have got Nistleroy for £12 million. Still, time for Shevchenko to come good.
Of course there is. Nevin is right though, since he got here there has always been the look of him not getting the sort of service he is used to.He has some games now where he will be relied on, and hopefully he can come through it. A good start with a goal on Saturday, lets hope he carries it on.
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Is this why were looking for that elusive playmaker ???I felt that when Joe Cole was played in Lamps position when he came on against Valencia he looked sharp and would be more than capable of feeding Sheva those types of balls to get him scoring again. OK, we do have width in SWP, but when Cole plays on the left he cuts inside to get onto his right foot. I dont think we need a playmaker, but a left winger.Move Joe Cole in behind the strikers, giving us more in the middle of the pitch creatively. If you have 2 wingers who will get to the bye line and whip those balls into the box ie...SWP and AN Other, add that too the eye of a needle passes in JC's locker and Sheva would be feasting on service. I have no doubt about that.

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Is this why were looking for that elusive playmaker ???I felt that when Joe Cole was played in Lamps position when he came on against Valencia he looked sharp and would be more than capable of feeding Sheva those types of balls to get him scoring again. OK, we do have width in SWP, but when Cole plays on the left he cuts inside to get onto his right foot. I dont think we need a playmaker, but a left winger.Move Joe Cole in behind the strikers, giving us more in the middle of the pitch creatively. If you have 2 wingers who will get to the bye line and whip those balls into the box ie...SWP and AN Other, add that too the eye of a needle passes in JC's locker and Sheva would be feasting on service. I have no doubt about that.
Absolutely spot on i must say, although with SWP he would drastically need to sort his service out which is on the whole pretty poor from wide positions and seems to do better when cutting inside.
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Just imagine if we had spent that load of money on Torres rather than Sheva... sighamazing pace (and acceleration) vs zero paceexcellent finishing vs what now is decent finishingguaranteed return of goals vs well don't really need to say do II hate the stupid f**ker's guts (torres) but he is simply a frightening player.. his change of pace is amazing and finishing is as good as anyone.. *sigh*

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lol perhaps we should create a villa vs torres thread ;)but anyway who knows what Villa would really be like in the Prem.. liverscum and Fatty actually made a good signing for ONCE.. just think of all the other strikers he has signed in the past.. Cisse, Morientes, Kuyt.. LOL well one out of four was bound to turn good :whistling:

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Villa is a good player, Torres is simply better. Torres has come to the Premier League and made an instant impression by bagging goal after goal in our league. Not even Henry and Drogba could do that in their first season, so it is a sign of a quality player.

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Villa is a good player, Torres is simply better. Torres has come to the Premier League and made an instant impression by bagging goal after goal in our league. Not even Henry and Drogba could do that in their first season, so it is a sign of a quality player.
First season syndrome thumbsup.gif Henry was a left winger when Wenger originally signed him before converting him to a striker. Drogba was asked to play as a lone striker when he prefered to play as a partnership ( we seen the difference last season when we played 2 up front).Torres is playing a style that he's always played. He will get found out :P
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