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Lack of leadership

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Experience is a quality that Carlo banks upon greatly. His time at Milan and the 18 months here have shown that he likes his squad to be made up of an experienced majority supplemented by a couple of younger rising stars. One of the qualities you expect to see from an experienced player is leadership. Whether that is shown by being vocal on the pitch and in the dressing room, constantly chatting with the teammates during a game or keeping a calm exterior and exuding composure but setting an example on the pitch is upto the individual in question.

Over the years at CFC it's well established that the spine of Cech - JT - Lampard - Drogba are our 'leaders', with or without the armband. The go-to men whom the other players, the manager and the fans look at when the going gets tough. Numerous occasions are testimony to how a brilliant Cech save, or a last ditch Terry block/tackle or a precious equaliser/winner from Lampard/Drogba have gotten us out of seemingly lost causes.

With 7 regulars in the first team this year in the 30 or above age bracket, you'd expect this team to be packed with such influential leaders. However, our worst run of form in 15 years has shown this up to be a misplaced expectation. Malouda, Cole, Anelka and Essien all started the season brilliantly along with the rest of the team. Cole and FloMo carried on from where they left off last year, Essien seemed raring to go after having spent the best part of 2 years injured. Anelka raced away to the top of the club's scoring charts. Yet when the club needed their presence and experience most, sadly they went missing. With Lampard injured for 3 and a half months and Drogba and Terry battling malaria and a nerve problem respectively, the team suddenly found itself short of any direction on the pitch. Gone were Malouda's goal threat, Cole's bursting runs down the left, Anelka's clinical finishing, Essien's midfield supremacy. Every CFC fan knows how evident was the absence of our 'spine'.

Just one question then : do we really have genuine leaders other than the well known ones? What's the point of experience when it can't drag the team through a tough patch?

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A very good post. We've lost a lot of leaders recently - Ballack and Carvalho were both leaders and Joe Cole was a respected member of the squad too, and we've replaced none of them. We always used to have a leader of the bench as well in Cudicini, but he's long since gone. I think we haven't replaced those four leaders, and we most certainly need to. Like it or not, Malouda, Ashley Cole. Ivanovic and Essien are the next in line as leaders and they have to start shouldering responsibility.

Something I saw in the Stevenage-Newcastle game was Joey Barton pulling over a few of the players for an on-field meeting after about 25 minutes. You just don't see that anymore at Chelsea, and we certainly need someone to big the team up on the field. Ballack used to do that a lot by encouraging players.

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do we really have genuine leaders other than the well known ones? What's the point of experience when it can't drag the team through a tough patch?

Very good point/question.

We have several national captains/influential players within our ranks; Terry (ex-England captain), Lampard (Vice-captain), Drogba (Ivory Coast captain), Essien (Ghana captian) & Cech (Czech captain).

In my eyes, the only players who can really give the players a boost are Terry & Lampard, perhaps even Cech because of his consistent performances in the net. With John Terry you get motivation, but you also have the expectation not to fail, because Terry's the type who will tell you what's-what when you're not performing. Drogba does nothing. He wears the armband but doesn't really inject belief. Same with Essien.

BlueLion is right about Ballack & Carvalho being able to do it... It's that "genuine leader" quality they possess.

This period of "transition" has separated those leaders from players who rely on reputation. Terry, Ivanovic, Cech & even Ashley are the true leaders, not only leading by example with their performances, but also trying to motivate the players. Just look at Terry trying to get forward to see that.

By the way if you guys have a chance to see the match, just watch how Terry gets up from an awful foul by the Ipswich defender, and doesn't get angry, but consoles him by putting his arm around him. He doesn't look for the player to get sent-off (which, I hear, he could have) he simply gives him advice. There's a natural leader, right there.

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