Do they mean us? Our Chelsea interviewee on where O’Neill’s going wrong

Chelsea have problems galore of their own.

But it is interesting to hear what they make of ours.

Salut! Sunderland does not usually dip into the forthcoming “Who are You?” feature days before the interview is due to appear but Grant James, a Chelsea nut from Cape Town, had plenty to say about Sunderland’s predicament. Goldy and others will recognise their own thoughts reinforced by a neutral.

After yesterday’s suicidally slow start at Carrow Road, now seemed the right time to share his views. Come back on Wednesday or Thursday for the full Q+A (it’s good stuff though, needless to say, he sees Chelsea ending their bad run when they play us) …


Q: When you warned me you’d have plenty to say about Sunderland, I did not get the impression you were about to heap praise on us. Go for it – we’re a thick-skinned lot!

A:

Well I can at least speak from some position of knowledge, as I’ve seen most of your games this season.
I can’t help but feel that O’Neill’s team selections are hurting you most. Last season, I was very impressed with you in the games where Sessegnon played alone up front, with a more fluid midfield breaking forward in support. This season, too many players are out of position. Larsson playing central midfield simply doesn’t work, and the same applied to Gardner – a genuine goalscoring midfielder – playing at right back. He may get plenty of stick, but Bramble is better than any of your other CBs and Cuellar is far better as a defensive right back. I’m also amazed that Johnson has kept his place despite being truly abject, and also by how little Vaughan plays. Considering you’ve won only one game against 11 men since March, it’s high time some other players get a chance in the side. The McFadden signing made no sense if he’s never going to feature. When fit, Saha can and will score goals. I also don’t understand why Larsson hardly ever takes set-pieces anymore. He was an assist machine when he was used wide and on all freekicks.

And here is just a flavour of Grant’s views on events at Stamford Bridge:

“Rafa will not ever win the fans over, in my opinion. I can’t see us achieving too much under him either. The fans don’t want him, and the players don’t appear to be responding to his cold, distant personality, and stifling, boring football. The sooner he goes, the better.”

*

Blue was the colour
* Grant James on Grant James: I’m 26. I was born (and live) in Cape Town, South Africa. I have a 2-year diploma in Sports Coaching, and currently work as a Football Analyst for Amisco Africa (which is now the same company as ProZone). I also have a football website which I’m slowly getting off the ground: www.football-analysis.com

** See also: the latest defeat and what Monsieur Salut made of it at ESPN: http://soccernet.espn.go.com/blog/_/name/sunderland/id/710?cc=5739

Jake on the art of communication
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5 thoughts on “Do they mean us? Our Chelsea interviewee on where O’Neill’s going wrong”

  1. 4-5-1 may be the way to go these days since our midfield is light.
    But the 5 man midfield must be prepared to pile forward & get in the box and track back too.
    Tiring but rewarding. Lets be honest, our players are not saving themselves for a midweek cup game or Europa or Champions league game now are they?
    They have the energy to spare.

  2. Brilliant observations, and I am in almost total agreement – apart from Sessegnon playing up front [ he is the most wasteful player in good positions that I’ve seen in a long time ] He is no use in the second striker role either.

    • Was more a case of our midfielders performing when he was up top. We’re a man light in the middle of the park when Sess plays off the striker.

  3. ”I was very impressed with you in the games where Sessegnon played alone up front, with a more fluid midfield breaking forward in support”

    Amen to that!

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