Bridge Banter: Chelsea's revolving door stays unlocked
As predicted in last week’s Banter, the players’ door at Stamford Bridge has almost come off its hinges with new arrivals.
The need for fresh legs was demonstrated by Saturday’s nervy, unconvincing 2-1 comeback victory over West Brom.
AVB would have preferred some pre-season settling-in time for the new talent, but he’s glad of the chance to shake things up.
Fernando Torres now has two new Spanish-speaking pals in 23-year-old Valencia playmaker Juan Mata and ex-Barca midfielder Oriol Romeu, a teenaged replacement for the injured Michael Essien.
Romeu and young striker Romelu Lukaku were formally unveiled this week, with one Chelsea wag dubbing them Romulus and Remus, and predicting that the Blues are bound to meet Roma in the Champions League.
Some Spanish is already spoken on the pitch at the Bridge, as Frank Lampard shouts messages to Torres in the No 9’s native tongue, knowing few opponents can understand.
The weekend’s win was nailbiting. There is a fine line between urgency and panic, and the Blues alternated between the two after West Brom scored, then clung to, an early goal.
For AVB, there was satisfaction in seeing a tactical switch from 4-3-3 to 4-1-2-1-2 pay off, plus good performances by Nicolas Anelka and Florent Malouda.
The half-time anxiety in the stands spread to the players as Chelsea struggled to get a grip on the game, although the mood lightened seven minutes after the restart when Anelka levelled.
At least Chelsea didn’t have to contend with Stoke’s raucous, topical chorus on the opening weekend of ‘Town full of looters, you’re just a town full of looters’, to the tune of Guantanamera.
It is surely just a matter of time before the articulate Lukaku gets his chance up front instead of Salomon Kalou, who was subbed after half an hour on Saturday.
AVB does not see a future at Chelsea for Kalou and he could be off before this weekend's visit of Norwich.