THE JSV APPRECIATION THREAD: A Chelsea Perspective!
I've been one of Juan Sebastian Veron's biggest fans since I first saw him rise to prominence in Italy. At Lazio he was the finest midfielder on the planet, and I’ve not seen a more complete and awesomely assembled midfielder since those days. He was awesome. Tall, tough, utterly dominating, and capable of the sublime with the ball at his feet in a central role. I remember how Lazio came to the Bridge in our first Champion's League soiree, and with Veron pulling the strings, pulled us apart - and well beat us in the end. Mihailovich stunner of a free-kick, and a Simone Inzaghi goal did the damage, but Veron was man of the match and simply tore us apart. He was the finest midfielder on the planet at that time.
He is a class apart, but our Alopecian Argentine must be handled with care. He needs a central role and to play him out wide is to invite difficulties. He is a confidence player, and needs time on the ball. The reason that his only decent games for United last season were in Europe was because you get longer on the ball than in the frenetic Premiership. The reason he has been so limited a success at Chelsea is because teams come to the Bridge and have the game plan of not letting our players have time on the ball, and close them down quickly. Veron can be snuffed out of games in this fashion. He would flourish in an Arsenal shirt, because he is capable of the little defence splitting pass that would get Henry 30+ goals a season - and teams do not close Arsenal down like they do to us, more that they tried to close down the space, and prevent Henry, Pires and the others from running into space. Seba would have more time in an Arsenal shirt and would benefit from this. He also needs a minder in the middle to take care of the tougher side of things, so a central pairing of Viera and Veron would be awesome. He is not a versatile player, and to try to get him to do things that are not a part of his fabulous but limited repertoire, is a mistake. Ranieri cites Seba as the best midfielder on the planet - i think in a slower paced European game, with time to do something with the ball at his feet, options ahead of him, and support either side, a fully-fit Seba would certainly be a contender to this throne.
We have seen only tiny flashes of his undoubted brilliance this season. He has not been fully fit at all during the season, and has endured a torrid time settling in and finding a new house etc. The continued midfield hyperbole that is Frank Lampard has meant that he has found a central role through the middle impossible to get. Unfortunately for Seba, Local Hero Joe Cole is ahead of him in the central midfield pickings, and so he has been played out wide, out of position, not fully fit. Even so, he has battled gamely, and tried hard, but he needs more time than the Premiership can give him, especially out wide, where he gets little support. Despite this, we have still seen some touches of class, with the excellent through balls and on-the-dime cross-field efforts to put in Damien Duff on a number of occasions. Then there’s the Argentinean thing.
Like it or not, we, as a nation, don’t like Argentina, harking back to the Falklands War, and the whole Hand of God thing. Few, if any, Argentineans make it to the Premiership let alone make it in the Premiership. This means he has to try harder and do it better, cleaner, and more impressively than anyone else just to get acceptance. If Seba was English he would have Beckham-esque status. But he isn’t, and people seem to be willing the guy to fail. You only have to listen to the fans at the Bridge when he comes on for their favourite son Joe Cole. There are howls of derision and boos. It’s got the affect the guy. Joe Cole has done nothing in his career thus far, and fine player though he is, has done little to show me that he can be as good as Seba was or is. Granted he tries hard, and has a work rate to put most at the club to shame. But he does not score enough goals, and is too wayward in his passing.
Form is temporary, class is permanent. An on song Seba is much more of a threat going forward, and will get you a similar strike rate to Lampard from the central midfield role. Joe Cole and Seba Veron are so similar in styles, though they could hardly look more different. There is no room for both players at the club, and i questioned why they were both signed back last summer - it makes no footballing sense, more so when you see Lampard's continued excellence. One has to go, and i cant see Seba staying - Joe Cole, despite doing very little in a Blues shirt of any substance this season, has something of a cult following, and whilst Seba has done even less, he has been injured for most of the season with a potentially career-threatening back injury. He has been rushed back before he was ready by a manager who failed to recognise the damage that would be done to Seba's fragile confidence when the fans got on his back for the little things that creep into your game after so long out.
I thought Seba was excellent in his Premiership comeback - looked a bit lightweight but looked good. He came on to keep the ball against Monaco second half, and did so. He just wasn’t fit enough to tackle back, and when the ball was lost (and to be fair how many passes of his went astray? Not as many as Makelele, Hasselbaink and others I’ll bet) he could do little to win it back. Seba got the blame for a shocker of a performance, and i though he did ok. He was 40% fit, trying to organise and effectively direct a midfield grotesquely out of shape and formation, against a snap-tackling, hard working Monaco team expressly told to go out and get in there early. For him to be as badly vilified as he was, is not at all fair. It was Ranieri's fault plain and simple. Seba should not have played.
To sum up, I still believe that Seba is a top player for us. He needs a full, unhindered pre-season, to build everything back up. He is 29 - he probably has another five years in him and should be at the peak of his game. I still believe that a 4-5-1 system would suit Chelsea, and that Seba should be the attacking midfield player playing behind the lone Crespo. Parker and Lampard behind him, with Beckham and Duff out wide.
The problem is that will never happen. Mourinho is a 4-4-2 nut, and wont play anything else. Seba will be quietly shown the door I suspect, as we cannot accommodate him and Lampard in the same side - much as i like Seba, if I had to choose one, Lamps would obviously be it. The guy has done all he can, and has been very unlucky. He will go for about six or seven million quid, and if I was a European manager, I’d snap him up in a heartbeat. He is not versatile, and you have to protect him, but if you allow him time, he will destroy teams. He is sublimely skilful, strong, a good dead-ball specialist, an accurate crosser, pass master supreme, and he can tackle - not many people see it, and its not widely known, but he can tackle. He scores goals, and makes goals for forwards. He is coming into his prime, and I would surmise that there is no better footballing brain playing anywhere in the modern game - and I cant remember seeing a player as comfortable on the ball with it at his feet since his halcyon days at Lazio.
Seba is a class act - and I will be very sorry to see him hounded out. Watch him return to Italian football and re-attain his Best Midfielder in The World title. He doesn’t have Zidane's unpredictability, Figo's directness, Nedved's trickery, or Lampard's popularity but I’d have him in my side any day. Such a shame he has had his Chelsea career ruined by bad luck and poor judgement, and a few small minded xenophobic boo-boys
Anyone else a Seba Veron fan? Any Lazio fans here want to tell me im right? Any United fans want to disagree?
What do you mean you dont have any bourbon? Do you know how far it is to Houston? What kind of airline is this???