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Does Shevchenko Deserve the Criticism?

Andriy Shevchenko came under more pressure today as former Republic of Ireland striker Tony Cascarino proclaimed that the Shevchenko we know and have loved over the years for AC Milan will not regain his form on the pitch for Chelsea.

I didn’t get to watch the Chelsea versus Rosenborg match last night in the Champions League, but I did watch the highlights. And I did watch the full 90 minutes of the 0-0 draw from Saturday against Blackburn Rovers.

While Shevchenko is definitely not near his best, I feel the criticism aimed at Shevchenko for these past two matches is unfair. Simply put, he’s not getting the service he needs to score.

Against Blackburn, chances were few and far between for Shevchenko as Blackburn’s defence remained solid throughout the match providing the Chelsea striker (and his teammates) with relatively few clear-cut opportunities to score. I remember two chances Shevchenko had to score against Blackburn. The first was blocked by one of the Blackburn defenders as he outstretched his leg to fire the ball into the back of the net. The second was the last gasp header by Christopher Samba to deflect the ball away, while Shevchenko’s foot was already in midair attempting to hit the ball into the back of the net.

If pundits or fans want to criticize, why not focus on the 22-year-old Salomon Kalou who wasted several chances against Rosenborg to score (and in several matches he’s played for Chelsea). Or Michael Essien, normally quite skillful in front of goal, who blew a relatively easy chance against the Norwegian team last night? Of course, when Shevchenko got a chance against Rosenborg, he scored with a header to salvage a vital draw and to prevent embarrassment for Mourinho.

Sure, Shevchenko has been a flop, but based on his performances in the past two matches, I don’t see him getting the service or space he needs to score. Give the Ukrainian striker a few more matches up front and then see what he does. Then we’ll really know whether Shevchenko won’t show up for Chelsea or not.

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  1. Christmas Ornaments

    November 21, 2008 at 11:05 am

    And Sheva gets a ton of criticism because he was so expensive, same as Ballack.

  2. Kevin

    August 23, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    Sheva can handle the English game, the guy was a boxer before football hint hint. There were more problems off the pitch add to The Special One’s opinions we already know about.

    Check out this month’s FourFourTwo, there is an article on What if Trades had happened, Sheva was mentioned for another Premier Club and I think he would have sold out the park.

  3. JLay

    September 20, 2007 at 4:36 pm

    Sheva and Kalou are getting the same service that Drogba gets.
    Drogba produces world-class goals at an electric pace. The other two? Not so much.

    And Sheva gets a ton of criticism because he was so expensive, same as Ballack.

    He’s a 30m hood ornament.

    His play style does not suit the PL at all- and he’ll never get any better. He’s good for about 10 goals a year if he plays week in and week out. And at 30m, that’s not going to be good enough.

  4. Anonymous

    September 19, 2007 at 6:49 pm

    Perhaps he might get more playing time now Mourinho has quit!

  5. Joe Ginto

    September 19, 2007 at 3:28 pm

    You are probably correct, Kartik. There aren’t many recent examples of players coming from Serie A and having too much success in England (the reverse is even more prevalent). I saw the Ukraine-Italy match a few times and I can tell you Sheva still has it. He was never a “pacy” player and probably lacks the quickness to be an effective frontman for Chelsea. It does sadden me because he’s just been absolutely grilled up one side and down the other and really needs to just leave England at this point. He has so many factors going against him at the moment that I don’t see it ever getting better.

    The moral here is don’t let your wife dictate your professional decisions. He’ll never get these 2 years back.

  6. Kartik

    September 19, 2007 at 10:35 am

    Sheva is built better for the Italian game than the English. That doesn’t mean he is not good enough to play for Chelsea or that the PL is better than Serie A, but that’s just a fact.

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