Monday, July 11, 2005

Will Tiago stir Chelsea?

Portuguese international Tiago joined Chelsea last summer from Portuguese side Benfica. Apparently Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho was really high on him and made him one of his first signings.

I’ve wondered about what Tiago brings to Chelsea and whether he is really the long term player they want or will become a casualty in the build-up like Kezman.

Why do I wonder? Well, I’m not so sure Tiago is tough enough. He seems too much a finesse player. Of course not every finesse player demonstrates a lack of toughness, look at Christiano Ronaldo and Ryan Giggs from Manchester United for example. It’s a question of degrees. With Tiago, I think he’s prone to being manhandled by a more physical midfield on both offense and defense. That wouldn’t happen to Frank Lampard. And how well would he be doing in England without defensive midfielder Claude Makelele behind him cleaning up? Benfica won the Portuguese title after he left.

Too often it’s easy for a player to shine when quality surrounds them. It’s definitely easier to spot a really good player on a bad team. What about at Chelsea?

Let’s not be too negative. Remember I’m ambivalent. Tiago is an excellent player technically. He’s at times shown excellent vision and deft passing. He’s not all bad in defense either, bringing the foot in often enough to make a contribution.

Tiago can also shoot on goal as he added a few during the season. He does many things well, but nothing incredibly, not yet. His consistency has also been remarkable, considering it’s his first season in England.

All are good signs pointing upward. Tiago deserves at least one more season to prove he can fill the spot. Chelsea were looking at Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard recently, so, by no means do they smell a superstar emerging either –and at 24 he’s at the age limit to see it.

The one thing that Tiago shouldn’t let happen is becoming a perpetual reserve ala Real Madrid midfielder Guti.


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Blogger Ole said...

Although I agree, to a certain extent, with your opinion of Tiago as a strong technical but physically unimposing player, at least one of your points makes little sense.

You suggest that his consistency, in part, has to do with the covering play that Claude Makelele provides in deeper midfield. Well, of course it does. That's the shape of the team. Frank Lampard, outstanding Premiership midfielder last season, wouldn't be as effective (or Chelsea's top scorer) without the freedom that Makelele offers him.

To dismiss Tiago as a jack-of-all-trades who does everything reasonably well and nothing brilliantly is to do him an injustice. On more than one occasion he's shown a remarkable eye for goal (summed up very neatly with his game-changing 30-yarder against Manchester United at Old Trafford) and an appetite for the tackle. As a destroyer he's not as effective as the Congo-born Frenchman behind him. To be fair, neither is anyone else in the League and, arguably, in Europe.

The player we anticipate him being is a box-to-box midfielder with a high work rate, 5-10 goals a season and a similar number of assists, and a strong presence in defence where necessary. Sadly, the arrival of Essien (if/ when it happens) will almost certainly limit his chances.

7/11/2005 5:42 PM  
Blogger Football Commentator said...


I can agree with most of what you say. I guess I want to like him, but on top of my doubts come alot of $$$ to buy players -like you said.

It could not only be a question of his ability to make the leap, but also a questions of him ever being given the chance. Thats why I made the last point about Guti. Tiago would never know if left on the Chelsea bench.

He's got to make the leap early next season or Chelsea will move on.

7/11/2005 6:01 PM  

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