Never in recent memory has a player divided opinion amongst the Chelsea faithful as much as Salomon Kalou.
The West Brom match however, may have been a tipping point for many who’ve otherwise sat on the fence until now.
Generally regarded as poor against Stoke, grumbles were heard when his name was announced in the starting line-up, with questions of ‘why?’ and ‘how?’ Malouda didn’t set the world alight against Stoke, but he did fare better than Kalou.
But start he did, and as soon as he’d played a bad pass parts of the crowd got on his back, which increased with every bit of poor control or mistake he made there on in until Villas-Boas took him off in the 35th minute, to some ironic cheers.
To be fair, no one had covered themselves in glory in the first 45 minutes against West Brom, but the singling out of Kalou by supporters on the day is for me, not on.
Now let me set out my stall. I like Kalou, think he’s a great impact player and should be on the bench. I don’t think he’s good enough to start all the time, he seems to switch off too often and makes mistakes when he has time to think.
He’s very much an instinct player, and that works well in the heat of the final ten mins or when chasing a goal, not when trying to play a tactical approach. Too often he makes mistakes, but he’s not the only one. However if he starts, I will support him.
If he is wearing the shirt of the club I love for 45, 90 or however many minutes on that pitch, I am 100% behind him. I support Chelsea, I am 100% behind the team when they are in battle, I can be as critical or as harsh as I like analysing the ruins of defeat, and as happy as I like reviewing a recent victory.
I would never go to the front line in Afghanistan and say; “You know what boys, not quite working here is it?” Yet I’ve discussed just this with serving friends when they’ve returned.
If he has a crap match then fine, I reserve the right to slate him to high heaven in the pub, in print, to my missus and anyone else, but not on the pitch.