If you didn’t watch this match, don’t worry, you didn’t miss much. There are many better ways of spending your 90 minutes of life. But I thought it will be an interesting match and stayed up past midnight for this. It was a boring match. Certainly not as worse as Porto vs Arsenal a couple of seasons back (that was one of the worst football matches I have ever seen). It was an okay result but because my expectations were high, it was frustrating.
We started with a strong line-up, the exact one I had put up, except for Wayne Bridge. For that starting line up I expected much more. For a good part of the game, Chelsea were quite lethargic and lacking ambition. In fact, in the first half, Cluj matched us and even threatened us a bit. Cluj were at least making half chances but Chelsea weren’t even getting to the box. It was disappointing.
Chelsea was not in any kind of urgency while Cluj pressed us at all parts of the pitch. They were ready to put in the work rate. I don’t believe they run like this every match but for this one, they looked like they were determined to put in that effort. Cluj’s tactics were clear. They let our wingbacks come forward and then they press and get the ball, and run towards goal like crazy. The counterattacks were quite pacy. One or two errors at the back would have seen us lose the match.
The biggest loser of the 4-1-4-1 formation is Kalou. He is not comfortable as a wide attacking midfielder. He can play either as a striker or as a winger. Now his role in 4-1-4-1 is a new one and I doubt if he is relishing it. Malouda looked lot more composed than Kalou. They even swapped roles in the first half but nothing much changed for Kalou. Lampard and Ballack were good. Bridge did not look like he was expecting Cluj to play like that.
Anelka was not special. I could almost copy and paste any of the paragraphs on Anelka from earlier blogs. He had a chance to win the game and he missed it. Strikers should be such that they win the game with just one chance. That’s what a striker normally is – Torres, Villa etc win games or their teams like this. Nice to see Franco di Santo on the pitch. I waiting for his 90 minute presence.
Biggest news of the match has got to be Drogba’s injury. Rumours say he could be out for 3 months. I don’t have any desire to see Anelka as ‘the one’ for three bloody months. Scolari should come up with a masterstroke now. Like JM came up with Essien at right back, Scolari do his magic now. It could even be promoting Franco di Santo to the starting eleven and making Anelka the second striker behind him or something.
It’s difficult for us to make something more than this. One point is very well, but I know and the players know that we didn’t play very well. I am happy with all of my players, they tried. We had some injuries, the pitch was normal, not bad, but some injuries came during training and during the game. Injuries come sometimes and we need to inspect this as we play.
From a results perspective, it is not bad to get an away draw in a champions league group stage match. I guess our players had the weekend Villa match in mind and that could be a reason why we were conserving energy. But if that was the idea, we should have seen players like Ivanovic, Belletti, Ferreira etc in the starting line-up. Chelsea should b eat Aston Villa this weekend. That’s a lot more important than the Cluj match. I don’t mind us losing to Cluj at Romania if that means beating Aston Villa.
For those who didn’t see the match, don’t get too worked up. Decent away point. We should be more worried about the injuries than yesterday’s performance. The injury list grows. Now it’s Deco, Joe Cole, Drogba, Ashley Cole, Alex and Terry. We should get this Aston Villa match our of our way with a win.