Chelsea 0-1 QPR | In search of a scapegoat . . .
Game is over. In a fashionably designed studio, as post match analysis, you have old men in shiny suits saying ‘he simply got his tactics wrong’. How familiar is that sight? And how annoying it is? Well, certainly for me.
As a football manager, you take risks, ranging from cautious risks to calculated risks to bold risks. Sometimes they pay off and sometimes they don’t. When they pay off, you’re a genius (debut to Bertrand in a champions league final) and when they don’t you’re seen as an idiot (resting Mata and Hazard for a home game against the worst team in the league).
And it’s so easy and convenient to wait for the final whistle and have a go at the manager or the team with conventional wisdom and hindsight. “He should have”, “he must never have”, “why on earth did he” and the like.
I wish people started making up their mind on what the performance and result would be as soon as the team news is out and 15 mins into the first half and 15 mins into the second half. Because it’s all so easy and lazy to make hindsight powered arguments which have only one direction.
Rafa could have been slightly more cautious in this game. He rested both Mata and Hazard. Who did he play? Youth players or reserve players? No. He played the first team players that always trains with. And my disappointment with Rafa was not the line-up. Instead I thought he was too slow in bringing the subs in. Things weren’t working out and it was for all to see. He should have acted sooner. Even a half time substitution would have sent out a message.
Torres, Moses and Luiz start every game. So they started. People always wanted Lampard to start and ironically were also asking why Oscar is being wasted on the bench. So they both start. The whole Chelsea fan community was waiting for a premier league start for Marin.
Rafa didn’t choose a game at Old Trafford to do that. Instead he chose a home game against one of the weakest opponents premier league has seen. Yes he took a bold risk but I’d always bet that Chelsea XI to beat that QPR XI at Stamford Bridge.
And we didn’t have the luxury of Petr Cech who time and again makes the team and the manager look better with his blinding saves. Turnbull had a decent game but was out of position to stop a rather stoppable shot. Respect for SWP for not celebrating at Stamford Bridge despite that being their most important goal of the season.
The much wanted double pivot of Lampard and Luiz created nothing. And that’s the fact and that’s where the analysis should start from. How else can QPR have 50% possession for most of the game at Stamford Bridge. Our pivot did not control the game and allowed QPR to settle down and grow in confidence. The double pivot failed. Or like some would it was never going to work.
I keep saying that Lampard’s role has disappeared. He’s neither a centre attacking midfielder nor one of the double pivot. He’s going to be ineffective in both positions. Against QPR at home, I’d expect Lampard’s to assert his influence and boss the midfield. Turned out that was one of his forgettable performances.
Torres would complete his two years at Chelsea shortly. It’s simply worked out for him. There can be several causes – injury, confidence, service – but whatever they are, it’s hurting the team severely. As a striker, he too failed.
Marin was poor but remember this is his first premier league start. It was clear as he was trying too hard (and should have been sent off within 5 mins). I’m never going to blame Marin for this performance and result. One game and he’s the scapegoat? Oh come on.
Overall, it was a poor performance form a Chelsea XI that should have comfortably beaten this QPR team. Not 9/10 times. 10/10 times. QPR are always a result away from total meltdown and it’s been like that. One goal and they’d have surrendered. But the first half performance from Chelsea must have given them so much confidence.
There was no leadership on the pitch for Chelsea. Great example of why experience and seniority don’t necessarily mean leadership. The only hint of leadership came from Ivanovic. That’s where I think we lost the game on the pitch.
This Chelsea team needs leaders and players with killer instinct. Can’t wait for John Terry’s return. Mata slots himself in like he was never on the bench. Hazard always demands more from himself. And Ramires is truly tireless. They were all missed but we should have beaten QPR fair and square at the Bridge.
We’ve clearly dropped off the premier league title race with this defeat. There’s no way we can catch up the Manchester teams. You need both the Manchester teams to drop considerable number of points while we win the maximum. I don’t see that happening. The fight for the top four spot is on. This season, that’s all we truly deserve and that’s what we should be hoping for. KTBFFH!