A great cheer from the Chelsea fans made me feel like it was a home game, kudos to the travelling fans!
The first 11 I was elated to see Didier back. Riccy over Alex was spot on after the latter’s sloppiness in the last match. But as much as I admire Zhirkov, I was very uncomfortable to see him for Ashley (may be Ashley’s sore ankle was nagging him), otherwise the first 11 was the best we could ever field this time!
My own little account of the observations of the match:These, in my opinion were mediocre performers:
Cech is still not decisive on leaving his goal line and his command over aerial balls needs to be improved!
Ivanovic, his defending was bit too risky and I was afraid that he would see his second yellow and wished he was substituted, but it didn’t happen and I was kept worrying. Nor did his marauding forward reap as many good crosses as we expect off him. However, he had one good shot on target!
Deco’s decision with passes was bit risky. His pass across our own D area to Riccy and a poor through ball to Drogba to name a few. Also he seemed quite lost on the ball and eventually lost possession at crucial times. His shot, at 36th minute was good, though. He was the best tackler of the night!
Ballack seemed clueless and couldn’t pick a team mate well with his passes. And his header on Ivanovic’s cross lacked angle;
Nico was surprisingly not at his best, he was worse than what he was against Burnley.
The opponent’s goal: When most of our players were trying to find their own clever self, we conceded a goal, a cheap one from the defenders’ point of view. I don’t know who is supposed to be marking Mouyokolo, but he had lots of space at his disposal. Was it Ballack or Riccy or Terry? I was really annoyed by the irksome Fagan who kept bothering Cech and ultimately forcing him into a very poor position. Neither Malouda could check Fagan properly, nor could Cech command his space well. After conceding the goal, I was expecting Chelsea to bounce back with brilliance and clever football and command the game, but we couldn’t really find the edge.
Our goal: Drogba didn’t have a good game and I should blame ACN for destroying his form. At some points he was non-existent, virtually. May be he was trying to get back to the CFC’s Drogba from being an Ivory Cost’s Drogba. ACN is a step down for anyone in the EPL! He wasted lots of chances but his goal was “a thing of beauty”, a sheer class!
The average performers:
Zhirkov played quite well but not as much as when he came from the bench, maybe he wasn’t comfortable with Ashley on the bench. Of course he had some telling crosses, but no one could finish it well;
Terry, despite being booed, had a good game and his command and communication with the team mates were at its usual best. His header on 56th minute was awesome and displayed a great neck muscle power to find the target. Terry’s chest balls are so perfect, he does it best;
Riccy had a decent game and his telepathic connection with our captain is simply priceless;
Malouda worked hard but sometimes he worked unnecessarily hard and turned the situation against himself! He turned well and took a great shot, but he could have done a lot more with the chances he got and lay assists for his team mates;
Lampsy was not his usual clever self, but he took few good shots. May be he took too little too many touches.
Drogba was the best player of the night. Despite playing far below his own par, was undoubtedly our best man on the field. His desire and determination was a good sign and it did spread positive energy around. He is also one of the best defenders during set pieces but he also denied what could have been a great Malouda goal. But I am happy that The Terminator is back with a BANG!
Boss must bring in the substitutes according to the prevailing situation(s), he must inject pace from fresh legs. He seemed pretty dissatisfied with the way things were faring at the first half and even in the second half, but I think that he took bit too long to bring in Sturridge!
I had to wait till the 71st minute when he finally brings Joey on for Ballack. But what seemed like a great decision by our boss was almost futile when Joey proved equally ineffective like Ballack. Joey didn’t use his speed to good effect and he could actually have done a lot better.
Both were absolutely good, because Zhirkov and Nico weren’t contributing as much as they usually could. But I am definite that Sturridge should have been on earlier on. This lad works hard and bothers the opponents often; his work rate is very high. His hard work nearly paid off in the dying minutes of the game when he took a shot on a difficult ball but wastes the second chance which came immediately!
Ashley was better than Zhirkov and on 84th minute, he wasted a great opportunity, I was shouting SHOOOOOOT!
At 41st minute, Nico is fouled but he manages to pass the ball and referee allowed advantage. Eventually Lampsy is tripped in the D area but surprisingly Mark Clattenburg, instead of awarding a penalty gives a free kick outside the D! How is this? I need a technical back up on my limited knowledge of the rules of the game. As far as I know, I think it should have been a penalty because the game was on after Nico suffered a foul. But what is the difference? For us, another great penalty by Lampsy or an awesome free kick by Drogba means the same, after all both will find the back of the net! May be Drogba’s race for the golden boot is a step nearer than Lampsy’s 20+ a season goals!
The reaction to the game and few hard lessons learnt: Nothing much magical happened in this game. I am sad that we missed a good chance to go 4 points clear off manure, but recollecting on the type of game we played (and Hull played) I am happy that we got to share the spoil of the match.
We sit at the top with 2 points and if we can repeat our feat at Fly Emirates this Sunday, things should be much easier thence! I don’t care much about opponents or our so called title challengers so long as we keep winning. If we focus on our strengths and develop on it then we are going to get dividends. But defending set pieces is one nagging weakness of ours and needs to be addressed immediately! One clear example, apart from the goal, was on minute 45+1: worryingly, our marking was very bad again. Main culprit was Ballack, he was sloppy but luckily escaped from being punished. I think we need to assure that the man one marks is marked well; Terry marked his man well during this free kick.
We must have a plan B, like Hull demanded with determined offence. Hull closed in very fast and it was to this tactic that we succumbed our own football;
We must improve on capitalising on the chances, we must finish well!
My MoTM is Drogba, it would have been Sturridge if he had more time to prove his worth!
I hope we train a lot and make sure that only the best performers will get into the first 11. I won’t be surprised to see Sturridge on for Nico against Arsenal! I am hopeful, or rather sure that we will keep these hard lessons at the back of our mind and display one lovely and fruitful game of football this Sunday.
I wished Terry silenced the home fans like he did at Turf Moor because they were awfully wrong in booing him for nothing done to them.
Drogba’s goal celebration was so sweet, so touching. This man knows how to involve crowd and get them behind the team, he knows how to blend love with the game; he is fantastic!
Dear kindred spirits, please forgive me if i, like our Chelsea, came far below your expectations. I promise to improve and would like to make an excuse that this is my first post!
My blood is blue!