Chelsea 1 - West Bromwich Albion 0
We sat back way too much today particularly in the first half and invited pressure on us. Chelsea showed no sign of any issues from the Benitez fiasco and literally tore us open in the first half.
We lacked pace, tempo and had no forward outlet. We really missed Lukakus energy and running today.
Second half started pretty much in the same manner with us sitting back and lacking any real urgency.
It was only with the substitutions that we picked up - odemwingie making all the difference - suddenly we had someone prepared to run at them and he opened them up a few times. When JT came on he added to that. We could have snatched a very unlikely draw today late on buy it was not to be.
Overall we were literally murdered 1-0 today, only Fosters brilliance stopped it From being a 5-0 rout.
Alas today reminded me of early PL games here where we used to sit back and await the inevitable defeat. Simply not good enough today Clarke your tactics were again woeful, only Foster covered for your strategic naivety.
Not sure what we wanted out of this match. There have been past seasons when a 1-0 loss at Chelsea would have been seen as something of a positive, but this was a huge lost opportunity. The Chelsea circus was in full swing and an early goal for us would have had them screaming for Benitez' head, but we didn't give ourselves a chance. We surrendered the initiative from the start and showed a total lack of ambition for 70 minutes. Only the England goalkeeper saved us from a wuppin'.
I expected a more adventurous approach, given the lack of pressure on us and yet it looked like we were desperately in need of one point to stay up. When we finally pushed forward in the last quarter, Chelsea looked vulnerable and we created a few chances, but we didn't really deserve anything, based on our lack of adventure.
Long on his own had no chance. Even Lukaku with his strength and speed would have struggled to make an impact. Thomas and Peter O did OK when they came on, but why not bring on the kid Isaiah instead of Rosenberg?
Next two games are crucial. Must beat our two bogey teams.
I can only agree with Paul (above). Totally negative formation which allowed the full force of Chelsea to dominate.
Accepting the fantastic result at Liverpool with a similar tactic - the glaringly obvious difference being 1-0 down at half time (today - Chelsea) as opposed to 0-0 at L'pool with 10mins to go AND the option of The Fridge on the bench. Very different.
For crying out loud - change it!!!!
(For all of Shane's great attributes, IMO he is lost in the role demanded of him today).
Philip Cole (RSABaggie):
I agree with everything said so far so I've not really got much to add. Steve Clarke's unadventurous approach cost us the match, whereas a start of rapid pressing, as we were doing at the beginning of the season, could have yielded a goal and got Chelsea's fickle glory-hunting fans on the back of their team early on. The whole approach today now that we've got the 'magic' 40 points (my stats tell me that on six ocassions since the start of the EPL more than 40 points has been needed, although granted never since 2002/03) sent a message that we have nothing left to pay for,, especially in the first half when we were so slow to close Chelsea down and a good but limited sidelooked like they would tear us apart.
IMHO this also showed the weakness of our squad. We only begain to liven up once we had some much needed width, pace and trickery from firstly PO and then JT coming on. We simply do not have the strength of squad to leave our best players out from the start if we are to win matches. Without these two also we have no width and therefore become slow and predictable. After the failure of Clarke's weak tactics it's quite something to say that Chelsea were hanging on for the whistle at the end! We need some serious, squad strengthening investment in players this summer. Remember JP - you cannot afford to stand still in the EPL!
Yes I would agree with the majority of comments already made. Exactly the same tactic as Liverpool away but without the result. Too much class and quality from Chelsea I'm afraid and yes it could have been 5-0. Saying that, we could have nicked a point in the end and to be frank, they would have earned it because they worked very hard trying to keep Chelsea out. It would have been a travesty of justice though.
Foster very good apart from the goal - dreadful error of judgement. And I wouldn't have played MAF. I really don't know what SC could have done with what he had at his disposal. If you don't sit back and instead play them at their own game they are likely to run riot. So try to keep it 0-0 or 1-0 for as long as possible and then try and nick it or nick a point at least.
Saturday should be a better game and it would be great to reverse the result. COYB!!
All text, pictures and graphics are copyright of BOING unless otherwise stated