It was quite an eerie atmosphere at Stamford Bridge while a full moon hovered above Chelsea Football Club last night. It felt as if many fans had simply turned up because they had already spent their money on their ticket and had nothing better to do. Fans sitting with their arms folded, constantly sighing was about as loud as it got.
I was hoping to find some clues about Chelsea’s plans going forward in the match programme. But not a word from our board and only some pictures of Luiz trying to jiggle hoops around his waist – crazy name, crazy hair, crazy guy! But at least our under-18s are doing well… Communist propaganda at its finest and not a word about the negative reaction of our fans towards our new manager.
We played a dire side. This was best reflected when at one stage during the second half while Fulham had possession of the ball in their own half, Diarra simply kicked the ball out of play when put under light pressure. And yet they still had the best opportunity to score while counter attacking with Riise fluffing a golden opportunity to win bragging rights in South-West London for his side. Berbatov held the ball with such ease – maybe he could have fitted better up front for us than the lacklustre Torres (although being over the age of thirty probably rules him out of joining our club!)
The formation of our team was textbook. The usual back four; two defensive midfielders; two wide men and then a roaming midfielder to supply Torres. Quite why the left-footed Mata was not on the pitch instead of Bertrand is a matter of debate although the Spaniard has not quite been the same since being forced to play against Manchester United in the League Cup. Hazard was anonymous although Oscar shows some signs of promise. Marin came on for a few minutes and put in the most dangerous cross of the whole game for us but with no positive consequences.
“Wherefore art thou Romeu” spun round my head several times. Although Mikel will rarely excite, he is a solid defensive midfielder and a much preferable option to his replacement yesterday who lost the ball numerous times in dangerous areas. Perhaps Benitez wishes to field as many Spanish speakers as possible?
Luiz was lucky to stay on the pitch being the last man in one tackle and his attacking forays left our defence exposed. Only Ivanovic’s runs forward looked dangerous. Our attacking players ran out of ideas as soon as they reached the opposition’s penalty area with some laughably bad decision making.
It is normally at Craven Cottage where the home fans are quiet but the strange silence that prevailed at Stamford Bridge looks a sign of things to come. Not a terrible performance but one which is chalk and cheese compared to some of our games earlier on in the season which at least had some tempo and excitement.
West Ham away suddenly looks a daunting prospect whereas a month or so ago the only pondering I would have done ahead of a match at Upton Park would be how many goals we might score and whether to leave the stadium early to avoid the queues for the tube. Chelsea have erred so woefully on so many fronts. There is no point looking back now as nothing can be corrected - but as a fan this is a pretty depressing period in our history even if it is short-term.