Sunday, 20 April 2014

Chelsea 1 Sunderland 2

One should never underestimate the psychological power a traditionally strong person or - in this case - a set of clubs can have on the subconscious of individuals. It is not necessarily childish to think in such a manner. The reality of our club's failure to win key matches against alleged inferior opposition is down to a mixture of things. We have not taken our chances in front of goal and that is on a level par with some poor refereeing decisions that have cost us matches.

There are some games such as Crystal Palace away where you hold your hands up and simply admit that the opposition was superior on the day (and has been on a stunningly good run since). Yesterday, we had 31 attempts to score and only managed one goal. To describe our side as one that does not attack is simply untrue. However, the quality of finishing has not been up to standard. Does our concentration occasionally drop against the bottom sides?

The next point is refereeing decisions that have not gone our way. Despite my obvious bias for my club it is difficult to argue against Chelsea deserving at least one penalty during the match. Sometimes there are trips in the corner of the box that are rewarded with a spot kick even if they were unlikely to have led to a goal. But the push on Ramires in the first half as he jumped to head the ball towards an open goal cannot be described as anything less than a foul despite some bizarre conclusions by television experts. You can almost excuse Ramires' ire when yet again he walked a tightrope by slapping a Sunderland player's face during the second half.

Standing in the front row of the East Upper after the final whistle you reflected on the game and on football in general. Then you wonder about our fans who were asked to get behind the team and yet were quiet and impatient for the bulk of it. Do we pay good money now in order to be entertained rather than traditionally support our club when things are not perfect on the field?

There are times when one would prefer to have the blind myopia that the bulk of Liverpool fans have when supporting their club... And should they win the league then well done to them. But it will be a bitter blow to Chelsea if that is the case and you do wonder if invisible, external forces affect the team when the media argues that "neutrals" would prefer others to succeed over our side. Well done Gus by the way - Chelsea legend - and apologies for how some of our fans have behaved to you in the past.

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