Sunday, 14 December 2014

Chelsea 2 Hull City 0

So what constitutes a dive? Officially, it is "an attempt by a player to gain an unfair advantage by diving to the ground and possibly feigning an injury, to appear as if a foul has been committed. Dives are often used to exaggerate the amount of contact present in a challenge." There were three incidents yesterday where the referee gave free-kicks to Hull against Chelsea when our players were accused of diving. Two resulted in bookings.

Two of the incidents, however were fouls. As laughable as Willian's fall was, by the letter of the law it should have lead to a free-kick for our side. There was also contact when Cahill fell in the visitor's penalty area. Costa fell anticipating a challenge from the Hull defender despite not being touched - he did get back to his feet straight away but was booked.

What do we need these days to win a free-kick? Do we need someone like Hazard to have his leg broken first before the referee reacts? We have an amazingly skilful set of players and the amount of times we see someone fouled with no action taken despite a nudge here or tackle there that puts a player off his stride or denies us an attacking opportunity is exceptionally frustrating. This is not a team that writhes around on the ground like the Ronaldos of this world when tackled before magically recovering. Referees need to adapt to a different type of football that we watch these days. This is not 4-4-2 with a big striker up front to nod it on any more (at Stamford Bridge at least - at Upton Park it is the 1980s all over again).

Luckily for our side, this issue that the media will concentrate on for the next few days (while probably ignoring more heinous crimes that will be committed by teams in red) means that there will be less focus on what was arguably our worst performance in a major competition this season. We dominated the opening stages of the game but when we scored it seemed that the team had thought the match was over and sat back. It was ironic too that the team's concentration seemed to fall just as the atmosphere was buzzing and our voices were building to a crescendo. We counted five times in a row where we lost the ball in key areas and against a better side would have paid the price for losing possession. We are giving the team support, Jose so I hope you fired a rocket up their posteriors at half-time because this was simply not good enough.

We began the match with a very odd formation - but one that I liked. It was fairly lop-sided with Ivanovic playing more right midfield than defence. 3-3-3-1? Luis attacked up the left. We played Cahill and Terry at centre-back with Matic and Mikel providing cover. It was also a strange match and on our return home we had look at replay after replay to really know what had happened. Cahill's challenge was clumsy and deserved no more tha a yellow card - Huddlestone was an idiot for carrying out a foul in no man's land. Mikel was back to his usual, inconsistent self and boy, did we miss Fabregas.

The goals were brilliant. We chuckled when we realised Hazard had actually scored with his head. There was some scintillating play in the lead up to Costa's goal. Even though the ball seemed to trickle into the back of the net it should bolster the confidence that he has lacked since returning from injury. This is the kind of game that teams in red would have been praised for in the past - not playing well but gaining three points. Perhaps this makes up for some of the bad luck that we suffered against Newcastle.

MotD concentrated on the dives. But no comment on the deliberate handball by the Hull City player during the first half for which he did not even receive a booking? What about the Hull player who chose to writhe around on the floor when tackled by Mikel during the build-up to our first goal but then was suddenly back up on his feet and seemingly fit enough to argue with the referee in time for the restart? Selective editing? Am I biased? Never...

Onto the Champions' League draw and the possible aways we might get. Juventus - done. Basil - done. PSG - done. Bayer Leverkusen - never done - yes please. Shakhtar Donetsk - never done - YES PLEASE.

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