Saturday, 9 November 2013

Chelsea 2 WBA 2

There are days like today where you try to figure out whether you truly understand the team and sport you love or not. This was a side that barely a fornight ago seemed to gel so wonderfully. A midfield where pretty passes and wonderful skill led to concrete chances on goal. A solid defence. In Manchester City beating a team fair and square that on paper should have been far superior. Against Arsenal playing your second string and still looking a division above.

The last week has changed all this and suddenly those lucky goals and refereeing decisions are occurring a little too often. Those days where conspiracy theories that the world was against us because many saw Chelsea as the equivalent of Millwall being in the Champions League are being unwound. If Eto'os posterior had not helped us score a goal against Schalke this blog could be fairly suicidal.

It is also difficult to point out who exactly is to blame. For me, Mourinho has been the closest thing to a Messiah when it has come to footballing management. A person who seemed to manage to deflect attention away from the team when things were not going well on the pitch but who now is making some odd choices... almost as if they were not his own. This is where danger creeps in - when you do not follow your own instinct from experience but instead prefer to believe you are doing the right thing in the eyes of those above you. And our Messiah's God is Russian and impatient.

Up until Eto'o'o's strike it was hard to remember a clearcut chance on goal. The excuses were already building in our minds. A mid-table but solid side was coming to Stamford Bridge and put players behind the ball in order to catch us on the break. Willian was a welcome signing for me but now has given me flashbacks to Robert Fleck. A winger who seems to meander around the pitch and today found it difficult to beat the first man with any cross. Lampard was anonymous but when Mourinho made changes to the side he was missed. And as a large minority of fans will probably resent admitting, balance was only restored when Mikel joined the pitch to complement Mata.

To be fair to WBA their naivete came back to haunt them. With minutes to spare, they decided to attack and score instead of doing the tactics the "big" sides are renowned for - holding the ball in the corner! From the resulting attack where they tried to score when Cech was a mile off his line Chelsea counter attacked and how Ramires won that penalty I will never know. Probably MotD will find an angle that defends us but lucky is the most conservative way to describe our draw today.

Mourinho has inherited this squad but at times we appear to lack my favourite thing - natural wingers as we had in Duff and Robben when he was our coach first time round. Ivanovic and Azpilicueta were solid but that is the best thing one can say about today's performance.

The only thing to have really got me out of my seat was Ivanovic being booked for trying to bring the ball back to the centre circle after Hazard's brilliantly taken penalty - almost as strange as the break in play earlier on this week for a football boot leaving the sole of a player.

Following the Manchester City game we appeared to have on paper a simple run of games. The sportsman in me would like to think that at least results like today show that the Premier League is more of a level playing field than we thought but 21 points from a possible 33 is a woeful return. Should Arsenal win tomorrow then they will have 28 from 33. Let's pray for a draw and 22 red cards.

Inconsistency is our only consistency this season and the excitement that many of our new tourist fans are looking for has appeared in ways that genuine fans would not wish for. West Ham away then Basle... and suddenly Southampton at home is a fixture I fear. What has the Chelsea world come to?