Terrible! Believe me, this is the least offensive word I can think of to describe our performance last night and horrible bad luck. The first day of 2015 was completely opposite of what the whole of 2014 had been for us. The game at White Hart Lane ended at a final score of 5-3 in favor of the home team.
As the ‘Sit Down Mourinho’ chants roared across the stadium, Chelsea players had no clue of how much worse it could get for the West Londoners on a cold winter night, in the northern part of the city.
Surely our boss had many things to be noted down in his diary. So let’s have a look at the five learning points which we concluded from the game.
Don’t get too drunk on New Year!
The warning especially implies for Gary Cahill and John Terry. And I’m not wrong when I say this. Both our centre backs looked out of sorts as they seemed to have no control over their positioning and especially Harry Kane. A little more effort was required from Cahill to block the low long range shot from Kane, which eventually went past Courtois to level the score at 1-1. Nacer Chadli outpaced them quite easily to receive a through ball from Eriksen but was unfortunate to find the net as his shot hit the post, only for Dany Rose to score from the rebound and make it 2-1 for the home team. Moreover, a stupid foul on Kane inside the box by Cahill, saw a penalty being gifted to the Spurs which was converted by Townsend to give his team a 3-1 lead at half-time and break all Chelsea hearts. As if the poor performance wasn’t enough, Gary Cahill was involved in another controversy when the centre back was found intentionally kicking Harry Kane on his back after the U-21 English striker had already gone down.
Squad rotation is required
With the January transfer window now open, Jose must have a look at the back-ups he has for some crucial positions. And needless to say, it is the time to enter the market and sign a big player. Most players like Terry, Cahill, Oscar, Willian were not visible for most part of the game. Hazard seemed to be the only man in blue, with Fabregas helping the Belgian, to be playing the typical Chelsea game. He needs some good support from the other side of the field as well. For squad rotation, especially for our centre backs and attacking midfield, it is important to get some good back-ups by hook or crook.
Mikel, alongside Matic, is maybe the best option for playing against pressing sides
John Obi Mikel and Nemanja Matic, with Fabregas playing at his preferred CAM role, has to be an ideal strategy for playing a side having the pressing approach like that of Tottenham. It worked out against West Ham, and it would have worked against Tottenham as well. According to me, Mikel and Matic’s combined strength was required to stop the pacy and pressing game last night, especially that of Kane, Chadli, Rose and Eriksen. And the credit goes to Hazard, but I think that when Fabregas returned to No.10 position in the 2nd half, we looked a far better side on the attacking front than what we were in the 1st half.
Eden Hazard is the next best thing in world football!
When every Chelsea player on the pitch was stoned against a strong looking Tottenham side, there was one man who kept the whole home team on their toes till the final whistle. And it was none other than Eden Hazard. He quite brilliantly rounded off two defenders, to see his shot hitting the post, but it fell to Oscar, whose rebounded shot was tapped in by Diego Costa. The second Chelsea goal, by Hazard, was a beautiful thing to watch. After stealing the ball from Fazio, the winger had a nice exchange of passes with Fabregas before finally hitting it past Lloris from close range to give his team hope of a comeback, as the home team had already scored four goals in between Chelsea’s 1st and 2nd. He was a constant threat, as he linked up well with Costa, Fabregas and gave one of his best individual performances. So proud of you Eden!
‘Chelsea’- the name is enough!
After scoring their third goal of the night, Chelsea maintained their first position in the league by leveling with City on points as well as the goal difference, after the Citizens had already won their game by a score of 3-2 against Sunderland and Chelsea had to face only their second loss of the season. But still it was Chelsea who are still at the top, owing to the alphabetical advantage they enjoy over Manchester City. Funny and non-sense as it is, but it is yet another reason to be proud of our team. How we come back stronger to our winning ways when we face Watford this coming Sunday, remains to be seen. Time to get over one of our worst performances and focus on the coming fixtures and the January Transfer Window!
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Edited By: Vikram Vadiganeni