Chelsea vs Southampton
English Premier League
Match #22 for Chelsea
16 January 2013
Chelsea’s miserable run at the Bridge continues. Arsenal are due to visit the Bridge, this Sunday, 20 January 2013. The Gunners will be relishing the opportunity to pick up 3 away points.
Most of the visiting teams have ‘parked the bus’ at the Bridge and tried to hit Chelsea on the counter. Chelsea have been very poor in dealing with counter attacks. Falcao’s thrashing is a great example.
Robbie and Benitez both have remarked on several occasions that Chelsea need to defend as a team. Defend as a Unit. Football is a team game. Everything has to be a collective effort. Players let Robbie down which eventually led to his sacking. Some of the same players performed well beyond their limitations, last season en route to Champions League triumph, which would probably remain as a folklore. Some of those danger signs have raised their ugly heads on many occasions, this season. It raised it’s head last night as well.
Chelsea led the Saints 2-0 at half time. And then gave up the 2 goal lead, with the game finishing at 2-2. So what happened?
Simple explanation: players expected Southampton to roll over. Only recently, had Chelsea thumped Southampton by 5 goals at the St.Mary’s in a FA cup 3rd round tie.
2-0 at half time. Everyone expected this one to be another cakewalk. But it was not to be.
An individual mistake led to the first Saints goal. Individual mistakes have been Chelsea’s undoing this season. When a team plays well, as a unit, those individual mistakes go unnoticed. When the team doesn’t play well, those individual mistakes are highlighted.
A strong defender, got pushed away by the player, who he was supposed to mark. It could have been called a foul. It wasn’t. Lambert lost his marker and got a header. Cahill was the culprit.
Cannot blame Cahill for it. He recently became a father. A second child, a son. His son is named Leo. It seemed as if Cahill lost concentration during that goal. He is human after all.
That goal changed the complexion of the match. The script got altered.
Bentiez would have probably given Terry and others some game time had the Saints not scored their first goal. After that goal, Saints started believing in themselves. They then had the upper hand. Chelsea were on the back foot. They kept attacking Chelsea. Chelsea panicked. There was no sense of calmness in front of the goal. Saints sensed fear. And they capitalized on it.
Benitez had to rely on his starting eleven to kill the game off, before making any changes. That didn’t happen. Another counter attack. Another goal.
Many of the Chelsea players were missing from the frame when Southampton scored their second. Many players failed to track back in time to help their defenders. The few who did track back, never expected that ball to hit the back of the goal. It was a stunner and it stunned everyone.
Chelsea did not have an impact sub on the bench. Marin has been rarely used by Robbie and Benitez. Reasons only known to them. Maybe it’s his injury history. Maybe it’s his inability to provide defensive cover.
So who was left? Torres. He had one chance to hit the target in the last ten minutes, for which he was on. He missed.
But the game was lost way before that. Chelsea played poorly throughout the first half. Couple of brilliant individual moments got Chelsea 2-0 up.
A Ba beauty and A Hazard wonder strike. Chelsea were lucky to be leading by 2 goals at half time.
One great sight during that Ba goal was Lampard. Saw the Lampard of old. One who just wouldn’t die. One who just wouldn’t give up. He fought, hard, for the scraps outside the penalty box. He made the crucial pass which resulted in the goal.
Lampard has played well within himself his season and more so since his return from the calf injury. One cannot expect, a soon to be 35 year old player, to fight for the scraps all the time. One cannot expect Lampard to do the same job that he did so well a few years ago. Attack and Defend ferociously.
But one can expect the youngsters to learn from the legend. The determination that Lampard showed in winning that ball before Ba’s goal – the youngsters need to learn that. They need to show that. Chelsea need that.
True Grit and Determination.
That’s what the highly talented bunch of Chelsea’ future players are lacking. True Grit and Determination is what made Chelsea, Chelsea under Roman, under Mourinho.
True Grit and Determination more than made up for lack of flair in the past decade. True Grit and Determination won Chelsea it’s trophies.
True Grit and Determination is what is needed now.
True Grit and Determination…..
Disclaimer: These are initial observations. Match was viewed only once, live.