We don’t want much for Christmas, us Chelsea fans, just three points and then let the merriment begin. It’s been a bumpy month for the team. We’ve had some shocking and some decent games, some heartless displays and some bad luck. Sometimes we haven’t got what we deserved, others could have been a whole lot worse. But the encouraging performance at the Lane looks like we’ve finally (please) turned the corner and got the title charge back on track. I say ‘looks like’ as still waiting on that very same corner are the league leaders and I don’t think we can be fully round it until we’ve got three points on the board. Anything less and the return to form will still seem a very long way off. Of course it’s not been for the want of trying. In truth the away games at Spurs, Newcastle and Birmingham all should have resulted in three points, if it wasn’t for uncharacteristically switching off at crucial moments and a lack of said luck. As we know too well though, it tends to be when luck goes in your favour that titles arrive and hopefully the run of ill fortune has ended with Didier’s misjudged penalty kick at the death.
I think JT played a blinder in the press room as well as out on the pitch this weekend. Few fans would argue that it was the lack of passion and effort that we’ve seen in some games that has stuck in the gullet and the spirited second half showed everything about this side that we love. You can’t win titles without a never say die attitude and it is the work rate that must be maintained going forward. We know the players have the ability and the skills to win games by cricket scores but it’s stepping out onto the pitch with a hunger to win that sets teams apart. Sunday feels like a pivotal point in the campaign and the team should be backed to the hilt at the Bridge this Sunday. A win can see that early season confidence burst back into the side, everything else is in place to go on a strong run. The return of key players and also players returning to form (Ramires, Drogba and Ferreria all having strong games) could be key over the festive period. Of course what has also been helping during the dreaded ‘blip’ is the mediocre form of our rivals.
You have to admire Arsene Wenger’s impressive ability to point the finger at anything other than his own team’s shortcomings. Being too physical was often the mantra during a post-match beating, or not playing football in the purists enlightened vision. Now he blames a crown green bowls surface for the middling fare the ‘nation’s top two sides’ served up on Monday night. It is incredible and it’s only a matter of time before Spec Savers steps in with a sponsorship deal for monsieur Wenger and puts these laughable comments finally to bed. Arsenal were second best once again in one of these encounters, once again they succumbed to the same counter-attacking tactics time and again offering little in goal mouth action. Let’s hope they never learn. Man Utd continue to flatter to deceive, when Darren Fletcher is the best player on the park you have to wonder what type of game you’ve been watching. Probably rugby.
There’s more reason to hope. The return of Lampard can undoubtedly galvanise the team further on Sunday, he’s late runs from midfield cause defences headaches that few others can. Teams don’t know what to do, dropping off invites space on the edge of the area, pulling the midfield line back often means sides get hemmed in with few options for a breaking pass. Another player it would be great to see returning would be Nicolas Anelka who was curiously missing last Sunday. I’ve never seen the fella give the ball away so cheaply in a Chelsea shirt, time and again. Come on Nico, give us a goal and we can all crack a smile.