It used to be our trademark didn’t it? Albeit an infuriating and puzzling one. You would just have to shrug your shoulders or roll your eyes. Typical, you’d barf, Chelsea isn’t it? And a friend would nod at the words sagely spoken. If the essence of the club were bottled as a fragrance it would be pretentiously labelled Unpredictable, by Ken Bates. Sure they was excitement aplenty in those times. Beat Man Utd one week, lose at home to Norwich the next. Fun all the way, I’m sure you’ll agree. But it’s been a while since we’ve seen such contrasts in one match.
Tuesday night was a weird game. The team started with the kind of one touch samba stuff that had dismantled Hull and Sunderland in the week and it seemed only a matter of time before we’d crush Roma in similar fashion. They were passing the ball for fun, perhaps forgetting that we hadn’t scored yet. Half an hour in and the entire defence relapsed to schoolboys and we were a goal down. It was suddenly like watching Wenger’s Arsenal. Mikel had a night to forget, the team chased a goal without cohesion and we were left scratching our heads at how we’d managed to be well and truly beaten.
There were echoes to the previous weekend where Liverpool outfought and outplayed us in a similar tactical battle. Sure, we had possession but few chances and, the second half in particular, felt subdued. The play needs to be calm yet incisive and time will tell when the balance is right. The missing defence is another matter. We can only hope that Tuesday’s game is a blip, an anomaly that will be forgotten by the season’s end. Things have progressed so smoothly under Big Phil that it seemed more shocking than it really should have. It’s still work in progress, we’re not there yet, and again the team needs a big response. Perhaps more telling is legend Luca’s comments that we can’t win against the big teams anymore. It’s a question mark that will continue to hang over this team and let’s hope they can answer in true style. The next big fixture on the horizon is Arsenal at the end of the month and three points could put their title ambitions to rest for another year.
I think those three points would nicely make amends for Tuesday’s performance.