As I browse down the tweets on my Twitter timeline on Sunday evening, I notice a far too regular occurrence, a situation that makes me really need to set some time aside to unfollow some ‘supporters’ of Chelsea football club.
We had just beaten local rivals and relegation battling Queens Park Rangers in an intense game where the home side defended for their lives and put the majority of players behind the ball, naturally. But Chelsea triumphed and came back to Stamford Bridge with another vital three points to continue their charge towards the Premier League title. Baring in mind that another London rival are storming up behind them this was a fantastic result.
So why then did I see a number of supporters and even pundits claiming that Chelsea are not impressing in games, grinding out results, getting lucky, not deserving to win etc etc etc? I continued to see more negative and abusive tweets towards the way we played. But hang on a second, we won the game? I’ve seen the same thing in other recent games too when we took a narrow victory.
This is the Premier League, EVERY game is hard, there is never going to be an easy game anymore. The way teams set themselves up against the bigger clubs makes it so difficult to break down. Look at Chelsea when they won the Champions League, they used the same tactic as clubs use against us and managed to win a major honour with it, that’s how effective it can be. So we need to expect teams will come up against us and be successful playing defensive, it’ll never be pretty, it’ll never be a 4-0 victory when teams set themselves up like that. We have to dig in and try other ways to attack and break teams down.
Add to that the fact that you are playing teams who are doing everything they physically can to stay in the greatest league in the world, this means defending in numbers and throwing their bodies on the line to block shots, crosses and passes. The fact that Chelsea are in a high pressured position also and cannot afford to lose at this stage with clubs so close behind them, it’s never going to be an amazing football match with shot after shot.
It takes a special kind of team to keep going week in week out grinding out results, getting the 3 points and still sitting comfortably on top of the league, Chelsea are under pressure but they’re winning. Mourinho is getting them the results and every player is working so hard for that.
By all means, be negative if we don’t win the game, I’ll even join you in that. But how anyone can criticise after getting three points is beyond me. Maybe the QPR game was a touch lucky to get a goal so late after having no shots on targets, or maybe it was just patiently played football, never panicking, not forcing the issue and believing that they would always get the goal. A win is a win.
Not every match will be like this, we will see in the coming weeks a confident couple of teams in the shape of Arsenal and Manchester United line up against The Blues and that will be a different story, there will be many shots on goal from both sides and potentially it could be high scoring. We will have to dig in in a different kind of way and use our quality, this is where it will shine and we will expect it to.
We do need to think of other ways to break down your QPR’s and Stoke City’s though and I feel that sometimes instead of attacking 100% through the game and keep running in to a brick wall, perhaps playing on the counter at times through the game could open up more spaces in behind and allow our attackers more time on the ball at pace. But hey I’m not the manager, over to you Jose, bring that title home now!
Simon Phillips – News Editor – @cfcneteditor