I think we all knew what to expect with this one. After a number of games (and some success) with a settled side Claudio decided to tinker about prior to the Southampton game. True we should have won that one, but we didn’t. The important thing though is to learn from your mistakes and not go and make seven bloody changes! Now my Italian is probably as good as Claudio’s English but here goes anyway. Non cambiare un che la vincendo squadra! Someone PLEASE pass it on to him. (It kind of means don’t change a winning team!)
Having said all of that, we did have to lose at some point (but why to bloody Leeds?), and all will be quickly forgiven if we manage to stuff the Gooners come New Years day. Even my aching head will be able to cope with the pain of all that gloating! Maybe there is some method behind all of this madness. Last season we were pointless against Villa and Southampton, this time we got points in both. Last time we got a point at Dirty Leeds this time nothing. Are you getting this yet? Last time nothing at the Library and defeat against Charlton. I feel a system coming on here!
Today? Well we were not actually as bad as the scoreline might suggest. We did have our chances. Gallas going close with a header and Zola touching the bar with a free kick both before dirty Leeds managed to score. But today the real Chelsea came out to play. We always have to play sides that are starting to put a run together. They always seem to be managed by that bugger Venables, and it is always someone who never normally scores. Today it was Woodgate, who normally uses his feet and head for things other than football, who put us behind and then we had a killer goal just before half time from a 16 year old. What sort of parent would allow their child to play with those thugs in white? At least it was his second in a few days, Woodgate has not scored for about 35 years!
There were – I think – four defining moments in this game. With less than 5 minutes gone Gallas headed wide from Soxys corner. On 30 and 45 dirty Leeds scored (Woodgate with a deflection from Gallas) and then on 56 De Lucas hit wide from 15 feet when it was probably easier to score. That’s the way it seems to be at the moment, we miss they score. If we had taken our chances (especially at the end as Desailly, Gudjohnsen and Zola all missed the target) we could easily have won this game at a canter. But we didn’t, and for the second time in 3 days we have dropped points that we should not have done. And Claudio – sadly – will need to carry the can one more time.
Personally, my view is you should play your best team until someone is injured, suspended, knackered, totally out of sorts (De Lucas?!). Then, and only then, should you look to change things around. Seven changes on top of the six the other day is a joke, and not a very funny one at that. This might well mean that we have some fresh legs when we play Arsenal, but everyone will have lost out on the thing that Arsenal have. Consistency. That all important word comes not just from failing to lose games, it also covers having consistent team selection. Change for changes sake is never a good idea. The concern now is whether we can get the show back on the road again, or are we to face yet another bleak year at the Library. Yes we hang on to second place, but the scum have now drawn level. We cannot – or should not – rely on others misfortune in order to seek a decent placing in the League this year. We are buggered to a certain extent now by Sundays game between the gooners and the thieves. If thievingpool win they close the gap with us to two points, if the gooners win the gap at the top becomes seven. Bugger, damn and blast.
I heard on the radio that Claudio accepted responsibility for this result by admitting that he should not have changed things around. I – foolishly – thought that he would have learnt that after the game against Southampton. How wrong I was. Claudio, please don’t wipe out this trust I – and others – have gained in you. In English ‘together with all our hearts!’, in Italian ‘Insieme a tutti i cuori!’ However we say it, keep us all on board. Don’t lose it now!!
Team: De Goey – Ferrer (Hasselbaink 45), Desailly, Gallas, Le Saux – Stanic, Morris, Lampard, Gronkjaer (De Lucas 45) – Zola, Gudjohnsen. Subs not used; Pidgeley, Babayaro, Terry.