Well, I’m running out of ways to make these match reports sound optimistic. In all fairness to the Blues, the game could have gone very differently should a few tense moments have gone their way. However, there overall performance was lackluster, uninspired, and concerning. A 2-1 loss on the road was hardly the result they were after, and one they fully deserved.
The first goal was an example of absolutely dreadful defending. Whether it was a mixup between Costa and Zouma isn’t the issue. It has to be better as a team. Zarate shouldn’t have had the room to volley it near post past Begovic. The defending by Hazard or one of Chelsea’s front players has to be better. And regardless of mix ups, the ball has to be cleared.
One of the many Chelsea problems this season has been the fact that not only are they letting in goals in excess but they are letting them in early on. This means they are chasing the game very right from the start. This mentality doesn’t make for good, crisp play, and typically makes things even worse.
For example, Matic was completely and utterly reckless. Not necessarily on his first challenge, because it was smart to slow down the counter attack. However, the lack of maturity and composure to get sent off that early on is unforgivable. He knew he was on a yellow card, and he can’t dive in and block off West Ham’s attacker like that. It’s that simple. The Serbian needs to be smarter, and have confidence that after getting beaten, his team will bail him out.
Once Chelsea went down to 10 men, it was a different game. Granted they almost nicked an equalizer before the yellow card, but once Matic was sent off, half time couldn’t have come quick enough.
However, the second half started much differently with Chelsea applying pressure, even with 10 men, and looked as though they would find an equalizer. It finally came in the 56’, when Gary Cahill got on the end of a corner kick. The Blues looked as though they would claim at least a draw from the match.
Then they got complacent, and it cost them dearly. Andy Carroll came on for the Hammers and completely changed their approach. It became much more direct and it eventually paid off as the Englishman headed a cross past Begovic in the 79’. Chelsea couldn’t find a way back and the Blues lost their 5th Premier League match in 10 games.
It is important to mention that Fabregas has been definitely playing much better. The Spaniard drew a penalty against Kiev mid-week and then today, he should have had a goal. Though he was adjudged offside, the replays showed that it was too close and the benefit of the doubt should lie with the attacker. In a game full of negatives, this is a standalone positive, that maybe Fabregas is starting to find some type of form.
Another positive is that Zouma looks great at right back. The once gaping hole left by Ivanovic has been plugged and Chelsea are all the better for it, even with the youngster’s naivety at times.
Hazard was once again nonexistent. The Belgian failed to improve upon his somewhat optimistic performance midweek, and continues to struggle.
Overall, Chelsea can’t continue on this way. They looked poor at the back, though the second goal found them down a man. They look uninspired going forward, excluding Willian who has been brilliant. Honestly, at this point, new personnel and the attitude they displayed at Kiev are the only things that will get Chelsea back on track. The graft and resilience isn’t there, and it’s painfully obvious.