Chelsea’s first season defeat comes against fellow Champions League hopefuls and city rivals Tottenham at Wembley. While actual title contenders distance themselves from the chasing pack.
Big game of the round pitted London rivals Chelsea and Tottenham at Wembley. The Blues came into this still undefeated but with 4 draws while the Spurs already suffered the bitter result 3 times in the Premier League this season.
Chelsea’s defence, again
Chelsea played the worst match since Sarri took over in the summer. Tottenham’s high pressing game didn’t leave any chance to somewhat uninspired Blues.
Spurs started strongly and took the lead already in the 8th minute and doubled it 8 minutes later. Chelsea was never renewed for rock solid defence and if additional prove was needed it was served in this match.
First goal displayed all the liabilities in Sarri’s team defensive phase. Kane gets the ball in behind Alonso. There’s not much he can do there beside getting a foul. And when David Luiz is close, so is a free kick.
Absolutely unnecessary offense in a completely innocuous area. Accompany the Spurs striker and don’t let him turn. That’s all Luiz had to do. Instead he brings him down without any apparent reason.
The following free kick showed next defiance in Chelsea’s defence. Alli had nobody contesting the ball. Nobody jumped to get the ball or at least disturb him! Kepa could perhaps done better in goal but that’s not the issue here.
Marking and stopping the opponent…what?
Second goal wasn’t any better. Home side most dangerous player was allowed way too much space to shoot. Again there was nobody to challenge him! No defender, no midfielder at 20 meters from goal to at least try to stop the shot.
If at the first goal Kepa could done a bit better, here he really should done much better! It wasn’t neither incredibly powerful nor anywhere near the post. The second goal is also on goalkeepers soul.
Third goal conceded isn’t really worth commenting, right? Son scored but it was as Sarri himself assisted him.
Stop Jorginho, stop Chelsea?
Dele Alli shadowed Chelsea playmaker Jorginho all game long and didn’t allow the Ital-Brazilian to display his abilities. And that was basically enough to stop Chelsea.
Having the metronome cut out of play Chelsea had a lot of difficulties getting the ball in the attacking third. Any timid attempt organizing attacks from the back were quickly closed down by Pochettino’s men.
So Chelsea had to play it in behind Tottenham’s defence. However with Morata failing to time his runs no real danger came out of it either. Only meaningful shot the Spanish striker managed came when he was nearly 2 meters in offside.
Only in second half Chelsea managed to get a little more time on the ball but even that was due to Tottenham consciously retrieving and leaving initiative to the opposition. Just to hit it on the counter.
However the hosts couldn’t make use of the space in wide area as it isn’t what they’re used to do.
Playing against a team that leaves open the flanks and substituting your striker with Pedro is not the way to go. Even if Hazard is up top. Neither him nor the Spanish fellow attacker can win in a duel for a cross!
Giroud is the only player capable of winning headers in opposition box. Waiting until the end to release him was just as bad decision as it was to play Kovačić who’s only contribution was a “rabiona” that started a counter-attack.
The match was always going to be tough and chances would be coming rarely. However failing to adopt to the situation on the pitch with adequate changes isn’t permissible at this level.
Sarri will surely take important conclusions from this game and acknowledge own mistakes. But must be very fast in finding the solution to this kind of approach.
Limiting Chelsea’s attack so easily must be worrying Sarri. What if everybody does that? Risking a player to stop opposition fluency is something all managers will adopt without thinking twice.
Sarri’s game is based on prolonged possession and setting the rhythm. Perhaps playing a second playmaker could add some diversity. Something Real Madrid was doing so successfully last few years with Kroos and Modrić.
Since Kovačić isn’t living up to expectations and Barkley just recently picking up form, playing Fabregas next to Jorginho and Kante woudn’t be a bad idea. The Spaniard is capable of dictating the tempo and distributing the ball around the pitch.
In this way play-making burden would be divided between 2 players and hardly anybody would risk two players to man-mark deep midfielders. Thus your play wouldn’t depend on the passing ability of your center-backs.
Leaders routine wins
Manchester City continue with running at full speed. West Ham practise was basically wrapped-up by 20th minute mark when Sterling extended the lead. Sane’s double just rounded the result but West Ham rarely threatened.
The fact that City scored 3 goals from open just by tapping it home from few meters demonstrates their superiority.
Similarly Liverpool archived Watford practise. Just that reds left it a bit late but nevertheless without particular scares.
United continues with…disasters
Manchester United continues to disappoint. Or is a home draw a disappointment any more? Frustrating situation for fans of one of the biggest club in the world.
It’s there for anyone to see that things aren’t working out. Fortunate win against Juventus in Champions League can’t mask all the shortcomings demonstrated in all other matches.
14 points behind league leaders, 7 points away from Champions League spot and negative goal-difference.
Why aren’t there any actions taken? How long will the club tolerate this kind of performances? How long will the fans?
A lot of questions remain unanswered and United continues with disasters. Unless the club decided that this season no trophies are to be won or even contested. Then everything is clear.
Arsenal gained 3 points the hard and lucky way in Bournemouth, Everton won against Cardiff City at Goodison part and Leicester City managed to grab a point after being a man down for over an hour.
Important wins for Fulham, first game for new manager Ranieri and Huddesfield Town.
Chelsea losing grip but more importantly having exposed all weaknesses in a game that mustn’t be forgotten. It must serve as a reminder that you need a plan B.