Ever had the feeling that it just isn’t your day? Yesterday’s defeat wasn’t purely down to bad luck, but when you have a stonewall penalty turned down at 1-0 and then suffer injuries to both your central defenders, you’re entitled to feel a little hard done by.
The decision to match Chelsea’s diamond formation, was a success in terms of reducing the home side’s control of central midfield, but we kind of forgot that Boswinga and Cole are much better attacking full backs than Assou Ekotto and Corluka. Boswinga had already rattled the post before launching on a run down the right flank that resulted in Drogba putting in a perfect cross for Cole to head home.
At 1-0, we weren’t playing great but were hanging in there. Then came the shocking decision by Howard Webb to not award us a penalty, when it was clear that Keane had been brought down. I don’t know why we expected him to make this decision when Webb had already created a precedent for such behaviour, when he refused to award us a free kick in the first half, after a blatant foul on Defoe by Terry on the edge of the area.
If we’d made it 1-1, then who knows? Instead Chelsea struck a messy second just a couple of minutes later and effectively killed off the game. Then King pulled his hamstring, after which it was obvious that we would have trouble containing Drogba. When the Ivorian was put through on goal, Corluka couldn’t live with his pace and power, seeing his tackle nudge the ball past Cudicini for Drogba to roll into the empty net.
Just to add insult, Bassong was then stretchered off, to take our tally of injured central defenders to four. It was the icing on the cake of a very disappointing day.
Let’s put things into perspective. Chelsea are a better side than us with better players. If we’re to get a result against them (especially at Stamford Bridge) then we need our best eleven out on the pitch and for a few things to go our way. Yesterday, neither of these things occurred.
We’ve now played three of Sky’s favoured quartet and after six games have 12 points. This constitutes a good start. Chelsea and Manchester United will probably be the two top sides in the division this season. We were not played off the park by either of them, yet they did bloody our noses a little and put us firmly back in our place.
Before our next tasty encounter against the Scum, we have to play Burnley, Bolton, Portsmouth and Stoke. We should really beat all four of these sides, but any advancement on 8 points from these games will be a job well done. The key to whether we can roll over this motley bunch may come down to who we can field in central defence.
Anyone is going to fancy their chances against Corluka and Huddlestone – AKA The slowest central defensive partnership in world football. Hudd dropping back would also mean that we are reduced to just two senior central midfielders in Palacios and Jenas. Where are all those people who on the opening day, were talking about Tottenham’s impressive depth of squad?
Dawson, we’re up the creek without a paddle. Get well soon mate.