Monday, November 21, 2005

No depth – no points

Chelski 3 – 0 Newcastle

With the news before the game that Michael Owen was injured, our lack of depth up front proved crucial in a game that we could have won. Even without our two main strikers, we still started well and had referee Mark Halsey given one of the most blatant penalties of recent times we could have added to Chelsea’s recent "woes".

As it was, John Terry's clear foul on Lee Bowyer went unpunished, and our lack of a cutting edge meant that for all our huff and puff we simply lacked the quality up front to blow Jose's house down.

Chelsea themselves looked edgy and out of sorts, and failed to really threaten our goal in a first half which saw plenty of skirmishes in midfield but little threat to either goal.

Sadly we failed to start the second half with the same gusto with which we began the match, and two minutes in, Titus Bramble's attempt to knock a long pass went astray, and Eidur Gudjohnsson was able to feed the ball to Joe Cole in space. Sadly for Newcastle, he was able to put the ball past Shay Given, and the game was probably lost.

Three minutes later, and after N'Zogbia lost the ball in midfield, Chelsea counterattacked swiftly, and Hernan Crespo was given far too much time and space on the ball (by Titus who had a game to forget) and his shot confirmed that Chelsea's mini-slump was over and the points were theirs.

That Damien Duff was able to add a third in the final minute, courtesy of a deflection off Scott Parker, only served to give the home side an overly flattering score line. However, the cruel fact is that a side with the depth of Chelsea's (replacing the injured Makele with Michael Essien illustrating this point beautifully) was always going to have the upper hand against our lot when shorn of our two most consistent strikers.

With a fully fit squad, we could well have come away from Stamford Bridge with at least a point, and if the penalty had been given at the start even our semi-fit squad might have managed an upset; however the home side simply proved to have too much class on display.

That their first came from a horrible mistake by Titus only reaffirms the belief that he needs to learn to concentrate and that the lessons learnt last season need to be reinforced if he is to have a long term future at the club. Otherwise we'll need to be on the look out for an additional centre half in January to go with the additional striker that we so badly need.

A Chelsea perspective: Chelsea Blog

Other match reports: BBC, Guardian


Post a Comment

<< Home