Firstly it was a big improvement on last week's showing, there was a lot more hunger and fight from the off, Chelsea were made to look second best in footballing terms for long periods, we pressed them effectively, we were more robust in the tackle and we showed some desire. Unfortunately what I thought was a pretty decent team performance was wrecked by the two very sloppy goals that we conceded early on.
The first saw Terry win a header easily from a corner, he flicked it onto Drogba who tapped home at the far post from about three yards out, Song had lost Drogba and the man on the post was not in evidence. It was a cheap goal to concede. The second was even worse. Chelsea broke, unlike against Manu we had enough men back, strangely Clichy got sucked into the centre of the field and left Drogba in far too much space, Clichy then sprinted across to Drogba and committed to a tackle, when he should have stayed on his feet and showed Drogba to his outside, Drogba cut inside and the rest is history.
In between those goals Arshavin missed our best chance of the game, firing straight at Cech's rather fortuitously placed left leg, anywhere else and I suspect it would have been an equalising goal. A lot of our build up play was pretty, but for long periods our lack of a proper forward meant than we struggled to convert our possession and midfield domination into chances. Diaby and Song were both excellent, muscling Chelsea players off the ball left, right and centre. Cesc had a quietish game, it was tricky for him to find any space with Chelsea having so many men behind the ball after their early goals.
Nasri had a much more effective game, he worked a good opportunity for himself in the second half but delayed at the crucial moment, allowing the last ditch Chelsea tackle to save the day. Theo was decent and put in a good workmanlike shift, actually helping Sagna out defensively on a number of occasions. The little Russian Andrei Arshavin was cruelly left to fend for himself against the big Chelsea centre halves, it was tough for him, he is no centre forward but did his best. Bendtner made an immediate difference when he came on, his physical presence seemed to create a bit of panic and suddenly a few more chances fell our way. Cesc forced a decent Cech save with a hard low shot from a free kick that Bendtner had won, then Bendtner was a bit slow to react to a knock down allowing Cech to nip in.
Overall you simply cannot expect to get anything out of tough games like this making the schoolboy defensive errors that we made today. The defensive errors are especially hard to come back from when we lack a fit recognised centre forward to lead the line, it was far too easy for the Chelsea defense today as a result of this. Whatever the reasons for our defensive frailty, they need to be addressed fast, otherwise we may drift down the league table like a sinking stone. I am still encouraged by the overall way we played though, if we can show that kind of drive and fight for the rest of the season then we will always have a chance. A word should also go to Mike Dean whose refereeing performance was truly shocking, when I can find the energy I shall dismantle his woeful decision making on another day.