At least the Ryder Cup went well this afternoon, because the football certainly didn't. Blackpool went away to Liverpool and showed that it is not just about the individuals, it is about the team and the work ethic. It wasn't awful by any means against Chelsea, we had our chances, there were some positives. The problem was that we didn't really have the cutting edge we needed to convert the possession into goals, and we also never looked as robust as they did in defense.
Chelsea were stronger and more athletic than us, this is not something one would have said five years ago. Our injuries have played a part, depriving us of the pace of Walcott, the craft of Cesc, the incisive RVP and the powerful Bendtner. However we don't quite have the athleticism and the pace in the side that we did in those great Wenger sides of old. For this reason we found it hard to break down the Chelsea machine, despite having a lot of the ball for long periods.
Defensively we looked rather vulnerable at times, again Gael Clichy was caught out of position time and time again. It was not entirely the defense's fault though. I think the 4-3-3 system is part of the problem. The full backs are often left terribly exposed due the lack of cover from in front, while the fact that our full backs are so attacking compounds this problem. The three central midfielders often roam all over the shop and there is too often very little structure to our team's shape, especially when a certain Russian does very little tracking back indeed. Not a single clean sheet away from home in 11, this tells the story of our failings, we simply cannot keep a clean sheet.
Credit again to Chelsea, they were largely solid at the back, they were tough and athletic in midfield, while Drogba gave them that cutting razor edge up front. Fair play to them, they have invested a lot of their money very wisely. They have a better balance in their side, they can grind out results, they can keep clean sheets, they have only conceded two goals all season. Really we should look at Chelsea and see that they have some things that we lack, we should learn from their power and athleticism, they also had no passengers in their side today.
It was not all bad, I apologise for being negative. Fabianski built on his impressive midweek performance, Wilshere handled the game well, it was fantastic to see JET get a few minutes at the end. There is also no doubt that the missing players significantly blunted out attacking options, we also had some good early chances to take the lead. The problem was that at one nil down we didn't really look like equalising, we didn't bang hard enough at their door.
In conclusion the sad thing is that this Chelsea side has a lot of the attributes which remind me of our great double winning sides under Wenger, they have some terrific powerful athletes and defend very solidly as a unit, they can be lethal on the counter attack. We need to learn from Chelsea's positive attributes and not hide in denial pretending that we were as good.