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Why we lost and why I worry;

Why we lost and why I worry;

We are now out of the FA cup which in my opinion had been our best chance of getting a trophy this season. While as with every other blue fan I hold out hope for an unlikely BPL title at seasons end and an even less likely but yet possible Champions league double the realist in me has now come to peace that this will likely be a trophyless season for Chelsea FC.

The question that needs to be asked is why did we lose and should we be concerned and I offer my humble thoughts on both these burning questions.

Why did we lose? Jose took the easy way out in his post match conference by stating the obvious that City were the better team and had far more time of rest than us. That however glosses over several important points and gets him out of jail without him acknowledging his part in the debacle we saw yesterday.

Let me be clear..i love Jose and anyone who knows me and has been following what I have had to say regarding our managers knows this but I have been around enough to know that no man however much of a genius he is is without faults. Also any good student of history knows that history is littered with many examples of great men who made the fatal mistake of surrounding themselves with syncophants who only told them what they wanted to hear and not what they needed to hear and such men invariably ended up falling prey to believing their own hubris to be gospel truth.

The hard truth as to why we lost so comprehensively yesterday is that Manuel Pellegrini took Jose to school and thoroughly outcoached him. Jose was the main reason we won the prior tie against City ~ 2 weeks ago and he needs to fess up with himself that he (and not the players) is the main reason that we lost so woefully this time around.

Most of us realists knew the moment we drew City in the next round of the FA cup and had to play them at the Etihad that our chances of progression were slim. What the average fan however hoped for and expected was that we would at least show up and give a decent account of ourselves and that did not happen. The final scoreline said 2-0 but anyone who actually watched the match will acknowledge that the score line severely flattered us. The reality was that lady luck kept us from losing in the realms of 4 to 5 zero. Unless I am mistaken I don`t think we had one shot on goal that Pantimillion needed to save. That was the degree of domination we faced in the match. The whole performance was dull and limp.

Those who remember the article I had penned a few days before offering the there options available to Jose for the match line ups will realize that of the three Jose decided to go with option 3 which virtually no—one in the comments following the article chose. It proved to be a disastrous choice.

So why did we lose and why were we so poor? We lost because we ran into a side that has greater quality , greater depth and who were coached by a man who understands the need for squad rotation and implements it while our manager stubbornly persists with playing his perceived "first 11" no matter what.

That city top to bottom have better quality than we do is not subject to argument for those who are objective and we cant do anything about this at this point in the season so there is no point whining about it. That they have greater depth is also not arguable and we have ourselves to blame by thinning our own depth rather than enhancing it in the January window. What we should be concerned about and what I desperately hope that Jose`s advisers are telling him in private is that this stubborn persistence with no squad rotation unless forced by injury or total exhaustion is a recipe for disaster that may see us exit the champions league prematurely and may well scupper any chances we may have of stealing the BPL title.

Let us look at the respective line ups between us and city yesterday; Jose despite knowing full well that his preferred first team 11 played poorly against the Brommies just 3 days earlier (with many showing clear signs of fatigue) brought out the exact same line up except that since he decided to move Luiz to CB for the injured JT he then brought Mikel to replace him in midfield with matic. Other than these changes this was exactly the same team that flopped against the Brommies and yet approximately 2 weeks earlier had done marvelously against this same City squad at the Etihad.

Now contrast that with City. Pellegrini knew his team has a coming date with Barca and with that in mind he named a strong squad but with changes to ensure adequate rotation and to ensure his squad remained fresh. Most importantly the Engineer showed he is a man who learns from past mistakes.

In goal he kept faith with his designated Cup goalie Pantimillion while Jose decided to field the error prone Cech and deny Schwarzer the little game time he has so richly deserved. Go back and look at all the games Schwarzer played for us in the Capitol one and FA cup ..not one goal conceded was his fault. He is not spectacular but he is a very good goalie and most important to me, is not error prone. He deserved to start this match for us.

Pellegrini could see that Demichelles was a major weak link for them in their last match against us where he was in the mid field. He made sure the guy didn`t even see the pitch this time. He paired Kompany with Lescott (remember people understand why I applauded Pellegrini for insisting that Lescott not be sold or loaned out this January window despite multiple interested parties)..that is what depth in a squad does when it is used gives you different options and looks. Pellegrini used his, Jose refused to use his.

At left back Pellegrini saw from the last game that as good as Kolarov is going forward he was a liability defensively allowing Ivanovic have fun going forward and eventually scoring our winning goal. So what did he do, he rotated his squad and instead started the far more defensively competent Clichy and the effect was literally like magic. Ivanovic was largely pinned in his half with nothing to speak of achieved going forward.

Seeing that Yaya toure was over powered by Matic and Luiz in the last game and that Demichelles was essentially AWOL he brought in Garcia instead. Garcia wasn`t spectacular but was a major upgrade from Dimechelles allowing Toure to once more boss the midfield and that was where this last game was won and lost.

Finally on the right flank rather than tire out Jesus Navas (whose speed he will need against Barca on Tuesday) he started the hard working James Milner who while not being spectacular kept Cesar busy and did his assigned job very well.

Up top Pellegrini stayed true to his aggressive two striker formations but he learnt his lesson from our last encounter where our two CBs has Alvaro Negredo in their pockets and did not start him. Jovetic their 4th level striker in their depth chart paired with Dzeko and it is telling that without their top striker (Arguero) their 4th choice striker has far greater quality than any of our three. That is how dismal and depressing our striker situation is.

Going beyond the starting 11 for both sides though one only needs to look at the subs made to see again who was by far the superior manager on the day; Nasri for Jovetic (and the sub scored the second goal), Navas for Silva (thus giving Silva some rest after his man of the match performance) and Negredo for Dzeko (meaning Negredo will be well rested for Barca and yet ensuring that throughout the game they maintain a two striker front to keep us pegged in our half virtually all game).

Now compare that with Jose`s subs; Salah for Eto o ( a real head scratcher because with that for a period we didn`t even have one striker out there and we were down 1-0 at the time . Salah was virtually anonymous all game with no impact to speak of while at least Eto had been keeping Kompany and Lescott honest), El nino for Ramires (El nino was lively but had no service..Ramires was so knackered that Silva was out running and out hustling him..He should never have started this game in the first place) and finally Oscar for Willian (neither had any impact of note).

I go to this painful detail to make it clear just how much Pellegrini out did Jose by in this game. Honestly rather than Jose blaming fatigue I would have respected him more if he just owned up and gave props to Pellegrini while acknowledging that he totally bottled this.

My concern is that our holiday period is over; the champions league is back, we are now in the business end of the BPL season, having to play two games a week will now be the norm going forward till season`s end. Unless jose sees the error of his ways and starts using the entire 25 man squad at his disposal rest assured we will be dumped out of the Champions league post hence and can kiss any BPL title aspirations goodbye because continuing to play the same 14 or so players for every game unless injury or total exhaustion forces reactive (rather than proactive change) will mean many more performances like we have just seen against West Brom and now against City.

The question we also need to ask ourselves is how wise were some of the decisions we made this January transfer window? We gutted our squads depth and the only player we brought in who has been a clear plus has been Matic. It is true we have seen very little of Salah but that is on jose and honestly what I have seen so far has been very underwhelming..seriously why did we buy this guy and keep Moses rooted to the bench at Liverpool. Just go back and look at Moses`s stats from last year playing as a super sub for us. They are way better than Salah and Willian and that is the unalloyed objective truth. If Jose does not trust his second 11 squad of players we have major problems and it means contrary to what he has said come summer time we better be buying far more than just the "maximum of two players" he mentioned.

Left to me I am fed up with our one anemic striker formations and excess CAMS who just seem to be going round in circles rather than scoring or facilitating goals (Any wonder that Liverpool and City who lead the league in scoring both spot two striker formations predominantly?) and would like us to begin playing two striker formations more often.

Thus, I for one hope these rumors I am hearing of plans to sell Lukaku to partly fund a possible move for Cavani are nothing but drivel. Our side needs three at a minimum (and in my mind ideally 4) marquee goal scorers. We have no business selling our best young striker prospect. Did no one learn from the Danny Sturridge debacle? Isnt there anyone right now wondering whether the decisions to let go of KDB, Mata and Essien all mid season may have been unwise. The floor is yours Blue Nation but I beg Jose to stop being stubborn and be a little more willing to change his tactics because he needs to remember who his boss is.

This is Roman we are talking about, i am not sure how he will react if at season`s end we are trophyless while a team in our own league manages a domestic triple crown and maybe even an unprecedented quadruple. Jose, please for your sake and ours don`t push your luck too far, don`t tempt fate!!!

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Date:Sunday February 16 2014
Time: 7:56PM


I have to commend your well structured article, like you said rotation is the key right now at this crucial stage of the season. The brom game most of the boys looked really tired I was expecting atleast some changes why was shurrle, lamps, salah, oscar on the bench, if we had started this players and lost the match atleast some of the boys would have gained a well deserve rest but we never know we might have drawn the game with the changes some of them would have tried to prove a point. Trust and rotation is the key now because damn they looked tired and exhausted.
16/02/2014 20:29:00
I just don't like the way oscar is playing right now he looks lost and short of ideas, he seems like he's not enjoying his football and willian is another rami runs all day but little creative work.
16/02/2014 20:34:00
I just don't like the way oscar is playing right now he looks lost and short of ideas, he seems like he's not enjoying his football and willian is another rami runs all day but little creative work.
16/02/2014 20:34:00
I feel we simply lost because they had a week to prepare for that match and has less to do with rotation , if we rotated we would have had less quality on the pitch and we played mid week so that was a minus and i can confidently say NO TEAM IN ENGLAND can have a mid week fixture and play us at home with a week to prepare and win , it is simply not possible and i think if they still played sunderland things might have been different because those guys are giving everyone a run for their money
Don capon
16/02/2014 20:36:00
Very well said Gabeu...roman and emenalo had the team well set up in terms of quality and depth in all department but some mourinho{dont have anything against him} loyalysts here will rather rubbish their work and slate them at every given opportunity.
Ige Bosun
16/02/2014 20:39:00
Now our team suddenly look very thin,knackered and exhausted..
Ige Bosun
16/02/2014 20:45:00
And as for the people already playing down salah's quality , now this dude was on break from about second week of december , now that is not an excuse but he has been us for a month , we gave torres 3 years , least we can give him is till end of next season , not saying he is good or will be as good as mata but i am sure he is better than what we have seen so far
Don capon
16/02/2014 20:47:00
@don, he should have rotated the team with the likes of ashley, lamps, oscar, shurrle, ba. No one gave us a chance when we took our second string team to the emirate in the carling cup but we won the game.
16/02/2014 20:49:00
Well we have played alot lately , i dont think our team looks thin , maybe tired thats all , i think this week of no football ( 5 days or thereabout ) will really help them and lampard has not played alot lately , we needed him to start against west ham and i am happy i am not the only one who has witnessed oscar drastic loss of form since when his " competition " left
Don capon
16/02/2014 20:50:00
@ige we don't look thin jose is just not ready to gamble with his second string team.
16/02/2014 20:51:00
Now yes he should have rotated no doubt but i didnt think playing ba and lampard would have helped , because Ba does not seem to have any chemistry with the midfield and they lump the ball to him everytime which doesnt help , and lampard could not offer the work rate oscar or ramires could have offered , however i wish cole had started im beginning to miss him
Don capon
16/02/2014 20:53:00
Losing wasn't really my biggest problem, if we had rotated and lost all good atleast the first 11 would have had a well deserved rest for the league and cl but starting almost the same 11 and lost was my biggest problem but will see how far they go I still thing with the right rotation and a bit of luck we can still win the league.
16/02/2014 20:58:00
However i feel we are making it worse than it seems , yes our form against teams that park the bus worries me and our set pieces too , but we are still in contention and we played city , who have the best team in the league , having a week to prepare , we might not have won even if we rotated but some players need to question their own performances
Don capon
16/02/2014 20:59:00
pelegrini has much tactics of modern football than our mr is clear that he doesnt want lukaku and cortoise back bcoz they cant stay on bench 4 oldies.what a shame.
16/02/2014 21:02:00
@pila12 if jose isnt ready to gamble with his second string team, how will the affected players{lacking match fitness} be able to deliever if injuries{God forbids} comes and jose is compelled by the situation to field them?
Ige Bosun
16/02/2014 21:11:00
Lmao this guy is back , so jose wants to sell lukaku to keep torres and eto'o HAHAHA . go to bed
Don capon
16/02/2014 21:12:00
Well we can't say we didn't see the defeat coming. As you've said above, I thought the fa cup was our real chance of silverware but we bottled it due to jose's inability to trust his (other) players. A trophyless season though won't result in mourinho losing his job as we all knew before the season (except for the optimists) that to win the league would be very hard. One other thing I've noticed is that we've gone back to the way we played at the start of the season, our football is so predictable and we're needing hazard to save us. There have also been some poor performances from ramires, oscar and willian (forget his work rate) which may be due to fatigue so I hope this whole week's rest would serve them well. Going forward I thing the matic-luiz combo should be our 1st choice pivot when everyone is fit, ramires should be demoted to the bench, a quality CAM should be bought at the end of the season as oscar isn't a "playmaker" (he doesn't create enough chances as his role states) just a box to box midfielder (toure esque). Quality article btw.
don delsy
16/02/2014 21:15:00
@ige, right can't really remember earn shurrle started a game and he started pretty well at the beginning the season, oscar has list form don't know what yh at us down to, lamps will always put in a shift to be honest just don't know why squad rotation is a problem.
16/02/2014 21:20:00
Sorry for the wrong typo
16/02/2014 21:22:00
Man City are the best team in the country. We don't need to play them again in the Premier League. We will be favorites to win every remaining game except Liverpool away. If we play at, or near, our best every week we will win the league. It all depends how much the players want it.
16/02/2014 21:42:00
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