What We Learned: Defense is a mess and needs a fix
In spite of John Terry’s birthday and Andre Schurrle’s brilliant strikes in each half, the Blues’ costly errors and bad defending gave Stock a huge victory that no one saw coming despite their horrible form this season. Jose Mourinho seemed to have picked a great line in the beginning and would have been efficient had we transitioned into a 3-5-2 or 4-4-2 as in many times this season to salvage a win against a dangerous counter attacking team.
Let’s take a look at five most important points we learned from this game and things that need to be fixed.
We need a natural full backs in either sides of the field:
Branslav Ivanovic was in a bad spot many times during this game since he went out attacking and failed to mark down the opposing winger on his side. Oussama Assaidi also was not put into pressure by the Serbian in the dying stages of the game to prevent the winning goal for stock. This might be a message for Mourinho to put Ashley Cole in the left back spot next game and try Azpilicueta in his natural position of RB to see the fix that might be needed.
Costly errors from Dead balls hurting the Blues more often this season:
Despite a roller-coaster and winding forms last season under two managers, the blues were strong in set pieces having a premier league record of not conceding headers for more than a season of 38 games. But, in the past two games alone, we conceded three coming from dead balls after lofty clearances from Chelsea players. Against Sunderland, two times out of the 3 they scored on us. Against Stock, an equalizer from Crouch that easily could have been prevented.
Jose had it all wrong for the 2nd half changes:
Despite admitting in the post match comments that Schurrle hurt his cough and told him he couldn’t continue, the other two substitutions probably cost us the game late on while we were tied 2-2 for the majority of the 2nd half. We should have transitioned to a 4-4-2 with Eto’o and Torres as two strikers up front to give Stock a trouble for their resilient defense and their dominant keeper. Hazard and Mata on either wings could have fired many crosses or cut in and play in with Eto’o and Torres to get goals. Instead, Jose stuck to the 4-2-3-1 and put Eto’o on the wing where Schurrle had been playing. And Torres was substituted out for Demba Ba who really doesn’t play a link-up game with team mates rather scrambling with Shawcross and Wilson in the back.
Schurrle was totally incredible and needs to start more games:
The German winger was so frightening for the Stock defense through out the game and his quality was shown clearly when he fired in two thunderbolt strikes from the edge of the box for a double. But, unluckily for him, his brace didn’t prevent his side losing the game and slipping in the title race that is being closely contested late on. Liverpool are now behind with just trailing in goal difference and Arsenal are clear at the top with 4 points having a game to play on Sunday.
Here are the main points I gathered from our 3rd defeat in the premier league this season. Comment and let us know your opinion about this and what you learned. Thanks for reading and let’s look to the next UCL mid-week game to bounce back from this defeat and hope Arsenal don’t get three points tomorrow against Lukaku’s Everton. Follow me on twitter (@FahmiCFC)