Leeds : Becchio (37′)
Chelsea : Mata (46′), Ivanovic (64′), Moses (66′), Hazard (81′), Torres (83′)
What We Learned :
1. Lampard’s time to go has come.
2. David Luiz is not a CB, but a DM.
3. Fernando Torres continues to be inconsistent.
4. Calling for Benitez’s sacking is idiotic.
5. Juan Mata is Chelsea’s best play-maker.
6. Victor Moses is working towards a starting spot.
1. Lampard’s time to go has come : Frank Lampard put in a good performance against Leeds United, but it’s proved how Frank Lampard is no longer necessary to Chelsea and that his departure is near. Lampard looked bang up for the occasion as soon as the first whistle went. Like a sledging cricketer, Lampard had plenty of chat in the middle and drove the visitors on when Leeds tails were up, and he certainly wanted to prove a point, but it also showed that his quality is visible against weak opposition as he severely struggled against Corinthians. His failure to track back and deliver passes was a real concern and has shown us, that Super Frankie Lampard has to go.
2. David Luiz is not a CB, but a DM : Where Luiz fits in is that Rafa’s style at Liverpool was made possible by Xabi Alonso, who could pick out a forward pass and was perfectly comfortable on the ball. It seems that as Rafa imposes his style, Luiz is one that could play the deep lying playmaker role, although Lampard did play that role in the Club World Cup final. The importance of this role is without doubt, the sale of Alonso caused the capitulation of Liverpool that is still being experienced today. It must also be noted that Torres thrived under this style at Liverpool and that was the player that Abramovich hoped he would be getting, he may be finally getting his wish. Luiz would maybe make the midfield more vulnerable, but he is certainly more skilled at DM rather than CB.
3. Fernando Torres continues to be inconsistent : Torres will be pleased to have finally fashioned a true chance late in the game when he added an easy fifth goal. The striker’s performance was encouraging, showing for the ball more often than in the recent past and moving well off the ball. However, this performance came just after his hideous run against Corinthians and his impressive run against Nordsjaelland and Sunderland. He’s definitely scoring more often, but the inconsistency could be comprimised with another striker getting more minutes. That would mean his inconsistency could be easily stopped and he could still thrive.
4. Calling for Benitez’s sacking is idiotic : Wasted chances against Corinthians in the CWC Final had more and more Chelsea fans asking for Rafa’s dismissal. Sacking him would be chaotic. We wouldn’t give him a chance to buy in the winter window or try and continue the decent league form. Benitez has only failed us once, so far. He lost the CWC to a motivated and sublime Corinthians side who wanted it more than us. We almost had the same fate against Leeds, but we showed passion and continued to fight. That 2nd half effort proved that Rafa is here to stay and he can turn the match around in our favour. Rafa Benitez has improved our league form and kept us in contention for another trophy, while doing his own to keep us in the CL and leading us to a CWC Final in our debut appearance in the tournament.
5. Juan Mata is Chelsea’s best play-maker : Mata’s low drive at the start of the second half kick-started the Chelsea revival after being a goal down at the break and his low sense of gravity and endeavor in and around the box that always causes opposition problems. His passing was sublime in the 2nd half as we began the comeback. He didn’t do much on the eye, but his presence and movement had Leeds confused and befuddled in the back. If you think about it, where would be without Juan Mata? We struggle without him, we thrive with him. It’s clear that Juan Mata is the center of all our chances and how we function in attack. Losing him to injury or fatigue would be catastrophic.
6. Victor Moses is working towards a starting spot : I said in the last WWL that Moses doesn’t deserve a spot in the XI (and he doesn’t), but his stunning form in the Capitol One Cup and his physicallity along with pace is very tempting to give a start to. Benitez clearly prefers him over Oscar in the 4-2-3-1 area of the formation. He has proven a real gem of a transfer and his goal and shots against Leeds made him seem like a striker. Given Torres’ recent weird form, giving Moses a run at central striker wouldn’t be a bad idea and could unlock the key to our goal scoring abilities if Torres is misfiring. That being said, Victor Moses is definitely showing improvement and better decision making after his bad decisions against Corinthians.
Other Points :
1. The hype over Marko Marin was pointless (poor performance).
2. Mikel, Ramires and Romeu are missed when they are out.
3. Onto the next round : Semi-final! (Swansea – 2 legs)