An atrocious performance from Chelsea as we fell 2-1 to Southampton at Saint Mary’s. Rodriguez put them in front then Terry headed home to equalize only to see Lambert put So’ton back in front 1 minute later.
What We Learned :
1. It’s not all Rafa’s fault
2. No Mata = No hope
3. Ryan Bertrand doesn’t deserve to start
4. Torres and Ba must be given a start together
5. Lampard-Mikel doesn’t work
1. It’s not all Rafa’s fault:
Rafa Benitez fielded a solid squad with all the players being on international break and with the busy schedule coming up, yet the fans continue to blame him for a loss. His substitutions weren’t great (bar Hazard), but that squad was good enough to win. What that squad didn’t have is the finishing ability, passion and want to win. We could of scored many goals, but didn’t because of the lack of finishing. We scored an equalizer which should of turned the match in our favour, but a stupid foul led to a goal that put us down. We had the ability to win the match, but we didn’t. So why is Rafa being blamed? It’s not his fault that Mata was out, it’s not his fault that we couldn’t finish or play with passion.
2. No Mata = No hope:
Juan Mata has no doubt been our best player this season and his absence (due to illness) cost us dearly. He’s the creator, the maestro, the best of the best for Chelsea. When he doesn’t play, we struggle. We could of done so much more with Mata in the squad. I don’t know what else to say really, he’s just what makes us, us. Chelsea need Juan Mata to be in good form, but his absence today made the game so much harder especially since he’s irreplaceable, IMO.
3. Ryan Bertrand doesn’t deserve to start:
Failed to get in the game early on and gave away the free-kick that Lambert scored from. When he did break forward his final ball was poor. A lack of communication almost let Ward-Prowse in. He hasn’t been at his best at all this season and especially in Europe. After getting torn apart by Shakhtar earlier in the season, he struggled as well in this match. It’s not that he’s no fit as a replacement to Ashley Cole, it’s just that he’s not fit at this point in the season. The decision to resign Ashley Cole was a great decision as we have no fit replacement as of this moment. He was poor against Steaua (1st leg) and this is just another performance to forget for him.
4. Torres and Ba must be given a start together:
When you watch Torres of late, he often drifts wide and prefers to take on the full back in a one on one situation, often getting the better of them. He seems to prefer to mix it up, drop back, go wide and attempt to create rather than be a target man. This could be used effectively if he is deployed as a wide striker. The Spaniard even has a good ability to cross the ball, which would be met by a goal hungry Demba Ba in the centre. How often have we seen crosses come in of late, with nobody in the middle to meet them? Torres will often be out of position for a centre forward, using his own hunger to get the ball at his feet, where he likes it. I truly believe that a confident Torres could be a very dangerous prospect out on the left, beating his full back, cutting in on his right foot and firing in a curling effort in to the top right-hand corner. I feel this would be the only real effective way to play both Ba and Torres and could solve some of our finishing problems, perhaps.
5. Lampard-Mikel doesn’t work:
Lampard : Lampard was kept largely off the ball by a dominant Saints midfield. Found a bit more space after the break but still a below-par showing.
Mikel : Allowed Davis and others too much space in the middle in the first half. Replaced by Ramires in the second half.
This combination simply doesn’t work, I can’t stress it enough.
Mikel is underrated. In all these games that we saw the Lampard – Mikel not working well, Mikel has been getting all the stick for it, for making mistakes, losing possession, playing only sideways and backward passes, etc. But for me, it’s not Mikel, but Frank Lampard, who instead of staying with Mikel, and helping with the transition between defence and attack stays forward, which leaves Mikel to deal with the role of two people, which causes problems for him and for the team, leaving us neither good defensively, nor attackingly. Mikel does, or tries to do the job of two players on his own, yet he’s the one who faces criticism while Lampard is hailed for scoring penalties.
Other Points :
1. Marko Marin is decent
2. Ivanovic has been quite awful in the past 2-3 months