Against Crystal Palace in our last Premier League game, I really thought Chelsea were back to their best. We played fast-flowing attacking football and most of our players looked back to their best. This weekend, we went back to the kind of performance that we put in under Jose Mourinho. Maybe the players have decided that they don’t like Hiddink now?
All credit to West Brom, they came to Stamford Bridge and found an excellent balance between attack and defence, and they ultimately deserved to go home with a point after James McClean’s late equaliser. People may not be a fan of Tony Pulis’ playing style, but it always gets results, and there is no way that West Brom will go down.
In terms of Chelsea, we just seem to be lacking a cutting edge. We are back to keeping possession well, but apart from Costa, there just didn’t seem to be a genuine goal threat. Pedro still doesn’t seem to have really adapted to the Premier League, and even though Oscar has been in great form recently, he doesn’t get himself into goal scoring positions enough.
I’ve got to ask though, what was Cesar Azpilicueta was doing anywhere near the opposition goal to score the opening goal? I did just praise Tony Pulis for his tactics, but what is he really doing if he is allowing Azpilicueta to score twice past his side in the same season? I’m not going to complain, but I thought the Spaniard normally got a nosebleed when he crossed the halfway line?
The goal we conceded was exceptionally poor. Pedro isn’t playing at Barcelona anymore, opposition teams will close you down further up the pitch, and that led to the goal. In the last couple of weeks I have also praised Kurt Zouma, but he can’t solely rely on last-ditch defending, and he had to close down Craig Gardner before he put the ball in the net.
Ever since he joined the club, I’ve been impressed by Kenedy. Sometimes his decision making isn’t the best, and his final product isn’t always there, but he’s willing to try things when everything else fails, and he shows real desire on and off the ball. Even though Gareth McAuley got the final touch, it was the Brazilian’s run that put him under pressure from Willian’s excellent cross.
I cannot describe my anger at McClean’s equaliser though. I have still not come to terms with it. In the 85th minute, at 2-1 up, you can’t afford to give a player space on the edge of the box, who has been dangerous since the start. It was a good finish, but how he got that amount of space on the edge of the box was inexcusable. If we defend like that against Everton this weekend, we could get battered.
I am impressed with the progress that we have made since Hiddink came in, but we have to cut out the ridiculous mistakes if we are to make good progress up the table.