I am getting very bored of saying that I think Chelsea are improving, only to see them go back to the way we were playing at the start of the season. We were very impressive at Arsenal a week and a half ago, and were in cruise control against MK Dons at the weekend. Against Watford, we were distinctly average.
I must say that Guus Hiddink has a complete overreliance on John Obi Mikel in midfield. He had one good game against Crystal Palace and now he is starting every single league game, mostly alongside Nemanja Matic. I can accept this decision if we are playing a tough away game. Against Watford, you have two players who are going to cause you problems, Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo. Two centre backs and one defensive midfielder is more than enough to deal with it.
Playing with one defensive midfielder would also have given us the luxury of playing an extra attacking player, with Cesc Fabregas playing in a slightly deeper role. Given how big a role Eden Hazard made when he came off the bench midway through the second half, who knows what sort of difference he could have made if he played from the start. This would have allowed Oscar to move into a more natural position of just behind the striker, and considering he scored a hat-trick against MK Dons on Sunday in that position, that is where he performs at his best.
While I am discussing attacking players, it seems I am again drawn towards the subject of one Diego Costa. This time he is embroiled in more controversy, and not for the first time, it is pretty unjust. The incident is started by Juan Carlos Paredes, who clearly moves his right arm towards Costa. I don’t know how much contact there is, so I’m not sure if it warranted Costa’s reaction. What I’m definitely sure of though is that the second phase of the incident is certainly overly emphasised by Paredes, and that’s being kind.
There is a slight push in the chest by Costa, but Paredes’ reaction is nothing short of disgraceful. To go down, look to see what the referee is doing, and then hold your face and roll over four times is something the FA really should be looking at. It is my opinion that in this situation, the FA should be giving Paredes a ban, because this behaviour is cheating, there is no other word for it. By receiving a yellow card, he is getting off lightly.
In terms of other action, there is not a lot to talk about. There were very few clear cut chances created, and Chelsea’s play was extremely slow and pretty boring. Even in the second half, we did very little until late on. Heurelho Gomes made a brilliant save to deny Costa at the back stick, and given that we played much better in the last 20 minutes than the previous 70, you couldn’t really have argued that we didn’t deserve to nick a winner.
Overall however I reckon a draw was a fair result, as neither team really carved out enough opportunities to win the game. Given our level of inconsistency over the last few weeks it wouldn’t come as a surprise if we came out and stuck three or four goals past Manchester United on Sunday. Well, we can all dream can’t we?