There is no longer really anything for Chelsea to gain in the rest of the Premier League season. After Saturday’s draw we are tenth, ten points from the Champions League places. We are realistically not going to make the top four at the moment, and I don’t really think we want to make the Europa League spots unless it’s in fifth place, because we don’t want to have to go through the qualifiers.
We really missed Diego Costa against Stoke, as I think his physical presence would have provided Chelsea with a little bit more of an edge. I know the Potters play much better football under Mark Hughes than Tony Pulis, but they still have a bit of physical style defensively. I know Bertrand Traore came in and played very well, but I think he would have played anyway, even if alongside or just behind Costa.
With Costa injured it did mean that Traore played upfront, not Alexandre Pato. Again this makes the signing of Pato seem even more pointless, as there are at most only 18 games left this season for Chelsea, and I heavily doubt he will make it to double figures in terms of appearances. He will struggle to make it past Traore in the pecking order, and he scored a brilliant opener, making space before smashing the ball into the corner. I wouldn’t be surprised if he started against PSG on Wednesday, because he is certainly capable of causing their defence problems.
I have said before that I don’t think Mark Clattenburg is a very good referee. He gave me another reason to think this on Saturday when he didn’t give Chelsea a penalty for Marc Munisea’s challenge on Oscar. I say challenge it was more of a Rugby tackle, and it was a stonewall penalty. I have absolutely no idea why he didn’t give a spot kick, Muniesa got nowhere near the ball, and he clearly brings the Brazilian down in the area. It was an atrocious decision.
Once it wasn’t given it gave Stoke a chance to get an equaliser, which they did. I’ve got to say it’s a terrible goal to give away. Willian gives the ball away in a ridiculous decision and it simply gives the Potters a chance to attack. From then on it’s a series of errors. It was way too easy for Xherdan Shaqiri to put a cross in, and Thibaut Courtois should really have done better with his punch and Mame Biram Diouf was never going to miss. I can’t really blame Courtois though, because he made a couple of brilliant saves in the second half in particular to earn us the point.
Like I said earlier, I don’t think we can achieve anything in the Premier League anymore this season so I’m not disheartened by the result, but it really should have been a win as it was a stonewall penalty. In the end, Stoke probably deserved a point. Hopefully we can go into the game at home to PSG and get a result, as that is a game that could really define our season.