I’ve already said that Chelsea’s season is over, so we are simply playing for pride now. For one of the first times this season, we actually saw pride from some of Chelsea’s players, which comes far too late for any of our hopes this season. I would have much preferred to have said these words a number of weeks ago, but instead it comes at a time where in the grand scheme of things, our performances mean nothing.
Guus Hiddink continues to go with the experienced players in the Premier League, which is absolutely useless, given that quite a few of them won’t be here next season. Loic Remy in particular has been hopeless at times this season, as have a number of others. We should really be giving younger players minutes in the league at this point, and even though Bertrand Traore and Ruben Loftus-Cheek did a pretty good job coming off the bench, it isn’t enough. The likes of Tammy Abraham and Ola Aina have been impressive in the youth teams in recent years and should really be given a chance in the first team. Dominic Solanke scored twice for Vitesse Arnhem at the weekend and Charly Musonda has completed more dribbles per game than Lionel Messi and Neymar in La Liga. These players should be at Chelsea, not farmed out on loan.
I normally find a lot to complain about when the Blues concede, but that wasn’t the case with the first goal on Saturday. I could say we should have closed the ball down more, but in all fairness it was a brilliant hit from Manuel Lanzini from about 25 yards, and Thibaut Courtois had no chance. It was almost as good an effort from Cesc Fabregas to get us level. It was a brilliant free kick from around the same distance as the West Ham goal, and it was good to see someone finally take a set piece off Willian, given that his corners and free kicks have had very little effect for the past few months.
I said I couldn’t find much to complain about for the first West Ham goal, but I could for the second goal. Firstly there is way too much space in midfield for Dimitri Payet to pick up the ball and find a pass in behind, given that he has been one of the stand out players in the Premier League this season so we should have been aware of his threat. Then to let Andy Carroll run in behind the defence is ridiculous. Andy Carroll. Not Messi, not Aubameyang, not Benzema. Andy Carroll. He was probably the least mobile man on the pitch and to let him run past us without anyone ever picking him up is absolutely outrageous, and Courtois should probably do a bit better.
On the balance of play we probably didn’t deserve to get an equaliser, but there have been times this season where we have missed out on points that we deserved to win. Ok, I’m lying; we’ve barely deserved any points this season. The goal we did score was definitely not a penalty, which is surprising, because referees normally find any excuse not to give us a penalty. It is a foul by Michail Antonio on Loftus-Cheek, but the contact comes certainly from outside the box, he just falls into it with his momentum. In the end it was well taken by Fabregas, who has been by far and away our best players in recent weeks, and this didn’t change on Saturday.
Next up for us is Aston Villa after the international break, and I can’t say I’m really looking forward to watching us play anymore this season, because we keep playing the same players who have let us down so often this season. I have got to the stage where all I want now from this season is for Leicester City to win the league, simply because it would hopefully leave us open to a much more competitive and unpredictable Premier League for years to come.