With about 25 minutes left to play, I wanted to turn it off. Being reduced to nine men with that much time to go meant it was only going to get worse and it was only a matter of maintaining our dignity to see the game out. It was an astonishingly poor performance. The 4-0 scoreline was our worst defeat in over eight years and the combination of dejection, fury, and confusion I felt over how this could even happen was reminiscent of the darkest day in the brief pre-Dalglish span of last season. Credit to Spurs of course because they had a collective screamer, but we looked poised to lose to anybody today. That is about as low of an assessment I can give our squad.
On paper I remain convinced that our squad is perfectly capable of finishing in the top four and that the reverse fixture at Anfield is set up for us to deal Spurs the kind of lashing they just gave us. Dalglish will have a lot to think about between now and then though. Our tactics on the day were completely wrong and our starting eleven was puzzling. Kenny was so slow to make obvious changes once his plan didn’t take off and we could easily have been down by two before halftime.
Our midfield looked spineless, our defense looked outmatched, and our forwards looked pretty useless too. The most flagrant mistake was our right side, with Skrtel and Henderson a disastrous combination lined up against Gareth Bale. I rarely feel this much anger towards one of our own players, but I desperately wanted to run onto the pitch and haul Martin Skrtel off of it - the guy has no business to ever play fullback again. In the absence of Johnson and Kelly, our options were 1. Carragher, the obvious disadvantage being his dire lack of pace, and 2. Flanagan, whose form this season has been questionable and indicative of his inexperience. With either option we would have fared better, particularly if Kuyt had been placed at right mid to track back. This is all in hindsight though. If I had to pick our side differently today we would have probably still lost. Inconsistency from quality players is confusing. Everyone looked SO directionless and slow. The most glaring contrast was the difference between our big/little forward combination and theirs. Adebayor was terrifying from start to finish, popping up all over the pitch making streaking runs and creating chances, while Carroll looked just as pedestrian and heavy-footed as he has all season. I keep expecting Carroll to play off the shoulder and turn defenders when the ball gets delivered to him but like 10000% of the time he’s clinging to a defender, merely trying to jump higher than him. This is greater than a simple issue about match fitness or pace, but a question about positional awareness and football intelligence. So far the Suarez/Carroll partnership has been miles away from fulfilling its potential. In the back of my mind, however, I imagine the introduction of Gerrard back to the midfield will bring the best out of that partnership.
Plenty to complain about, sure, but that’s not why we lost. I have no idea what Kenny’s visit with the ref’s association accomplished but whatever he said had no effect on the way decisions went today. We received SIX yellow cards, with Adam and Skrtel receiving a pair each. Adam was sent off after 20 minutes for a bad but unintentionally bad challenge on Scott Parker. That was a turning point in the officiating and more quick cards were inevitable. Whatever. For unknown reasons, referees just don’t fucking get it sometimes.
Jose Enrique was the only player in red who looked the part. Seb Coates had a decent debut after getting thrown into a very hot fire but egregiously overhit some long passes. I attribute those mishaps to nerves though and I’m confident he’ll be fine. The timing and selection of our subs weren’t great at all, but I was happy to see players I would actually pick come off the bench. I would really appreciate seeing Gerrard and Johnson back in the starting eleven soon. None of our players really crumbled in the end and our traveling support was fantastic as usual.
There may be more but I’m running out of steam and watching Chelsea fail to convert their opportunities while United just fucking slams in every chance they get isn’t helping alleviate my frustration.
Hi. I’m Gordon, and I’m a Chelsea fan. Have been since I started following the beautiful game, and haven’t for a minute regretted my decision. Being a dedicated footy fan and living here in the states is a tough gig. It often requires shifting around my weekend schedule, waking up in the wee hours of the morning, finding a reliable stream that more than likely has very continental commentators speaking a language that I can barely understand, skipping class/work to watch Champions League, and getting derided by my peers for supporting a side that isn’t Manchester United, Barcelona, or Real Madrid. When people give me shit for supporting Chelsea, finally I can say “at least we’re not City.” Or for that matter PSG, Malaga, Anzhi Makhachkala, or any of the other nouveau riche clubs that are now owned by barons of all types.
So, to answer the question, why Chelsea FC? The answer is fairly simple – my dad lived in Russia for many of the last few years, and I felt it only right to support my father’s adopted compatriot. Sure, Roman can certainly be a bit crazy (more on that in a later post), but the off the field antics of Chelsea make them as enjoyable a club to follow in the offseason as during the season.
I’m excited for the future under Andre Villas-Boas, and while I know Roman’s track record of patience doesn’t bode too well for the new Special One if he doesn’t deliver some kind of silverware this season, I do feel like he has mellowed out a bit and is willing to let Andre do some growing of this team.
On that note, I’ll leave you for now, as Bryan mentioned, stay tuned for a lot of comical posts in the future from two American lads who know way too much about footy for our own good. And hopefully more photos like the one above.
Red Shirt Blue Shirt is a blog about football in the eyes of two lads who happen to be great friends but support opposing clubs - Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC.
We talk about footy all the fucking time so we thought why not start a blog about it? Though neither of us is actually scouse nor chav (considering we’re both from California), we know the EPL better than most, and that’s what we’re trying to share with you.
Now you’re probably asking how the fuck are these guys still friends after the Luis Garcia “ghost goal” in the 2005 Champions League and the Judas, I mean Fernando Torres, incident in January 2011? (Note: Let’s not forget the 4-4 draw in the Champions League quarter final which saw Chelsea progress ahead to face Barcelona in a semi that I can’t forget soon enough -gordon) Well we tend to drink away our disagreements on a regular basis and share a common disdain for Manchester United, and that goes a long way.
So that’s kickoff then. Follow us for laughs about football with the occasional beautiful girl / club banger.
You’ll Never Walk Alone