I really thought we could get something from this game. It shows how wrong you can be. Three soft goals in five minutes and it was all over. Up to then we had been at the races, although never really threatening. I suppose can all be self indulgent and look back at the Lampard sending off as being worth a heavy defeat, but we all know in our heads that such thoughts are madness. Three points would have put us among the European contenders. We’re now dropping a little behind, although it is comforting to see that we are 8 points clear of the eleventh place club, Tottenham.
So what went wrong against Chelsea? Simple. The first three goals. We were never going to come back from that, although it would have been nice to get a consolation goal. I was praying Dean Ashton could have grabbed one when he came on as a sub for the totally ineffective Luis Boa Morte. It wasn’t to be, although I did think Ashton looked a lot sharper than he has seemed recently. I think it’s now the time to give him a run of games. He needs his confidence back for next season and the only way that is going to happen is for him to play regularly. Yet again Carlton Cole was our best player. It’s a shame he just can’t put away a few more goals as his build up play and holding up of the ball are increasingly superb. Hem was very unlucky not to score yesterday.
The midfield were disappointing yesterday and failed to impose themselves. Faubert in particular did little to impress, and looked knackered in the middle of the second half. Ljungberg had a few good runs but that was it. Mark Noble has his weakest game for some time and his distribution was very poor. Mullins went on a few good runs, but that was it. In defence, apart from the goals (!) they seemed quite strong, but you just cannot give away goals like that. The Joe Cole goal was especially unforgiveable.
Was it a penalty? I didn’t think so. I thought the ball was almost out of play before the Chelsea player went down, but I was a long way away from it. Everyone around me felt it was cast iron penalty.
It was good to see Bobby Z get a few minutes. He didn’t really do anything but it would have done him the world of good.
Boa Morte 4
I think we just have to put this down as a bad day at the office and move on to think about the Liverpool game on Wednesday. I’d ring a few changes and play 4-5-1, bringing in Nobby Solano in place of Julien Faubert and Lee Bowyer (is he fit?) to play with Mullins and Noble in central midfield.