Chelsea had a bad day at the races in Birmingham today. The Blues finished the game with 9 men on the pitch and their manager sent to the stands. Willian and Ramires were both shown red, Willian’s was a travesty, whereas Ramires should be further punished for his nasty piece of business.
It was a rare loss of control for the London outfit, and would have had Manuel Pelligrini and Arsene Wenger smiling from ear to ear. The City Boss had seen his team triumph in the face of adversity with Chelsea self-destructing under the same pressure. Arsenal now get to face a significantly weakened midfield next week at the Emirates.
It was always going to be a hard game to win for the leaders. Villa Park is a ground where Mourinho has never won. Paul Lambert’s team have been on an improving run and their manager is known for being a “canny Scot” tactician.
Mourinho elected to play Torres up front. He also played our strongest side behind him. It didn’t help. Is it me or every time he got the ball did he either shoot straight into a Villain or give the ball away cheaply? Frankly he has turned into an oaf. I was amazed that Jose managed to watch for 67 minutes before giving him the hook. He works very hard for the team, but it’s almost like letting the kid with a deformity play with you because you feel sorry for him. He just doesn’t possess the level of technical ability required to be part of this Chelsea team. Odd man out.
The Home side played a disciplined game as they were defensively tested with Chelsea having the majority of the possession. The Blues tried time after time to breach the high line played by Villa’s back four. The Linesman lifted his yellow flag on so many occasions that he was replaced on 75 minutes, suffering from wrist cramp.
As is commonplace in the first half of many a recent Chelsea game, the teams went in scoreless at the break. Neither keeper had been kept particularly busy. The highlight for the Blues was a disallowed Matic goal for handball. A correct decision.
The League leaders came out in the second half with renewed energy. Pressing Villa back and dominating the game. Yet their pressure did not pay any dividends.
The Referee was very free with his cards today. So much so that I feel he forgot he had already given one to Willian in the first half. That could be the only excuse for Mr.Mason’s action on 67 minutes. Our Brazilian midfielder tickled Delph off the ball just inside the Chelsea half. The referee blew immediately and gave the yellow. It seemed to be a while until he realized he then needed to show Willian the Red card to send him to an early bath. Hence the above theory. Anyway these things happen and Chelsea needed to respond in the way Man City had a few hours ago. Unfortunately they were not able to show the same grit as the boys from Manchester had and the afternoon went from bad to worse.
On 81 minutes Villa broke forward. Delph leading the charge. He found Albrighton on the left wing and the man on as substitute re-found Delph as a willing runner in the box. The Villa player who started the move also finished it, with a deft back heeled finish leaving Cech rooted to the spot.
Certainly at that point Jose would have taken the draw that the press alluded he’d said “would be a good result” before the kick off.
The last 10 minutes saw Villa taking full advantage of the extra man. Cheslea did not get the chance to really test the home side’s nerves at being in position to beat the leaders. It was not going to be our afternoon.
Even the truest Blues will admit that Ramires’s tackle in the 92nd minute nearly gave a new meaning to the term “Injury Time”. He had obviously overrun the ball when he chopped El Ahmadi from behind. It would have been a Red Card in the 1970s too if that tells you how bad it was. We will miss him at the Emirates.
Mourinho also lost the plot. An indication of how important this loss was, and its ramification for our squad next game.
We will need to pick ourselves up off the deck for the midweek Champions League game or there could be trouble at Mill. At least Eto’o will be back and Torres will be sitting on the bench- hopefully one in Regent’s Park.
It was never going to be an easy Premiership to win this year for anyone. Mourinho is wisely playing down our chances in his first campaign, to precisely protect his team after days like this. Onwards and Upwards, time for some character.
Big games tomorrow. Don’t forget we want United and Spurs to win. When did we last say that !……
Let’s join the Red Devils in chanting the song …..” Your Teeth are Offside, Your Teeth are Offside, Luis Suarez, Your Teeth are Offside !!!!”