There are a number of reasons why Blues Fans can feel aggrieved at today’s result. We can certainly lay some blame at the feet of Martin Shatkinson, the referee, who had an absolute stinker of a game. Although I feel we may look a little closer to home for the main reason behind there now only being 5 points between first and second place.
Today Jose strayed from the successful strategy that has so far put us “Top o’the League”.
Chelsea to this point, has used fewer players than any other Premiership team this season. This is because Mourinho identified his strongest team (home) and unless injury or suspension got in the way, he would play that team come rain or shine.
Last weekend we had a rest due to our early exit from the FA Cup, therefore fatigue was not really a factor today, and as we know there is no such thing as a certain 3 points in the Premmy, so I don’t think Mourinho rotated due to lack of respect to the opposition…… So what’s with the tinkering”?
Courtois, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Terry, Ivanovich, Fabregas, Matic, Oscar, Willian, Hazard, Costa………. this is the A team when at home , when looking to put the opposition to the sword.
So why did we have 3 changes to that line up today, when all 3 were on the bench….. 2 were also used as subs.
It was not really the defensive changes that caught the eye, as frankly we are at home to a team in the relegation zone. It was at the business end of the pitch where the one change caused a raised eyebrow ahead of kick off.
Oscar, Willian, Hazard have been sensational this season, providing the perfect tripod to support the league’s leading goalscorer. Cuadrado, who has been in SW6 for a shorter period than the babies in the Maternity ward of Chelsea Hospital, suddenly gets a starting berth………He certainly looks to be a good signing, reminds me of Florent Malouda, another Mourinhoesque player. I hope he enjoys many years of success at the club, but mid-way through what is looking to be a successful campaign, is not usually the best time to start experimenting …….. unless we are wrong and Jose was actually guilty of arrogance in underestimating today’s opposition, ……. How about you tinker when we are 3 -0 up at halftime, if you feel the need.
At this point, it must be said that obviously Jose is one of , if not the, best managers in the world, and second guessing him may appear to be laughable, but there is a reason for the saying , “if it aint broke, don’t fix it”. Especially as we all know that “he ” has identified “his” strongest team and they were all available.
Avoiding banana skins like today can be the difference between winning the Championship or not. Invariably it is never that easy to run away with the title, but this season if we think of late goals conceded at the grounds of City & United, and a few days like today were the lack of killer instinct from last season seems to rear its ugly head, The Blues could and really should be out of sight. Instead Fans & the players alike will soon start to feel butterflies, as we continue to drag City in our slipstream.
It is true, the referee had an awful afternoon. If failing to give 2 dead cert penalties didnt qualify him as a “W@nker in Black”, Mr. Atkinson must have been locked in a closet for the last 7 months, by failing to recognize that Nemanja Matic,” he of quiet temperement”, must have had good reason to do his best Jeckel and Hyde impression and lose the plot with Burnley’s Barnes. Of course he did, It was a potentially career ending tackle , and intentional to boot!!……… Come on Martin, are you really that myopic!
Certainly Matic should have been dismissed, for bundling the Burnley man to the floor, but the officials should have put 2 and 2 together and at least made both sides play with a man short…. I would like to ask referee Atkinson, now that he has had a chance to review Barnes’s nastiness, whether a one, two or possibly three year retroactive ban would be appropriate!!. Instead the murmurings of a conspiracy echo in the Stamford Bridge dressing room. The normally stoic Matic has now been denied his first Wembley appearance in next weekend’s Capital One cup final.
The action on the pitch seemed to get lost in the shortcomings of the officials and there was always that feeling that this game was going to fall into the following category
— Early goal, followed by complete dominance, but failure to kill off your opponent. A sting in the tail as the opposition square things up against the run of play, and the clock runs out.- whoops.
Mourinho gave the post match interview in code, preferring to spout the relevant minutes in the game he felt were “important” to its outcome, rather than openly criticize Martin Atkinson. Personally I would have really liked to see Jose speak his mind, on this occasion it would have been worth another wrist slap and an ever-increasing fine.
Anyway we are still leading the way, and losing Matic, as painful as it is, does not come at a particularly hard fixture period. I hope he just sticks with the A team , swapping Ramires for Matic and says to the boys…” Look we are not as secure at the back with Nemanja out, so let’s go all out attack and outscore our opposition……bit like we were doing a couple of months back”.