Chelsea missed the chance to go four points clear at the top as the Blues were denied by West Brom at the Hawthorns. The curse continued as Chelsea failed to win at this ground for the third consecutive time. Jose knew that keeping the momentum going was vital therefore he put his strongest possible XI with the holy trinity of Hazard – Oscar – Willian. Torres got his place on the bench after returning from injury.
The start to the game was slow as West Brom side was more than happy to sit back and absorb all the pressure. The space in the center of the field was quite congested which denied Hazard the opportunity to weave his magic. Chelsea kept looking for openings and were eventually rewarded with a goal in the injury time of the first half, a lovely flick from David Luiz and a finish by Branislav Ivanovic. It was the Serb’s 2nd goal in 3 matches.
The second half was more of the same but as the game went into the final quarter of an hour West Brom started to move forward and create opportunities. Anichebe who was introduced with 17 minutes to go repaid the manager’s faith as he got ahead of Luiz and at the end of a pin point cross from Berahino to level for the Baggies. A massive opportunity to pile on the pressure on the title rivals missed.
What We Learned:
Chelsea fail to break teams down:
Not the first time this season that Chelsea have failed to break down teams which have men behind the ball. It’s a worry and with teams mostly applying this tactic against us we need to come up with a Plan B in order to create opportunities to score. Ramires – Matic pivot is great but with defenses that sit deep we need someone like Lampard who with his movement can create the space. Ramires had a poor game in my opinion as he was invisible for the best part of the game.
Talking Point – Luiz in defense:
One of those days when you miss John Terry in defense and although David Luiz had a decent game, provided an assist but his misjudgment resulted in the equalizer. Chelsea’s defense was solid overall but one mistake was enough for us to drop two crucial points in the title race. Not playing the blame game but i would expect the defender to be at the end of the cross in the box but Luiz sadly was no way near.
Luiz made the most passes tonight, 34 in total as shown by the graph. It would be better though if Luiz try not to bypass the midfield when making attempts to find a Chelsea player, especially when the other team has got men behind the ball. Sometimes it’s good but sometimes there need to be a sound judgement made. Luiz i think is more suited to the midfield role instead of a defender and Cahill and Luiz i am sure will be persisted with by Jose in the coming matches.
Brana’s scoring touch is back:
Ivanovic has started scoring once again and it’s ideal for us considering our strike force. Chelsea’s bulk of the goals have come from our dynamic midfield but recently Ivanovic has been chipping in as well. His goal against City was vital, always keeping one for the big occasion. Keep them coming Brana.
BPL goals for Chelsea since start of last season:
Strikers: 20 (Torres 12, Eto’o 6, Ba 2)
Centrebacks: 19 (Ivanovic 8, Terry 6, Cahill 3, Luiz 2)
PS. Ivanovic looked really scary when he lost his cool tonight and was subsequently booked for dissent. Scary lad, Brana.
A point may prove vital in the title race:
Many would see it as 2 points dropped but considering our history with the Baggies it might be a point won. However considering our form going into this fixture we should have taken all three points to maintain the lead at the top. It has been a tight race thus far with Chelsea and City dropping points against the lesser sides whereas Arsenal blow it against the big guns. Who will eventually fall short is very hard to predict right now.
Arsenal face United tomorrow, certainly all eyes will be on that clash now. Maybe Gus will weave his magic over City too? or are we asking for too much? Whatever the results are tomorrow, it’s going to be a long race and it’s certainly going down to the wire.
A disappointing draw today, but lets move on to the FA Cup. Another trip to the Etihad. Matic – Yaya Take 2.