What We Learned From The West Ham Match: 1/12/12

It was an afternoon to forget for Chelsea as they ended up losing 3-1 to West Ham in Rafael Benitez’s first match away from home. West Ham deserved to win this match as Chelsea failed to turn up for the 2nd half. Nevertheless, there are a few things to take away from this loss to the Hammers.

1) Football is a game of 2 halves
2) Benitez needs to use his substitutes more effectively
3) Torres must up his game….. a LOT!
4) Moses deserves a few more starts
5) Cesar Azpilicueta is class

1) One of the most elementary lessons of football- it is a game of 2 halves. You can be extremely brilliant in the first half, but if the 2nd half performance isn’t up to scratch, chances are you will be punished. That is exactly what happened to Chelsea today. While we clearly outperformed West Ham in the first half, we didn’t turn up for the 2nd half and West Ham took the game to us. While the result was disappointing, it wasn’t exactly surprising, was it?

2) Benitez had Oscar, Marin and Piazon as attacking options on the bench. He decided to bring on Oscar and Marin when West Ham equalized. Oscar came on for Hazard and Marin for Moses. Hazard hadn’t been at his best, but he has the ability to change a game on his own, while Moses had been one of our best players throughout the match. It would have made more sense if Oscar came on for Mikel and Marin for Torres, hence pushing Moses or Hazard upfront and ensuring that Chelsea went all out. Instead, neither substitution made the desired impact due to Benitez playing it ‘safe’. He needs to be more bold with his subs.

3) Chelsea fans have all but lost patience with Fernando Torres, and today’s performance certainly didn’t help his case. While he was okay in the 1st half, providing the assist for Mata’s goal and having a couple of shots of his own, he was AWOL for most of the 2nd half. While he’s not solely to blame for the loss, we could have salvaged at least a point had he been more clinical. Torres must improve leaps and bounds, and one cannot help but feel that with the January transfer window approaching, the Spaniard’s days at Stamford Bridge are numbered…. in low digits.

4) Victor Moses was handed a start by Benitez and the Nigerian didn’t disappoint. He was heavily involved in the build-up play to the opening goal and was involved in most of Chelsea’s attacks. He looked lively on the wings and the West Ham defence didn’t seem to have any answers to his trickery and pace. Moses hasn’t been a regular starter for Chelsea, but has impressed many with his performances off the bench (his best appearance as a sub was against Shakhtar in the CL when he scored a last-minute winner). He definitely deserves a start every now and then.

5) Cesar Azpilicueta arrived at Chelsea as a promising youngster, but his recent performances in a Chelsea shirt have been nothing short of world-class. He looked rock-solid against City and Fulham, and put in yet another brilliant shift at RB today. He kept Matt Jarvis in his pocket for most of the game and was involved in quite a few of our attacks. The Spaniard is solid at the back while also being threatening in attack, ideal for a wing-back. Dave (the tag he has been affectionately given by Chelsea fans due to his surname) may very well turn out to be one of our best signings of the season.

What else do you think we can take away from this crushing defeat? Do let us know!

Shayne Dias

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