A result neither team particularly wanted, but an entertaining game nonetheless as Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur drew 2-2 at Stamford Bridge.
What We Learned :
1. Rafa’s substitutions – WTF?!
2. Wastefulness costing us
3. David Luiz raising eyebrows about double pivot position
4. Oscar deserves credit for recent performances
5. 3rd place is ours to lose
1. Rafa’s substitutions – WTF?!:
I am a fan of Rafael Benitez (as you all know), but his substitutions at Chelsea have always boggled my mind. I just don’t understand what he’s going for with the subs – freshness or skill/talent or time-wasting? Today, it seemed to be swapping tiredness for freshness. Hazard came off (had a knock and wasn’t fit) which was a good decision, but Victor Moses?! On the left?! Poor decision, should of brought on Ba and paired him with Torres. The one that confuses me the most is Benayoun coming on for Oscar. Few things wrong with that :
1) Oscar was playing amazing.
2) Benayoun is NOT a game changer – far from it.
3) Better options available – Lampard and Ba (mostly Ba).
That being said, I just don’t understand what Rafa is thinking when making changes. It didn’t cost us the game, but it cost us a chance at securing our win.
2. Wastefulness costing us:
Now this was the game-changer. We had so many great chances and blew them. 2 in particular, to be exact.
1) Hazard – 2nd half. Was found exquisitely by Oscar and cut back in with 2 Chelsea players waiting and Spurs on the brink of losing, for sure. Hazard did well to cut back in, but then blasted it over the bar instead of picking out Ramires at the back post or going for finesse on the ground.
2) Ramires – 2nd half. A rather unfortunate event, but one that cost us. Hazard with a magical heel-flick to Mata who was through on goal only to be defied by Kyle Walker (who has pace), but Mata staves off his pressure to find Ramires waiting to pounce. However, the pitch was very slippery and frustrating for many people (players, fans, etc.) and Ramires took a tumble and smashed his face into the ground while hurting his ankle. Luckily for us, he stayed on. However, this was a chance wasted.
2 glorious chances to make it 3-1 and secure the win (basically) for us. We wasted other good chances, including Mata putting 2 slightly over the bar in the 1st half. We created chances, which is good, but we wasted them, which is bad.
3. David Luiz raising eyebrows about double pivot position:
Many Chelsea fans cream over the thought of Luiz being in the midfield. He’s played there a few times this season and impressed, but this performances raising my eyebrows. I was never a fan of him playing in the midfield, but it has been a good decision at times this season. Today, far from it. While Goal.com, SkySports, etc. claim that Luiz was good/decent today, I completely disagree. I have many points to debunk their argument, but there is one that sticks out the most – Spurs’ 2nd goal. Look at the replay of Gylfi’s goal for Spurs, look where Luiz is. Rewind about 30 seconds prior to the chance, look where Luiz is. He completely blew it – nowhere to be found when it mattered the most. He did do well at times in the game, but when it mattered the most, he wasn’t there. Whether you see this as a problem or not, is up to you. However, for me, it’s a problem as he wasn’t the best in midfield when at Benfica (often drawing criticism from fans and coaches) and he’s not the best option for midfield at Chelsea either.
4. Oscar deserves credit for recent performances:
Oscar has been magnificent as of late. Over the last 5 or so matches, to be exact. He was very inconsistent earlier in the season and was struggling to find his feet in England, but recently, he’s been fantastic. Scoring goals, providing assists, getting in the right positions, etc. Oscar has been doing what we wanted him to do when we signed him and that’s play the number 1a0 role incognito. Mata does the most visible number 10 work, while Hazard does the winger work, but Oscar does a little bit of both (mostly number 10 role). Oscar will do what Mata does at times and do what Hazard does at times while being undercover (for lack of a better word). When teams least expect him, he appears. Teams worry about Hazard and Mata, but Oscar’s role is both of their’s combined in a secretive way. He doesn’t get the exposure Eden and Juan do, but when looking at the game and focusing on him, you can easily tell.
5. 3rd place is ours to lose:
Do I have to explain this point?
Win v Villa OR Everton secures 4th.
4 points in those two games can secure 3rd (depending on our goal difference compared to Arsenal’s).
6 points can for sure.
We’re the team to beat for 3rd. That simple. 2 points above Arsenal and 3 above Spurs.
1. John Terry needed in defense
2. Cesar “Dave” Azpilicueta proving a gem of a signing
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