Not a great win, but a win just the same. If we want to have any hope of reclaiming the league trophy, we need to win these games where we aren't playing so well. And this time, we did.
Well, the first half was dire. Utterly awful. Especially our passing. It was that awful passing that helped contribute to the West Brom goal - Ramires sent a light pass toward Alex, who didn't move toward it and thus got bullied off the ball. It was the kind of stupid, easily avoidable goal we tended to concede a lot last season during our exceptionally low months in the late fall/winter. And then, instead of using the goal to incite a response, we seemed to keep falling apart.
Fortunately, things seemed to come together a bit more in the second half. Malouda was on for Kalou before the halftime (and I'm sure I wasn't alone in asking a big "wtf?" at Kalou still being in the starting eleven) but the breakthrough came with Nicolas Anelka. The first goal of the season seemed to be the kick in the ass we needed to get it together and try to win the game.
We're still having trouble finishing, but West Brom were stubborn defensively and constantly blocked our shots and crosses into the box. Drogba came on for Torres and was pretty ineffective, and Ivanovic replaced Alex and should have earned us a penalty during one of our corner kicks. The ref, for the second week in a row, ignored our pleas.
Bosingwa, one of our brightest sparks in these opening matches, was the one to create the winning goal. I don't have too many complaints about the Unibrowed One for the way he has started this season. I hope he keeps it up, considering our interests in the transfer market seem to have moved away from a right-back and onto the midfield.
I still think we move the ball too slow and have trouble figuring out how to break down defenses. We got away with it against West Brom, but what is going to happen when we get to the tougher matches against sides usually in the top ten of the table? It's worrying, but the rumors of the Blues finally picking up a proper winger are encouraging.
Here are AVB's post-match comments:
AVB mentions the crowd being anxious which contributed to the players' being nervous - truth be told, Stamford Bridge was like a morgue during the match. Considering it was the first home match of the season, I thought the place would be rocking. That was disappointing. Hopefully we can get some more goals going in next weekend and help get the volume up at the Bridge.