I'm going to keep this short. The match reaction thread went and got all chippy and impulsive, and there's really no point in discussing a game - a somewhat meaningless one at that - in which Chelsea didn't even show up. Make no mistake, Chelsea didn't show up.
However, to piggy-back off my initial posting, I do have a few more
incoherent thoughts on what we all witnessed in Monaco Friday night. Brace yourselves.
I blame Andre Villas-Boas.
That's right. The manic Portuguese with a propensity for turgid man-management had an entire summer to get Radamel Falcao from Porto to London. In the end, however, Villas-Boas either didn't try or couldn't convince Michael Emenalo and company to pull the trigger on a transfer.
And look what happens. We get thoroughly embarrassed by the Colombian.
Who cares if none of the above prose is even remotely rational? I know I don't.
For right or wrong, Friday's scenario reminded me of a certain scene from The Big Lebowski. You see what happens, Larry? ... Don't finish that thought.
So, Falcao ends up at Atletico Madrid for a fee in the region of €40m (bargain), and has since been scoring goals for bloody fun. Case in point: Friday night. Three more at Chelsea's expense make it 42 goals in 53 appearances for Atletico, and 37 in 40 in European competitions. That's not a half-bad return, you know.
Chelsea's return on Friday, meanwhile, was only monetary. We'll be leaving Monaco with a couple extra million quid in the stash, no injuries, no Michael Essien, and that's just about it. We'll take that, actually. I wouldn't call our performance a reality check, but some of the players may well treat it as so. Gary Cahill and Ashley Cole sure seem upset with the way things unfolded.
Cahill & Cole, the performance in their words:
We started the game sloppy and that went right through the game. If we're honest with ourselves everyone was below par and it was embarrassing at times. We approach every game in the same way. It was a massive game and we let ourselves down and passed up a great opportunity. It is difficult. Obviously we will look to bounce back in the league as it was unacceptable.
Wellll that was a lesson, absolute joke no fight, desire, passion, and a big reality check!!!!!!— Ashley Cole (@TheRealAC3) August 31, 2012
Fair play to them, and others, if they manage to use this debacle as motivation. Just make sure we don't see much more of that kind of unbridled ineptitude this season.
To be honest, Friday's display was so bad that it's best we just forget it happened and move on as quickly as possible. With this in mind, I recommend we skip any and all analysis, and simply chalk this defeat up to being a brutal - not bad - day at the office. No one Chelsea player really deserves to be singled out for have a nightmare because, quite frankly, almost all of them did.
We seriously could have trailed by six or seven at halftime. Falcao probably should've had five in the opening 45 minutes, book-ending his hat track by hitting the crossbar and then the frame from close range. Such was the gulf in class on the night that it appeared that our main goal of the second half was to limit the damage.
Even then we still conceded, a floated set piece into the center of the penalty area somehow bemusing four Chelsea players who were in a great position to clear. The ball fell to Mario Suárez who fittingly played a great through ball he probably knew nothing about to João Miranda on the right side. The Brazilian duly chunked in a shot off Gary Cahill. It was, well, a joke.
Thankfully, all this took place in a match that probably won't be remembered by anyone except Atletico and Atletico supporters by the end of the season. Would I have liked to have seen a better performance? Of course. Am I going to lose sleep over the loss? Negative. I'll start worrying if we start mucking up in a similar fashion in the Premier League or Champions League. I trust you'll join me in holding off on the doomsday predictions.