So much for those overtures about securing Champions League football then. Chelsea gifted Arsenal the security it wanted, toiling to a bore-draw with neighbors Tottenham, in what can only be described as a disappointing display. The good news? Nothing, really. More, after the jump:
So much for all those good vibes we were buzzing off of then. This was supposed to be an afternoon in which our aspirations were on display- the resolve to fight for fourth place and push ahead in our two remaining cup competitions. Instead, we looked woefully ineffective against a Spurs side that deserved three points. That we came away with a point is in itself a miracle. That Tottenham failed to net is another story. That we got Gary Cahill for 7 million quid remains another mystery after the defender had himself another excellent showing.
No match recap today. No Nic Cage montage. Just a few thoughts on what happened and what's coming:
- We sucked. Plain and simple. Not good enough anywhere on the pitch- zero quality in the final third
- Another example of lacking the players to break down a compact defense. It's been our achilles heel all season, despite many claiming to the contrary, Chelsea simply do not know how to dissect a team that puts ten-men behind the ball.
- Perhaps its true then, that fifth is all we're good for this year. We might have convinced ourselves otherwise at times, but after this, fifth is all we deserve. This was both drab and dire.
- The penalty cries in this match were weak- even if I want to convince myself otherwise. We didn't deserve any calls and neither did they- think the refs did well on those grounds.
- Daniel Sturridge is just mired in it at the moment. He may appear to have tremendous confidence, but after watching him shank another priceless chance to score, I'm convinced he's just in a complete funk. It's high time Bobby considered the very-real prospect of Didier and Fernando in a 4-4-2 diamond. Crazy enough to work, I think.
- Clearly, the match was important as evidenced by the personnel on the pitch. But, after that dismal result, we're now left to rally heading into a critical first-leg away to Benfica in the Champions League. No easy feat mind, and when you consider some of the minutes picked up by the squad this afternoon, it's anyone's guess as to who makes the grade.
- If Gary gets rewarded for his fine efforts with a third-consecutive start, then why is Mikel to be punished for doing similar? Has he not been one of our best players in the middle of the park, when fit? Boggles the damn mind. Nothing against Essien, but Mikel truly deserved this one. Also, and it has to be said once again, where the hell is Oriol?
- Thoroughly enjoyed Didier smacking a free kick into the face of Scott Parker. Could watch that on repeat all afternoon. Speaking of FK's, this might well be the sixth or seventh time this season Juan has hit the post on one. If this was FIFA, I'd just course correct and be done with it. But if you're doing this on a consistent basis, then you know you just have to take a bit of steam off the shot. Juan, that's a few easy goals you could have. Shame.
- Gary Cahill with the off-the-line clearance. At this rate, he's going to take the reigns of the defense from John when he decides to hang them up. And on this evidence, I wouldn't complain in the slightest. Dude is an ox.
- Withstanding the onslaught of chances that we incurred was no small feat, and credit has to be given to the defense for their efforts. But we remain profligate once again in front of goal- the story of our season.
- If we're going to get anything out of our Benfica match, then we need to figure out what ails us and sharpish. Maybe go back and watch the Napoli tapes again. Whatever. Just sort it out and get going. If we want to play in the CL next season, our best bet now is to win the damn competition. Yikes.