In what was an atypically poor performance by the Blues against (one of) the worst teams in the Premier League — last season, Chelsea dropped just 7 points all season to teams outside of the top six — oft-scapegoated club captain Gary Cahill was one of the few players who managed to put in a not completely atrocious performance (ed. note: hilarious fish-tackle aside).
Unfortunately, that alone was not enough to translate to a win for the club, leaving him just as frustrated as the rest of the Chelsea viewing public.
"We have got many international players here who were away. And there are people who came back at different times in the week, which isn’t ideal for the manager I’m sure, but that’s part and parcel. We need to be ready, we need to be more lively than that, and with the basics, second balls, things like that, we were missing out on. It’s unlike us."
"It was a good start from them, and bad start from our point of view, but we have got enough experience in there. We went 1-0 down and that’s not the end of the world. We got back into it and from then on we should have gone to second and third gear. We could have settled the game down but we never did. Conceding on the stroke of half-time is the worst time to concede."
"We tried to put pressure on and commit bodies forward, and we had our spells, but chances wise it was few and far between. It was a frustrating day."
While there certainly was plenty of difference between the two teams in terms of international commitments the fortnight prior — not one of Palace’s starting eleven had to contend with the additional workload — none of that should’ve been reason enough for Chelsea’s sluggish and disjointed performance, especially as other than Bakayoko, the squad should’ve been well familiar with each other as well as with the 3-4-3 scheme and all its intricacies. Injuries aside, Chelsea fielded as strong a lineup as possible and that just added to the frustrations brought on by the terrible performance.
"At this moment in time we are not having the best of luck with injuries. We are in a difficult moment in terms of missing players. It’s not a huge squad and that plays a part, but nevertheless we have got enough out there to produce a much better performance than what we did. The effort was there but the quality? We can definitely do better than that."
"We are massively disappointed first and foremost with the result but also the quality of the performance we put in. We need to do more. The best thing when you have a performance like that is to play as soon as possible. We have got an important game coming up midweek and we know we can do better."
-Gary Cahill; Source: Chelsea FC
In any case, there’s little time (or use) for wallowing in self-pity. The one advantage of the busy schedule is that at least we have a new match to worry about almost immediately after the old one ends. And so we turn our attentions back to the Champions League and potentially pivotal match against Roma where a win could all but ensure that Chelsea qualify for the knockout rounds.
P.S.: I present thee, Gary Cahill, fish.