It is often said that “streaks are made to be broken.” And such was the case of the 30-match unbeaten run set off in Chelsea’s encounters with Tottenham, built since then-striker Gary Lineker found a last-minute winner at the Bridge on February 12th, 1990. Almost poetic that such a streak met its demise 28 years later on April 1st, a day filled with as much irony as our misfortunes this season.
Upon analysis of the 3-1 loss over Tottenham thanks to a brace from Dele Alli, the “blame game” will a constant — and utterly tiring — affair. Fingers will be pointed all over, even by manager Antonio Conte. He who despite being directly involved in the debacle, gave a reasonable assessment of what went right and wrong in our defeat to Spurs at home today.
“I think that the performance was good, especially in the first half. I think we played good football, scored only one goal but deserved to finish the first half 2-0 or 3-0 [up]. Instead, we conceded a goal in the last minute of the first half, and that created a bit of problems in our mind.”
“We lost a bit of our confidence. But, despite this, in the second half, we started the game very well. Then we conceded a goal that you can avoid. It was a free ball and I think we made a mistake.”
“Also the third goal, you have to kick the ball into the stand, not concede. But the season is going in this way. Now we have to try and do our best until the end.”
At this point in the Premier League last season, Chelsea had 75 points to Tottenham’s 68, the North London side trying to transform what had been a lone-man race into a two-man challenge — and failing completely in their task. A stark contrast to what is taking place at the moment, with the Blues earning 56 points in 31 games — 11 of those in 10 games since the beginning of 2018 — and Tottenham now 8 points ahead with 64.
In previous times, Conte said that he only won the Premier League only due to his players giving 120% of themselves to the cause. This is clearly not the case this season.
For all his faults, we can never accuse Conte of painting a different figure to what has been clear to the fans. He has always been overt in his ways, as many Juventus fans had told (and warned) upon his arrival at the club. It will not be in the second and perhaps last year of his Chelsea tenure that he will change his ways.
“I’m not worried [about getting sacked]. Honestly. I think that I’m giving — the players are giving — everything this season. We are working very hard to try to have a good season, but I think that, in the end, we are deserving this season. It means that our value is this.”
“We are working very well, very hard, and the commitment of the players is top. Despite this, you stay in this position. We must be a bit worried about this.”
He has never been too optimistic, nor too pessimistic with his outlook. For Conte, it is always about the work put on the pitch to achieve whatever you seek. To fight until the very end.
“I don’t know [if hopes of a top-four finish are gone].”
“On the one hand, we must be realistic and understand the teams that stay ahead of us are going very fast, at great speed. We had a great chance to close the gap with Tottenham and we lost this chance.”
“On the other hand, we have to know that, until the end, we have to try and do our best. To try in these seven games to do everything and try to take a place in the Champions League. But it won’t be easy. We know this.”
-Antonio Conte; Source: ESPN
There are still 7 games left in the Premier League for us, along with the FA Cup semifinals in which we will face Southampton for a spot in the cup finals.
Fight or flight. Time to decide.