Another day, another dominating performance, another loss. Four losses in the last five away games and the golden chance lost to go level with fourth-placed Arsenal on points and one point behind third-placed Spurs.
For the second time this season, Chelsea failed to beat Everton but this time, it was worse. Unlike last time, we couldn’t even muster a draw.
According to under-pressure Chelsea manager, Maurizio Sarri, the problem behind Chelsea’s inability to break into the top four and consistently deliver results is a psychological one.
“I think the situation is clear. We played probably the best 45 minutes of the season and then suddenly at the beginning of the second half we stopped to play, without defending so we were in trouble. The situation is clear. The situation is not a physical problem because if it is you go down gradually, not one second. It is difficult for the players to explain the change.
“At the moment this is our limit. If we are able to play with consistency then it is a big problem. We lost a similar match to Wolverhampton. For us it is a big limit.
Apart from whatever hidden psychological issues the squad may have, the one obvious, glaring weakness that we definitely have is our horrendous finishing.
A misfiring striker is obviously the first one to take the blame but other players aren't absolved. Chances wasted are not just a result of bad finishing but also the result of lack of movement from other players.
Good movement leads to space creation and that increases the quality of chances created as well as the possibility of converting those chances into goals. At the moment, we have neither in abundance.
“You have to take your chances, we had six or seven opportunities. We had only to score. First of all we needed to stay into the match.
“In this moment, yes of course [Higuain is struggling]. Today he had an opportunity. Too few for him I think. He can do more. He had problems at the beginning of the week so today it was normal he could only play for 65 minutes. He has to improve physically and mentally.”
As mentioned before, this was Chelsea’s golden chance to catch up in the top four battle but we let it slip. In fact, two Premier League matches in a row now, the Blues have failed to grab a victory as we drew against Wolves last week. Winning both these matches would have kept Chelsea sitting pretty in third, two points ahead of Spurs.
Is it all over then? Not quite. Chelsea is still only three points off fourth place Arsenal and Spurs seem to be dropping points left, right and center but we must start winning Premier League games.
It’s all well and good smashing small teams in Europa League but it’s a cup competition and as such, anything can happen but we need to start beating the Wolves, Evertons and Bournemouths of this world.
“If you are speaking about the second half you are right, the first half we can do anything. If we play eight matches like the first half then we can do everything. I am worried about the mentality but we played the best 45 minutes of the season without conceding a shot. If we play the second half then we are in trouble. Today was important for us, so now we have less opportunities. We have to fight.
“It is not impossible. Why impossible? It is not impossible in eight matches. It is if we cannot improve and avoid a second half like today. We need to play like the first half for eight matches.”
-Maurizio Sarri; Source: Football.London
Next up, an international break, a perfect time for the squad to regroup and improve, after which there is an away game against Cardiff City in Premier League. Must win.