Late in the game yesterday, leading 3-0 already, Chelsea won a second penalty in quick succession. Jorginho converted the first one as usual, but on this second one, Tammy Abraham quickly grabbed the ball and tried to take the penalty himself. A discussion of sort ensued, before club captain Cesar Azpilicueta stepped in and put everyone back in their places, handing the ball to Jorginho again, who scored, again.
It was a silly sequence of events but one that was easy to latch onto in post-match coverage. Drama! Palpable discord! Forgetting that this happens with some regularity in football! And so on.
In his press conference, head coach Frank Lampard explained that we are a civilized football society, with structure and rules and designated penalty takers. And there is no wiggle room.
“Yes, I can clear it up, I think Tammy with maybe his youthful exuberance and the performance that he had in the game that was very good, made a bit of a mistake and he wanted to take the penalty.
“It is not [right]. We have a designated penalty taker and you saw it with the first penalty. It has been dealt with in the dressing room but no problem either.”
Lampard was perhaps reminded of his own famous incident back in 2010, when he didn’t let Didier Drogba take the penalty on the final day of the season even though we were already leading 1-0 against Wigan Athletic and Didier was locked in a tight race for the Golden Boot with Wayne Rooney. Chelsea, who needed the win to confirm the title, would go on to win 8-0 that day, with Drogba grabbing a second-half hat-trick — including a penalty to make it 6-0, with Lampard giving up his designated opportunity.
Good things come to those who wait, right? You do want your strikers to want to score as many goals as possible after all.
Another slightly silly point after the game (and during it as well, even in commentary) was the languages spoken (or not spoken, as it were) in the Chelsea defense. This was fueled in part by pre-match comments from Reece James that were blown way out of proportion.
“[Thiago Silva’s] English is not the best yet so sometimes it’s a little bit harder to communicate but there’s loads of other players who can speak both languages and he’s helped us all a lot.
“You can tell he’s a leader by the way he carries himself around the building and in training. He talks and helps everyone with his experience.”
-Reece James; source: Goal
With Thiago Silva ostensibly the defensive leader and organizer, and goalkeeper Edouard Mendy also trying to communicate, things could indeed get awkward. Of course, every one of the back seven (two midfielders, four defenders, and one goalkeeper) bar one spoke either French (Kante, Mendy, Zouma, Azpi) or Portuguese (Jorginho), or both (Silva). Ben Chilwell was the man in the dark, though he seemed to get on just fine.
Football, the universal language! Right, boss?
“I don’t know about Ben learning it and it has been a long time since I spoke French at school. I think it is a position we are in. Edou speaks good English too, to be fair. It is the position we are in with Kurt and Thiago straight in front of him that he can speak French, Azpi does as well. But, I think we will get there very quickly with that.
“The organisation and focus of the back four, plus Edou today was very good regardless of language and it is a big bonus for us because we know we are bringing new players into the team. The back five is where you want to be solid and you want to see it settle quickly. Today, it looked good.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Football.London
We already know that Silva’s learning English, so this certainly shouldn’t be an issue going forward.