New week of Premier League football but the same old script. Once again, Chelsea failed to make the most of the chances created, succumbed to set pieces, and failed to capitalise on slip-ups from teams above us in the table.
Frank Lampard was hardly alone in expressing his frustrations afterwards, as Chelsea made Bournemouth look like peak AC Milan, and not just because of their black-and-red-striped shirt. We can only hope to achieve that mythical minimum level of required consistency!
“It’s possibly mixed emotion. You can be happy with the reaction and the fact that we score to draw but over the whole game I think we should win it. We started slow but then when we got to grips with it, all we had to do was play the simple pass, move it quickly and they would struggle with our wing-backs and struggle to get to our centre-halves.
“We kept coming away from it but generally we controlled the game in the first half. We could have gone 2-0 up in the second half early on but don’t take that chance. For the set-piece, you have to credit the jump sometimes because it was a great leap but our reaction after that wasn’t tough or instant enough, and the second goal I didn’t like at all.
“At half-time we were very aware of what could happen. Eddie Howe is a fantastic manager so they were always going to come out with more aggression in the way they pressed and got after us because we were very comfortable. It’s frustrating when you say that a lot at half-time and then that happens in the second half.”
The last time Chelsea got a back to back league win was at the start of November.— CarefreeYouth (@CarefreeYouth) February 29, 2020
Chelsea may have some nice stats to show from this game, but the only stat that matters at the end of the day is the final score.
Chelsea not being clinical enough at either end of the pitch is hardly a new story, and individual mistakes and shortcomings have been the bane of Chelsea’s goalscoring and defensive record all season, but at some point, the individual data points add up to an overall trend that reflects badly on the coaching staff as well.
Perhaps better drilling from Lampard and his staff on the training ground is as important as the players being alert on the field.
“Everyone wants to point to the defence and we work all week on that even though it’s hard to create actual situations like someone out-jumping your man or someone diving in and getting done when they shouldn’t do it at the back.
“At the same time, if you’re going to create 23 chances and have balls flashing across the face of goal - they’re chances we have to stick away. That’s what creates the nervousness. At 1-0, Bournemouth are in the game but at 2-0 I think we start to control it and finish the game off. I say that a lot but it’s a clear part of our season.
“We really are striving for a little run of form where it’s win, win, win. That’s where we haven’t been for a while and that’s where we have to really dig in. If you have 73 per cent possession and 23 shots in a game but don’t win then there are question marks in both boxes.”
On a more positive note, it's no secret that Marcos Alonso turns into prime Roberto Carlos whenever asked to play as a wingback, and he continued his good form in the league with a fantastic brace of goals to earn Chelsea a point.
No defender has scored more goals (17) or had more goal involvements (28 - 17 goals, 11 assists) than Marcos Alonso since he joined Chelsea in 2016.— LDN ⚽️ (@LDNFootbalI) February 29, 2020
What a threat from wing-back. pic.twitter.com/2gzK8WBnSP
Alonso divides opinions and for valid reasons but there is no denying that he has been clutch for Chelsea on more than one occasion and today was no different. But while Lampard acknowledged the wing-backs contributions, the over-reliance on goals from non-attackers isn’t necessarily a good thing.
“I’m very happy for Marcos Alonso but when my left-back is the one scoring the two goals and scoring our last goal in the league as well - and we’re creating that many chances in between - you have to question why we’re not finishing them.
“I’ve been really pleased with Marcos. He’s always had that since he’s been at Chelsea, he’s got a great record of scoring goals. It’s great technique for the first one, great anticipation for the second and he almost gets a third as well in the box at the end.
“I can’t ask anymore from players that don’t play regularly than they are professional, they train well, they keep their head down and do the right things then come in and perform like that. He’s a great example for the younger players.”
- Frank Lampard; source: Chelsea FC
I'm fairness, Alonso's always been a striker stuck in a wing-back's body. Would anyone complain if he were to start up front instead? Doubtful.
Alas, it is what it is. Onwards, and hopefully upwards!