One certainly cannot accuse Saturday’s game between Chelsea and Southampton as boring, with both sides playing high octane football in the pouring rain at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea took the lead early, failed to build on it, missed a couple great chances, got victimized by VAR, then gave up a silly equalizer in the second half before VAR intervened the other way upgrading James Ward-Prowse’s yellow card to a red, and we won it late with two goals in the final ten minutes against ten men.
Phew! We all got our money’s worth out of this one, I think!
Thomas Tuchel was rightly pleased with the win, especially after all that drama, and with all his changes paying off in the end (both in terms of the lineup and in terms of substitutions).
“This was absolutely a deserved win. It was a good victory and it was an entertaining game of football because Southampton were also strong. In my opinion, we did everything to deserve the win.
“We scored some late goals and really we could have won the game a lot earlier. We had some chances in the first half that we either didn’t take or were disallowed and this is how it is but overall we deserved to win.”
Chelsea had two goals disallowed in the first half, the first correctly as Romelu Lukaku was offside, but the second rather controversially, those say the least.
Initially given, Timo Werner’s goal was eventually ruled out by referee Martin Atkinson after VAR Mike Dean had suggested that he take a second look. But it was not at all clear that César Azpilicueta’s supposed “foul” on Kyle Walker-Peters was during the actual build-up to the goal — not to mention that it was such a soft foul that even Walker-Peters himself didn’t think to appeal for it. While that shouldn’t be the determining factor in whether something is a foul or not, it’s a pretty good indication that it was not exactly nailed on.
In any case, the bigger problem was that the play had moved on to a second or even third phase. Only the two referees seemed to think otherwise, much to Tuchel’s frustration.
“I was more frustrated to have the second goal taken away from us for almost no reason. If you score a second before half-time, you probably see the game off but at only 1-0, there is a danger they can come back into it.
“I did not see it as a foul from Azpi. We had talks here before the season where everybody said we want to go back to “English football” and not give fouls all the time for soft touches. It was raining, people were slipping and the passage of play had moved onto into a second and third phase before the goal so that’s why I was frustrated because we went back to something that was not the decisive action for the goal. I have zero understanding of why this goal was disallowed.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Chelsea FC
The reason that goal was disallowed is pretty simple of course: refereeing incompetence. Just another selling point of The Best League In The World™.
Fortunately, we were able to overcome not only our opponents but the crusty old men with bad vision and even worse decisions, to finish the night back on top of the league (pending tomorrow’s result between Manchester City and Liverpool).