Chelsea have fallen another step behind in the title race with last night’s 1-1 draw against Everton, with the Blues now trailing Manchester City by four points and Liverpool by three points after 17 matches played, and 21 matches to go — assuming they all get played and we don’t see a stoppage or worse due to the once again escalating COVID situation.
That’s hardly a disastrous gap, though it might feel like one with City currently invincible and Liverpool not far off, having won seven and six league games in a row, respectively. During that same span, Chelsea have won just three of our last seven Premier League games, dropping nine points in total. Again, not disastrous, but certainly not good enough at the moment.
On the plus side, yesterday’s troubles were a bit more familiar than our recent defensive woes. Chelsea kept Everton well contained for practically the entire match, conceding only due to a defensive lapse on a set piece. These things happen. The bigger issue was not taking advantage of multiple fantastic opportunities, especially in the first half — xG alone doesn’t tell the whole story, but it paints a pretty clear picture in this case.
Chelsea (3.47) 1-1 (0.54) Everton— The xG Philosophy (@xGPhilosophy) December 16, 2021
We can blame other things, we can blame individuals, we can blame injuries, we can blame the virus, we can blame whoever. But if we don’t finish our chances, we’re not going to go anywhere fast.
“Of course (it is frustrating) to give away another lead. If we see the effort we bring in a match like this, the effort we need to score one goal and the effort the opponent needs to score an equaliser — it is hard to swallow.
“We missed big chances to get the result in the first half and second half we did not find the rhythm consistently and tried to bring on some energy from the bench, but it was hard. We had the lead and give it away with one free-kick.
“Football is almost never like one reason why things go this way, but one big reason is for sure the chances we missed today. We could have been two or three up and were playing with fire. It is obvious we missed a lot of players, big personalities, regular starters, but we will not use it as an excuse.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: BT Sport via BBC
With Romelu Lukaku, Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, and Callum Hudson-Odoi (and already injured Ben Chilwell, too) all testing positive prior to the match, and now set to miss at least ten days, it’s up to the rest of the team to find it within themselves to finish a chance or two or three.
We go again Sunday, away at Wolves — one of the few games that hasn’t (yet) been postponed this weekend.