Chelsea’s appalling record at Goodison Park continued yesterday in a 1-0 defeat that featured everything frustrating and nothing not-frustrating, including yet another gift of a goal to the opposition, largely non-incisive attacking play, and some wondersaves from their goalkeeper when we did manage to create a few chances.
Thomas Tuchel laid into his charges in his post-match interview, and one can only imagine what the reaction was behind the scenes: probably quite emotional! Midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who was the only change to the starting lineup from Thursday when Chelsea got a disappoint result at Old Trafford but actually played quite well other than forgetting to score, agreed with his manager.
“It’s up to us as individuals to tune in and sharpen up as a team together. Getting everyone ready for the game, these are basics in football. If you don’t have these basics, you will struggle like we have the last four games. This is not Chelsea standard at all. Our concentration levels were not good enough.
“We want top four but we cannot perform like that with other teams doing well around us. We need wins. It is hard to process it right now and we will look back at it once the emotions have calmed down”
-Ruben Loftus-Cheek; source: Chelsea FC
It would be easy to point the finger at César Azpilicueta for a most rare individual error, but he’s just latest in what seems to be a contagious condition in the squad. Old and young, experienced or new, no one seems immune.
And while it may have been wise to rotate the squad from Thursday, the last time Tuchel tried that, we lost 4-2 to Arsenal at the Bridge. You can understand his hesitation. And it’s not like the subs made much difference, unlike against West Ham, though perhaps Romelu Lukaku should’ve been one of the two put on in the second half. (We had to use up the third sub at half-time for Jorginho, who apparently suffered a knock.)
“We had to take Jorgi off [at half time], and I only had three changes.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London
Instead, neither Hakim Ziyech nor Christian Pulisic were able to impact the result, with the latter’s father then going on a (now deleted) Twitter rant about his son’s “sad” situation, having not started any of the seven games since the first leg 1-3 defeat at home against Real Madrid. Not as sad as the scoreline, Mark! (Also, putting too much stock into what a parent says is never a good idea, especially one as chatty as this guy.)
In any case, with the cushion over Arsenal in fourth now down to just three points and the cushion over Spurs in fifth down to just five, it’s time to regroup and refocus for Saturday’s game against Wolves. Obviously, the vibes are not great right now and the season’s end cannot come soon enough, but we have to grind out these last four games — while ideally also coming up with a stellar performance in the FA Cup final.
Onwards and upwards!