Kalidou Koulibaly has not lived up to expectations since joining the club in the summer — far from it — but he has provided one of the better moments of the season already, the goal against Spurs (before we got jobbed out of those three points), and for a hot second last night, it looked like his second goal for Chelsea might spark something as well.
It was yet another set piece effort, slightly less spectacular than the first, but instead of a spark, things went quite quickly downhill instead. Denis Zakaria, midfield-holding-togetherer went off injured, then João Félix, attack-holding-togetherer was sent off for a reckless challenge.
Fulham scoring a winning goal against 10 men felt inevitable. Many of the same players were essential in winning against Leicester City with 10 men earlier this season, but those motivations have long disappeared down the drain, along with expectations, ambitions, accountabilities, and consequences.
Sure, we still pay lip service to such formerly essential ideals, but when push comes to shove, they are nowhere to be found. How can we keep believing in such uninspiring leadership? On evidence of our play, we have stopped a long time ago.
But Koulibaly claims the players are still behind the manager — not that he would or could say anything else in this situation anyway. And they could be still be of course; playing for Chelsea right now is like working on a project with no deadlines. Just get it done, whenever is fine. Or don’t; who gives a rat’s ass.
“We know it’s difficult for the supporters. We are going to do everything to change this situation, and I hope the supporters keep believing in this team.
“There is a lot of pressure on the manager and on the team, but everybody is behind the manager. We want to help him and make him proud, it’s difficult at the moment but we’re going to do everything. We are going to help each other, and as a team we are going to keep on working.
“We know we have a lot of injuries, players who are missing. It’s difficult in this moment but we have to keep on working. We cannot stay like this and wait for them to come back to show something else on the pitch. It’s a difficult situation but we can’t complain about that, we just have to work hard and keep on believing.”
-Kalidou Koulibaly; source: Chelsea FC
Well, exactly. Injuries, pressures, whatever other distractions there may be, at the end of the day, we do have to have some results, too. We do have to look like a team with a plan, a strategy, some ideas.
Fulham boss Marco Silva pointed to three things for his side’s rare victory in the West London Derby: “our work, our strategy and our identity”. Can you identify any of those things at Chelsea right now? Maybe start there.