Another day, another defeat. Another expected defeat, even.
Expected by the fans, and, based on what we saw, by the players themselves as well.
There was a banner at the start that welcomed “home” Frank Lampard. But this home is in a bit of a state at the moment.
Only one team came to win at the Bridge today, and not the one dressed in Blue. Only one team played with the belief of winners. Only one team played like a team. Only one team played like this meant something.
That one team had more shots, 26, than any other visiting team at Stamford Bridge in a Premier League match, the most since those records have been kept (since 2003-04).
26 - Chelsea faced 26 shots in their 2-1 defeat against Brighton, their most on record (since 2003-04) in a Premier League home match. Dominated. pic.twitter.com/za98wmtYhN— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 15, 2023
You might say that Brighton do indeed have something tangible to fight for. They have an outside shot at the top-four and a very good shot at the top-six. Europe beckons for the first time in their history.
The only thing that beckons for us is the sweet release of the end of the season. Seven more games to grind through, plus Tuesday’s second leg.
Brighton also played like the team who have lost just twice in 2023. We played like the
team random collection of individuals who have won just four times in that same four-month period, during which we’ve had two six-match winless streaks (including the current one), to follow on from a one win in nine (with seven defeats) run across the World Cup.
“More than defeats, it’s performance we’ve got to talk about. Wins only come with performance [and] we were short. A yard short, a tackle short, a fighting duel moment short and when that’s not right you’re not going to win games. [...] Today’s performance wasn’t worthy of a win.”
Winning is a habit. Losing is also a habit, and one that’s a lot harder to break.
Whoever comes in next has a massive job on his hands. Whatever Conte did in 2016; double that.
“You have to have the capacity to do [...] as well as the desire and at the minute we’re falling short on that and need to turn it around quickly. [...] There can be some mitigating factors at the moment with some of the change [but] it can’t be an excuse. It just has to be a factor you fight against to get where you want to be.
“From today’s performance it’s clear. I’m not going to dress today’s performance up. I don’t think the players would want me to. I’m not hanging the players out to dry because I see there’s talent in that room. It’s the Premier League so you have to have the extra bits and we were short of those today.
“[I’m not] questioning a player’s character — there can be many reasons why a player may not be performing at the limit for whatever reason. I think those ones are always constants. [But] we have to work on it now and then build to having a team where you’re saying ‘it’s full of character’. There’s so much to that.
“[...] I can’t say ‘not a bad a game, we didn’t deserve to lose’. I don’t think the players would expect anything else. I know, I could see it in their faces at the end of the game. The only thing that matters is the reaction. That’s what matters until the end of the season, the reaction [...] What matters is what we deliver on the pitch. [We] have to play with that energy and fight. That’s the bare minimum.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Football.London
Of course, the most Chelsea thing ever would now be a 3-0 win on Tuesday. Todd Boehly, where ya at?