Chelsea had been flirting with the 50-goal conceded mark for the past few games, a number more befitting a mid-table team than a top-four side, and on Wednesday, blew past it without too much trouble, conceding not once, not twice, not three times, not even four times ... but FIVE times in 90 minutes.
The 54 total is now one more than we conceded in The Season That Shall Not Be Named, and only one behind the 55 conceded in 1996-97 and 1994-95 for most in the Premier League era. Any bets on Chelsea being able to keep a clean sheet against Wolves on Sunday in the final match of the season?
Didn’t think so.
The failing are collective and run deep, which means that the appropriate fixes also involve multiple avenues. One of those is adding new (and hopefully better) options in defense and defensive midfield. Few fit the bill better than former Chelsea prospect Declan Rice. He’s good, he’s young, he’s versatile, he’s going to get better, he has connections within the club already, and we should be able to convince him. He’d cost a pretty penny, but that’s standard. Good cheap solutions are not easy to find.
Of course, West Ham will not let him go easily, and are working hard to convince him that his long-term future still lies with the Hammers, despite their limited ambitions. Manager David Moyes explained this confidently prior to their match on Wednesday, a surprising 1-1 draw against Manchester United, which confirmed their Premier League surival (and also helped Chelsea).
“I am confident he will be here because he is under contract, but whatever club you are at, even the biggest clubs sell their best players at the right value. My intention is not to sell Declan at all, my intention is to keep him.
“We can’t stop other clubs making offers but I’m guessing you [the media] will speculate, but the truth is we have had no offers for anybody. He is a really good player and I see him helping us, I hope that he sees what we are trying to add which will make him excited about being at West Ham.
“Declan was reassured when he signed a five-year contract, when you do that you decide you are committed to the club. If somebody then turns up and offers you a bundle of cash, that’s the club’s decision.
“I think Declan is the future captain of West Ham going forward. When Mark Noble comes to an end I think it will be Declan Rice. We have no intention of letting him go but if it does come it will need to be ‘Bank of England’ money.”
-David Moyes; source: Sky
I’m not sure how much “Bank of England” money may be, but previous rumors were guessing in the region of £70m.
Over to you, Bank of Abramovich.