Chelsea’s disappointing 2-1 defeat at the hands of Crystal Palace yesterday revealed quite a lot and after Antonio Conte had a sleepless night he no doubt dwelt on what went wrong in South London. First consideration should have been his team selection. With injuries depleting what was already a squad light on numbers, and the games coming thick and fast, squad rotation is everything.
As has been noted many times recently on this site, Gary Cahill and Willian, in particular, are struggling for any sort of form. But it wasn`t just them. In truth, after this loss, it`s more a collective failure of form that triggered this sad demise. As a defender, our captain, probably gets off lighter than Willian, who is on the field to score or create.
Recent years have seen a number of English players at Chelsea picked for the national squad. Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole, John Terry, Joe Cole and Gary Cahill have all appeared for their country.
Peter Osgood: 4 caps
Peter Osgood never had the chance to reach his full potential as an international footballer. Playing in the 1960s and 70s in an area of London that personified the ‘swinging sixties’, Ossie – as he was affectionately nicknamed – along with some of his teammates, would have found themselves very much the centre of attention.
Following on from the recent article outlining why Gary Cahill doesn’t deserve to be continually battered on social media, there was to be an article to follow defending Willian. In the words of Michael Jackson, this is it. My argument for not giving our Captain clog, is that during his time at the club, he deserves more respect. There`s no need to ‘hate-on’ our own players.
The same goes for Willian, he may be struggling for form at the moment, but two season’s ago during Jose Mourinho’s ‘annus horribilis’ he was the stand out player by far. I was following today’s game on Twitter, my timeline was filled with ‘Willian’ bile. The guy is out of form, like today’s defeat, it happens.
As Chelsea failed to deliver anything against a powerful Manchester City side this evening, Antonio Conte and his Chelsea side have truly been given a reality check. The Blues were comprehensively outplayed in their own backyard. City bought their own ball and wouldn’t give Chelsea a touch. This was probably a case of one game too many for Chelsea.
It’s easy to pile on the criticism, but following a busy schedule of games through September we could probably have done without the last one being against City. For once, the tedious international break has come at a good time. Chelsea’s next game is in two weeks time when a visit to Crystal Palace, is on the cards. It will hopefully see a return to winning ways.
Chelsea`s season continues to flourish after all the doubts from August, that now turn to optimism, as the team continue build after that initial Burnley defeat. Two players, though, remain in the firing line. First up is Gary Cahill.
Antonio Conte saw fit, at the beginning of the campaign to name Cahill as his captain. The captain has since been on the receiving end of demands to see him remain on the bench rather take up his captain`s role. It`s true he may have instigated his own downfall, by getting himself sent off just 14 minutes into the first game at home to Burnley.
Next up for Chelsea is trip to Spain where they take on their nemesis Atletico Madrid in the new Wanda Metropolitano stadium. It will be the stadiums` first taste of Champions League football. The two clubs have quite a recent history regarding players who have appeared for both clubs.
Thibaut Courtois, who Chelsea bought from Genk in 2011, had a three year loan spell with Diego Simeone`s side before being recalled by then manager Jose Mourinho prior to the start of the 2014-2015 season. Mourinho opted to oust Petr Cech in favour of the Belgian shot stopper as the Blues no.1 between the sticks.
Chelsea travel to Spain this week to take on Atletico Madrid in the Champions League, where they will face one of their former strikers, Fernando Torres. Comparisons between Morata and Fernando Torres are inevitable. Torres arrived in January 2011 after he submitted a transfer request.
Despite the negative hype in the press, Fernando Torres’ stats during his subsequent time at Chelsea were pretty good. Even though he never reached the so-called heights we are led to believe he achieved at Liverpool, Torres did more at Chelsea than he is given credit for.
Chelsea fans once again showed their class in comparison to some of their rivals. Two chants about Alvaro Morata and Romelu Lukaku have made the headlines in recent days.
Both teams had been warned by the anti-discrimination group Kick-It-Out, to do just that. Chelsea supporters` anti-semitic chant was sung for Alvaro Morata and made mention of the ‘Y` word. Morata and Chelsea were very quick to ask fans not to sing it, they have heeded the warning and drew praise from Morata and the club after today`s game at Stoke City.
Chelsea got off to a flyer at the Bet365 stadium, despite the absence of Eden Hazard. Chelsea wasted no time in taking the game to their opponents. Good work by Tiemoue Bakayoko breaking up play had the Blues on for a, now famous, counter-attack.
A through ball by, captain for the day, Cesar Azpilicueta, found Alvaro Morata on the left side of the penalty area, where he unleashed a right footed shot across the keeper and into the bottom right-hand corner just two minutes into the game. Morata puts to bed the theory that he can only score with his head. That`s four goals and two assists in six premier league starts for Spaniard.
The good times are returning to Stamford Bridge, unbeaten in all competitions since the first game blip against Burnley, and with wantaway striker Diego Costa finally leaving. Antonio Conte, it could be argued, got his team selection and tactics wrong in the Arsenal game, but in a busy month of football there`s not much time to dwell upon it.
Saturday afternoon, Chelsea travel to the Bet365 stadium to take on Stoke City, who have had a mixed start to the season. An home win against Arsenal and a draw with Manchester United prove it will not be a walkover for Antonio Conte`s side.