Improvement and Patience.
Chelsea’s winning run came to an end as we lost to Manchester City by 2 goals to 1 at the Etihad on Saturday night. It was a game of one half really as the 2nd half yielded no goals and was quite flat. Lampard selected a strong lineup with Kepa starting in goal, Emerson, Tomori, Zouma, and Azpilicueta made up the back four and Jorginho, Kovacic, and Kante started in midfield with Mount dropped. Pulisic, Willian, and Tammy started up front for the Blues. Pep also selected a strong side making 5 changes in total from his loss to Liverpool with David Silva, Cancelo, Ederson all returning.
The game started off in Chelsea’s favour as we dominated play and possession, De Bruyne had an early break away moment in which he narrowly missed the goal. Tammy then latched onto a loose ball and played it into the path of Willan whose shot also narrowly missed the goal. Chelsea though continued to dominate and a great pass from Kovacic caught the run of Kante in the 21st minute who finished past Ederson to give Chelsea the lead. It was deserved as Chelsea were the better team. Chelsea continued to create chances but once again our own mistakes led to us losing our lead. Jorginho had a loose pass which was latched onto by a City player who passed it into De Bruyne whose deflected shot ended up past Kepa in the 29th minute. Chelsea looked a bit frazzled and City had a lifeline, the 37th minute then saw Mahrez dribble past Kovacic, and Emerson and score a brilliant solo effort to give City the lead. Chelsea had no reply as we went into half time at 2-1.
The 2nd half saw less intensity from both sides as neither felt like they wanted to score. Reece James came on for Emerson around the 60th minute mark and immediately showed why he should have started the game while Mount and Michy came on for Jorginho, and Tammy at the 70th minute mark. Michy had little to no impact while Mount was lively but Chelsea could not break City down. City had a late goal ruled out by VAR as it deemed Sterling offside although it was really close and another VAR joke. The result might have gone in City’s favour but generally Chelsea played really well and for the first time in his 381 game career had a Pep team had less possession. The silly mistakes are costing us but the improvement is clear especially after losing 6-0 last year.
Player wise Kepa was shaky, his distribution was poor not to mention the chance he gifted Aguero after passing right into the Argentines path whose effort hit the post. Could Kepa have done better for the goals I am not sure but overall he needs to gain confidence, he did make some good saves though. Emerson had an off game but defensively even his poor performances are better than Alonso’s. Tomori was decent, he did misplace a few passes and was caught napping at times. Zouma was probably the best out of the back four and again had a positive game. Azpilicueta made some vital interceptions and blocks throughout the game and if he has to start then maybe he should be switched to left back with Reece at right. Jorginho had a poor game as he also was caught misplacing his passes although the first 20 minutes were good. Kovacic did well throughout the game and got Chelsea out of tight positions as well as providing the assist for Kante’s goal. Kante was great once again and continues to show he is not just a defensive midfielder, he did look tired towards the end as he perhaps lacks full match fitness. Pulisic had a good first 30-45 minutes but had not real impact in the 2nd 45, the same can be said for Willian although Willian did miss a fair few chances while also holding onto the ball for long periods of time. Tammy was great off the ball and maybe lacked service from the wingers in this game. Mount and Reece positively impacted the game while Michy not so much.
Chelsea now face a tough trip to Valencia in the Champions League as we look to qualify for the knockout stages of the competition. We have a favourable run in the league now and so we need to go on another good streak before we face Tottenham on the 22nd. COME ON YOU BLUES!!!