Three defeats in a row at our former fortress of Stamford Bridge. Long gone are those days by the way, I can’t remember the last time teams used to come to The Bridge knowing a win would be near impossible. Depressing.
But it isn’t just the defeats, it’s the fact we have conceded ELEVEN goals in those three defeats, and we are in a stupidly inconsistent run of form. In fact, we’ve been this way all season if you really deep it.
We had three good performances in a row and we play VERY well. We all think this is it now we are ticking and purring and will beat anything in front of us. Then we turn in a first half performance like Crystal Palace at the weekend, and then an even more shocking one against one of our closest local rivals in our own stadium. Shocking.
Scrolling Twitter after the game and the inevitable happened – fans reacted without perspective and without balance. One side were fully pinning blame just on the players, the other side were putting it all on Thomas Tuchel. The reality is and is so often the case, after a defeat like this there is never just one or two reasons, it is a collective issue and the fact is we can pin blame on BOTH the players AND Tuchel last night, as well as the board. It really frustrates me why people cannot look at these things with balance?
Tuchel got the selection wrong there are no two ways about it. I hear the arguments – Malang Sarr is the only left centre back available to replace an injured Antonio Rudiger and I get that. However, Andreas Christensen can and has played left centre back before and although he was atrocious last night, I would have him out there ahead of Sarr who let’s be honest, doesn’t look much more than Championship quality.
Trevoh Chalobah has played left centre back before, Cesar Azpilicutea has played left back before, we could have even reverted to a back four just to play our strongest available line-up, but we didn’t. There were options, and Tuchel failed to see them. Sarr would be my absolute last choice for any position on the pitch and to be honest.
But more than all of that, this defeat is on the players. Individual errors, heads dropping, weak mentalities, not standing up when we are down, crying off at half-time, not being as up for it as our opponents were – there is no excuse for all of that against our London rivals in a game where it might not have been the be all and end all, but it was still a very important game for our top four race.
But as well as the players and some questionable decisions from Tuchel, it’s also on the board. Not backing Tuchel in the summer and again in January is totally on the board and I raised my concerns on that at the time and many tried to play that down, a penny for their thoughts now? Because nothing could convince me at the time that Tuchel had been sufficiently backed in January so there is absolutely no chance in doing that now.
We had two of our key players injured in positions that are pinnacle to how Tuchel plays. So, we recall Kenedy, a player who was never going to make it at Chelsea anyway, and we rely on Malang Sarr, who clearly isn’t good enough.
The board failed Tuchel in January and expected him to still bring us success. He’s worked miracles with what he has got if you ask me, absolute miracles. To think we can still win a trophy this season (although facing Liverpool now strikes fear in me) is unbelievable!
The fact is, it’s always more than one reason, more than two reasons in fact, and last night was down to tactics, as Tuchel even admitted after the game himself, and down to the players being weak-minded once again when the heat is turned up on them.