There are a number of reasons we lost to City in the FA Cup semi-final. There was the unlucky black kit (will Chelsea ever learn?), there was Foy’s appalling refereeing display, the fact that in the last five weeks City have played a leisurely five games, where we have played eleven – in fact at this point in the season, we have played fifteen games more than City; they also have a far more potent strike force – and better players in almost every position.
But the main reason we lost the game is that we decided to play for only the last half hour of the match. Until that point, the City keeper was a spectator – he may as well not have even been on the pitch – he could have quite happily taken a seat in the stands and munched an over-priced hot dog so little was he needed.
Even when we managed to get within range of the goal, there seemed to be a reluctance to shoot – instead we had to watch our team passing from side to side to side to side – it was infuriating.
I do have to expand on Foy’s performance – the two footed assault on Luiz apparently did not even merit a yellow – it was an absolutely treacherous tackle – a straight red. If you were under any illusion that that was deliberate – just look at Aguero’s face as he walks away from the attack – a look of satisfaction on his face. Then there was Kompany – obviously was so keen for the game to end that he wanted to swap shirts with Torres well before the end of the match and in the penalty box – but that was OK by Foy too it seems.
Indeed, City seemed free to hack down our players with virtual impunity for the majority of the game. I am not saying that we would have won the game, but City visibly grew in confidence as Foy waved play on every time they fouled one of our players.
That said, our team looked devoid of ideas – there looked to be precious little in terms of a game plan. City looked organised – all their players knew what their job was and were played in their optimum positions. They are also a big & powerful team – I’ve said it before but they remind me so much of what we were like under Mourinho.
It is certainly something we will need to address in the new season. Teams that are predominantly small, tricky and creative do not win the Premier League (not that we have looked particularly creative in the last few weeks). They are usually built around a robust spine – with Drogba gone, Lampard seemingly out of here and Terry now a B team regular, we need to rebuild. It isn’t going to be easy with so many teams now able to compete financially with us for the big names. A task that will also get exponentially more difficult should we not qualify for the Champions League.
So Benitez has now managed to successfully negotiate us out of almost all competitions – and our patchy league form has now allowed Arsenal to catch us and the gap between us and the top two become totally unbridgeable.
There seems to be a silent pact between supporters and manager at the moment – we still hate him but most vocal dissent has ceased on the understanding that it is now a matter of weeks until he goes.
The thing is, I’m not sure he’s going. The media who were so sure that Mourinho was returning to the arms of those that adore him, are suddenly not so sure.
We have also been asked to renew our season tickets even earlier than we have had to in recent years well before the end of the season – even though there is a real possibility of another European final to pay for. Why? Why so early? Are they afraid that a very unwelcome piece of news may leak out?
I know I’m paranoid – but this club is capable of such deceit – remember these are the same people that tried to convince us that Avram Grant was a viable replacement for Jose Mourinho, these are the people that bought Benitez to our club knowing full well that the supporters despised him, these are the same people who sack managers in corridors or at 4 o’clock in the morning…..I would put nothing past them.
What if they would not give Mourinho the autonomy that I’m sure he would have demanded? What if no other viable candidates fancy the role – what then? It’s all just too depressing to contemplate.
Benitez and those that run our club have made the last few months a joyless time to be supporting Chelsea – I can only pray that someone, somewhere in the ivory towers at Stamford Bridge appreciate just how strongly supporters feel about the Benitez issue – otherwise there may be quite a few empty seats around come next season……
Posted by Trizia