The result at Old Trafford infected the vast majority of Chelsea fans with what I call ‘blue fever’ – ‘the fear and sickness of missing out on the double’. Our somehow insurmountable lead at the top which made us seem infallible and out of sight has been cut to four points. Now, it’s game on in the battle for the league and cup double.
Chelsea have been virtually dominant and impenetrable this season, losing just twice in the Premier League since September. However we were completely nullified and well beaten in all areas of the field at Old Trafford, failing even to have a single shot on target.
A key talking point in the game against Manchester United was the relative ease with which José Mourinho’s side shackled Chelsea’s game plan. The Portuguese played a system that restricted our offensive play. Obviously many teams are relentlessly working out tactics to wreck our 3-4-3 system. The latest being Jose Mourinho, who was gushing over his tactical manoeuvering of our system in his press conference which led to our defeat:
“I want to say I was convinced even before the cup [last month’s FA Cup tie between the sides] that controlling the two players that played behind Diego [Costa],” said the former Chelsea manager.
“Sometimes Hazard, sometimes Hazard-Pedro controlling the position of these two players, and controlling the full-backs because they go really deep with two wide men would create them lots of problems.
“And I repeat the same: They are phenomenal in counter-attack, and when they have the ball it’s more difficult for them and when they have the ball we are compact and when they try to play counter-attack we were always in control of these link positions.
“Diego is very dangerous but the two link positions are the two positions we have to control. We did that at Stamford Bridge when we played with 11, with 10 it was more difficult and today we control.”
Analysing the game with a broader view of Jose’s assessment of that game, should Conte switch or stick with our 3-4-3 formation? Here are the pros and cons:
Sadly for Chelsea, we are dropping points, suffering confident hit and losing our lead at the top at a time our when strongest rival, Spurs are in red-hot form. Will it be a good decision to stick with our current system? YES, here is my reason:
Our current form is just a mere blip than a full-blown crisis. The defeat against United made it our second in four games. Quite a berserk statistic and one that could send shivers down the spines of blue fans, but we all need to take a chill pill. The Palace game was a one-off game and just a bad day at the office rather than a bad team performance. Though we made errors, but we also created enough chances to win the game. Then against United, it was just a game of ‘consequential defeat based on disrupted tactical changes’. In other words, the absence of key players led to change in personnel which also killed team chemistry. More so, factor in poor refereeing decisions and we were already doomed as early as the 7th minute of the game. These are the alternative facts in details that could cost just any team their chances of victory. We should trust Conte to deal with the dirty details that could upset our current system.
Quite rightly, we were insipid and toothless at Palace and United and a switch in formation in the same surgical manner as when we lost to rivals Arsenal and Liverpool in September might just be the doctor’s prescription at the moment. Here’s my reason:
We’ve been found out and need to act fast before opposition teams turn our beautiful season into an ugly won. José’s public giveaway of a blueprint for beating us must have gone viral and let’s expect more teams to try it out. More so, the inability of fringe players to provide adequate cover for key first team players who are absent through either injury or suspension is another reason to consider a switch.
It’s squeaky bum time for Chelsea at the moment and we must show the strut of Champions. Cheers!