Now we have to believe the popular statement that says: ‘the world is full of endless possibilities’. But more dumbfounding is the shocking manner of Chelsea’s defeat at home to Crystal Palace. This was one result that even match predictors got wrong and that also got the Chelsea faithful miffed, stunned and humbled. The reality check about the defeat is that it exposes Chelsea’s fallibility and also gives new dynamic to the title race.
At the end, the Blues were beaten and the Eagles flew sky-high above. Let’s review the 3 talking points of this game:
CHELSEA’S DEFENSIVE ERRORS:
Prior to the new year, one standout quality of Conte’s Chelsea was our defensive solidity which saw the team go on a long stretch of 6 consecutive league games without conceding goals. Suddenly, that solidity is now a distant memory and we concede goals with reckless abandon with only 2 clean sheets recorded in the league till date since the turn of the year.
In just a flash against Crystal Palace, Wilfried Zaha and Christian Benteke smashed the Bridge gate to put the Eagles in command of the game after Cesc Fabregas early goal gave Chelsea the lead. It could be summarised this way: ‘two defensive errors, two goals conceded’. The manner of the goals conceded is worrisome and should surely give Conte some food for thought. Chelsea were too attacking and just forgot how to defend. My new rule says: ‘The best form of defense is not just attack, but organised team play and strategised attack’. Credit to Crystal Palace while we need to go back to the basics.
CHELSEA THROW IT ALL OPEN IN TITLE RACE:
This is exactly what our title rivals have been anticipating. Finally they have it all open again, as Chelsea’s defeat against Crystal Palace might just prove to be the defining moment in the title race. This shocker was all Conte hoped to avoid as his pre-match press conference revealed
On the run in, with Chelsea ten points clear, Conte said: “Football is strange. It’s full of surprise.
“In my experience as a footballer, I won a lot. But I think I lost more. For this reason, I want to keep our feet on the ground.
“That is very important for me and my players. At this time of the season, there are a lot of difficulties to overcome.
“There are ten games to go and our opponents don’t want to accept that Chelsea are champions.
“We must try to get three points tomorrow, but it will be very difficult.”
This was an honest assertion of reality of the modern game, especially in the Premier league by the Chelsea boss. Also in hindsight, he alerted his players of the challenge ahead and in retrospect, he gave them a warning alarm for them to keep their eyes on the prize. The game against Crystal Palace is one he expressed his thoughts about:
On the Crystal Palace game earlier this season – won 1-0 by Chelsea in December – Conte added: “I remember the game against them earlier this season very well.
“In that game we won, but we suffered also as they have a lot of really good players”.
Certainly, no one saw the defeat coming, but this might just be what other title challengers need to assure themselves that they are in contention. The Blues failed to cage the Eagles and now find themselves in a dicey situation. It’s game and title race on at the moment in the league.
CHELSEA FAIL TO TAKE THEIR CHANCES:
It’s still a world of endless possibilities that also offers us opportunities to right our wrongs. This applied much to Chelsea yesterday, but it was obviously a bad day at the office for the team. Diego Costa was out of sorts; looking much like an average player than a world beater. Thibaut Courtois was easily beaten for both goals, especially the second by Benteke. Matic was pedestrian and just a few players deserved credit for their performance. Despite creating a lot of chances to equalize and possibly win the game, we rather contrived to miss incessantly and looked a distant shadow of the clinical Chelsea we’ve been all season. Over to you Conte, you must find a way out!
Let’s hope for the best. Cheers!