Its game on in the Premier league title race as Chelsea’s last weekend defeat to Crystal Palace opens things up. It has given the chasing pack a glimmer of hope for a surprise title tilt. Of all, Spurs have the edge and are certainly ready to push Chelsea all the way to the end.
It is often said that when the going gets tough, the tough should get going. This is exactly what Chelsea should do until the title is won. We should expect more surprise results henceforth, and be ready to battle with brawn and brain as the contest would be all about wits and grits.
Here are 3 areas Chelsea need to improve:
DEFENSIVE RESOLVE AND SOLIDITY:
It’s so worrying that since the turn of the New Year, Chelsea have kept just two clean sheets. It’s a sign of defensive slackness. Any team that aspires to win the league must possess great attacking and defensive fortes. It is a theory best articulated by legendary manager, Sir Alex Ferguson:
“Attack wins you games, defence wins you titles,” the 13-time English title winner once said in one of those moments when he would expand on all his league-winning experience.
On the issue of defensive weakness, it has been the Achilles heel of the likes of Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool which is the reason why they have all failed to mount a serious title challenge, while Manchester United’s attacking inefficiency has seen fall short too and even in danger of missing out on a Champions league spot.
Fantastically, we’ve been quite brilliant at both ends of the pitch this season and need to continue in this stride, especially defensively if we aspire to win the league crown. The ball is in our court. Let’s play well.
PLAYER OPTIONS IN POSITIONAL SENSE:
What makes a team click is the ability of the players to perfectly carry out their manager’s instructions to the latter and win games. This is a hallmark of Champions. This is time of the season when winning ugly is just also beautiful as long as it delivers the desired outcome. The need for aesthetic balance in positional play is important.
A perfect foil for this is our game against Crystal Palace where the absence of right-wingback, Victor Moses left a huge void to be filled. Though Pedro did well, but his lack of defensive nous exposed our back line and left us flat-footed against Palace’s two counter-attacking goals in 3 first-half minutes.
The issue of a misfiring Diego Costa is worrisome too. How we can cope with injuries and loss of form to key players need to seriously looked into.
More so, against City on Wednesday, there seemed to be little we could to do to peg back the Eastlanders after a dominant attacking display from them. Turning defense into attack would be vital in our title run-in. A classic example of our ability to do is the reverse fixture against Manchester City at the Etihad.
Ideas in terms of player options in difficult situations and positional play need to be addressed to ensure we don’t experience hiccups in our title run-in. We have our destiny in our hands, let’s not allow it slip away.
GIVE NO ROOM FOR ERRORS:
Our remarkable season has also been blighted by occasional errors. In retrospect, Gary Cahill’s back-passes against Swansea and Arsenal as well his own goal against City, Thibaut Courtois’s howler against City more recently are costly errors which are byproducts of mishandled pressure. Hence, for our title bid not to derail, we need to eliminate errors from our game as both in the short and long run it could prove costly.
Let’s take heed before we fall. It’s still our title to lose. Happy weekend. Cheers!