After Chelsea’s loss to Burnley on Saturday, Chelsea legend Pat Nevin revealed he had a lot of “what ifs” on his mind.
“There were a huge number of ‘ifs’ on my mind after the defeat to Burnley on Saturday. If Gary Cahill hadn’t been sent off was the major one, of course. It was a first-day-of-the-season challenge, rusty and without malice but there had been an earlier warning that the referee was taking a strong position and giving no consideration for the players getting up to speed – he booked Marcos Alonso as early as the third minute,” Nevin wrote in Chelsea’s official website.
“Gary walked, and suddenly the game had a very different dynamic. With all the injuries and suspensions clear from the Chelsea pre-match team sheet, Burnley would have been buoyed anyway and the extra man certainly gave them more belief.
“The next ‘if’ would have been regarding Alvaro Morata, had he been introduced at half-time, then would that have been enough time to rescue at least a point? The evidence suggests it probably would have been. He was pivotal to everything when he came on, from scoring our first to creating the second, and being only fractionally offside for the other one he put in the back of the net.
“If Pedro or Eden Hazard had been fit, or indeed new boy Tiemoue Bakayoko, who could have released Cesc Fabregas to play further forward, then Burnley would have been pinned further back. What if we hadn’t suffered from four players being sent off in our last three competitive matches? We might be FA Cup holders and Community Shield holders as well as joint-top of the Premier League had that been the case.
“The problem is that you can’t live in the world of ifs and buts, you have to live in the real world of the Premier League and you must react to, and vitally prepare for, the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. Last season, from the Arsenal away game onwards it was generally as smooth as you will ever see a league campaign, but life, and football generally, aren’t like that.”