The horror of losing to Burnley was relived all over again on Saturday afternoon as Chelsea fell to bottom side Crystal Palace. We’d gone into that game confident of getting all three points, but we probably would have given anything for a draw. Sadly, a loss was all we could get out of that fixture.
I have replayed the game over and over again in my head in a bid to find answers as to why we lost the match, but it’s difficult to pinpoint the loss on one exact thing. Were we too poor or Palace were just too good? They are a struggling side, and needed to get a victory desperately, not even a ‘big club’ like Chelsea could stop that from happening. But was that the case or we just couldn’t match bring our A game? Were our midfield, attack and defense at their brutal best? I doubt we would have lost if they were. The opening goal was an obvious error; one any defense could have conceded, but the second was a product of disastrous defending. We gave them far too much room to run at us, and they took it with open arms.
Kante’s absence was well obvious, as Bakayoko and Fabregas were too poor in keeping possession. Hazard was neutralized, Willian was too often directionless, and Batshuayi’s run was nothing to be admired. If it was against a Manchester side, we probably would have been humiliated. This is of course not taking anything away from Palace; they deserved the win. They totally outplayed us. You can credit their hunger to their poor run over the course of the season, but it was a showing worth commending.
Now, we face an even sterner test in Roma during the coming week, and you wonder what our fate will be if we lost the way we did to a side like Palace.
Conte must rally his troops and get them to get this loss behind them as quickly as possible so as to get in a proper frame of mind for the Roma game.
As for the league title, as much as I like optimism, I can’t help but think we might as well take our focus somewhere else. Manchester City are already nine points ahead and it would require another run of unbeaten games like we did last season to win the league this season. So perhaps we could channel our energy and preparation into the other competitions we’re still very much a part of. And even that will require us upping our game a lot better than it is currently. The season is still young, but the earlier we get it together, the better.