Boring, boring Chelsea. Chelsea may have purchased Juan Mata and Raul Meriles with the hope of adding creativity and spark to their team but both of those elements were found wanting in Chelsea's dull win over Sunderland.
Manchester United and Manchester City thumped two of the stronger teams in Tottenham and Arsenal last week. This week was Chelsea's chance to prove that they too had what it takes to score plenty of goals, granted it was against a Sunderland team with three consecutive home defeats. Sunderland might have spent big during the offseason but that did not help them.
In fact this game felt more like a practice match for Chelsea. Sunderland players gave Chelsea plenty of room to move around without pressuring them. Sounds like a perfect game for Chelsea to score big right? Wrong.
Chelsea could never really capitalize on the amount of free space given. Terry scored in the 18th minute and Sturridge, who started the game instead of Torres, scored in the 50th minute. And after that the game went all south.
It appeared that Sunderland had lost all confidence or had decided to conserve energy for the next game, because the little effort they put in the first half also went missing. Of course, it should be mentioned that Sunderland did have a few really good chances to score with Sessegnon and Bendtner hammering a few nice shots but with no end result.
Chelsea were also not sharp. With Sunderland giving up, Chelsea were favoured to score a third one, but I guess Chelsea too decided to shut up shop and try to kill 50 minutes. With no pace, no proper passes and half-hearted chances Chelsea never found their third goal.
Sunderland's substitute Dong-Won Ji then scored a goal in the 90th minute thanks to a defensive blunder by Chelsea where no defender was marking anybody.
With three minutes to play and Sunderland needing just one more goal to draw, the match suddenly became exciting with Sunderland dominating possession and attack while Chelsea were nervously trying to keep Sunderland at bay. The game ended 2 - 1 with Chelsea winning.
Sunderland gave Chelsea plenty of room to roam. Chelsea should have fully exploited it but unfortunately they only have two goals to show for it. That is worrying.
Just like last year, we dominate possession and passes but have little end product to show for it. I can perhaps excuse this as a sign that the players are still trying to settle down into the new system and hence need more time to adjust.
What really made me angry and disappointed was Chelsea's reaction to the game after their second goal. They had a two goal lead, but that is no reason to decide to shut up shop. Two goals is very score-able with over 40 minutes to play. So why did Chelsea decide to slow down? Those are marks that you wont see with teams like Barcelona or Manchester United or now even Manchester City.
The other worrying factor is when will Chelsea's offence click? Three games and Chelsea's offense still seem unconvincing. Lampard is still ineffective. Torres is still frustrating. Mikel is still...Miekl and Essien is still missing.
While the new signings and the youngsters seem promising, the ability to dominate and win games convincingly is still missing. The focus this year seems to be the Champions League. There is still time for that competition to heat up.
Will our players start clicking before it is too late? Can Villas-Boas can turn the teams's direction around before it is too late?