Chelsea FC: 5 Things We Learned from Our Humiliating Loss at Our Own Home-Ground
The Blues were the odds-on favorites and were expected to win easily against a previously-struggling Arsenal side.
Well, things didn't exactly go that way. The Gunners came and made a statement to all of England that they are indeed still here and are still a force in English football.
With that said, let's take a look at five things Chelsea learned after this humiliating defeat.
Wide Open Football Doesn't Work in Big Games
One of the things we learned is that a strategy that leans too much on attack won't be successful in big games.
Right from the start, both teams were playing wide open football. There were literally at least five missed chances by both sides in the first quarter alone, and it's a miracle the game ended at halftime with just three goals scored.
The difference in the second half, however, was that Arsenal's defense tightened up considerably, which proved to be the difference in the end.
AVB will have to learn that all-attacking, wide-open football won't work as well in big games as it does in smaller games in the Premier League.
Chelsea has (or had) one of the beat defenses in Europe just six months ago. And given that all those same defenders are still at SB, if a little tweaking can be done, and the right balance between attack and defense can be found, this Cheslea team would be a force to be reckoned with on the attack as well as on defense.
Jose Bosingwa Shouldn't Be Playing in Big Games Like This
This ties into the point made in the last slide.
Jose Bosinwga is a great attacker, going up the sides like his counterpart Ashley Cole, and functioning essentially as a winger. The only problem is, his defensive abilities are lacking.
Several times in today's game, Arsenal players looked as if they were being all but invited to attack down their left side of the pitch, and Andre Santos' goal at the beginning of the second half was a direct result of the Portuguese's defensive ineptitude.
Bosingwa is great in the games against the Swanseas, Boltons, etc., but in high profile, intense games like this, he really should be benched in favore of Ivanovic at RB.
We haven't gained or lost any defenders over the summer, so it's shocking that the defense that conceded the least amount of goals last season could be letting so many in match after match this season.
AVB will have to work on defense as a whole as well as his individual defenders if he wants to avoid situations like these in the future.
Sturridge Must Stop Being so Selfish
Daniel Sturridge is the kind of player who's easy to like. His hunger for success is admirable, and his work rate is commendable as well.
He's first and foremost a center-forward, but he has accepted his role as right-winger, so he can play in Chelsea's first team regularly.
The problem is, he tries way too hard to cut in and score goals himself. On at least two occasions in the first half, he got the ball in a great position on the right flank with Torres wide open to score, but he decided that instead of passing it, he'd try to take on three defenders and take the shot himself.
This has to stop.
The function of a winger is to provide service to attackers in the middle, not to get the ball on the flank and try to force your way into the box and take a wayward, irresponsible shot.
This is something that is happening repeatedly week after week, and really must be fixed.
AVB and the Squad Must Work on Finishing
If our finishing were better, we would have won this game—it's as simple as that.
In the first 10 minutes of the game alone, there were at least three or four chances for Chelsea to put in the back of the net, but they failed on all of them. This trend continued throughout the game, and ultimately proved our undoing.
Although Arsenal's defense tightened up a bit the second half, the Gunners were very lucky Chelsea's finishing wasn't clinical enough, because if it had been, there could have been a completely different outcome.
In today's game, with possession split 52-48 in Chelsea's favor, the Blues actually had more shots (14) than Arsenal (13), but they still ended up losing by two goals, which is a direct product of Arsenal's superb clinical finishing in front of goal.
This has been happening far too much this season; we saw it in the Manchester United game in September, and the same in the Champions League game against Valencia, among many others.
If this can be fixed, it would go a long way to helping this Chelsea side and would make their attacking-minded play much more successful.
Not ALL Was Bad
This was a humiliating loss, there's no doubt about it. We were widely expected to win and really should have given the opportunities that we created for ourselves.
But in fairness, our performance today wasn't that bad.
Save for a few errors, a bit of poor finishing and defending, we could have had that game in the bag.
Given these facts, it's not all doom-and-gloom for the team. If we can work on our defense and our finishing, we really could be a top-drawer team.
It's been these two things that have been our undoing, and they're the reason we've not done so well in some games, one example being Manchester United, where the Blues were arguably the better team. If we had taken those clear-cut, easy chances, we'd have walked away with the three points in this game, as well as many others.
We have the players, the manager, the motivation and the means to be a very successful team, and if a few changes are made tactically, we truly would be on the road to greatness.
So in the end, this was an embarrassing loss, and a completely deserved one.
But on the bright side, the defeat wasn't a complete train wreck, and if a few things in the way Chelsea plays and who they play are changed, it's all on the up from here.
Thanks for reading, and to read more into this topic, see my article about the Three Chelsea Players Who Should be Benched during Big Games and their Replacements.