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Chelsea vs Manchester United: Lack of Discipline Costs Blues 2 Points vs. Rivals

Nicholas Goss@@NicholasGoss35Correspondent IFebruary 5, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 05:  Fernando Torres of Chelsea battles with Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on February 5, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Chelsea's lack of discipline cost them two points against rivals Manchester United on Sunday at Stamford Bridge, and those are two points the Blues will certainly need at the end of the season as they attempt to hold off Arsenal and Newcastle for fourth place in the Premier League table.

Say what you want about referee Howard Webb's penalty decisions, but both penalty kicks the Red Devils that were rewarded and capitalized on could have been avoided with more disciplined defensive play.

Daniel Sturridge, who gave up the first penalty, came all the way back into his own penalty box to defend a play after his manager, Andre Villas-Boas, was seen telling him to get back on defense.

Sturridge is a young player, and a talented one too, but he must be disciplined in the penalty area because Chelsea cannot afford to give up cheap goals.

The second penalty was just undisciplined defense and inexcusable play from Branislav Ivanovic. He tripped United forward Danny Welbeck near the edge of the 18-yard line, and a penalty was awarded.

It was just a terrible decision from Ivanovic, who, quite frankly, is a very good defender and one of the better ones on Chelsea's squad.

Chelsea could have given up as many as four penalties, and were quite lucky to take a 3-0 lead to start the match before giving up two points by making stupid mistakes on defense.

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 05:  Branislav Ivanovic of Chelsea is spoken to by referee Howard Webb during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on February 5, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hew
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

With the Blues only three points ahead of Arsenal for the fourth and final Champions League qualification spot, these points lost on Sunday could prove costly.

Chelsea's defense this season has been fundamentally weak and has lacked discipline consistently. If they don't shore up their defensive weaknesses, Chelsea will not qualify for the Champions League, which would be completely unacceptable for a club with the talent the Blues have.

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