Defender slams Conte tactics, as Chelsea let another lead slip

It was more of the same from Chelsea on Sunday, as we let a first-half lead slip at home once again. It wasn’t as bad as Spurs last week, when the visitors scored 3 to take all three points away from Stamford Bridge for the first time since 1990. This time, it was West Ham going home with a share of the spoils after a late equaliser.

Once again, we started on the front foot and took the lead in the first half, through Cesar Azpilicueta. We had multiple opportunities to add to our lead and put the game out of The Hammers’ sight, but none were taken.

In the end, a defensive calamity preceded a well-taken goal by Javier Hernandez. Yes, that’s the same one who tormented us for years as a Manchester United player. His third Premier League goal at the Bridge was enough for David Moyes to win a valuable point, in their fight for survival. West Ham, who have struggled badly this season, managed to get 4 points in their two league games against us, following a 1-0 win back in December.

It’s been the pattern of 2018, as far as we’re concerned. We’ve started games well, taken the lead and then completely succumbed after being pegged back. Games against Arsenal in the League Cup semi-final, and United and Spurs in the league, have highlighted a mentality of weakness and vulnerability. When put under the cosh, this current group just doesn’t have what it takes to dig deep and overcome the challenge. Champions League football is now all but impossible to achieve next season, as we find ourselves 10 points behind 4th placed Tottenham following the latest round of fixtures. In fact, we are nervously looking over our shoulders as Arsenal in 6th have cut the gap to 3 points. We have now only won 3 league games out of 11 in 2018, losing 5. On New Year’s Day, we were in 2nd place.

After yesterday’s game, defender Antonio Rüdiger vented his frustration at the tactic to drop off after taking the lead. As quoted here by the Daily Mail, he said:

“I think we begged. We begged for the goal.

I think in the second half we (could) finish the game (off). But like the last few months, we didn’t and we (conceded).

For me, it’s not easy to explain. I don’t understand why after 1-0 we always drop and let the opponent get more ball possession.

Like the last weeks again, we (gave) them a gift. I think that was the first chance they (had).”

Our next three league games are all away from home, against Southampton, Burnley and Swansea. Sandwiches in between is the FA Cup semi-final against the Saints at Wembley on April 22. That is the only game, at the moment, that matters anymore this season.


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