Denied the opportunity to be at Stamford Bridge yesterday, or watch the game live on TV, I tuned into BBC Radio 5 Live, and kept an eye on Twitter.
Didn’t take a genius to predict a troublesome start to the 2017/18 season for Chelsea. The shambolic AB BA penalty display on August 6th, did nothing to convince me that Antonio Conte would have a decent sized squad to choose from. And how could the poor bloke, divorce settlements can be costly. Remove vertebrae from a spine and you’ll have fractures; John Terry may have mentored Gary Cahill, but Cahill’s hot headedness cost the team dearly, though Fabregas can hardly be blamed for his own debacle. Conte can’t be one of the boys and manage the team simultaneously. Let’s see Antonio Conte booted and suited for the next fixture. Burnley relegation favourites? says who? We’re not playing fixed odds football here, we’re hopefully watching fluid, tactical play, in the old fashioned way, norm, form and storm. Chelsea’s 9 nearly did it: I sensed it was a breathtaking second half; prayers going up for a last gasp penalty, Too early in the season to scapegoat the referee. Too late to moan about John Terry. Yes, he may’ve made the odd slip here and there, but releasing him was premature. Had he been a bench warmer, or been shimmying alongside Antonio Conte, things could have been different yesterday.
Ah, hindsight. Roll on Christmas, and these tactical deficiencies will be sorted, In Antonio we trust,
Who knows? This lurching from crisis to crisis may be strategic! may be the beginning of an opening gambit, the likes of which we haven’t seen before. But then again, Roman’s mindset is unknown at this stage of the season.
Having now seen the game on catch up I stand by everything I’ve said but add that I saw sloppy defending and a generally sluggish performance first half, and truly Chelsea were unlucky in the second half, not to have equalised; overall a sterling performance with only 9 men
This season promises to be intriguing.
© Judith Haire 2017