Sunday, November 14, 2010

Depleted Chelsea Torn aSunder

see what I did there?

Chelsea let a few squad players go in the summer. Carvalho, Deco and Ballack weren't exactly setting the world alight but they were reliable pros who could step in and do a job. Their squad isn't as deep as it used to be and the signs are that it's already starting to creak. They've dealt well with Lampard's prolonged absence, but losing Essien was a Bridge too far and their impressive home record this season was obliterated by an adventurous Sunderland team. Fair play to them. It's all very well saying Chelsea were under-strength but it still needed a team with the balls to exploit it.

As well as their midfield problems, Chelsea were without Terry and Alex, and Gyan and Wellbeck were breaking their makeshift backline almost at will. Cech actually kept the score down, and Ivanovic should have seen a red card for a blatant professional foul, only for a gutless Chris Foy to wield a wimpy yellow one.

Sunderland's first two goals were great efforts, a slalom and scuff from Onuoha and a sweeping move finished confidently by Gyan. Their third was slotted by Wellbeck from a beautiful Ashley Cole cross.

Fortunes are changing so regularly this season. Arsenal's season felt doomed to mediocrity last weekend. Liverpool thought they'd turned a corner. Now the gloom has returned to Merseyside and optimism will rise again in North London. Chelsea were until recently seen as hot favourites to retain their crown; today has raised serious questions about that assumption.

But who will push them closest? United are still struggling to win away games. Arsenal will hope to lay down a marker in the North London derby next weekend.

No comments: