Good comeback but that’s 2 points lost!
Chelsea took on West Brom at the Hawthorns on Saturday night for what many thought would be a straight forward win for Lampard and team. I even triple captained Timo Werner in my FPL team thinking we were going to thrash the Baggies. Over confidence can be a bad thing though and Chelsea fought back from 3-0 down in the first half to get a point at full time. Lampard selected a good lineup with Caballero starting in goal, Reece James and Alonso starting as the full backs and Silva and Christensen as the defenders. In hindsight Alonso shouldn’t have been on the pitch but at the time it didn’t seem like a massive issue. Kovacic and Kante started in the midfield with Werner, Havertz, and Mount behind Tammy. The attack had all Chelsea fans excited especially after Barnsley as we expected an attacking masterclass. Bilic chose to switch to a 3-4-3 for this game with Pereira, and Diangana flanking Robinson up front, as it was clear they would counter attack.
The game did not begin in the greatest way for Chelsea as a poor header into the midfield from Alonso was latched on to by a West Brom player who fed in Robinson who finished to make it 1-0 in the 4th minute. Chelsea looked like they had recieved a slap in the face to wake the players up as we began to put some good sequences of play together. A Reece cross was skied over the bar by Tammy when he should have finished. Mount did good work to feed in Werner who’s shot hit the post when he should have also finished. Poor misses but the momentum was in Chelsea’s favour. Then Thiago Silva was caught in possession as the last man and Robinson dribbled forward to make it 2-0 in the 25th minute. A poor moment from the Brazilian legend but nothing more than that. West Brom then got a corner soon after and Alonso lost his man Bartley and Reece James was caught napping as he played Bartley onside and we conceded yet again to make it 3-0 in the 27th minute. The first half ended with West Brom having 3 shots on target and 3 goals while Chelsea had the majority of possession in what seemed like deja vu from last season.
Lampard made the changes for the 2nd half as Azpilicueta came on for Alonso and Hudson-Odoi came on for Kovacic. Azpi added a voice at the backline and a helping hand for Silva. Chelsea got a goal back in the 55th minute as Mount took a brilliant shot from distance that swerved in to make it 3-1. The momentum then swung in Chelsea’s favour as Hudson-Odoi linked up brilliantly with Havertz to make it 3-2 in the 70th minute. At that moment Chelsea looked like they would grab the 3rd and maybe even win it as Lampard threw on Giroud as well in place of Silva. For me that was overkill and the switch to a 3-5-2 formation diminished the momentum we had created from the goals. Still Chelsea kept knocking on West Brom’s door and we equalised in the 93rd minute as Mount lashed in a ball across the face of goal and after some deflections it fell into Tammy’s path who tapped it home. The game ended 3-3 and Chelsea left West Brom with a point.
Caballero – Caballero wasn’t at fault for any of the goals but 3 shots and 3 goals really plays up against him.
Reece James – Reece James was good going forward but defensively he failed to track back on a couple of occasions as it left our defence susceptible to counters. Overall good but not great.
Christensen – A solid performance from the Dane as he returned to the lineup after a red card last week. Andreas looked assured at the back and looked better than Silva in the 1st half.
Silva – Thiago Silva had a decent Premier League debut. The mistake for the 2nd goal was on him and he knows that but he’s a true legend and will only go forward from here. Can’t say more than that, overall it was calm performance.
Alonso – Why Alonso started when Azpilicueta, Emerson, and Chilwell were presumably fit is beyond me but he did and he was bad. The header back into the midfield for the 1st goal was schoolboy defending, while there was a moment soon after when it looked like he was running in slow motion. Alonso also lost his man on the corner but Reece James was also partially at fault for that goal. I don’t think we will see Alonso in a Chelsea shirt again or at least I hope.
Kante – Kante was his usual self as he tried to pinch and make tackles across the midfield but the physicality of the West Brom players was a problem for him. Kante works best when he has a bigger CDM alongside him similar to the pivot with Matic but he needs person and Kovacic is not it.
Kovacic – Kovacic is similar to Kante in he is great at what he does as he patrolled the midfield made tackles and played progressive balls, but neither are vocal and neither is a person who can sit in front of the defence and shield them. As a pivot the two don’t work.
Mount – Mason did really well throughout the game and it was no surprise once again that when he shifted into the midfield he made more of an impact. The goal was brilliant and it sparked the comeback in the 2nd half.
Havertz – Havertz was probably one of the 3 best players on the pitch yesterday he linked up well with the forward players and created chances in the box. Havertz seems to have adjusted to the league faster than our next player who seems to be taking his time.
Werner – Werner didn’t have the best of games, the German wasn’t bad but things weren’t working for him. They physicality of the West Brom defenders was hard for him and there was no space to use his pace with the defenders sitting so deep. Werner will get there no worries.
Tammy – Tammy should have scored that equaliser but credit to him he scored the equaliser for 3-3 and fought hard with the rest of the squad to get the point.
Azpilicueta – Calmed the defence down when he came on in the 2nd half and was better than Alonso and so a good performance from the captain. Azpi also got the assist for the Mason Mount goal.
Hudson-Odoi – One of the best players in the 2nd half as from the left wing he scored a brilliant goal and constantly created chances. The switch to a 3-5-2 hampered the momentum but a good cameo performance from the young player.
Giroud – I don’t think Giroud needed to come on for the final 20 minutes as Chelsea were already dominating the game and building momentum. Giroud didn’t do anything wrong but there was no real impact although attracting other defenders is probably impact in itself.
Lampard – Lampard got the selection of Alonso wrong and he will know that. The tactics not so much as there were 2 individual mistakes that cost us and one set piece. Lampard doesn’t have all his players available and the likes of Chilwell, Mendy, Ziyech, and Pulisic are crucial to how the team will function going forward. The switch to a 3-5-2 with Giroud being sent on was over kill but Lampard will learn along with this squad. Only way is up.
Good comeback from Chelsea but we should not have been in that position in the 1st place. Next up is a visit to Spurs in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night. COME ON YOU BLUES!!!
P.S – Let’s use the 3rd kit less often…