69.4%. That was Chelsea’s possession in the game against Bournemouth. As usual, the possession did not mean anything as we couldn’t score a single goal for the entire match even though we fielded the eleven that most fans wanted (except on the right wing, people wanted to see Callum Hudson-Odoi there).
Most fans would’ve remembered the game against Bournemouth from last year in which we lost 0-3 against the same opposition in Stamford Bridge itself. Eerily enough, it happened on Jan 31st, 2018. Almost a year now. Different and worse scoreline, but the same mentality.
Bournemouth – A New Nemesis?
First of all, credits where they are due, Bournemouth played really well under their philosophical manager Eddie Howe. They were very good with counter-attacks, solid in the defense and clinical in front of the goal. Everything you’d have expected to see from a team like Chelsea. To make matters worse, Bournemouth had lost 10 consecutive matches against the usual top 6 since beating Chelsea almost a year ago.
I feel like I am watching Arsenal under Wenger in his last few days. So much possession, high line and vulnerable to counterattacks.
Lose The Ball, Lose The Game
This is the problem with playing a high line of defense. You make yourself vulnerable to fast counterattacks. When you lose possession in the attack, the counterattack starts. Against a team like Bournemouth, which has a lot of tall players, defending was always gonna be difficult. And if you add in pace to it, it could only make matters worse.
Having Jorginho alone in front of the defense is a gamble that Sarri needs to rethink. A double-pivot could be helpful, but hey, Sarri said the team isn’t ready for a change in formation which in this case would be switching to 4-2-3-1 from a 4-3-3.
Losing the ball in the final third will almost always lead to goals. That was stupidity from Luiz for the Cherries’ second goal. You lose the ball, you lose the game. It’s that simple.
Lack Of Creativity
Just a day ago, I saw a few Chelsea fans calling Fabregas a deadwood on Twitter. How much I wished we had that ‘deadwood’ with us today! I am pretty sure Sarri would’ve thought the same. We completely lacked creativity at times. Hazard tried, but it wasn’t just enough. And we cannot keep expecting Luiz for the longballs as something has to be done about the midfield.
The LCM position still lacks someone with creativity who can linkup well with Hazard on the left. Yes, RLC came in the second half but it was too late. And we definitely need someone with Fabregas’ vision to make use of Higuain who made some good runs.
We did have couple of good chances though, but we simply couldn’t finish them off. A solution for the final-third needs to be found. Immediately.
After the second goal, there was never gonna be a turnaround. Especially with the mentality that players have. I am not sure how they could turn it off as soon as they conceded the second goal. That is when you really need to be aggressive and attack-minded. But no, they shut themselves up and honestly, couldn’t wait for the humiliation to be over.
Azpilicueta and Luiz are good leaders, but someone needs to step up. I expected that from Jorginho being that he is the regista, but I am not sure what he did with respect to being a leader on the pitch.
At last, you’re only as good as your best player. Hazard has never been a great leader and at this point, I think it is pointless to expect him to rally his teammates. He is just way too nice.
Sarri’s Chelsea are three points and five goals worse off than Antonio Conte’s team were at the same stage last season. And I don’t think it is going to get much better this season.
Knowing Chelsea, I’d say Sarri is walking on a thin rope here. He has to act swiftly before there is no coming back. After all, we got quite a dressing room.
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Written by Sarav