It’s never easy when your team loses, but when it’s in a cup final against one of your fiercest rivals, it really hurts. Not only did Frank Lampard fail to end his spectacular season on a high, but a set of poor decisions from the referee and a pretty miserable and half-hearted performance by the Blues meant Chelsea supporters were left with a rather sour taste in their mouths.
To make matters worse, three of our players were forced off the pitch due to injury, with the future trip to Munich appearing bleak. However, like all defeats, we must look ahead to our next challenge – and after some reflection, here are the five things we learnt from that miserable day at Wembley.
Christian Pulisic: The Only Spark
We’ll start with a positive because – as you can guess – it’s going to get pretty ugly. Within the first five minutes, it looked as though Chelsea was off to the perfect start. Chrisitan Pulisic scored in yet another important game for the Blues – delivering in the important moments and putting us ahead in the early stages of the match. The 21-year-old was able to get past the Arsenal defence in a tight spot and produce a clever finish. Although the overall intensity in Chelsea’s game decreased, the American was still creating moments of brilliance with his excellent dribbling skills and shots. His determination was then demonstrated at the beginning of the second half when the youngster was able to produce a shot against the Gunners after he pulled his hamstring. Unfortunately, that was his last contribution to the game – and we can only hope the injury isn’t as serious as it seemed.
A Disastrous Display from the Defence
Surprise, Surprise. Chelsea’s defence is put under the microscope yet again, after a terrible display all round. I can confidently say that any Chelsea fan watching that game on Saturday did not feel any sense of confidence when the Gunners were on the attack. Antonio Rudiger struggled against Arsenal’s pace and was largely at fault for the second Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang goal. Kurt Zouma also appeared lost and struggled to keep Alexandre Lacazette under control. Meanwhile, the final centre-back and our captain conceded a penalty before limping off the pitch. Reece James also didn’t have a great game and was playing too high up the field. As well as his lack of decent defending, he was also unable to attack on the flanks or put in any decent crosses for his teammates.
Marcos Alonso – What Was That?
Now, that leaves us with one defender. Although this point could’ve easily gone to any of the previous players discussed above, Marcos Alonso truly had a terrible game. At several points in the match, the Spaniard didn’t know where to run – and both his attacking and defending abilities were nowhere to be seen. Usually a key performer in big games at Wembley, the left-back refused to show up on Saturday. His loss of concentration was evident during the entirety of the match and he was seemingly unable to put in any decent interceptions or clearances. Overall, a day to forget for the 29-year-old.
Although a large part of the loss was due to our own performance, we must mention the poor officiating that took place during Saturday’s game. To put it lightly, Anthony Taylor had a howler. The referee gave a second yellow to Mateo Kovacic, sending him off in the second half, despite the Croatian not producing a foul. This cost us dearly as the Blues had to tackle the last twenty minutes of the game with 10 men, with Arsenal already one goal ahead. He also failed to notice Emiliano Martinez handling the ball outside of his box and shockingly, there was no check from VAR. Several bookings from Taylor on the Chelsea players were questionable, and Lampard’s side were extremely unlucky.
No Drive or Passion
However, there’s no doubt that the Chelsea players lacked drive and put in a half-hearted performance at Wembley. In a cup final, the Blues were expected to give it their all, show their talents and dominate against a weaker Arsenal side. However, as previously mentioned, after the first goal went into the back of the net, we took our feet off the pedal and let Arsenal come back. Although many supporters will be hugely disappointed at some of the decisions made within the match, there will be questions raised about the appetite and desire on Saturday – and rightly so.