A Frustrating Day for The Blues

by - December 24, 2017

Saturday’s early kick off saw Chelsea start their Christmas campaign away on Merseyside against a resurgent Everton side. However, there certainly was no festive joy for The Blues. With top scorer Alvaro Morata suspended, Antonio Conte had his attacking options limited and it showed.

The manager opted once more for a front 3 of Pedro, Willian and Eden Hazard as a front line. Despite their best efforts and all the trickery they could muster, this match became the first time that attacking line up did not win the match, but it was also the first time they had failed to score in a match together.

Conte’s side started strongly and pressed the home defence back in to very deep positions, but a combination of a double goal line clearance by Phil Jagielka and poor final passes / finishing prevented what was a very dominant performance resulting in victory for The Blues.

Everton’s recently appointed manager Sam Allardyce did what he is best at. His side were stubborn and very determined not to concede above all else and very few Toffee supporters will be upset that their side finished the match without making Thibaut Courtois make a save.

Allardyce reintroduced Michael Keane to his defence and with shades of Burnley away last season, he gave a match winning defensive performance against The Blues. The Everton manager has instilled belief and a resolve that has made them very hard to break down and their captain’s goal line antics epitomised that perfectly.

With Wayne Rooney missing with flu and with the young Dominic Calvert-Lewin playing a lone forage up front the home side were unable to build any pressure and only fleetingly gave the Chelsea defence anything to think about. However a free header late on from Keane could have won all 3 points if he’d placed his effort on target. In the end, Thibaut Courtois did not have a save to make and his only involvement was passing the ball around his defenders.

So, a match that would have done little to excite any neutral fan watching, ended as a success for zealous defending over a dominating superior side. With the January transfer window fast approaching, Conte must be hoping the Chelsea hierarchy are scouring far and wide for another quality striking option that the manager will happily use in similar circumstances.

PL points table

Now with half of the league season completed The Blues lie in third place. With the runaway leaders Manchester City breaking record after record, a successful title defence looks out of the question, but Conte’s side are looking relatively comfortable within the top 4 and qualification for next season’s Champions League, especially if they continue with their current form of only 1 defeat in their last 12 matches. There is still much to improve, play for and achieve in the second half of the season.

Written by Jon Ellis, Chelsea FC home and away season ticket holder. Follow him on twitter: @ClitheroeBlue

You May Also Like