After cruising through their first five games of the season, Chelsea were confronted with their first real test of the Premier League season so far as they faced Manchester City at Eastlands on Saturday- a test that they failed as Chelsea were deservedly beaten 1-0 by Roberto Mancini’s side. Here’s 5 things we leant from Chelsea’s disappointing result from the weekend.
1. Chelsea miss Frank Lampard
Frank Lampard has been an integral part of Chelsea’s midfield for many years and on Saturday his presence was sorely missed. Lampard’s creativity and incision would have provided Chelsea with a genuine attacking threat that was glaringly absent from midfield.
Ancelotti decided to play a midfield trio of Michael Essien, John Obi Mikel and Ramires who posed little threat to City’s defence. Essien had a rare off-day in Chelsea blue and his impact was limited to a handful of errant long-range strikes. Mikel was his usual reliable self but failed to dictate the play like many Chelsea fans would like to see him do.
If Lampard was fit, it would have reduced the onus on Essien to be the affecter in Chelsea’s midfield. While Essien’s shots failed to threaten Joe Hart in City’s goal, it may have been different if it was Lampard striking the ball instead of Essien.
2. Ramires needs time to adapt
Chelsea fans need to give Ramires some time to adapt to the pace of the Premier League. He looked somewhat overwhelmed by the physicality of the Manchester City players and was caught in possession on many occasions, most notably for Carlos Tevez’s decisive goal. He needs to realise that he won’t be given as much time on the ball than he has been used to in Portugal and Brazil but he has all of the tools to be a success and should be given time to adjust to the speed of the league.
He showed glimpses of his talents with a few incisive runs that had the City defenders on their toes but he will be looking to show signs of improvement for Chelsea’s next Premier League game against Arsenal in a week’s time.
3. Drogba shouldn’t be taking corners
Call me old fashioned but what on earth are Chelsea thinking of letting their centre-forward and arguably biggest threat from a set-piece take their corners? There’s no disputing that Didier Drogba can deliver a good cross but surely he would be better served inside the box getting on the end of crosses rather than on the sideline putting them in. Florent Malouda has shown that he can take a good corner and Carlo Ancelotti should let his winger take them instead of Drogba.
4. Ancelotti isn’t afraid to ruffle a few feathers
Didier Drogba was labelled one of Jose Mourinho’s ‘untouchables’ but under Ancelotti this isn’t the case. The Ivorian didn’t have his best game against Manchester City and was substituted for Daniel Sturridge, something that Drogba was not used to under Mourinho. However, Ancelotti should have kept Drogba on. He is a player who can create something out of nothing and with Chelsea chasing the game, his aerial prowess could have come in handy. Instead Ancelotti decided that it was better to send Drogba a message to show that even a player of his calibre needs to perform or else risk being substituted.
5. Chelsea’s bench looks a little light
In recent years, Chelsea have become known for their strength in depth but now this isn’t the case. Chelsea’s bench on Saturday consisted of Ross Turnbull, Daniel Sturridge, Paulo Ferreira, Yuri Zhirkov, Gael Kakuta, Patrick van Aanholt and Josh McEachran. Compare this to City’s bench of Emmanuel Adebayor, Shay Given, Jo, Jerome Boateng, Adam Johnson, Joleon Lescott and Patrick Vieira and you have some idea of the gulf in experience between the two benches.
Carlo Ancelotti was keen to trim the squad in the summer and he let a number of experienced players go such as Michael Ballack, Joe Cole, Deco and Juliano Belletti.
Chelsea’s youngsters are certainly talented. McEachran was excellent after he came on for Ramires and van Aanholt was impressive in midweek in Chelsea’s League Cup defeat to Newcastle. Ancelotti will be looking to his young players to show that they can fill the void left by the more experienced players who have departed the club.
What did you think about Chelsea’s performance on Saturday?
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