I’ve often espoused the theory that Gabby should be dropped and Benteke pulled off, to be replaced by Gabby if things aren’t working, so we can use Gabby’s pace against a tiring defence.
Lambert tried it today, but got it totally the wrong way round, in dropping Benteke.
There’s been some debate about Benteke lately and it’s been about if he’s been getting adequate service as opposed to if he’s trying.
Either way, he’s been ineffective of late, so I can see where Lambert was coming from.
Staying with the substitutions, I also think we were too reliant on play down the right hand side, with very little going on down the left.
Lambert again made the right call, in bringing Sinclair on, to offer us something different. The fact that it didn’t work is a shame, but when I’ve slated Lambert plenty, I think it’s only fair to say when I think he called it correctly.
The Cole sub, for Weimann, made sense too.
Would it be correct to say we played a 4-5-1?
I certainly thought that was the formation we played mostly in the game, but I suppose you could call it a 4-3-3 , especially early on.
Whatever, I thought the first half was pretty poor.
We were being dominated by a Chelsea side that, let us not forget, are probably going to win the league.
Nothing unusual there and it was the same old story, where while we got some crosses in, they were mostly poor and the closest we came was an off-target header from Weimman.
Chelsea’s goal on 7 minutes was a poor one from our point of view.
We didn’t pick up Willian at all and Hutton failed to track Hazard’s run.
Fair play though, it was a well made and executed goal. Hence we went in one down at half time.
I don’t know, but I got the feeling Chelsea could easily have stepped up a gear.
Then I don’t know what was said at half time, but Villa came out a different side.
We looked confident from the off and created more chances in the first three or four minutes than we had in the whole first half.
The pressure paid off and after super work from Gil (who moved the ball so fast between his two feet that I’m still not sure what happened), Oscar was made to look a total mug and the ball was put in the box for Okore to head in.
Hoo bloody ray. We got the goal we’ve been waiting so long for.
And then, for a while, I thought we looked the better side, where we were creating and getting decent balls in the box.
It wasn’t to last though and I thought Chelsea stepped it up. No surprise again and it demonstrates the gulf in class, as they had the likes of Remy and Cuadrado to bring on.
At the same time, Lambert subbed Gabby and brought Benteke on.
And sod’s law, the balls going into the box ceased.
Their second goal came courtesy of some poor defending again, which I won’t go into, as I thought Clark especially and Okore weren’t terrible today.
And then after around eighty minutes, the game petered out, simple as.
A few points;
I thought Delph and Cleverley were shocking in the first half, but looked much better in the second.
I’m not sure what caused the difference?
Gil looks the real business. He’s the bloke who can get you off your seat, who we’ve been craving for, isn’t he?
That said, I believe he was at fault for their second, but I’m not going to hold that against him. He isn’t a defender.
It’s great that we scored, but it wasn’t a striker who ended our shocking run of no goals.
Still, losing 1-2 to Chelsea is by no means a disgrace and we shouldn’t be too downhearted.
Many expected a battering today, but the fact is it didn’t happen.
While I expected a loss and it’s always disappointing to lose at home, at least we didn’t look the total shambles we did last week.
Hull up next and I’m hoping the lads will have come out of today’s game at least encouraged.