Perhaps the worst thing about it was the despite being 2-0 up and cruising I wasn’t completely shocked by our failure to win the match as we’ve seen this sort of sloppiness all too often this season and playing well for the entirety of the match is becoming a rare occurrence.
Juan Mata, who is more or less the whole Chelsea team these days, gave us the lead at the end of the first half before Frank Lampard headed in from a corner in the second half, it was a professional if unspectacular performance and things were looking good as Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham had dropped points on the night…then disaster struck.
The defence failed to track Royals ‘super sub’ Adam Le Fondre after the midfield allowed Hope Akpan time to pick a pass. And astonishingly, during injury time, our defence allowed not one, two but three…yes, three Reading players free at the back post and Le Fondre said ‘thank you very much for your incompetence’ and stole a point for his side.
As expected the mood amongst the Chelsea support was one of anger and this was mainly directed at our much maligned interim manager Rafael Benitez, who will never be accepted at the club because of his past and present, but this was something that was out of his control despite his awful record at substitutions.
There’s no excuse for the players to capitulate in the manner they did and it always seems to happen when Mata is not on the field, it was the right decision to take him off too as he picked up a knock and it wasn’t worth risking him as his team-mates only had to play a bit of possession football to see the game out. Instead they made it difficult for themselves by failing to hold onto the ball in the vital moments and Oscar wasted chance after chance to kill the game.
Many criticised our failure to get John Terry onto the field to help us see out the game but Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic should have been able to do this without risking the skipper’s fitness.
Our biggest problem seems to be the central midfield. Every time they are called upon we crumble and considering our lack of activity in the transfer market this winter it will continue until John Obi Mikel is back in the XI. We’re also lumbered with the ‘tactical genius’ until the summer, so we can only hope that the players decide to pull their finger out as I’m not impressed with their performance as well as the managers.
Carlo Ancelotti’s ‘bad moment’, Andre Villas-Boas’ slump and Roberto Di Matteo’s demise – it’s about time someone pointed a finger at the players (other than Fernando Torres). The fact that we, the fans, don’t like the manager doesn’t excuse their sloppiness.