Chelsea home. What was the score? Lost 2-0
It was disappointing that my first game of the season ended in defeat, particularly after a stirring first half display against the backdrop of a noisy Valley.
Of course I knew what I was letting myself in for choosing this game as my first after 4 excellent results. I never really expected anything more but a couple of things irked me. The first was the obvious inevitability that one of Kishishev’s mistakes was going to lead to a goal – I know he has played well in the previous games, but he is still our Achilles heel – and secondly our 4-5-1 formation did not look like unlocking Chelsea’s defence at all after Robben effectively ended the contest with half hour left.
The wingers, although seeing a lot of ball didn’t support the lonely Bent enough. We clearly missed Smertin with Murphy more withdrawn and Powell struggled to compete with the world class Robben and then his replacement Wright-Phillips.
There were however plenty of plusses though. The Addicks thoroughly matched the Champions in the first 45 minutes and created some good chances against a strong and impregnable rear guard. Darren Bent impressed me immensely, strong, dangerous and willing up front. Perry again showed why he is the current number one choice centre half and whereas last season we would have buckled at the end, this season we ended the game with our pride and goal-difference intact.
It was also good to witness another Chicago Addick - on loan Jonathan Spector (right) made his debut for us after replacing Powell late on.
The strength of our squad was evident when Curbishley was able to throw on Darren Ambrose, Matt Holland and Spector and I wonder what kind of team will start tonight
against Hartlepool in the 2nd Round of the Carling Cup.
I would be tempted to move Hreidarsson to left back and play one of Spector, Sorondo or El Khakouri (if fit) alongside Perry. I also wonder if resting Darren Bent would be in order but we mustn’t risk underestimating the opposition. To me this game is as important as any other of the five we have already played.
A final word on Chelsea. Most pundits have already handed the Blues the title but football was never that easy. Much has been written about their steely effectiveness as opposed to their riveting and exciting play.
Sure, they had the look of Champions about them, but when I look back at previous great title teams – Liverpool, Everton, Man Utd and Arsenal, I didn’t watch them in the same awe. Effective and accomplished yes but wonderful and extraordinary no.
Reports from others that were there: All Quiet
; Addicks Diary