How can we feel dejected after a weekend that included Tottenham, Manchester United and Arsenal losing? Last night, the boys have every opportunity to put our top four hopes in our hands, but I believe now that the ship has sailed.
It may have come to a point that we put all the eggs in the Europa League basket, as we just don’t have the consistency anymore in the Premier League. Burnley came, and they were anti-football, with their timewasting antics, trying to win soft fouls, parking the bus to the extreme, and fouling our players at every opportunity – and yet I have no complaints.
I respect the job that Sean Dyche has done at Burnley, and their point on Monday night has secured Premier League status for them. They did what they set out to do, and we didn’t.
First Half – Crazy Opening
I was having flashbacks to Manchester City’s Champions League tussle with Spurs last week, after watching the opening 25 minutes to our game. After going a goal down to Jeff Hendrick early on, I was relieved we had conceded so early, as it gave us so much time left in the game to do so.
In fact, Chelsea surprised me with their response, as Eden Hazard dribbled superbly to set up N’Golo Kante for the equaliser, and then Gonzalo Higuain blasted in another that hit the underside of the crossbar within 14 minutes. However, just as we thought we were going to have a comfortable night, Ashley Barnes, who infuriates me, got an equaliser just 10 minutes later.
I was expecting us to come back into it, but the game started to fizzle out until the 2nd half.
Second Half – Couldn’t break down the Wall
The 2nd half was more of the typical Chelsea performance under Sarri. Pass, pass, get in to area, pass, try to shoot…blocked. No goals. Burnley defended magnificently on their part, and we just couldn’t get through. Apparently we had over 60 touches in the opposition box, compared to Burnley’s 7!
That statistic sums us up to a tee, and it was just more of the same. I actually lost belief that we would get a goal, because I saw us trying, but it was the same repetitive plays, and Burnley just snuffed everything out. Mauricio Sarri was sent off in the final moments, and refused to talk to the media after the match. Will he really be our manager next season?
On the pitch, the more frustrating news is that N’Golo Kante was brought off at half time due to a rib injury, and Callum Hudson-Odoi suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon. Gonzalo Higuain had a great chance to make it 3-2, but he squandered off and then was substituted.
He reacted furiously, throwing his kit and bottles everywhere and his emotions sums every Chelsea fan at the moment. We couldn’t break down their wall, because like every other side – they do their homework.
I mentioned earlier that our main focus should be the Europa League now. Admittedly, we are in 4th position, but we are now relying on Arsenal or Tottenham to choke in their final games, and even if they do.
Can we really win at Old Trafford? And then our final two matches? It’s a big ask. We move to Manchester United on Sunday, and it is really a must-win for us now. Defeat would end our top four race for good.