To be fair to Robbie Savage, the guy gets a lot of bad press, and quite often, it’s pretty unjustified. For every poor judgement the Welshman makes, he does make up for it in relatively good banter, and a bloody enjoyable 606 chat show.
However, sometimes you can’t defend the indefensible, and Savage has made the most ridiculous claim of the season regarding Chelsea’s title bid.
“Give them the trophy now – I can’t see anyone catching them.”
Although as the cliche goes, ‘hindsights a beautiful thing’ yardy-yardy-ya; it’s not just taken Tottenham’s two-nil dismantling of Chelsea to see that Savage has made the most presumptuous statement of the season.
As a source at White Hart Lane brilliantly summed up, Tottenham were ‘comfortable without being flashy’. That just about told the whole story from the game, where Chelsea mustered two poor efforts on target, and only came close through Eden Hazard’s first-half shocker, and butchered second-half header. That was it.
To give Chelsea credit, they reacted to defeat with dignity and togetherness. There was none of this moaning, and not thanking the fans, or the manager buggering off down the touchline for his tea. They thanked their support, and congratulated the opposition.
But, alarm bells should be ringing around Stamford Bridge, because this was the game that will turn Chelsea’s season upside down; and come the next four Premier League games, the Blues look set to be knocked off top spot. The run of games is Leicester away, Hull at home, Liverpool away, and Arsenal at home. At most, a potential point gain from this is five points.
For all of Chelsea’s brilliance of late, we have to remember that their defence is built on Gary Cahill and David Luiz. We’re all for improvement, and players maturing, but neither of these players are good enough. They have purely been on some freak run, where momentum and confidence has carried this extraordinary winning streak. Cracks showed on Wednesday evening, and they will be exploited even more so by the thought of a trip away at Anfield. The most reliable defender of César Azpilicueta didn’t even know his arse from his elbow playing against Dele Alli; the Spaniard’s still trying to find the Spurs man now.
The same sort of form can be said of the wing-backs in Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses. Again, good players, but ones who have been carried by being on cloud nine, and allowed momentum to somehow create a smokescreen of opinion, that the pair are world beaters. Both Kyle Walker and Danny Rose made the Blues pairing look like a couple of lost Championship players at White Hart Lane.
Chelsea have been found out, and the signs were coming when Stoke nearly held them at the Bridge. The system of 3-4-3, although brilliantly effective, and Conte deserves huge credit for bringing the new(ish) system to the Premier League, it has been found out to the extent where teams are actually copying it.
Antonio Conte claims Tottenham have copied Chelsea's 3-4-3 formation for White Hart Lane clash https://t.co/nNn7SHR1V0
— Metro Sport (@Metro_Sport) January 4, 2017
Chelsea have managed to escape having a real playmaker in the middle of the park, by scraping through games one-nil. At the time, this is received with plaudits such as ‘that’s title-winning results’, ‘that’s the sort of results Sir Alex used to get all the time to win the league’. Well, bollocks to that, Chelsea were getting lucky, and their number is up. This lack of goal threat and creativity, whilst simply countering on teams with pace will not win you the league this year. It worked for Leicester last season, purely because the big boys decided to go into hiding for the year. You won’t get away with it this year.
A rethink is needed, and perhaps a call to bring Cesc Fabregas more often to the starting line-up to spark some form of architect in the middle of the park to be more threatening. Otherwise, Chelsea could see another season going begging.