Galatasaray 1-1 Chelsea - Decisions in key moments cost Chelsea.
Plenty of people keep talking about Chelsea lacking a prolific striker this season. Chelsea's...
Plenty of people keep talking about Chelsea lacking a prolific striker this season. Chelsea's main problem this season has been the killer pass and last night in Istanbul it cost us victory.
Let's be honest here before people talk about Mancini's tactical change and Galatasaray's second half performance, this game should have been dead and buried with Chelsea almost certain to qualify for the next round!
Questions had been asked by the home supporters when they had seen the way Mancini had decided to set his side up and by playing 4-4-2 against Chelsea's 4-2-3-1 formation, it was obvious that the game was set up for Chelsea to counter attack time and time again.
Four or five times in the opening half hour of the football match, Chelsea opened the home side up and they were in total disarray. The problem we have is that we only managed to convert one of those opportunities and Galatasaray travel to Stamford Bridge well in the game.
We've seen this happen in various games recently. Chelsea have plenty of possession but do little with it when called upon. When we do create a chance or get into a good position, something just doesn't quite click or come together and the chance is gone.
Fernando Torres and Eden Hazard both had chances to do better when it really promising positions and both made the wrong choice to waste those all important moments.
There is a saying in football that when you are on top and dominating the football match, you must take your chances because football can change in an instant. That's exactly what happened last night!
Up to the point the tactical switch was made by Mancini (putting an extra man into the middle of midfield), Chelsea were well in control and hardly troubled. Didier Drogba was kept fairly quiet.
I'm not certain if you are reading this having seen the Real Madrid victory in Schalke last night but if you have you will understand where I am coming from with this. Madrid defeated Schalke 6-1 on the night and watching Madrid was a sublime demonstration of what Chelsea should have done to Galatasaray in that first thirty minutes. I'm not saying we could have scored that many but we should have at least been two or three goals ahead at the half time interval.
What happens in the second half? Galatasaray press forward with much more purpose, Chelsea drop deeper into defensive positions and we play pure counter attacking football.
I cannot remember if it was before or after their equaliser but yet again Chelsea create a golden opportunity to score and the goalkeeper makes a save from close range to deny us our second of the game.
Instead what happens? For once, with a corner floated into the box from Wesley Sneijder, Didier Drogba gets the better of his marker and heads the ball down towards the far post with Cech nowhere to be seen and for some reason, the Galatasaray player smacks the ball against the post and Lampard is able to clear the ball off the line. It was a sign of things to come.
The home side always looked to press forward and to get the ball into the box and from another Sneijder cross they got their reward. With Ivanovic man marking Drogba out of contention, John Terry got caught underneath the flight of the ball, lost his marker and their defender managed to tap the ball into the next from 6 yards and once again Cech was nowhere!
You had to hold your hands up and admit it was what the home side deserved.
So Mikel comes in to shut up shop and but for a few moments with one brilliant Cech save tipping the ball over the bar from distance, Chelsea saw the game out and took and all important 1-1 away and home in three weeks back to Stamford Bridge. If any of us were offered the draw and the away goal we would have taken it so on paper there should be no complaints.
The problem is that I cannot help but think if we had played that final pass when we should have, found the right moment this game could literally be over before a ball is kicked in London.
Now we are faced with an uneasy night at home knowing that a goal for the visitors changes the game totally. After watching their side tonight, I still believe we are far better than they are. I still believe we have plenty more to offer compared to the overall performance of our players. Their players gave much more of themselves because they had to chase the game, that is a positive for Mourinho.
Overall the players did OK. Eden Hazard wasn't as influential as we all would have liked him to be and we hope he is the opposite at the Bridge. Frank Lampard had a decent game next to Ramires, Cahill, Terry and Ivanovic coped well with Drogba but for that one moment he got the better of one of them to create a chance that should have been scored.
Willian put in yet another hard working performance but at times gave the ball away. Andre Schurrle used his energy to good effect and had every right to fume at Torres for not crossing the ball to him when we got into another good attacking area.
Torres got his goal, worked hard but knows that he should have done better in the moments we have been talking about. Cesar Azpilicueta continues to impress down the left hand side.
The disappointing performance for me was Petr Cech's because although JT lost his marker, he was nowhere for the goal and should have been imposing himself to come for the cross to deal with it no matter who he would take out to do so. It happens a fair few times in a season and you have to imagine the big man would be annoyed with his positioning once or twice.
To sum up, it was a game we could have quite easily put to bed after thirty minutes. We never did and it cost us with a sloppy goal to concede but e have an away goal which at this stage of the competition is all important.
As I said earlier, we have seen plenty of Galatasaray now because they had to put in a much different performance to get back into the game so we know what to expect at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea can be and we expect them to be much, much better.
It's not a bad result and better than a 0-0 but we come away from this one feeling that it really could have been so different if we had just taken our chances!.
Carefree & KTBFFH.