Stoke 1-1 Chelsea - Lack of tempo and Ideas cost Chelsea.

After watching Manchester United come back from being two goals down to beat West Ham 4-2, Chelsea knew before kick off that we needed to w...

After watching Manchester United come back from being two goals down to beat West Ham 4-2, Chelsea knew before kick off that we needed to win this one to keep on the tail of the leaders. Chelsea huffed and puffed their way at the Britannia and if we are honest, Stoke looked like the ones who would win the game in the second half.

For me, we are left with a worrying amount of issues that need to be answered before we can realistically challenge for the Champions League and a top three finish this season. For a start our defending at times was all over the place and if it wasn't for Petr Cech we would have lost the game.

The tempo of our game when we had the ball was too slow. Time and time again we would move forward with the ball or break on Stoke by winning possession and our play was too laboured once again. Rather than look for a killer pass, we would hold the ball up which enabled Stoke to get men back behind the ball and close us down.

We had a lack of ideas when we had the ball in the final third. Too many players pulled out wide looking for the ball, we had no movement in behind apart from the Drogba header at all. If we are to play killer passes the player on the ball needs options. On Saturday, there was a real lack of options to pass to when our players had the ball.

Finally, the 4-4-2 Carlo wants to play doesn't suit our game at the moment. Anelka was non existent apart from the goal. Time and time again our midfield were overrun in the second half as Stoke pushed on and created numerous chances. Kalou didn't do a stroke in the game as he was asked to play right wing as part of a four in midfield and couldn't affect the game and Ramires, although working hard to do what he can out there, is far better in the middle.

I do want to hold my hands up and admit, Stoke were fantastic. For a side that has the biggest game in their recent history coming up at Wembley, you would forgive them to have an eye on that and to ensure they never picked up any silly injuries. However, they played full pelt at 100% and gave it everything for themselves, their manager and their fans and didn't deserve the lose the game.

They say you need luck along the way if you are to be successful, Chelsea had that on more than one occasion against Stoke but this result along with United's, puts a serious dent into any hopes of retaining the title.

The Chelsea of old would have changed things, switched formation and went for the three points and I was surprised Carlo never. Let's be honest here I wanted a Zhirkov for Malouda change half way through the second half to go for it with fresh legs down our left hand side. OK, Stoke were creating chances and finding Kenwyne Jones hard to deal with so brought on Ivanovic.

You would think it would make sense, but we should have forced Stoke on the back foot, left our defence alone and pushed Kalou and Zhirkov forward next to Drogba and Torres to go four up front with Lampard and Essien marshaling the midfield. Stoke would have had no option but to pull their midfielders back on the cover which would have left Jones and Walters isolated.

Unfortunately, and it's has become much more apparent this season, we have no plan B. At the moment it seems as though it's a case of swapping like for like players to see if they have any luck rather than switching the formation to see if that works.

It's a blow for Chelsea losing ground on United. Our hopes in the league are fading away. As for Stoke, well done, well played and you lot fully deserve to be in the Premier League. You have a group of hard working players who are asked to play to your strengths. Good luck in the FA Cup semi final.

That's exactly what Chelsea and Carlo Ancelotti need to do. Play to our strengths and it isn't 4-4-2.


Follow me and this blog on Twitter @chelseadaft

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