Yesterday’s match for Chelsea FC against West Brom was a major letdown after the comprehensive win against Newcastle United on Saturday. Most expected a similar result for Chelsea against a weakened West Brom side that was in the relegation zone at the start of the match but that was simply not in the cards. For whatever reason, West Brom has become a bogey club for Chelsea both home and away and the Blues did not look like potential champions yesterday or in the reverse fixture earlier in the season. For this particular match, was fatigue the deciding factor in the match?
A worrying stat on our record after two days rest:
Some results after only 48 hrs rest: draw with WBA, loss at Basel, loss at Stoke, loss at Sunderland, draw with West Ham, draw at WBA. #CFC
— Grant James (@GrantJames_CFC) February 11, 2014
Jose Mourinho only made one change in the lineup from the Newcastle match, swapping Frank Lampard for Ramires in the center of midfield. West Brom on the other hand swapped four players out of their lineup, one change in defense, and three at forward and midfield. This seemed to prove the difference as West Brom looked lively on the counter and Chelsea’s attackers looked completely off the pace for the majority of the match. Aside from the the goal by Branislav Ivanovic and a few shots from distance, Chelsea never really threatened Ben Foster’s goal. A wholesale squad change may not have been in order but a tweak here or there would have certainly helped the Blues.
With the proven options Mourinho has in his squad why wasn’t there more rotation? He could have swapped Azpilicueta for Ashley Cole, Eden Hazard, who looked off the pace all game, for Andre Schuerrle, and Samuel Eto’o for Demba Ba. All three of those options represent a drop in talent with the exception of Cole but it was clear that it was pace and desire that was the difference yesterday, not talent. Mourinho is renowned for his man management and squad rotation but he seemed to drop the ball yesterday the way Chelsea dropped the points. The draw won’t decide the title race but it sure would have been nice to end the day four points clear at the top of the table.
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