A boring 0-0 draw between Chelsea (dropping their first points this season) peaked before it ever started, with the hand shake that never happened, while Chelsea, with its mega-millions team found it hard to gain control of the action with their lackluster midfield, and another example of how old and past his prime Frank Lampard is these days.
It won’t be fair putting all the blame on the man who notches up incredible statistics and the fifth all-time highest scorer in Premier League history thanks to being the only man who takes penalties on this team for quite some time. John Obi Mikel proves time and time again how much nothing he actually does on the pitch, while being slightly better at his defensive roles than the zero he produces on the offensive end. As long as Roberto Di Matteo is afraid to use Oscar, there’s simply no speed or creativity to speak of.
The 4-4-1-1 didn’t suit Chelsea against a tight but well prepared QPR side, who had no problem with Ryan Bertrand and Ramires. Bertrand is a nice idea when trying to cover for three forwards (Mata, Hazard and Torres) but there’s simply no use for him when only Hazard and Torres are on the pitch. Roberto Di Matteo seems to have forgotten about Daniel Sturrdige or not yet keen to give Victor Moses a start, leaving Chelsea with too few men to do anything up front.
Torres looked lonely and depressed, just like most of his Chelsea time. Nothing to do with his individual ability. A striker needs players to supply him with balls, but Eden Hazard trying to do everything on his own simply isn’t enough, no matter how talented and easy to fall in the penalty box the young Belgian is. Maybe it was the overall tension surrounding the Ferdinand-Terry-Cole issue that kept this game so tight and wound up, but it certainly didn’t do well for the fans who were expecting something better.
Di Matteo acts as if the summer didn’t happen. This is still the same Chelsea, most of the time at least, that plays to come out with away draws and hopefully grab a goal on some counter attack. The 1-4 defeat to Atletico Madrid was an awakening experience of the problems he has in the middle of the pitch and the defense, so instead of giving someone else a chance, he simply closes down and prefers to not lose than risk actually winning by giving his creative players a bit more of a chance to produce something.
The handshakes? Mark Hughes called for the whole tradition to be cancelled, but that’s going a bit too far. It creates awkward situations when people do lousy things, or the FA goes on some righteous quest to take someone down, failing in the case of Terry and going overboard in the case of Luis Suarez. We’ll have the same thing happen again when Chelsea meet Manchester United and Liverpool meet the Red Devils again. Maybe the problem is actually with Alex Ferguson’s players?