Lookback Chelsea v. Spurs

When you are playing away from home against a top side and you are ascendant you have to score. Spurs started brightly against Chelsea and created numerous chances in the opening 20 – 30 minutes but couldn’t convert. In the end Chelsea was superior and deserved the three points on the backs of great games from Drogba and Essien. But the game could have gone very differently had referee Howard Webb not been afraid to award a penalty against a top 4 side. To win this game the Spurs needed a break to go their way, and they simply couldn’t catch a break.

A few thoughts.

1. Rednapp’s 4-3-3 formation started well, but gave too much space to Chelsea, and lost effectiveness as the game went on. In the midfield, Rednapp played Huddlestone deep and Palacios and Jenas slightly further forward a little to the left and right of Hudd. Defoe played as a CF, and Lennon and Keane floated around. While this formation enabled Spurs to stymie Chelsea in the central midfield and control significant amounts of possession, it had some real flaws.

The major problem were the holes this formation created defensively. With three attacking players, Spurs had one fewer in the midfield. The 3 midfielders were also playing very narrow giving loads of room out wide for Bosingwa and Cole. Bosingwa was peppering dangerous crosses throughout the first half and the Ashley Cole goal was from one of many uncontested crosses. A secondary problem was that this formation did not seem to get the best out of Palacios and Lennon who both looked a little lost at times. Palacios frequently found himself far up field in more of a play maker role and probably would have been more effective playing deeper along side Huddlestone. Lennon also never got into the game. Since he was floating around it looked like his teammates did not really know where he was on the field. It also meant that he rarely made Chelsea’s fullbacks pay for being so far forward.

2. Drogba and Essien were fantastic. Essien continuously cut off Spurs attacks and enabled Chelsea to send some many players forward without getting exposed. Drogba was, well, Drogba. Just a load and once Ledley King went out injured, he was always going to be too much for Corluka to handle.

3. Howard Webb. Real questions have to be asked about the non-penalty call. Keane got passed Carvalho in the box, Carvalho went in clipped Keane from behind, who tried to keep his balance before falling. Perhaps it was because Keane didn’t just go down, as he could of, but Webb waved off the penalty shout. Keane rightly ran up to him and said give me a card then. The fact Webb didn’t indicated that he was uncertain about the call. Spurs fans are becoming accustom to getting hosed by Webb – he was the referee last year at Old Trafford when Man U, down 2-0 in the second half, were gifted a penalty, turning the tide of the match. This was another case of a referee not brave enough to make a call against a top 4 side. Maybe Webb will apologize as he did last year.


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