Chelsea, Back In It

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By Tonte Davies

With just two games left before the Premier League season ends, Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea is again in the title race. In an epic encounter between Liverpool and Chelsea on the home soil of the former, Chelsea came out tops. Despite parading what many pre-supposed will be a ‘weak’ team against a resurgent Liverpool, Chelsea won the game 0-2. Goals from Demba Ba and Willian in additional time of both halves gave the Blues hope for the title.

Prior to this encounter Liverpool had been on an 11-game winning streak this 2014 calendar year until yesterday. A Steven Gerrard inattentive slip-up from a Sakho pass was a perfect gift for Demba Ba to strike a blow. Ba’s goal came within 3 minutes of additional time on the stroke of half time and that was Mourinho’s breather. Before this moment, Liverpool had been in control of the game with 75 percent ball possession leaving Chelsea with 25 percent.

Liverpool continued to press on to get an equalizer but Chelsea’s defense was air-tight; the thought of being two points clear at the top of the table was not the deal for the day. Like the first half, ball possession tilted in favour of the Reds as Mourinho’s negative tactics was more about not conceding a goal. “Defensive display?” Mourinho mused when asked about his tactics; “when a team defends well you [media]call it defensive.”

Brendan Rodgers however, disagrees with Mourinho’s position that Chelsea played a more defensive tactic leaving little of a breakthrough for Liverpool. “Jose has got his result today, credit to [Chelsea],” Rodgers told reporters. “It’s the opposite of how we want to play. It’s not difficult to coach, 10 players in the 18-yard box,” Rodgers quipped. “We just couldn’t find the breakthrough – there were probably two buses parked today, never mind one,” Rodgers clearly unhappy, said further.

Steven Gerrard whose slip earned Chelsea a first goal made apparent efforts to equalize, taking long-range shots at Chelsea’s goal. However, Chelsea goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, was the obstacle between Gerrard’s shots at goal and the goal net. Chelsea midfielder, Frank Lampard spoke highly of his countryman [Gerrard] while sympathizing with him for Liverpool’s loss. “Stevie’s a top, top player. Whether Liverpool goes on to win the league or not I don’t think it takes anything off the player he is” Lampard said. Speaking further, “he’s been driving them all season so what can you say? It’s just not a nice moment.”

Both teams made what was perceived as critical changes in the second half of the game, with Daniel Sturridge and Iago Aspas brought in for Liverpool. Clearly, Rodgers thoughts were to give more bite to his already ‘clueless’ attack. Chelsea on the other hand, brought in former Liverpool man Fernando Torres, Gary Cahill and Willian. Mourinho’s strategy at this point was to add more strength in defense while at the same time, give freshness to his attack line.

With most Liverpool players joining in attack, their defense was left porous with Torres and Willian partnering to score a second goal at the stroke of full time. Liverpool is just 2 points ahead of Chelsea both teams left with two games to complete the season. 

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