Bosingwa o.g. 5
Chelsea’s dreadful run of form hit an all-time low as they were deservedly edged out by bottom-placed Wolves at Molineux.
Carlo Ancelotti made three changes to the side that was held by Aston Villa three days previous, but the modifications to the starting XI seemed to have an adverse affect on Chelsea’s rhythm. Salomon Kalou came in for Nicolas Anelka, whilst Branislav Ivanovic and Jose Bosingwa made an expected return to defence. On the back of dropping two points at the death to Gerard Houllier’s team, cohesion was paramount if the west Londoners were to bounce back against their relegation-threatened hosts, but once again Chelsea looked a shadow of their former selves.
After such an energy-sapping and confidence-shredding draw with Villa last time out, The Blues made the worst possible start when Bosingwa turned Stephen Hunt’s corner into his own net to gift Mick McCarthy’s strugglers an early lead. Usually renowned with their defensive discipline, Frank Lampard will be furious with himself for not covering the near post with better concentration and allowing the set-piece to drop inside Petr Cech’s six-yard box.
Shell shocked and void of inspiration, Chelsea eventually grew into the game, with Ramires – starting to show a fraction of his hefty price tag – dictating play in the middle of the park. Wolves hassled their spluttering opponents at every turn and their bravery in playing two up top was only equalled by an industrious performance that suffocated any time Chelsea had on the ball. Didier Drogba flickered in and out of the game, always showing the potential to win the game but never finding the right execution when the opportunity arose.
Lampard was by far the visitors’ most lively player, but so he should be after a three month lay-off. After the break, it was Chelsea profligacy that cost them dear with Daniel Sturridge, Kalou and Malouda all wasteful in front of goal. Impassive, almost vacant along the touchline, Ancelotti cut a despondent figure. The manager who is always praised for his mild-mannered approach to the game looked void of any idea how to drag his time out of the mire and back into the title race.
Sometimes, players need the hair-dryer treatment. Losing to a team of Arsenal’s quality, albeit in a landslide defeat is one thing, but failing to impose yourself on the Premier League’s bottom club is a real cause for concern. Chelsea’s season has reached a point where something has to be done, whether it be splashing out in the transfer window or finding a new man to lead the club forward. As inappropriate as the latter may sound, the Italian has given the fans no real indication that the club are resolving the harrowing issues that have stifled them on the pitch. Deep into their worst run of form since 1996, Chelsea show no signs of recovery, and something must be done lest we see the current title holders in the Europa League next season.
17 Bosingwa – 2 Ivanovic – 26 Terry – 3 Cole
5 Essien – 8 Lampard – 7 Ramires
15 Malouda – 11 Drogba – 21 Kalou
66 – 39 Anelka on for 21 Kalou
72 – 23 Sturridge on for 7 Ramires
79 – 44 Kakuta on for 15 Malouda