Chelsea squander their opportunity and once again demonstrate their unpredictable nature | Commentary by Barney Ronay

Estimated read time 5 min read


At the beginning of extra time in the Carabao Cup final, there was a noteworthy and amusing moment. Despite being heavily understaffed, Liverpool managed to secure a victory. The team seemed more like a group of young players on a Friday night club TV channel, with awkward movements and messy hair, training at a nearly empty field, while their parents watched from the stands.

As the time counted down before the restart, the players of Liverpool gathered in a group near the middle of the field. At this moment, the Chelsea team, who were already in position, appeared to realize that this was something they should also be doing. They quickly moved closer together to form a tighter and more unified huddle, similar to a lovey-dovey couple putting on a display of affection at the dinner table.

It occurred once more during the following period, but this time with even more chaos. The entire staff gathered closely, resembling a chaotic game of village bladder-ball in the middle of a final match. In that instant, it seemed like a perfect representation of what this Chelsea FC team is – simply a group of men thrown together without any consideration for chemistry. This only highlighted the important lesson on wastefulness, greed, and how not to construct a successful and elite sports team.

There are two noteworthy points to make regarding Chelsea’s loss of 1-0 to Liverpool at Wembley. Firstly, it was a major surprise for all parties involved. Despite being a game that Chelsea was expected to win, they instead delivered a lackluster performance with no real impact from Mauricio Pochettino.

It is possible that he may be one loss away from being fired due to the consistent decline of the season. Chelsea is still competing in one cup, at least until midweek, and struggling in the league. Despite losing this game, they moved from 10th to 11th place in the standings. Would another manager be able to improve the performance of this group of players and create a cohesive team? Is there anyone who would want this job?

Chelsea weren’t terrible here. They were just vague, weird, hard to read or understand. This is a team without a narrative. This is a random-energy machine. For very brief periods they were suddenly good, purposeful, producing zingy little passages of passing. Then just as abruptly, they fell apart, or sank back into lethargy.

However, there has never been a football team quite like this one. It has been put together with great enthusiasm, intentionally and haphazardly rejecting traditional ideas of consistency, human proportions, and strategies for integration.

The only recognizable aspect of Chelsea’s loss was their classic failure to perform under pressure, as they missed their opportunity to take the lead. Despite being seen as the underdogs, Chelsea had a more impressive lineup on paper, but their lack of cohesive teamwork ultimately led to their defeat.

However, in theory, Chelsea had everything going their way in this match. At the start, Liverpool was missing at least 10 first-team players. Should we consider it a full 11, sir? Unfortunately, with 26 minutes passed, Ryan Gravenberch suffered a gruesome ankle injury when Moisés Caicedo’s studs landed on his ankle. He had to be taken off the field on a stretcher. As a result, Liverpool had to make adjustments to their lineup once again.

At the halfway mark of the second half, this collection worth a billion pounds, made up of individuals with various skills, was up against a team of former youth players, who were enthusiastic and talented substitutes. When Virgil van Dijk scored the deciding goal just before a penalty shootout, his teammates celebrating with him were Bobby Clark, James McConnell, and Jayden Danns, young and spirited players who were enjoying every moment on the field. In contrast, the opponent van Dijk had to out-jump for the goal was Mykhailo Mudryk, a player mainly known from YouTube who was signed as a gamble, adding to the unpredictable nature of this football team.

It is ironic that Chelsea is participating in this final, as their ownership model does not support the existence of this competition. Instead, they aim for bigger events during their midweeks. If they win, Chelsea would have qualified for the Europa Conference League. However, there is uncertainty whether they can participate in it due to Uefa’s stricter Financial Fair Play regulations.

Despite everything, they performed well at certain points. Cole Palmer had some impressive moments. Conor Gallagher could have potentially secured the win with some luck. The players put their all into the game and were completely disheartened at the end, causing Pochettino to become emotional.

Once again, this loss, similar to all of Chelsea’s recent losses, can be attributed to the ownership, the business strategy, and the arrogant attitude of the wealthy investors who believe they can outsmart the market through excessive spending. Chelsea had an opportunity to use their energy for a tangible outcome, but they were bested by a more organized and determined opponent. As of now, their efforts have been unsuccessful.


You May Also Like

More From Author