Chelsea Pathetic at the Post as Manchester United Blitz Chelsea

Frank Lampard midweek stated that Chelsea needed to work on set piece defense. Obviously the team needs to be completely retrained from scratch as two of them came to their undoing as Manchester United thrashed Chelsea 3-0 at Old Trafford setting them up to be league leaders should they win both of their games in hand.

Pathetic is an extremely kind word to describe how Chelsea defended the set pieces in this game. With Jose Mourinho in attendance giving Manchester United the once over in lieu of their Champions League ties coming up, Chelsea laid the biggest of rotten eggs. They looked a team that simply didn’t care, and Manchester United turned the screws where they were the weakest.

The first goal showed lesson number one on defending a corner kick, put one person on each post. It always amazes me when teams don’t do this, and Chelsea is guilty as charged. Vidic knew exactly where to head Berbatov’s flick on, where they were and where they should be. Regardless of Petr Cech’s positioning, he was never going to save that powerful a header.

While the second goal was from a brilliant piece of skill from Berbatov, Evra, and Wayne Rooney, the third goal broke two rules of defending set pieces. The first being, depending on where the free kick is taken from put people on the posts. The second being, know who you are responsible for. Cristiano Ronaldo perfectly placed that ball on the foot of Berbatov and no one for Chelsea seemed to know who was on him. Franco Di Santo looked to be the one who started on him, but John Terry ended up closest to Berbatov as he finished the set piece, and Chelsea’s chances of winning for good.

While it can be debated that a body on the near post wouldn’t have done much at stopping Berbatov’s goal, you just don’t give yourself the opportunity at stopping such a shot. As for the marking, it was obvious to me that the assignments were not as clear as they should have been, and the cross between zonal and man marking did them in. For a team that is suppose to be chasing the title, that is inexcusable behavior.

Graham Taylor of the BBC I feel sums up Chelsea perfectly right now. His quote is a very simple one, “I’d like to ask the Chelsea players if they are giving everything for the cause. I’d have to say they’re not.” Luiz Felipe Scolari from my eyes is getting very close to losing the respect of his players. Chelsea at this moment in time look to only be playing for themselves and not the cause of the team.

At the start of the season, I picked Chelsea to finish fourth. Right now they don’t even look UEFA Cup material. Manchester United on the other hand, are looking the champions Sir Alex Ferguson just expects them to be. As long as United keep plugging along, Liverpool had better watch out. It won’t be Chelsea on their heels, it will be Manchester United leaving them in the dust.

10 thoughts on “Chelsea Pathetic at the Post as Manchester United Blitz Chelsea”

  1. Here are some of my observations about the game: Chelsea were impotent in attack. Drogba and Anelka were invisible and were unable to break down a very tight and cohesive Manchester United back four.

    For United, the scoreline could have easily been 4-0 or 5-0 if it wasn't for the brave John Terry who bravely blocked several shots that were definitely goal-bound.

    Despite the trouncing, I thought Chelsea was marginally the better team in the first half and definitely the better team at the beginning of the second half. But this was a game where Edwin van der Sar was hardly tested.

    Chelsea fans must be sick to their stomachs this morning.

    A couple of other comments. I enjoyed the singing and banter between the Chelsea and United fans at Old Trafford. Also I enjoyed the bit when Chelsea fans were singing “There's only one who hit the wall” at Ronaldo.

    The Gaffer

  2. I think Chelsea's problems began when they brought Anelka on and changed their shape. The first half was much better for them when they had their 5 man midfield. Once they tried to open up, United were able to counter-attack at will. Neither Lampard or Ballack really had much presence in the game I thought. Chelsea had some good spells of possession but as The Gaffer mentioned, were not very imposing going forward.

    Just in case it comes up, I believe the problem with United's disallowed goal (just before Vidic scored) was that Giggs never placed the ball inside the corner arc. Watch the replay again closely. The corner kick must start from inside the arc. Further to that, once the player taking the corner kick moves the ball from inside the arc, the FA rule book’s procedure states that “the kicker must not play the ball again until it has touched another

  3. The corner kick did start within the arc. Rooney set the ball and gave it a little kick and Giggs came over and played the ball. It's a school yard play. I think that goal should of counted. Oh well United scored right after that so I guess it didn't really matter. I want to hear the FA's explanation why the goal was disallowed. The Reds go marching on.

  4. Chelsea is no longer unbeatable. Under the management of Mourinho, Chelsea is unbeatable. When they are one goal behind, they will keep giving pressure to the opponent until they score the equalizing or match-winning goal. Manchester United has beaten Chelsea 3 times in Premier League (after the take over of Abramovich). We can see what the difference between these 3 matches. The toughest one should be the 1-0 win (under management of Mourinho). Alan Smith have to work so hard to secure their lead until the end of the match. The easiest one, no doubt, it just happened yesterday.

  5. The TV replays I saw did not show Rooney playing the ball to Giggs. That would certainly explain his anger though it does not excuse his repeated dissent towards the officials during the match.

  6. One replay I saw did show it. I think I saw it on Sky Sports News while interviewing Ryan Giggs. With the respect campaign Rooney should of been booked. No question about that. At least he has toned it down some over the years with United.

  7. Can I just ask what makes John Terry 'Brave' for blocking shots headed goalward?
    Isn't it a defender's job to block shots, help his team by defending shots, etc.?
    Or is it that he raised his hands to block a shot from Fletcher?

    It would have been 4-0 or 5-0 had Ronaldo's wrongly-ruled offside goal stood, and the penalties rightly awarded against Carvalho and Terry's raised arm (although that one isn't as clear cut as Carvalho's rugby tackle).

    I'm sorry, I'm normally a reader, not a responder, and I love the site, Gaffer, but I cannot abide by people giving the 'Great JT' undue credit.

  8. Chelsea= West London Pretenders. First of Chelsea sucks. They will never, on this planet anyway, reach the pinnacles my Man. Utd. have. Just look at our trophy cabinet, it speaks for our self. During the game, the so called “unbeatables” got a new hole torn in them. Great news. Terry was playing his usual dirty football. The defense went to sleep, and Drogba and Anelka, well werent there at all. United destroyes them, and if the pastry man Rafa was watching he will choke on his words, and we WILL hoist the title again in May. Liverpool keep in dreaming and the KOP, well we'll just keep singing “you're gonna will $%^* all.” Cheers!

  9. Simple reason why Rooney want booked for his goal protests: he was right. The ref and lino totally fell asleep. the Lino claimed that Rooney didn't tell him he was taking a short'un. Don't remember ever having to tell the lino to pay attention because the kick was taken. Pathetic. THIS is why the respect campaign falls apart. they can't get the simple ones right.

  10. The sequence at the end of the first half was on of the most compelling ones I have seen in football. You knew that Man U was going to put the ball in the net. The Chelsea fans may not have a lot to like but from a neutral fans point of view what a game!

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