Can we all say it together, "What was Joe Hart thinking!?" Since I’m sure we are all puzzled by that late game gaff, I can’t help but wonder how things changed in a matter of seconds. There I was, happy to take a point and get the heck out of London! Sadly, our lack of attention reared its ugly head, and another overhead ball lead to the demise of our point. As has happened multiple times this season, we were seemingly inches away from at least escaping with a point, but we just slip up in the most inopportune times and in the worst ways.
It was an understandably cautious start to the game, as both teams were showing a mutual respect for one another’s abilities. After about 10-minutes or so, the game began to open up, and Chelsea looked to counter after we were unable to score in the final third. Until the point of Torres “Sergio Aguero like late goal”, our second half game plan was much more aggressive to the one we had during the first half. When we got around the box we looked for the perfect pass instead of taking chances. Once Chelsea got on the board, you knew our mindset was going to change; it was just a matter of when. Towards the end of the first we began to take those chances, which carried over into the second half when Aguero scored our goal. It was gifted by a bit of poor goal keeping from Czech, but it was still beautiful.
As the second half wore on, both teams had their share of changes. Chelsea had a lot of late opportunities from set pieces, resulting from silly fouls by City defenders. All of the free kicks were in great free kick positions, which gave Chelsea chances to get the game winner. But, give us some time and we may just gift the other team a goal; like we did today. Not that this is a surprise, but our back four carousel has come to bite us in the butt again. There really isn't anything Pellegrini can do to help this, unless of course, he can give Kompany a pair of bionic legs. But, having a consistent arsenal at center back would help a bit.
Now, back to the final goal. I'm not sure if it was Joe’s lack of trust in his defender, or a complete miscommunication but that was awful! I think I will have nightmares where I wake up in a cold sweat, catching myself saying, “If he only stayed in the box we would have gotten that point!” I’m obviously exaggerating, but that is how I feel about that, as I am still completely confused by what he was thinking at that point in time. There is going to be a lot said about Hart this week, as there always is after a loss, let’s hope he can put this hiccup behind him….
It is early and there is a lot of premier league season left to play, but City is not helping themselves progress up the table. It isn’t losses like this, against the top teams, but the ones against the teams we should beat. Hopefully Chelsea drops some points before Christmas so I won't hear about this game at my family Christmas party, as I'm not escaping to New Zealand this year.
Aguero (8) - He had a tough draw today working as the lone striker in a tough and tall back line that Chelsea has. He and Silva were catalyst in the attack during the second half, and it led to a lovely goal helped in by poor goal tending by Cech, but I will take it!
Yaya (7) - In a more advanced role than usual he was able to get more involved with the attack, and he was a threat to score around the box.
Nasri (6) - In and out of affecting the game today. He was frustrated at times when he tried to get involved. He partnered well with Silva in the second half to stretch Chelsea at times.
Silva (7) - He and Aguero worked well together, and Silva was vital in our aggressive second half mindset. He should definitely begin to shoot more when he gets the opportunity because we could use some goals from him, too.
Garcia (5) - He was out paced by Torres today, and it allowed him to bare down on our back line. He had a key interception late in the game, and I commend him for being in the right place at the right time.
Fernandinho (7) - He had another solid game, and has really become a second field general along with Silva. He has found great connecting passes to midfielders and strikers making runs. He was overly aggressive at the end, and gave Chelsea great positions for free kicks, luckily to no avail.
Zabaleta (7) - He completely shut down Schurrle until he shifted sides with Hazard, but he continued his strong defensive effort against the more experienced midfielder. He got back to his usual form, after a bit of slip last week.
Demichelis (5) - After a very shakey first half, he settled down and played quite well in place of Kompany. The chances late in the first half for Chelsea were a product with the center backs lack of familiarity with his partner, Nastasic. There was a moment in the first half when a cross found Torres unmarked, when he turned and began to yell at Nastasic. I like to think he was making sure they were on the same page, and that is something I like to see from a new player early in his time City.
Nastasic (6) - Can't really fault him for the last goal, as he was just trying to head it on back to his goalie, who ended up being a few feet outside of the box already. He had another solid defensive effort stopping countless attacks from Chelsea with a powerful tackle, or vital interception.
Clichy (3) - Bad, just bad. Really not much else you can say about his performances so far this season. I never thought I'd hear myself saying "I'd rather have Kolarov than Clichy in at left back...." Torres and others burned him a lot during today, the most important being the time that lead to Chelsea's first goal.
Hart (3) - WHAT WERE YOU DOING, JOE?!? He was back to his hesitant "should I come get, or no" form when balls came into the box. This may have to do with his lack of familiarity or trust in his back line, but there is really no excuse for what he did at the end of the game. Other than those mishaps he played well, but that was one BIG mistake.
Navas (5) - Came in and tried to put his stamp on proceedings with his pace, whenever he could find space. He almost broke into the scoring on the break when he came in, but with the ball on his weaker foot you could guess he wouldn't score
Kolarov (N/A) - Hindsight is 20/20, but I think he should have gotten the start since he has gotten more goes in the starting XI than Clichy, due to injury. And, going by form; he should have been in.
Negredo (N/A) - Aguero had a tough time being as effective without his bullying sidekick, Negredo. If he were brought on sooner, he may have had a more of an impact on the game than playing in the final five-plus minutes.