Chelsea 2-1 West Brom

Official match report. See also Chelsea Offside’s review of the match.

Today’s home opener was one rocky performance. The midfield lacked creativity. The forwards lacked tenacity. Despite going down in the 4th minute, we did fight back to win 2-1. We dominated possession, but our passing was sloppy and West Brom took advantage of our mistakes frequently. We were fortunate to only have one goal scored against us despite our errors.

The starting lineup was all wrong. Malouda should have started in the midfield, not Kalou. Drogba should have started up front, not Torres. Too bad David Luiz is injured, since he should have started in center back instead of Alex. Ivanovich should have been in for Bosingwa at right back.

Our formation was not right. We are a forward team. We should have played a 4-3-3 but instead AVB opted for a 4-4-2. Here was the starting lineup in the chosen formation:

Hillario
Bosingwa – Alex – Terry – Cole
Ramires – Mikel – Lampard – Kalou
Anelka – Torres

Arguably, Kalou may have been a third striker, as the official match report states, but when I was watching the game, it didn’t seem to me that he was playing as a striker. I would have opted for Drogba – Anelka – Kalou up front and Ramires – Lampard – Malouda in the midfield. I much prefer Ivanovich at right back, but I must tip my hat to Bosingwa for his run that assisyed the winning goal. Alex, well, I am not impressed with him even if he did score one sweet, sweet goal against Arsenal last year.

Our attacking strategy was not right. More than 90% of the time we went with the early cross rather than going bi-line or playing a through ball. It was in the 10% that we scored, first from a through ball and second from the bi-line. We need to play the bi-line more frequently and thread the ball regularly. The early cross still has a place, but it should come after having gone bi-line several times to stretch out the defense.

Our midfield lacked creativity, which caused a tendency to cross the ball early. We need a better performance from the center mid. It pains me to say it, but Lampard needs to sit. I really wanted to see Benayoun in the mid. I was also wishing for the likes of Modric, perhaps in Ramires’ place.

We have problems, but they are not insurmountable. I think Sturridge’s inclusion and Lukaku’s participation will really help up front. I hope to see Modric join our midfield, but even if that does not happen, Malouda at left, Ramires at right, and Lampard or Benayoun in center is a good midfield.

Goals:

  • Anelka: 1
  • Malouda: 1
  • Goals for: 2
  • Goals against: 1
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