Here’s the starting lineup:
Ivanovich – David Luiz – Terry – Bosingwa
Ramires – Mireles – Lampard
Sturridge – Drogba – Mata
I’m not happy with Bosingwa on the left back, but, then again, after this past weekend’s performance from Cole, it does make sense. I’m not sure why Drogba is starting. I still believe he is a sub and not a starter; Torres should be starting. Forget the lineup, let’s get on with the game.
Interesting–both individuals single-handedly responsible for Liverpool’s goals in my opinion over the weekend have been left out of the starting lineup, namely Cole and Mikel.
A quick note
Our defensive line is not as high. AVB’s high defensive line has been a huge point of contention as of late. Nice to see a little padding.
Good opportunity started by Ramires out to Sturridge who got into the box and got a cross off, but the keeper picked it before Drogba could strike it. 12:30 minute mark (From this point forward, I will simply provide the timestamp in parentheses).
1st Half: Brief highlights comments
David Luiz takes a boot to the abdomen when clearing a 50/50 ball (16:30).
Technical difficulties ensued. I missed the next 10 minutes. Score still nil-nil at the 26 minute mark.
Sturridge wins a free kick about 30 yards out (29:00).
Drogba free kick goes directly to the keeper. Wasteful (29:30).
Bayer–Ballack, of course–hit crossbar but could not find the back of the net (32:30).
Bayer dominating; Chelsea look poor (34:30).
Note: Chelsea keeps playing the long ball, which is too direct, proving both unproductive and unsuccessful.
Bayer earn yellow card for a challenge on Bosingwa; replay shows no foul committed (36:00).
Drogba gets around the keeper on a nice through ball from Sturridge, but Drogba’s touch fails him and he chips it over the goal. Terrible (38:00).
Sturridge earns another free kick around 25 yards out; Bayer hand ball results in yellow card (39:30).
Mata takes free kick, but keeper punches out and away (40:00).
Sturridge to Mata who takes a one-time volley straight to keeper (41:00).
Sturridge has a shot on goal, but keeper catches easily (42:00).
Note: Chelsea are starting to come alive, but too bad it is late in the first half.
Bayer get another yellow; Ballack attitude and comments to both referees and opponents earn disciplinary action.
More technical difficulties arose. I missed rest of first half regulation. Score still nil-nil.
Only 1 minute of stoppage time added on to first half.
First half ends scoreless.
Half time comments
AVB needs to get Torres on in place of Drogba. Put Mata behind Torres and let them work together. Torres doesn’t do well as a late sub as he needs to build momentum. Hopefully 45 minutes is enough time. Drogba’s touch overall is so poor today that he could hardly prove useful in producing a win. Otherwise, the rest of the lineup is doing well. Hopefully the energy that we exhibited towards the last 10 minutes of the first half will resume throughout the entirety of the second.
2nd Half: Brief highlights comments
AVB makes no changes to the lineup at the half. Will his decision prove wise?
OMG! Sturridge to Drogba. Drogba stumbles and fumbles a bit but he puts it into the left side netting with his left peg! I stand corrected! 1-nil, Chelsea (48:00).
Lampard header straight to keeper (49:30).
Bayer turning up the heat. Two corners ensued before Cech grasps the ball (51:00).
Ivanovich strikes ball well, but keeper bats it down (52:00).
Drogba missed shot wide but was offside (53:30).
Ivanovich gets yellow for sliding tackle in which replay shows he did get the ball but studs, though toe pointed down, did strike Bayer opponent. Bad call (54:30).
Bosingwa passes ball to no one in left corner offensive third. What was he thinking (55:30)?
Ballack bicycle kick stopped by Cech who punches it over the goal (57:30).
Ballack strikes within 6 yard box; Cech defends well (58:00).
Bayer get yet another strike on goal, this one a header, but it goes straight to Cech who collects it calmly (60:30).
Sturridge had a fantastic run–outrunning defenders even with the ball at foot–but was stopped by the keeper (63:00).
Malouda on for Mata (65:00). Commentators are saying that Mata has been silent today, and indeed he has.
Bayer earn corner; Alex on for David Luiz (68:00). David Luiz looks like his abdomen is bothering him from the blow he took earlier in the first half.
Cech caches the corner kick (68:30).
Malouda and Bosingwa feed off of each other, allowing Malouda to get into the box and take on the keeper, but could not get further; the ball fell to Bosingwa who failed to cross it carefully (71:30).
Bayer equalize. We fell asleep on our defensive line. Horrid (72:00).
Drogba taken down in the box around 76 minute mark. No penalty awarded.
Bayer get another shot off but not on goal (76:30).
Mikel on for Ramires (79:30). Will he redeem himself?
Sturridge gave a through ball for Ivanovich into the box unmarked, but no goal ensued as the keeper did well (80:00).
Malouda crosses and Drogba strikes it one time on the full volley but hits it wide of the goal (84:00).
Drogba injured, hobbled off the pitch to receive continued medical attention (86:00).
Drogba steps back on; seems to have a sustaining limp (87:00).
Regulation time complete. Two minutes added.
Bayer scores second goal in first 15 seconds of added time. 2-1 Bayer (90:00).
Sturridge from long range, but the keeper catches it calmly (91:30).
Chelsea 1-2 Bayer Leverkusen
Well, that was lame. We had a rather poor first half. Things were much better in the second half at first. We scored early in the second half thanks to Drogba’s wherewithal. But in the middle of the half our defensive line fell asleep and suddenly Bayer equalized. With regulation time over, Bayer took a corner kick that lead to a header that beat Cech. Game over.
Our defensive line looked better, but our defensive problems still continue. For one, Alex should not have come on. I know there are still major fans of Alex, but I’m not. To me, it is no wonder that Bayer scored within minutes of Alex coming onto the pitch. I’m just not a fan of Bosingwa anymore either. I’ve now seen enough of him (remember, I am still new to watching Chelsea, as this is only my second full season watching the Blues) to know that he doesn’t have enough quality to produce consistent results game in and game out. But with Cole’s deficient performances as of late, I’m not sure who could take his place except Bosingwa.
Offensively, yes, we did score first, but, come on, still, Drogba, while he did score, did so very luckily and awkwardly, and, to be quite frank, his touch was off all day long. Mata didn’t have any sort of impact on the game. We lacked goal scoring prowess as usual.
So, where do we go from here? We will not take the table in Champions League, and we now have all the pressure in the world–win at home against Valencia or vacate the league.
BTW – Sturridge was definitely man of the match. He produced a lot of good opportunities offensively and worked hard defensively too.