They were there to be beaten. OK, not like ManU have been for the last few years. Chelsea Business Club were vulnerable. They are the best team in the league. They will win the Premiership. But nonetheless there was a real chance to beat them. Shorn of their lead striker and soon to have our 37 year-old nemesis lead the line, this was our chance to put real distance between us and the Man teams.
However, after all those years of being abuse and destroyed our collective inferiority complex came through. It became more important not to loose. I can understand it but it’s still not right. After the ManU train-wreck at Everton, we essentially had a free option. We could take a little more risk and go for the victory. Sure, we brought on Theo belatedly and took of our Coq. But we never really seemed to commit to it. I don’t blame AW – I think it’s also the players mentality. When you get back into the playground with the school bully after being beaten up and having your lunch money stolen, it can be hard to adjust to that bully being somewhat human (not that CBC were that). It comes back down to mentality. And, we still don’t quite have it. And it’s not too surprising after all these years. I suppose the fact that we did not lose is something to be appreciated. In previous years we’d have found a way to lose focus, shape and get caught on the break.
The truth is you can benchmark how blasé CBC were about this game by noting Darth Vaders’ post match comments. He did not bleat on about the referee and their two penalties. The first one clearly was. If this was a game he actually needed to win for sure we’d have heard about it. He was just placating us; literally playing with us. He needed a draw and like the tactician and soulless destroy of humanity he is, they left with their point.
And our point is not sufficient. We had a chance to win this game. But we just did not believe we could. Instead after a fascinating, intense first half we were treated to a classic CBC dreary performance in the second. Again, I don’t blame them. It’s like blaming the Pope for preaching the Gospel. That’s what they do. It was up to us to take more risk.
I don’t mean to sound disappointed. In many ways this performance demonstrated that we’ve matured for that risk-free team that would through caution to the wind (did someone say Swansea away). It’s about finding that right balance. And on Sunday we veered to the safety of a point. We’re still on a good run. The chemistry and balance in the team is so much better than it was – that’s what happens when you have a good Coq. But, given the obvious weakness in the CBC team, this was our chance to capitalize. Maybe the team require a little more therapy in order to recover that confidence and belief. Maybe, just maybe, that’s why we need a real leader on the pitch. Without wishing to harp back to far to our golden years, an Adams or Viera (or even a Bould, Keown or Gilberto) would have given us that belief. And that’s where I feel we’re still short. Real leadership on the field. Until then, I fear our team will remain to scared to win.