If its not one thing it’s the other. Having put up with another dreadful performance from Pav in the first 45 minutes Gomes takes over as only he can and allows the Chelsea crowd to draw the linesman into making a howler of a decision in awarding an equalising goal.
Then to compound things he misses an offside decision in the second half allowing Kalou to knock in the winner on 89 minutes. During the second half Chelsea were by far the better side and put us under lots of pressure. We were lucky to survive a strong penalty shout half way through that period which would have given lots of momentum to them but without Gomes mistake the half time team talks would have been much different.
Despite sticking up for the keeper during his press conference with Andy Burton it has to be time up for Gomes for this season at least. There comes a time when defenders cannot trust the man behind them and it interferes with concentration and that point must now be reached. A dreadful parry in the second half was another example of the damage done to his confidence and if we want to press on he has to step back.
I wouldn’t have started with Pav. I know some of you think that with more playing time Pav could be the man but to be fair Gandalf could grow his beard from scratch before that point is reached; it’s just not going to happen. It can be like starting the game with 10 men and today was one of those occasions.
Within five minutes of coming on Defoe had done more to threaten Chelsea in an attacking way and at that point we were being stretched and pushed as Chelsea looked for the lead unlike the first half when we were much more competitive. I’m not saying he would have scored because he isn’t in great form but we lacked something in the final third throughout the game and you cannot win these games if that is the case.
The midweek debate we had (Berbatov or Drogba would they work at Spurs)certainly continues for Drogba finished the game string and dominant and a real handful to our defenders, if only he had been on our side at the beginning.
I wanted Sandro to start, he did and what a goal he scored. Certainly the goal of the game from Rafa’s clever overhead kick and leaving Cech with no chance whatsoever of saving it. Did Modric get a touch? If he had it would have knocked him over as it was certainly travelling.
Harry tried to get him to sit deeper thereafter as we were giving up space and Torres was threatening and he did so winning countless challenges and breaking up play. Modric too was exceptional. He was all over the pitch but ended the game as he had started it running freely. Lennon did not. His socks were down and he looked weary but both he and Bale were cleverly marked so that when the ball came to them nine times out of ten they were standing flat footed unable to do damage.
That left Kaboul as our attacking force down the right and whilst he started well, in the second half he was getting tackled every time and was then too far up the field. Bale was casual in conceding possession in an identical position to the Stoke game and having dropped to left back tried to take on Drogba to break out. Thankfully only a throw resulted.
It is delightful when your players have the confidence to try these things but sometimes a little common sense has to come to play. If you are defending away from home don’t muck about get it downfield if you are the last man rather than trying to take on the whole team.
So a spirited performance which offered much but delivered little. Sky were predictably trying to suggest that this defeat will cost us £30m by missing a Champions League place but that honour has so many homes this season this is just a small step along the way. One point off Wigan, Bolton and Blackpool away, West Ham or West Brom at home and maybe allowing Arsenal to get two goals ahead before turning up. Yes today was a final nail but it is certainly not in isolation.
We haven’t won at Stamford Bridge since 1990 and whilst we were competitive we were nothing more. If we wanted to win at half time we had to score a second and I don’t recall many Spurs shots in the second half. Chelsea are rarely held to “nil” at home so a second goal is a necessity. Yes the officials got it all wrong and cost us a victory but had they not got the first goal wrong would they not have awarded them a penalty? It’s an irrelevant debate of course and not one we should dwell on.
Chelsea are back to form and incredibly difficult to overcome on their own ground. Like all of the top teams they finish the game strongly and nothing is guaranteed till the final whistle. Certainly we were mugged and hearing Frank Lampard telling us how it was all fair does nothing to make it feel any better.
Next up Blackpool and then another tricky game at Liverpool. That may well be the decider for fifth place as even if West Ham do us a massive favour tomorrow the points gap is still too wide to catch City.