Today saw the champions of Europe Chelsea FC travel to League 1’s Brentford in the 4th round of the FA Cup, a competition that Chelsea have been very successful in over the past years. Anybody from the outside wouldn’t have given Brentford a chance of getting anything out of the game, how wrong everybody was. No Chelsea fan can even say we played an under strength team, granted we were missing Petr Cech in goal but surely everyone expected Ross Turnbull to start in a game that should have been an easy win and progression to the next round and with the exception of Marko Marin starting in front of Juan Mata it was pretty much our strongest 11, okay Ba instead of Torres but he is our 50 million pound striker after all.
So from what seemed like a strong starting 11 it’s safe to say Chelsea got lucky. The first half was possibly one of the worse 45 minutes I’ve ever watched, every pass went astray, and chances created were very few and far between, communication wasn’t there at the back which resulted in an indirect free kick for Brentford that in their eyes was probably a wasted opportunity. Things then went from bad to worse for the Premier League side when on 42 minutes Brentford took the lead through sloppy play from Lampard who lost the ball 25 yards out and from the resulting shot Turnbull parried only for Marcello Trotta to fire home from inside the box and for Brentford the Dream of a cup upset was well and truly on. Half time came and went and changes were made with Juan Mata replacing a very poor Marko Marin whose Chelsea career hasn’t exactly started with a bang. To be fair on Marin any of the Chelsea starting 11 could have been replaced it was that bad of a first half performance. The introduction of Mata to the Chelsea midfield immediately had an impact, space was being created around the box, and we seemed to be playing with more confidence about our play and for the first time in the game looked threatening. And right on cue after 10 minutes of Chelsea pressure at the first half a neat bit of foot work by Oscar on the edge of the box and a beautiful shot hit with the outside of the foot, the game was levelled at 1-1. The Chelsea pressure continued throughout the second half but not much came to chance. Brentford were defending for their lives and throughout the game looked like they could threaten Chelsea on the counter attack and that is exactly what they did 70 minutes into the game. Ramires lost possession for Chelsea inside his own half and a lovely waited through ball to Adeyemi made Turnbull commit and bring down the Brentford substitute. A yellow card the right decision for Turnbull but nothing could stop the resulting penalty being slotted away and the home team were 2-1 up and the dream was on again. Like any League 1 team ahead with only 10 minutes remaining they were in defensive mode. Chelsea brought on Demba Ba to strengthen the attacking options, but it would be the 50 million pound striker who for large parts of this game was nonexistent who curled in a wonderful shot when the ball broke for him on the edge of the box and Chelsea were level at 2-2. A late penalty appeal for handball was turned down and in all honesty if it was given it wouldn’t have been deserved and the match ended 2-2 and Brentford had got their replay at Stamford Bridge.
The problems at Chelsea are obvious to anyone who watched the game today or any of our previous games. I don’t want to take anything away from a Brentford side, who in all honesty could have been in the 5th round today and fully deserve the replay they have. Let’s hope that on a better playing surface and in front of our home fans we can correct the wrongs in this game and progress through to the next round. I was tempted to speak about the problems at Chelsea at the moment but I think they are for a different post at a different time, the only thing I will say is that I’m not one to jump on the bandwagon but Rafa has to go for the sake of the club.