A view of this game ‘partially’ obscured by 1640 miles and a hop, skip and a jump over the channel, an erratic and probably illegal live feed, and the dulcet tones of a TalkSport tune-in app live commentary that frequently froze, made a refreshing change from my normal pillar getting in the way in the Upper Gwladys. Thankfully, due to my location in deepest Puglia in Southern Italy, the wine is also cheap.
And it needed to be. Being 2-0 up with barely ten minutes left and still drawing is always going to be tough to take, but to do it against a Top 4 rival, and one that we have now dominated for a game and three quarters, makes it especially galling. It’s hard to find positives when you’re feeling so disappointed if not a little angry, but I guess one perspective is that at least we were in the position that we gave away, and did so like a Top 4 team ourselves, and not a plucky lower league team in a Cup game that were finally put in our place. Put it like this, Chelsea will not be looking forward to playing us and that’s a tribute to our performance and our capability.
The ‘defeat’ – how it feels, not what it was – has been put down to not having enough energy. Not a good place to be after pre season, that’s exactly what pre season is supposed to sort out. But our seemingly hastily arranged fixtures against low level opposition that still managed to beat us, does worry me slightly. Maybe it means we’ll have more energy later in the season and don’t peak too soon.
You couldn’t fault the energy levels of some, like McCarthy and Naismith, and I thought Besic would have been a better choice than McGeady or Atsu – not being negative, but I’d rather hold on to a 2-0 than feel the need to threaten by playing more tricky and pacy wingers up top. Tactically I think RM got that wrong, and would suggest that is more the issue than tiredness – not to say they weren’t tired, but these guys should be able to win a game from 2-0 with 83 mins on the clock.
But we didn’t.
But we did score two fine goals, the first incredibly well worked, the second incredibly well taken and incredibly well set up by excellent skills and strength from Big Rom. We made other clear chances, and we bossed a side allegedly challenging for the title let alone just Top 4.
When we dust down the season, we may look back and regret two points lost, or we may just reflect that this journey that Roberto is taking us on will have its highs and lows and will be worth it in the long run.
If we could have a 3-0 win next Saturday as our ‘high’ I’d be most grateful. Thank you.
Now, pass me the pasta and the wine. I’m on me holidays.