I have been so incredibly busy at work that I haven’t really gotten a chance to get my football mind straight. Last night, at my co-worker’s birthday party, it finally hit me that Sunday was going to be the first time Chelsea would be involved in a competitive match all season. I got that first preseason rush. All I wanted to talk about for the next 15 minutes was soccer. Unfortunately, no one at the party wanted to hear it.
This morning, I got up extra early to get some coffee and breakfast. I parked myself in front of the TV and just sat there in anticipation with my Luiz shirt on. GEEKED.
90 minutes later, I asked myself why I even got up.
Chelsea picked up where they left off last season. They made things difficult for themselves. Two minutes after a nice Chelsea move that resulted in a well-taken Fernando Torres goal in the 40th minute, Branislav Ivanovic got sent off after he went in two-footed on City’ Kolarov. It was a stupid tackle. Going in two-footed at any point in the match is asking the referee to send you off, with the intent to injure or not. Brana has exhibited this sort of brash behavior in the past, and it seems to be getting worse (Note: Last spring’s match against QPR).
City came out swinging in the second half. Taking their chances, City jumped to a 3-1 lead early in the second half. Chelsea managed a second, but City held on to win the 2012 Community Shield 3-2 at Villa Park.
After today, I’m still unsure what Chelsea is going to look like this season. Going down a man for a majority of the match handicapped everyone’s ability to judge the new Chelsea against equal, if not better, opposition. Looks like we’ll have to wait until the match against Reading next week for the first full evaluation, but for the first 40 minutes, Chelsea looked defensively sound and solid most places on the pitch. Up top, Torres, Mata, Hazard, and Ramires looked okay at best. They lacked communication. When Ashley Cole was allowed to move up, the attack gained more breadth and diversity. It will be nice to have someone on the right side of defense and the wing in order to help Cole. He carries too much of a burden for his 31 year old legs.
I think the most obvious lesson from today’s match is that Chelsea need to play smarter if they think they’ll even get close to winning the league. Playing through adversity makes for a great story, but it also makes your job a lot harder and favorable results less likely.
Alright, those are my quick thoughts. Onto next week!