11 points. That’s how far Arsenal and Manchester United were from Chelsea after the London team beat Arsenal 2-0 in the recent London derby, after tonight’s loss to Everton, the gap between Chelsea and Man Utd/Arsenal is 7 points.
Certainly we have seen a pattern – Chelsea struggle against disciplined teams away from home, their 1-0 victory over Man Utd was extremely hard-fought and their loss to Wigan early on the season came when the Wigan side were surprisingly disciplined very well – Everton play rigid football, something Chelsea do; the long balls might destroy free-flowing sides like Arsenal, but against Everton, it is a tactic that Moyes himself knows all to well, thus he can counter it by using an efficient defending system.
Against Arsenal, Chelsea let Arsenal have possession and felt free to soak up the pressure and hit on the counter – this was the opposite in the second half, it was Chelsea doing all the pressure against a team who are very well disciplined, and as Chelsea don’t have the creativity of a team such as Barcelona or Arsenal, they failed to break Everton down.
Why did Chelsea lose? A certain amount of factors – Chelsea like to play against teams who are open – Everton are a closed team, Everton have had good form recently and Chelsea do have problems with their ageing defenders at times who are occasion to blunder – Ricardo Carvalho’s foul on Saha tonight was an example.
From this we can see that away from home, just like most teams, Chelsea can be beaten. The title race could be wide open if Ancelotti does not address this issue.