Friday, April 03, 2020
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Although of differing magnitude to their last penalty shootout, the result was nonetheless the same. Yesterday, Chelsea were embarrassed by Barnsley, crashing out to the Championship side after a lackluster performance in which they failed to convert their chances.  


And there can be no excuses. John Terry, Frank Lampard and the in-form Nic Anelka were all rested, but with over GBP100m of talent on display, and a team littered with top internationals, it’s to win games such as these that Chelsea’s annual wage bill tops GBP114m.  


Since Abrahmovic ploughed in his money, Stamford Bridge has been a fortress. The four year undefeated record tells the story. However, this term, with seven points dropped in the league already, Chelsea’s home record is worse than that of Stoke and Fulham. In fact, it’s only their perfect away record that has ensured the Blues have kept pace with Liverpool at the summit. 


It is no coincidence that Chelsea’s undefeated home record coincided with the tactically tentative reigns of Jose Mourinho and Avram Grant. Whereas the previous two incumbents would sit back on a lead, content with a one-niller, Scolari’s desire to rub salt into his opponents wounds leaves Chelsea open. If their dominance cannot secure a two or three goal cushion their consistent attacking forays can leave them prone. 


Scolari’s gung-ho approach has won many plaudits, with a glut of goals so far this season. However, under closer scrutiny Chelsea have struggled against tougher opposition. Failure to win any of the matches against Liverpool, Manchester United, Tottenham and Roma has been masked by emphatic victories against the likes Portsmouth, Middlesborough and Sunderland.   


Chelsea must reaffirm their dominance at Stamford Bridge if they are to fulfill their billing as favourites for the League and Champions League. If not then the team who ended their unbeaten home record, and who now themselves have the longest undefeated home record in the league, could be the ones to take advantage.   


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