Pat Nevin: What you can never tell and which Chelsea player is leading by example

In his column this week Pat Nevin reflects on changing fortunes for teams and players alike, and explains what is needed to get through a sticky patch, even if he hopes we won’t be offering Arsenal any olive branches tomorrow…

Football teams, even the best ones, can’t know beforehand when they are going to have a dip. Playing at 95 per cent and above all season just isn’t possible, but trying to guess when that group gasps for air is anyone’s guess. The medics behind the scenes will tell you about red zones and that might be an indicator of impending danger, but there have been plenty of times when red zone players have still managed to be red hot when the adrenalin has kicked in.

Our little dip happened over the two games against Brentford and Real Madrid at Stamford Bridge. Brentford was just weird, with the visitors scoring just about every time they got into our half, but it was still a more subdued performance than we had been used to. I was at Wembley on Saturday to cover the Liverpool v Man City game and even though the Sky Blues had a few important players missing, that wasn’t the full reason why, frankly, they looked awful in that first half. If I am honest, they were not a great deal better in the second, even if they did scrape a couple of goals back.

Pep said his team were tired, but that level of capitulation was almost unimaginable earlier in the campaign. So sometimes you don’t see it coming, but how you react is all important, and our last few games against Southampton at St Mary’s, Real Madrid in the Bernabeu and then Crystal Palace at Wembley were as impressive a run of three games in a row that we have put together all season. What happened to that tiredness?


Leave a Reply

Latest News