Since Graham Potter took over as manager of Chelsea, there has been a lot of draw for Chelsea and more disappointment for fans as their top-four dream fades.
Despite the team’s significantly improved performance, there may be one or two positives to be drawn from yet another unfavorable outcome.
Let’s take a look at the five takeaways from this disappointing derby draw, in which Chelsea looked poised to take all three points before a series of lapses in concentration from the majority allowed the Hammers to claw their way back into the game.
Joao Felix, Madueke, and Mudryk start for Chelsea against West Ham today
Second, we must discuss Enzo Fernandez. The World Cup winner had another outstanding performance, controlling the game from midfield. He made some fantastic interceptions, breaking up plays and intelligently distributing the ball. A fantastic lobed cross into the box to set up Jao Felix for the only goal that stood for the Blues was the icing on the cake for the Argentine, who had a fantastic afternoon out against the Hammers. I believe we will become accustomed to praising him after each match.
Let’s keep it positive for the third point. Jao Felix demonstrated yet again why Chelsea should find a way to make his contract permanent. He and Enzo appeared to be on the same page, with Enzo making some beautiful passes over the defense for the Portugues to run on, and he certainly didn’t disappoint with several nice timed runs, including the goal.
So unfortunate that his second goal was called back for offside. He struggled in the second half as the Westham defense made things more difficult for him. In general, he played well, ranking as the second best player behind Enzo.
(Video): Chelsea players thought they had a penalty, but the VAR or referee denied them
Our fourth learning point is more of a mental issue, specifically concentration. In times of stress, you could see almost the entire team lose concentration. This point should be all about Marc Cucurella, who I believe had a bad afternoon out there. His lapse in concentration allowed Westham to cross the ball into the box, and where the hell did Emerson come from to tap the ball in? Reece James could have done better here; he was unaware of Emerson’s position, and nothing can be undone.
Finally, I believe we played well in the first half, but we all know how good Reece James can be ramping forward along the byline and bending in undefendable crosses. I didn’t notice any of this in the first half, and I’m not sure why. James went a little deeper, which limits this guy’s attacking threat. The second half was a little different, with the Cobham graduate finding space to bend in some beautiful crosses that were unfortunately not finished.
Despite the unfavorable outcome, there was evidence of performance improvements that we should look to carry over to the next task on Wednesday against Borussia Dortmund. I thought Kai Haverts played well, and while he was unlucky with his offside goal, it appears he enjoys playing with Jao Felix. Ruben Loftus Cheek, who was replaced by Conor Gallagher, is another player worth mentioning. I can confidently state that playing alongside Enzo improves his game.
Chelsea’s full-time key midfielder returns to training, vows to partner with Enzo Fernandez in upcoming games
Let’s start with Mykhalo Mudryk. Here’s the name of a massively talented baller with a lot of potential, but two games after showing some spack in 45 minutes of action against Liverpool, it’s been much underwhelming and way below expectations.
When he was taken off at the start of the second half last week, manager Potter explained that he had a cold and there was no need to risk him. We expected more from him today, but it appears that he and the coaching staff still have a lot of work to do to help him adapt smoothly. That is why, for the time being, we must become accustomed to the term ‘gel,’ as the team does not use it.