Chelsea news: Blues’ shocking record in second-half of recent matches after Burnley stalemate
As the minutes ticked down at Stamford Bridge on Monday, fans desperately held their breath, hoping Chelsea would find that all-important winning goal, the one that would see them take advantage of their rivals Easter weekend slip-ups.
There was even an added minute on top of the five already shown in stoppage-time.
In the end it mattered little, for Chelsea could have had another 90 minutes and it is unlikely they would have broken Burnley’s resistance.
A draw was the final result, 2-2, but both goals came in the first-half and this match was the latest chapter in Chelsea’s recent decline.
While they were not beaten in the second-half, Chelsea did not win it either. As Maurizio Sarri’s side huffed and puffed looking for a way through, the realists watching, would have been aware of what had happened and was happening, it was all so painfully predictable.
Only days earlier, Slavia Prague were the visitors for the second-leg of the Europa League quarter-final, they were being outplayed, 4-1 was the score, Chelsea were rampant in the first-half.
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After the break, the familiar collapse occurred and Prague scored twice. The final score 4-3, Chelsea had held on, but only just.
Had Chelsea not been so decisive in the opening period, a humiliating exit from Europe’s second-tier competition would have been a formality, such is this recent trend of switching off after the break.
Afterwards, Sarri joked he should not talk to the players and see if that has an effect, whatever he is saying is clearly not having the desired one.
When the Chelsea roadshow rolled into Anfield, there was genuine hope of an upset, there had been before when Liverpool last challenged for the league back in 2014.
For 45 minutes, Chelsea held their own, but once they emerged from the tunnel in the second-half, the first sign of pressure and the Blues wilted like a thirsty sunflower, Liverpool scored twice, they only needed 142 seconds between either strike to settle this contest.
But it was not the first time a Merseyside audience had seen the Blues self-combust.
Everton had waited two years to beat a top six side and they had failed to win against Chelsea since 2015.
Once again, Chelsea fell apart in the second-half, their defensive frailties exposed and Sarri put the situation down to a ‘mental problem’.
“We played the best 45 minutes of the season,” said Sarri. “And then in the beginning of the second half, we stopped playing.
“I do not know way. We did not defend. It is not a physical problem. If you have a physical problem you can go down gradually, not in one second.
“It is difficult for the players to explain to me the change, and for me to explain to you the change. It is a mental block.”
Sarri had not issued a diagnosis when his side were obliterated 4-0 by Bournemouth in the second-half, while two of Manchester City’s six came after the break. They were also beaten at home, 1-0 by Leicester.
Once upon a time, Chelsea were resilient, especially under Jose Mourinho. Capable of getting a goal and defending a lead or finding some way to fight back and take control if faced with adversity, that is now a distant memory.
Whether it is their mental or physical resilience, Chelsea must address the matter quickly or they will find themselves in the same situation next season.
Chelsea’s recent second-half results
Chelsea 0-0 Burnley
Chelsea 0-2 Slavia Prague
Liverpool 2-0 Chelsea
Everton 2-0 Chelsea
Chelsea 1–1 Wolves
Fulham 0-0 Chelsea
City 2-0 Chelsea
Bournemouth 4-0 Chelsea
Chelsea 0-1 Leicester
Source: Prem News