CHELSEA TV HEADLINES: PREPARING FOR PART TWO

With a second match against Manchester United on the horizon, the latest Blues News headlines consider the weekend league defeat but also show the players turning their attention to the Capital One Cup tie.

The analysis continues tonight on the channelĀ in Weekend Review, featuring chelseafc.com columnist Pat Nevin.

THE DATA DAY: CHELSEA V MANCHESTER UNITED

The numbers support the view that Chelsea being reduced to nine men severely altered the direction of Sunday’s game.

Until the sending off of Fernando Torres three-quarters of the way through the contest, it was the Blues that had been running the show, fighting back from the early setback of going two goals down to draw level and run the game.

However after the sending off it was a question of chasing the ball as United assumed control and dominated possession.

Chelsea took 16 shots to Manchester United’s 15 across the 90 minutes, and won 8-5 in terms of attempts on target. However, only one of these came after Torres’s red card, whereas United took eight from that point on and only seven beforehand.

With six attempts, Robin van Persie had more than any other, and repeated his feat of coming to SW6 and leaving with at least one goal and all three points, as he did after hitting a hat-trick for Arsenal a year ago this weekend. The Dutchman also drew four fouls, more than any other player, as Chelsea struggled to get to grips with his movement, touch and strength.

It is rare these days that Chelsea take less than half the possession, but on Sunday it was 48.7 per cent. However, our passing statistics drop off following the Torres red, while United’s improve dramatically.

Overall we completed 82 per cent of our passes, United 86. But before the second red, we had completed 299/358, or 83.5 per cent, which dropped to 73.4 per cent (47/64) in the final 23 minutes.

With space in which to play, United’s passing in that late period hit 94.9 per cent, with 184/194 finding their man, as opposed to the 220/273 (80.6 per cent) before Torres’s dismissal.

John Mikel Obi was our best passer, completing 47 of 54 passes, while Juan Mata found his man 16 of 19 times in the final third.

Ramires did not misplace a pass in the first half, whereas United’s central midfielders, Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley, had only 74 per cent and 65 per cent success rates in that same period.

The in-form Mata also created five goalscoring chances for his team-mates, more than anyone else on the pitch, but none of them were taken. His seventh goal of the season was struck in a hot streak of seven games.

Statistics show Ramires won five out of six tackles on Sunday, but committed five fouls. Jonny Evans, the numbers tell us, won six out of six tackles and did not commit a foul.

That last statistic is key. Had Evans been rightly penalised for bringing Torres down with 23 minutes remaining, this article would most likely look very different indeed.

CHELSEA TV EXCLUSIVE: MORE FROM DI MATTEO

The manager spoke at length to Chelsea TV following the first league defeat of the season and in a clip of the interview that can be watched here, he highlighted the personality in the team that kept him believing something could be gained from the game even when down to 10 men.

In the full interview Di Matteo reiterated his disappointment that the game had been so affected by decisions by the officials and analysed why the game started poorly. He also considered his midfield selection this season.

The full interview is available now via the channel’s online access and will also be in Weekend Review tonight on Sky Digital channel 421 at 6.30pm and 10pm.

CHELSEA TV EXCLUSIVE: VIEWS OF TWO BLUES

Cesar Azpilicueta and Eden Hazard spoke to Chelsea TV following the defeat against Manchester United and in a clip that can be viewed here, Azpilicueta speaks about coming on as a substitute in tough circumstances.

In the full interview that can be viewed now via the channel’s online access, Hazard discusses the game in general and there will be plenty more talk about Sunday’s game in Weekend Review on Chelsea TV tonight at 6.30pm and 10pm.

FINAL WHISTLE VERDICT: OBVIOUS TO EVERYBODY

There was little Roberto Di Matteo could say that we did not already know following our defeat to Manchester United on Sunday.

United snatched victory at the Bridge for the first time in 10 years thanks to an offside Javier Hernandez goal after Chelsea had seen Branislav Ivanovic and Fernando Torres dismissed within five second-half minutes, and Di Matteo was dismayed at the decision-making of the officials.

Torres in particular had every right to be aggrieved, his second yellow card erroneously awarded by referee Mark Clattenburg, who adjudged the Spaniard to have dived when in fact Jonny Evans had caught the striker.

These events served to distract from our superb comeback after we had fallen two goals behind early on, and Di Matteo was eager to praise his side’s character in adversity.

On Refereeing Decisions

Di Matteo could accept Ivanovic’s red, although saw it as harsh, but was adamant Torres was harshly treated, and gave little attention to Sir Alex Ferguson’s claim that the striker could have stayed on his feet after being fouled.

‘It’s quite obvious in the eyes of everybody that the second yellow for Fernando wasn’t one, it was a foul for us, he should have booked Evans and the decisive goal was offside. It’s a shame the game has to be decided in that manner by the officials.

‘Whatever [Ferguson] says, it was a foul in our favour and Fernando put the ball between Evans’s legs, was through and was kicked on the shin and went down. It’s a foul and a booking for the other player, not for our player.

‘We’re massively disappointed that these key decisions were wrong it always seems to be in favour of the opposition and it’s a massive disadvantage for us. At 2-2 we looked like the team that were probably going to win the game so it’s a shame. It was a good game of football with two good teams and the officials ruined it.

‘They are under a lot of pressure and they have to be able to deal with it. Key decisions have to be right for any team and you don’t want the referees to be a big influence. Let the teams play a good game of football against each other. That’s what everyone wants.’

Torres and Ivanovic will both serve one-match suspensions, which come against United in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday.

On Chelsea’s Display

The manager was impressed with the comeback, but now has to prepare to go again against Ferguson’s men when they visit in midweek.

‘Today was a poor start. We were slow but the first goal was lucky. We had a tough week with three intense games and a long trip to Ukraine. After those first 20 minutes we got into our rhythm and started to play the way we can and the way we want to play.

‘We showed great character and responded well to get back into the game and equalise, then had a good number of chances as well. I was confident we could go on and win the game.

‘We’ve got that kind of personality in our dressing room, that we never give up, and who knows if they didn’t score the offside goal we could maybe hang onto the draw with nine men, but it becomes difficult when you’re down to nine.

‘There were two good teams on the pitch and we looked very strong and caused them a lot of problems. De Gea made a couple of fantastic saves and I was confident we could win the game, they looked vulnerable.

‘We have to regroup first of all. We will have a few players missing after we played with nine men and in a week when we had a long trip to Ukraine. I have to see how the players are tomorrow and think about what kind of team I put out on Wednesday.

‘We know we have a good and strong team. We just have to ride this moment where we miss a few players, play in three days and get our energy back.

‘Today we looked like a team that wanted to win and were very strong out on the pitch. Decisions went against us and made it very difficult but I am sure in the long run this is a team with a lot of qualities and even though we might find moments and situations like this we can come out of it once we get everybody back. We’re a good team.’

You can see the full 90 minutes on Chelsea TV from midnight tonight.