Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Chelsea 2-0 Liverpool (League Cup)

So, another defeat to a top four rival, which makes a rather worrying three in four games now.

In fairness though, the League Cup is always the least important trophy each season, and I think this was to some extent revealed by our line up. Chelsea were without Terry and Drogba through injury and, though they rested a few others, fielded the strongest spine they could (cech, Carvalho, Lampard, Shevchenko). We were without Agger due to injury and Gerrard due to illness, but rested Reina, Mascherano, Kewell and Torres. We played three youngsters who are on the fringe of the first team (Babel, Lucas Leiva and Hobbs) and used another (El Zhar) as substitue.

If the result reveals anything, therefore, it's probably that we still don't have as much strength in depth as I'd like, despite vast improvements under Rafa. It's easy for Chelsea as they've been able to buy a huge squad and their reserves would, unsurprisingly, make a decent team in their own right. Arsenal, meanwhile, have discredited the 'men against boys' tag by continually bringing through more and more young prospects.

As for the game itself, we were well in it until Lampard scored with a deflected shot (how else?) and then, in a moment of madness, Crouch got sent off. I can't defend the tackle itself, though it was probably born of frustration. Sadly that three match suspension may prove to hurt us. Even with ten men, however, we didn't fare that badly - Shevchenko's late second didn't kill the tie off until the clock was almost up anyway.

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