The talk about the heavy spending of Chelsea has become boring and quite irritating at the same time. If the performance remains dull and face-saving ones, surely, the presence of quality players doesn’t mean anything. If the team remains a project, which is yet to bloom even after spending two to three weeks on the pitch, then, it is better to save money and invest faith in homegrown talents.

Chelsea have problems at the back and this was evident in the last season as well. You can relish the intent to play attacking football, but until and unless, you don’t fix your back and center of the park, adventure becomes a liability.

Bayern Munich attack, play with a high-line defence, but look carefully, they have someone in that central midfield to link-up with the defence and their backline is astute enough to block the threats.

You are free to attack, but at first, inject solidity at the back.

In the first half the Blues were wasteful upfront and sloppy at the back and looked set to be humiliated by the whipping boys, West Brom. West Brom looked well organized and clinical with Callum Robinson scoring twice and Kyle Bartley adding a third to send the hosts in at half-time with a three‑goal lead.

Marcos Alonso and Thiago Silva horror show let down Lampard, who felt devastated at the dugout.

Lampard gave the captaincy to Thiago Silva with the intention to solidify the backline. He also elected to consign the world’s most expensive goalkeeper, Kepa Arrizabalaga, to the bench even though Edouard Mendy, the £22m replacement signed from Rennes this week, was not ready for a debut.

Willy Caballero began in goal instead, leaving Arrizabalaga to wonder if last week’s blunder against Liverpool was the last he will ever be allowed to make for Chelsea. His absence certainly did not bring any changes to the sloppiness of Chelsea.

West Brom were aided by the blues to take the lead after just four minutes.

Marcos Alonso was the chief culprit, heading the ball straight to Matheus Pereira, who slipped a clever pass through to Robinson, who fired a shot from the left-hand corner of the area beyond Caballero.

Alonso goofed again two minutes later when he pulled back Semi Ajayi and got a booking.

Then the blunder came from Silva, who inexplicably lost control of the ball in his own half, allowing Robinson to run through and finish emphatically.

West Brom made it 3-0 before the half-hour thanks to a cleverly worked corner-kick routine that culminated with the unmarked and onside Bartley guiding the ball into the net from six yards.

The Blue Kingdom was falling apart and Lampard was forced to make desperate changes in the second half to bounce back.

He duly put Alonso out of the team’s misery by introducing Cesar Azpilicueta and also sent on Hudson-Odoi for Kovacic – the shape was adjusted.

Lampard would switch to a 4-3-3 in the second half that saw Timo Werner – who had an off-day at the office – protected by another man behind him and Mount in a more natural position.

Chelsea switched to third gear and dominated but lacked the inventiveness to find a way through the vigilant hosts until the 55th-minute.

Mason Mount circumvented West Brom’s defence by unloading a swerving shot from the 25 yards.

The deficit was reduced to 3-1.

Lampard then decided to roll the dice again, switching to a 3-5-2 system with Olivier Giroud joining Abraham in the attack.

Things started to click.

It took Kai Havretz 70 minutes to rediscover himself and played a one-two with Hudson-Odoi before the England winger finished smartly making it 3-2.

Chelsea continued to press with the final whistle looming large around the corner and in the stoppage-time, Johnstone could only paw Mount’s shot to his right, leaving Abraham with a simple finish to claim a point for Chelsea.

Like Manchester United, Chelsea had to escape the humiliation.

But at least, in the second half, Chelsea pulled their socks up and fought back spiritedly.

Still, the unforced errors, wasteful finishing, and flimsy set-up don’t justify the hype of spending so much in the summer.


At the end of the day, the tried and tested customers are paying back.

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