Sky pundit notices major change in Chelsea atmosphere at crucial moment

Chelsea ran out 6-0 winners from yesterday’s game in the end, but things could have gone very differently if the Blues hadn’t been the team to open the scoring.

Everton striker Beto didn’t connect with Seamus Coleman’s early cross, which should have made it 1-0 to the away team. Right from the start, Chelsea and their fans were twitchy, as Sky Sports co-commentator Alan Smith noted.

“The first 10 minutes you could feel the nerves among the Chelsea fans, when they were knocking the ball across the back because they have seen too many mistakes this season.” the Sky pundit pointed out later in the game, once Chelsea were comfortable.

As always, it was a feedback cycle between player and crowd. Djordje Petrovic smashed a clearance out for a throw in rather than trying to keep an underhit pass in play.

While we’re always happy to see a player go for caution over a risky touch (especially a goalkeeper), it instantly transmits nerves back from the players to the crowd, deepening the cycle.

Shell shock

You can’t blame them for being nervy. It’s been a few months where we’ve seen an exceptional number of bad results, mostly involving terrible defensive blunders. We will need a long period of defensive stability before this crowd, which has been stung so many times, starts to recover its confidence in the team its watching.

It may even take a new, authoritative presence in defence. With Thiago Silva now on the way out, it’s the crowd just as much as the defence which needs a comforting rock to rely on at tough times in a game.

Thankfully for all involved, it wasn’t long before Chelsea had their superb opening goal, and they never looked back from there. But this team always feel just one bad moment away from panic and disaster, and curing that is a major part of any manager’s task.

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