Usually, when a scoreline fails to reflect the performance it is in relation to the dominant side failing to demonstrate it on the scoreboard. While that is true of Man City's 1-0 against Chelsea today, the primary focus should not be on the victor. Quite frankly, Chelsea were absolutely awful.
It was their performance more than anything that frustrated viewers, as they lacked any sort of ambition to score, despite the fact they were behind in for the vast majority of the second half.
The reaction was predictably damning, but certainly not an over exaggeration.
Manchester City 1-0 Chelsea FT
Didn't quite understand Conte today.... Seemed slow to react to immediate problems then subbed his only trump-card.
Four more wins then 🏆🏅🏆🥇
— robertmarawa (@robertmarawa) March 4, 2018
Chelsea are a leadership club who willingly sack managers, sign bang average players, ignore the best youth academy in the country and have no long-term plan. Why on Earth would Hazard and Courtois extend contracts for that?
— Conor Kelly (@ConorPacKelly) March 4, 2018
I have never seen such a lacklustre performance from a Chelsea team. Conte did not look like he gave a monkey. Lost for words, fair enough City were good but at least try and get the back in the box with the 2 big target men. Why leave it with a few minutes. #MCICHE
— Chelsea FC Fan Club (@KanteBlueArmy) March 4, 2018
As far as I know.
Chelsea two shots off target and none on target in 94 mins.
From current PL champions that’s abysmal.
— Craig Burley (@CBurleyESPN) March 4, 2018
FT: Man City 1-0 Chelsea. Bernardo Silva. A humiliating scoreline was avoided. But a humiliating performance was not. Conte's Blues got what they came for: nothing. And they barely deserved even that. Fans who remained, standing and singing throught, deserve better.
— Dan Levene (@danlevene) March 4, 2018
The speculation over Antonio Conte's future will no doubt heighten in the coming weeks, but beyond that Chelsea's increasing underperforming squad and inability to function in the transfer market spells long-term trouble. After being linked with Andy Carroll, Peter Crouch, Ashley Barnes and Edin Dzeko the club finally opted for out-of-favour Olivier Giroud.
For quite some time now, Chelsea have used their academy merely as a financial tool harvesting out young players for modest transfer fees. That incapability to progress academy players into the first-team looks set to prove quite costly. It was epitomised by the decision to sign Ross Barkley while a younger Ruben Loftus-Cheek flourished out on loan to another Premier League club.
The club are now five points off the top four and have persistently gone through cycles of success followed by massive downfalls, with the inevitable conclusion being a sacked manager and a new burst of life. That now seems a temporary solution for what is a far more permanent problem.