It was 1-1, in the final ten minutes of the match, and Didier Drogba was clearly fouled in the Bayer Leverkusen penalty area. Chelsea ought to have been awarded a penalty. Chelsea should have won 2-1 in Germany. The obvious penalty was not awarded, Chelsea proceeded to concede a late goal. Chelsea lost. Football doesn’t follow convention. At least not each and every time. Michael Ballack, formerly of Chelsea and currently of Bayer Leverkusen, for the second time, suggested the German side were a little lucky. That’s one way of putting it.
Michael Ballack. Not good enough for Chelsea anymore. In the eyes of the Leverkusen manager, and plenty of the fans too, he isn’t even good enough for the Leverkusen team half of the time. In Germany he is remembered in two ways.
One, as the player who won the Bundesliga with Kaiserslautern, several domestic trophies with Bayern Munich and several more with Chelsea, whilst also being named German player footballer of the year three separate times. Two, as the player who led Germany to a World Cup and European Championship Final having previously led Bayer Leverkusen to a Champions League final, a German Cup final and a top of the table spot on the final day of the season in the German Bundesliga. Ballack ended up losing all four finals and the league, as improbable as it sounds, and then followed it up with another Champions League final defeat playing for Chelsea.
To some, Ballack is a winner. To others, Ballack is a perpetual loser. Chelsea decided his time had passed and just didn’t want him anymore but how Chelsea could do with his calm, suave and inspiration right now. Andre Villas-Boas is overseeing a dreadful run where his team have now lost to Leverkusen and drawn to Genk in their last two Champions League fixtures, which means the team now need to avoid defeat against a rampant Valencia side, which beat Genk 7-0 on Wednesday evening, in order to qualify for the next stage of the Champions League. In the English Premier League the team have lost at Stamford Bridge to Liverpool 2-1 and Arsenal 5-3 and at Loftus Road to London rivals QPR 1-0. Chelsea are already 12 points behind Manchester City, whom they will face in a couple of weeks time, and they seem to be no closer to finding some good form and playing their way out of their dreadful spell. Each post match conference Andre Villas-Boas finds a new way to say the same thing. His team will improve, results will arrive, he has the trust of the players and they have his. Each time little has changed. John Obi Mikel is struggling in central midfield, Michael Essien is still a long way away from returning, John Terry has lost almost all of his composure, David Luiz never had any to begin with, Fernando Torres is playing like a man who can’t remember where he put his form, Juan Mata has lost his early season sizzle, Florent Malouda is a fraction of his former self, Frank Lampard cannot salvage matches on his own every time and Petr Cech is just not a formidable presence in goal anymore. Chelsea are a team out of form, the players are in disbelief and the manager is running out of time. Chelsea’s nightmare run continues.