Chelsea serve fans a seven-goal thriller in 4-3 homecoming victory against Watford

Match Summary

Chelsea made hard work, but ultimately gave their fans an entertaining match, of their first match back at Stamford Bridge since being crowned champions with a 4-3 win against Watford.

With Conte making nine changes since clinching the trophy just 72 hours prior, John Terry was restored to the line-up and made himself hero and villain inside 25 minutes, scoring the game’s first before gifting Capoue an equaliser moments later.

Azpilicueta and Batshuayi put daylight between the two sides but Jaanmart and Okaka had other ideas, before the seven-goal thriller was settled by Fabregas coming off the bench.

Whilst in other circumstances Conte will be disappointed Watford scored from all their shots on target, it proved to be a good run-out for his fringe men as his side equalled the league record of 29 victories in a season, set by the Blues themselves in the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons.

And with Sunderland to go at home on Sunday, there is every chance the Italian could go one better than Mourinho’s run and secure 30 wins.

The hosts were the division’s highest scorers going into the game with 76 goals, but even the most die-hard of Chelsea fans would not have expected this seven-goal spectacular, especially when noting the starting line-up omitted the likes of Costa and Pedro.

However the tone was set within three minutes by Willian, who was through on goal but cynically brought down to warrant the first yellow card on a busy evening for Lee Mason.

Whilst nothing came of that, great skill at Chelsea’s next attack between Batshuayi and Hazard could have yielded a goal but Hazard could not find the finish when he cut inside.

Batshuayi was then through on goal and his swivel and shot brought the corner from which Chelsea did break the deadlock. Willian’s outswinger was met, at the second attempt, by a flailing John Terry leg to score his first goal for Antonio Conte.

It was a romantic, if scrappy, goal, but the script-writer could not have timed it more perfectly for the Chelsea stalwart who is set the leave the club at the end of the season, for it was the 100th goal of Chelsea’s season, and 1,000th since Roman Abramovich took over, an era John Terry has been the lynchpin of.

Whilst the goal meant the Chelsea captain has now netted in each of his past 17 top-flight campaigns, he would undo the headlines, at least partially, by a momentary lapse in concentration which followed seconds later. A mix-up between Chalobah and himself when clearing the ball saw Terry head the ball too short back to Begovic and Capoue pounced to score just their second goal in 10 hours of action. Not so romantic after all.

Kante was clearly learning from Fabregas on the training field with a sublime Fabregas-esque  80 yard pass to Hazard, whose first touch let him down before Gomes smothered. The Belgian then was fed another delicious 80 yard ball by Willian, cutting inside but dragging wide of the near post.

Kenedy was seeking to establish himself in Conte’s plans for next season and whilst his shot was cleared by Gomes for a corner, it was from this set-piece Chelsea got their noses in front again. The ball fell kindly to Azpilicueta on the edge of the box and the Chelsea defender picked his spot and hammered it past Gomes from 20 yards for his first Premier League goal since January 2016.

The cushion became two early in the second half when Willian’s left-wing strike brought a good save from Gomes when it was destined to curl in, and from the corner Kenedy was urged to shoot. Whilst he did, he slipped and the stray shot found Ake who was deemed onside and the youngster unselfishly squared to Friday’s hero Batshuayi to tap in.

But Chelsea were clearly in party mode as once again Watford levelled within two minutes, with Jaanmart getting on the scoresheet after cutting in from the left.

Consistent Chelsea passages of play could not yet draw out the fourth goal but the hosts were probing. Hazard and Batshuayi got closest but Gomes saved with his feet from 5 yards, whilst Azpilicueta looked to grab his brace from 20 yards again but Gomes blocked this time.

Batshuayi nearly found Hazard racing clean through but for a last-ditch interception — it would have been a devastating counter attack — but Watford were in the mood to spoil a party when Okaka was introduced. Moments after coming on, the man who has played for Italy under Conte, scored against his former national team manager, latching onto a loose ball from a clever Cleverley dinked ball which none of the Chelsea back-three could deal with.

Conte introduced Aina and Fabregas in response and the latter magic man produced the goods once again, striking perfectly from the edge of the box as the game had one more goal in it.

Prodl got his marching orders in injury time for a second bookable offence, but the confetti came out soon after and the Chelsea fans could properly get into the party mood.

What are your thoughts from the game? Leave your thoughts in the Comments section below!

———————————————————–————————————————————

Man of the Match

JOHN TERRY: I had to. Whilst he did play a big part in Capoue’s equaliser, the Chelsea captain has been a true stalwart and, in his penultimate ever Chelsea game, it was beautiful to see him roll back the years with a Terry-esque goal to break the deadlock. So scrappy but it sums up the Chelsea captain to throw his head at the ball and then be the first on the end of the loose ball to help his team out. A wonderful story. 7/10

———————————————————–————————————————————

Manager Reaction

Conte knew the important task had been achieved: “We conceded three goals but we scored four and created many chances. The most important thing was we won. Now we have target to win 30 games. The most important thing was to win the league. Then if we have the possibility to improve these records, we must try. We can reach this target. The players and I want to reach this target.”

Mazzarri enjoyed the spectacle: “I am very proud of my team. We had several players out injured. Congratulations to Antonio Conte because he is a great manager. They have great players. They deserve the title.”

———————————————————–————————————————————

Fan View

———————————————————–————————————————————

Post written by Martin Li. Martin has had five years’ blogging experience, writing for the likes of Bleacher Report and SWOL. He runs his own Chelsea blog — The Chelsea Chronicle — which has match reaction and analysis from every Chelsea match. You can follow him on Twitter.

———————————————————–————————————————————

© Martin Li and The Chelsea Chronicle, 2011-2017. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this Blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Martin Li and The Chelsea Chronicle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Chelsea extend lead at top of table to 7 points with 4-2 win against Southampton

Match Summary

Chelsea put the pressure back on second-placed Tottenham with an entertaining 4-2 win against Southampton, extending their lead at the top of the table to 7 points with their title-chasers playing tomorrow.

The Blues continued their fine win against Tottenham at Wembley with a fast start thanks to Hazard’s goal inside five minutes, but ex-Chelsea man Oriol Romeu levelled the score.

Gary Cahill, and then two by Diego Costa, secured the points before another former Chelsea player Ryan Betrand added another consolation.

The win means Chelsea continue to be in pole position with five games remaining, but the lack of clean sheets — none in Chelsea’s last 11 Premier League games — is Chelsea’s worst record for more than two decades and will surely worry Antonio Conte.

Embed from Getty Images

With Costa and Hazard rested for the huge majority of the morale-boosting FA Cup semi-final win against Tottenham just 72 hours earlier, Chelsea’s sharpest men should have been ready from the off.

And they certainly were.

Fabregas’ long ball to Costa was controlled by his fellow Spaniard, before the striker found Hazard in the box. Though the ball was slightly behind the Belgian, Hazard sorted his feet out and swept home the opening goal from 15 yards.

The 26-year-old could have added a second 10 minutes later but curled wide, and how his side was made to pay because Romeu was to pull a goal back half-way through the first-half. Sloppy play from a Southampton corner saw the ball run all the way to the far post to Gabbiadini, and a simple cross to Romeu left the Spaniard with just a tap-in to finish.

Matic nearly replicated his screamer from Saturday, whilst Kante turned into Lionel Messi with a mazy 40-yard run which ultimately bore no fruits. Hazard should have shown more of a killer instinct when one-on-one with Forster, but decided to pull the ball back to thin air.

It looked like both sides would go into the half-time interval honours even, but a Gary Cahill header changed things. Costa had tried to go for the ball with an audacious over-head kick, but captain Cahill barged his striker out of the way in favour of the more robust head. The ball nestled into Forster’s net and Chelsea would go into the half-time break with a different team-talk.

Things got better eight minutes into the second half when the old partnership of Fabregas and Costa linked up once more. The former found the latter, who in all honesty was poorly-marked inside the box, and from a standing start headed the ball past Forster to make it 3-1. It was his first Chelsea goal in eight games, but became his 50th in a Blue shirt.

A period of relative inactivity followed, dictated by Chelsea who were riding comfortably with the two-goal cushion — Pedro and Matic had shots — whilst John Terry was brought on to shore up the defence in the closing stages.

This was the 36-year-old’s first start since November, and comes soon after announcing he is to leave his boyhood club next month. Was this an early send-off?

Still, the football did the talking twice more for the final stages: a superb team goal involving one-twos with Costa and Hazard and then Costa and Pedro saw the forward then take the ball in his stride to fire past Forster to make it 4-1, but the gloss was once more taken off when Ryan Betrand headed home deep in injury time.

What are your thoughts from the game? Leave your thoughts in the Comments section below!

———————————————————–————————————————————

Man of the Match

CESC FABREGAS: Pulls the strings effortlessly. The Spaniard was moved further forward for this game, with Matic and Kante protecting the back-four, and the Spaniard delivered in this more advanced role alongside Hazard, getting into dangerous positions and finding Costa on a number of occasions. Throw in another assist — only Ryan Giggs has more in the Premier League era — and it was all-round another good day for the midfielder and his team. 7/10

———————————————————–————————————————————

Manager Reaction

Conte was confident: “It was a good win. Today I have to be pleased with the effort of my players. It wasn’t easy after a tough game against Tottenham. Southampton have good players and play good football. We must be confident for the future. It’s important to look at ourselves and not others.”

Puel understood the differences in quality of the two sides: “We played against a good team. Eden Hazard and Diego Costa made the difference today. I had the privilege to start Hazard at Lille. He has the same quality. He’s a fantastic player. At 16, he was the same.”

———————————————————–————————————————————

Fan View

———————————————————–————————————————————

Post written by Martin Li. Martin has had five years’ blogging experience, writing for the likes of Bleacher Report and SWOL. He runs his own Chelsea blog — The Chelsea Chronicle — which has match reaction and analysis from every Chelsea match. You can follow him on Twitter.

———————————————————–————————————————————

© Martin Li and The Chelsea Chronicle, 2011-2017. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this Blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Martin Li and The Chelsea Chronicle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Offside Costa winner gives Chelsea 2-1 win at Norwich

Match Summary

Chelsea win three consecutive Premier League games for the first time in 11 months as the Blues continue their ascent up the table thanks to an offside winner by Diego Costa.

The Blues, who had sparked the game to life with Kenedy scoring after just 39 seconds, had to contend with waiting until first-half injury time until their second, though Costa was offside.

Redmond pulled one back and Jerome spurned many an opportunity as Norwich fought hard, knowing a loss would see them lose eight of their last nine league matches and send them into the drop zone, but the visitors held on to close the gap to the Top Four to eight points.

Embed from Getty Images

The starting line-up say two young Chelsea players introduced: Kenedy was preferred to Rahman and Traore over Willian as Hiddink balanced the old — of which Ivanovic was making his 350th Chelsea appearance — and the young.

The former, though deployed in a left-back role, took no time getting going, driving forward and cutting inside before being afforded to space to arrow a left-footed drive past Ruddy. It was a goal to settle his nerves and that of the away fans.

Norwich did come back strongly, undeterred by the early setback, and Cahill had to be alert to get across Jerome, who moments later would race clear and overhit a pass to Hoolahan who was in a good position.

Hazard, who recorded his first assist in 17 Premier League games by laying the ball to Kenedy for Chelsea’s opener, was close to finding Traore with a cross on more than one occasion, and was also looking to slip in Oscar but Ruddy was on hand to snuff out any danger.

Chelsea continued to press and probe but Norwich stood firm, even when they were forced into an early change when O’Neil had to replace the injured Tettey.

Courtois momentarily forgot the rules of the game when he picked up the ball from a backpass but Lee Mason was happy to pretend the daft incident went unnoticed.

Chelsea would soon benefit from another dubious officiating call when a quick throw-in caught Norwich out, and Traore found an offside Costa who looped the ball over Ruddy. The Spaniard has now scored or assisted 12 goals in his last 10 Premier League matches, and it was a sucker-punch of a goal right before the half-time whistle would sound.

Jerome was wasteful from two volleys, the latter hitting the crossbar, but Hiddink was sensing nerves as Mikel came on.

It came as no surprise then to see Norwich eventually pull one back, with Redmond free down Chelsea’s left and rifled one from a tight angle past Courtois.

The challenges came flying in as Fabregas picked up a yellow as did Klose as both sides went for it. O’Neil and Brady had a nasty clash of heads and, when play resumed, it was the substitute Willian who looked to inject some pace and kill the game off.

A frantic end saw Fabregas lay on the ball to Costa but the striker could not finish, but Chelsea will be pleased with the points as Norwich were equally pushing for the equaliser with meritable opportunities.

What are your thoughts from the game? Leave your thoughts in the Comments section below!

———————————————————–————————————————————

Man of the Match

cesar-azpilicueta.thumbnailCESAR AZPILICUETA: Right-back or left-back, the Spaniard looks solid and contributed a lot to what was a very frantic ending. Norwich knew Azpilicueta’s defensive robustness and clearly targetted Kenedy, and later Rahman, down the other flank and this is a testament to how solid Azpilicueta is. 7/10

———————————————————–————————————————————

Manager Reaction

Hiddink was relieved to get across the finishing line: “We didn’t want to go into the battle but they forced us. We were sloppy in the first half, starting well with a beautiful goal and I think we could have finished it in the first half. We were complacent in the last pass. They made our life difficult.”

Neil was disappointed: “The first goal is a real disappointment for us. We have six behind the ball and the left back scores. The second is offside and you expect the officials to get that.”

———————————————————–————————————————————

Post written by Martin Li. Martin has had five years’ blogging experience, writing for the likes of Bleacher Report and SWOL. He runs his own Chelsea blog — The Chelsea Chronicle — which has match reaction and analysis from every Chelsea match. You can follow him on Twitter.

———————————————————–————————————————————

© Martin Li and The Chelsea Chronicle, 2011-2016. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this Blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Martin Li and The Chelsea Chronicle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Walsall 1-4 Chelsea

Match Summary

Chelsea swept aside a courageous Walsall side as the Blues were too hot to handle for their League One opponents.

The Blues, who have started the Premier League poorly but the Champions League with a win, could bank on another competition to raise spirits as Ramires, Remy, Kenedy and Pedro secured a route into the next round of the Capital One Cup.

Embed from Getty Images

Chelsea have always taken this competition seriously, winning the League Cup three times in the last decade and five times in total, so it was no surprise to see a strong line-up. Terry and Falcao were known to start but this was backed up with the likes of Cahill, Begovic and Remy to complete a star-studded line-up. One might have hoped to see Djilobodji, Blackman and Traore respectively, but Mourinho did use youth through Kenedy, Loftus-Cheek and Rahman.

The gulf in quality was evident from the off. Chelsea started in bright fashion and conjured up the game’s first goal inside the opening 10 minutes. Kenedy had acres of space and time to pick out the oncoming Ramires, who had the simplest of headers.

It was Falcao’s night to shine given Costa’s retrospective three-match ban which has left Chelsea incensed, but the Columbian failed to take advantage, despite showing signs of promise. The former Manchester United ace was found really well from a lobbed ball, spun with purpose but could not get the shot away. Ruben Loftus-Cheek did, but was blocked.

Another striker who did take advantage, though, was Loic Remy. It was he who scored the game’s next goal four minutes before half-time, latching onto a ball from Ramires.

Would it be a walk in the park for the Blues? Not quite, as Walsall got back into the game before the half-time whistle blew.

Milan Lalkovic, once rumoured to be on his way to Chelsea stardom, strukc a sweet free-kick against his former side. Begovic saw it late and parried to James O’Connor, who tapped home.

If Mourinho does not often give youth a chance, then any youth he does give a chance must take it, and this was the case with Loftus-Cheek and Kenedy for Chelsea’s third.

The Englishman’s first-time through-ball found Kenedy racing in and the Brazilian rifled home to much joy, in the process restoring Chelsea’s two-goal cushion.

The water sprinkler made an unwelcome explosion soon after to signify it was raining goals at Banks’ Stadium in Walsall, but the next notable action was Chelsea being awarded a foul in their favour. Mourinho celebrated the decision more than he celebrated the goals, after another heated run-in no doubt with referees and the FA this week regarding Costa.

Matic and Pedro came on to taste League Cup action for this season, with the latter weaving his way past Walsall’s defence to score the fourth Chelsea goal, but the job was done and attentions turn to a tougher test at St James’ Park on Saturday, with Newcastle desperate to get a win under their belt in the Premier League.

What are your thoughts from the game? Leave your thoughts in the Comments section below!

———————————————————–————————————————————

Man of the Match

ruben-loftus-cheek.thumbnailRUBEN LOFTUS-CHEEK: Lewis Baker was touted as the next Chelsea midfield general to come through the ranks but it looks like it may be Loftus-Cheek, who put in a convincing display in the Champions League and now in the League Cup. Whilst Maccabi Tel-Aviv and Walsall are hardly Barcelona, a few more accurate through balls and tackles and Loftus-Cheek has a bright future. 7/10

———————————————————–————————————————————

Manager Reaction

Mourinho was respectful to Walsall, but not the FA: “It was not easy. I think we showed them they we were not here to make mistakes or throw away a competition. The team played well. I’m happy with the result and the performance of individual players.” On Gabriel’s red card on Costa being rescinded: “Now we know something: that retaliation is allowed now.”

———————————————————–————————————————————

Post written by Martin Li. Martin has had four years’ blogging experience, writing for the likes of Bleacher Report and SWOL. He runs his own Chelsea blog — The Chelsea Chronicle — which has match reaction and analysis from every Chelsea match. You can follow him on Twitter.

———————————————————–————————————————————

© Martin Li and The Chelsea Chronicle, 2011-2015. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this Blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Martin Li and The Chelsea Chronicle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Chelsea 3-1 Sunderland: Match Reaction

Match Summary

Chelsea lifted the Premier League trophy in front of an adoring home crowd as the season ended in a winning, and emotional, style.

The Blues, who hosted Sunderland to this dead-rubber season finale, had more pressing matters concerning them, including lifting the Premier League trophy three weeks after securing it. Despite this, a penalty from Costa and two from Remy did enough to over-turn Fletcher’s initial goal.

There was also news two hours before kick-off that Didier Drogba, who has achieved so much at Chelsea, would be leaving Chelsea for the second time to continue playing for another club, but hoped to be back “in the future in another role”.

Cech was also in the starting eleven and he is also set to depart SW6, if maybe not the country or indeed London, so it was set to be a day filled with every emotion.

With the Chelsea 2004/2005 side invited back to walk around the pitch before kick-off, and Chelsea’s youth offered the similar honour during the half-time interval, it sets up the parade for the main Chelsea side on Monday. And if today was anything to go by, there will be quite the party on Monday lunch-time.

Embed from Getty Images

Despite nothing to play for for either side, Mourinho was keen to end the season, and at home, with a win, after the poor 3-0 loss at West Brom. And it was far from a poor game.

Fletcher poked Sunderland’s noses in front in the 26th minute as he striker escaped Chelsea marking from a set-piece.

But this was to be eclipsed by the minutes following. Drogba, who started brightly with the captain’s armband despite John Terry being on the field, suffered an injury and was carried, quite literally, off the field of play to a standing ovation. It brings to a close Drogba’s playing time at Chelsea — this time for definite.

Embed from Getty Images

Swansea were the only side previously to take the lead against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge this season, and that was for half an hour before Chelsea won 4-2.

This time it was for 11 minutes. Costa levelled, from the penalty spot as Cuadrado was felled in the box.

It was certainly not a match where the players’ minds had already gone on holiday. Hazard found Remy in the second half but there was no goal from the Frenchman, just yet.

Van Aanholt evaded Ivanovic’s marking on multiple occasions during the match and Defoe nearly latched on.

Remy then lashed home as Hazard pirouetted past many Sunderland players to put Chelsea in front.

Fletcher should have equalised from a Van Aanholt cross minutes later, but there was to be no spoiling of Chelsea’s party. Indeed, Remy added an extra layer on top of the cake, poking home a third goal.

So Chelsea end the season as they start it: with a win. With the 2004/2005 side back in Stamford Bridge to watch the game, it could spell a new era as youth in Christensen came on.

What are your thoughts from the game? Leave your thoughts in the Comments section below!

———————————————————–————————————————————

Man of the Match

eden-hazard.thumbnailEDEN HAZARD: When he brings his A-game, Chelsea brings their A-game. The Belgian caps off a stunning season with another fantastic performance, showing no signs of fatigue. His injection of pace and his quick spin are his trademark and, despite everyone knowing this, opponents still cannot stop this young magician. Hopefully next season is another blinder. 9/10

———————————————————–————————————————————

Manager Reaction

Mourinho was not resting on his laurels as he plans for next season: “I know that our rivals are going to fight [next year] so we have to be better – me, the players and our squad. Maybe [the squad] needs some fresh blood to keep them under pressure. They know me and they know that they are not going to keep their positions on the basis of this year.”

Dick Advocaat was proud of his season achievement too: “My assistant said to me we made the impossible, possible. We gave cheap goals [today] but Chelsea deserved it. The players [overall] have responded excellently, with their commitment to the club, to get 12 points makes me very proud of them. I have a big decision [on my future] to make this week.”

———————————————————–————————————————————

Post written by Martin Li. Martin has had four years’ blogging experience, writing for the likes of Bleacher Report and SWOL. He runs his own Chelsea blog — The Chelsea Chronicle — which has match reaction and analysis from every Chelsea match. You can follow him on Twitter.

———————————————————–————————————————————

© Martin Li and The Chelsea Chronicle, 2011-2015. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this Blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Martin Li and The Chelsea Chronicle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Chelsea 2-0 West Bromwich Albion: Match Reaction

Match Summary

Chelsea put West Brom aside with consummate ease in a dominant 2-0 victory to assert their authority at the top of the Premier League table.

The Blues, who recorded 74% possession and over four times as many shots as the visitors, dictated play throughout the match and went up by two goals inside 25 minutes from Diego Costa and Eden Hazard’s goals. When West Brom’s Yacob was sent off, there was potential for a drubbing but conservative Chelsea opted to save legs with a busy December month coming.

Embed from Getty Images

A return from an international break always brings an added bounce and the Chelsea fans were evidently delighted to welcome back club football, for they were setting Stamford Bridge alight. Mourinho’s mind games tend to be played with opposing managers, but it looks like his fans have obliged too in his calls for added atmosphere. It was no surprise, then, when Chelsea raced into a two-goal lead.

Diego Costa, fully recovered from previous niggles, broke the deadlock by controlling the ball with his chest and then firing past Foster. It was the Spaniard’s 11th Premier League goal but he had much to thank Oscar for the assist.

One became two just 14 minutes later. Where Costa has been prolific in scoring, Fabregas has been as prolific assisting. The ex-Gunner set up Eden Hazard to double Chelsea’s advantage.

Four minutes later was the start of the game petering out. Yacob was silly in his two-footed lunge on Costa, who was most certainly not impressed and neither was Lee Mason, who brandished the straight red card.

The onus was then on Chelsea to well and truly hit West Brom for the sixes and sevens, but Irvine’s augmented strategy of having nine behind the ball and only one up top, made life difficult. The men in blue, clearly intent on winning the championships on points rather than goal difference, were more than happy to settle with the status quo.

What are your thoughts from the game? Leave your thoughts in the Comments section below!

———————————————————–————————————————————

Man of the Match

eden-hazard.thumbnail EDEN HAZARD: The Belgian has always received praise for his excellent skill and ability to get past players, but his inability to score many goals has led to the holding back of full praise. So when he does score, like today, and he continues to provide and be creative and terrorise defenders, what more is there to ask of a 23-year-old? 8/10

———————————————————–————————————————————

Manager Reaction

Mourinho was delighted: “It was comfortable but I thought in the first half we played amazingly well. In the first half we have to be 3-0, 4-0, 5-0 up. But the quality of our football was there. I don’t remember seeing many times football of that dimension. We are playing well.”

Alan Irvine: “Obviously this is a really difficult place to come. They’re a top team. We were looking to get off to a good start and obviously the first goal after 11 minutes made it hard. We certainly had to have a shape about us and have discipline, but to lose those first couple of goals was obviously against what we were trying to do.”

———————————————————–————————————————————

Post written by Martin Li. Martin has had three years’ blogging experience, writing for the likes of Bleacher Report and SWOL. He runs his own Chelsea blog — The Chelsea Chronicle — which has match reaction and analysis from every Chelsea match. You can follow him on Twitter.

———————————————————–————————————————————

© Martin Li and The Chelsea Chronicle, 2011-2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this Blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Martin Li and The Chelsea Chronicle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Chelsea 2-0 Leicester City: Match Reaction

Match Summary

Chelsea made it two wins from two against newly-promoted sides as they battled to a 2-0 victory against Leicester City.

A sturdy first-half performance by the visitors left the home side shaky in the first half, but as the new boys tired, so Chelsea grew into their stride and goals from first Costa and then Hazard sealed the three vital points.

Embed from Getty Images

It was not pretty, but it was effective. First-half jitters meant the only real opportunity fell to Diego Costa, but Leicester did well to throw so many bodies in the way.

The second half was where the game really went up a notch. Oscar smashed a shot against the post as Chelsea edged closer, but the same man could so nearly have let Chelsea go one behind in the 55th minute. Leicester broke from Schurrle’s corner  and Oscar needed to pick up the onrushing Nugent, who was threw on goal. The Brazilian inexplicably stopped running, lazily hoping he would catch Nugent off-side, which left Courtois to save. It was a hugely nerve-wracking moment for the Blues.

Branislav Ivanovic has been tried as the emergency centre-forward in pre-season and was up there at every Chelsea attack, including Costa’s goal, to whom he would give the assist. It was a scrappy affair but Ivanovic’s cross bumped off Costa’s chest and the Brazilian-turned-Spaniard swung a leg at it as it trickled into the net.

Chelsea’s second from Hazard had a better element of skill. The winger, who spent so much of the match on the right, drifted to the left. Only one thing was on his mind — to cut in and shoot — and maybe Leicester’s own fatigue stopped from them from foreseeing the predictable, but the Belgian’s daisy-cutter flew into the net.

Drogba managed another cameo as he replaced Diego Costa to a huge ovation, with Abramovich himself clearly delighted with the day’s proceedings.

What are your thoughts from the game? Leave your thoughts in the Comments section below!

———————————————————–————————————————————

Man of the Match

thibaut-courtois.thumbnailTHIBAUT COURTOIS: The one-on-one save from Nugent was absolutely huge — Chelsea only got going after conceding first against Burnley but this Nugent save was quite some way into the match that you might not have seen Chelsea come back, particularly with how well Leicester were parking the bus. Not that there was any room for error for Courtois, who himself is risking his reputation, but he seems like he has adjusted well. 8/10

———————————————————–————————————————————

Manager Reaction

Jose Mourinho was relieved to get the points: “We didn’t play good in the first half. Leicester came with great defensive intensity, we were a bit slow in moving the ball and slow in thinking. The second half was compete control. They had a good chance [through David Nugent] with the result 0-0 but we had so many chances we deserved the victory.”

Nigel Pearson was left to rue his side’s defeat: “We’re disappointed. Key moments didn’t quite go our way today. I thought we played exceptionally well in the first half but it’s about taking your chances when you get them.”

———————————————————–————————————————————

© Martin Li and The Chelsea Chronicle, 2011-2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this Blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Martin Li and The Chelsea Chronicle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.