Chelsea claimed an important yet somewhat fortunate victory over Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge last night. Looking at the game from a Chelsea point of view, here are some of the major talking points.
Gary Cahill's performance
Looking at Chelsea's defence this season, there is just one man who has been a standout performer and that man is none other than Gary Cahill.
Cahill has been the rock in the defence and John Terry has somewhat relied on his interceptions and tackles this season. Like in the game against Hull city, he did a lot of the defending while Terry helped out with a few tackles and interceptions, while covering space behind Cahill.
If we are to go by what Jose Mourinho said previously, then Terry will not get to start every game once David Luiz returns to full fitness, and I expect Cahill and Luiz to play most of the matches.
New season, same old question
Last season, questions were asked about the abilities of the strikers at Chelsea's disposal. Many people thought that by the start of the new season those question must have been answered.
Chelsea have bolstered their attack with the signing of Andre Schurrle and deciding to keep Romelu Lukaku rather than send him on loan again. While they continue to chase another striker, it is clear to see that the club knows that they do not have someone to rely on.
The current strikers on Chelsea's books are Demba Ba, Fernando Torres, and Lukaku. Torres started against Hull and did not quite impress, while Ba started against Aston villa and was also poor.
His positional play was poor, he failed to link up well with his team mates, he was offside three times in the first half and could only muster just one shot on target which was very weak. In these two games, Lukaku came on from the bench and produced an even better performance than his counterparts which make me feel Mourinho might just give him a starting berth against Manchester united on Monday.
Every club that wants to challenge for top honours, need a top marksman and if Chelsea are to mount a serious title challenge, they need a top marksman to win. United did it with Robin van Persie last season and Manchester City with Sergio Aguero two years ago. Chelsea need to sort their front line and fast because top marksmen are what win titles.
Juan Mata looking out of sorts
In the opening game against Hull city, Chelsea played a quick passing game with Oscar, Kevin de Bruyne and Eden Hazard playing exceptionally well. Mata did not play in that game because of his international assignment with the Spanish national team.
He was restored to the starting lineup against Aston Villa but failed to influence the game as much as he would have liked. Although he can point to the fact that he did not play in his favoured number 10 position, he could still have found a way to put on a better performance than he did last night and if we remember, he was mostly used on the wing at Valencia where he shone. If Mata wants to regain his favoured position from Oscar, whom I think has been doing well enough to keep his position, Mata needs to regain his form, and fast.
Jose Mourinho shows he can influence the game
In the opening game of the season against Hull City, Chelsea looked to have lost steam and they took their foot off the pedal. Mourinho brought in the young Marco van Ginkel to help stabilise the midfield, brought on Andre Schurrle to help provide defensive cover on the wings, and also brought on Romelu Lukaku to stay up front and keep the defenders busy.
The game against Aston Villa was another game where Mourinho showed his ability to influence the match with his substitutions. Villa looked like they were going to get something from their visit, and Chelsea were looking toothless up front until Lukaku was introduced for the ineffective Demba Ba. Marco van Ginkel was brought on later to shield the defence, and Chelsea went home with all three points.
Eden Hazard looks to be Chelsea's main man
With Juan Mata yet to find his real form, and no outstanding centre-forward to lead the team, Chelsea need a man that can carry them all the way to the title. Eden hazard looks to be just the player.
In the game against Hull, he was the driving force alongside Oscar, in the team's attack and against Aston Villa, Chelsea's attack was all about him as he ran at Villa's defence for the entire 90 minutes.
If he can keep this form, remain consistent and stay injury free, then he should be in the running for the Player of the Year award, and also lead Chelsea to glory.
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