Chelsea's midweek victory raises expectations for Arsenal visit

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Just like that, Chelsea look formidable once again.

Since becoming champions of England in May, Chelsea have struggled for form. Four defeats in their last seven outings have seen the worst start to a season of Jose Mourinho's career. 

The Special One wielded the axe for Wednesday's 4-0 victory against Maccabi Tel-Aviv. This was Mourinho's response to underperformance, and it made clear that such disappointment will not be tolerated. 


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The victims of Mourinho's cull were captain, John Terry, vice-captain Branislav Ivanovic, Nemanja Matic and Diego Costa. Indeed, it meant little that Mourinho was forced to summon the latter early on; the message was clear - no player is safe, and Chelsea must begin performing.

It seemed the message resonated, too. Eden Hazard has looked troubled this season and continued his poor form, missing from the spot early on, but the intent was back. 

Chelsea were playing against weak opposition - the Blues will face sterner tests than the Israeli champions - but they were impressive, nonetheless. 

Willian opened the scoring, before succumbing to injury. Oscar doubled the lead before half-time. Then, the great, transformative moment came. 

It was in this moment that Chelsea went from embattled champions to title contenders. Cesc Fabregas teed up Diego Costa, who volleyed home to make it 3-0. 

Where the catalyst in last season's blistering blue start was the link between these two Spanish imports, the present malaise came to be defined by the disconnect between the pair. 

To have Fabregas back assisting Costa means that Chelsea's most potent supply line has been unblocked. To have Costa back on the end of Fabregas' passes means that Chelsea's most potent goalscorer is returning. 

In fact, the glorious moment was capped off when Fabregas, himself, made the score 4-0. 

This performance will have relieved Chelsea fans, concerned by the side's poor start to the campaign. It should also provide confidence to the squad, one that has undoubtedly been beset by unusual levels of self-doubt in recent weeks. 

What this means, however, is that there are no longer any excuses ahead of Chelsea' encounter with Arsenal. There are no excuses now - the champions ought to perform.

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Premier League
Jose Mourinho
Diego Costa
Francesc Fabregas

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