Chelsea made the most of Arsenal’s mauling at the hand’s of Citee by closing the gap at the top to 2 points.
There is now the possibility that the Blues could be top at Christmas. This would depend on the Liverpool result tomorrow and then Chelsea beating Arsenal at the Emirates on December 23rd….
Today’s game was another less than convincing display. For long periods of the game you could hear a pin drop at Stamford Bridge. The Fans need to do their bit and find their voices in a hurry if we are to make SW6 a feared fortress again.
Jose continues to tweak his selection, yet to settle on his strongest team. Today’s experimental 11 included giving Michael Essien another go in holding midfield, the Bison had a much improved performance than the one against the Saints.
Also thankfully Mourinho has begun to pencil in Willian with regularity, his transformation into the next Super Frank is now well underway. It was the Brazilian’s long-range effort that set up the first Chelsea goal after 16 minutes. In fine Lampard style, Willian picked the ball up at the edge of the box and fired quickly to Speroni’s left. The keeper could only parry into the path of Torres who had taken up a predatory position. The Spaniard finished tidily.
The Blues have been missing this aspect of the game since Frank has been forced to play deeper due to reduced athleticism. Another reason why our goal tally from the top of the formation has been disappointing.
The crowd would like to have seen the home team put the hammer down and put the tie beyond Palace before the break. It was not to be. Our defensive frailty again got the better of us. Thirteen minutes later, Fernando Torres decided to showboat in his own half, not for the first time he gave the ball away. Palace pounced. A rejuvenated Chamakh (proper Arsenal reject) adding another to his impressive tally for the season. Petr Cech again beaten at the Bridge. He has had fewer clean sheets than a Bangkok Brothel this season.
Hazard, Ramires and Willian all had good games. These three combined for Chelsea’s second goal. Moving the ball from wide left to middle of the park, the move was finished by a superb strike by Ramires. One of those where the commentators use phrases like “little back lift”, “the modern ball” and ” keeper had no chance”……
The whistle blew to end the first half, Chelsea were deservedly in the lead but Palace we looking like no pushovers. Tony Pullis has quickly put some steel into his side, on today’s performance they may yet escape a swift return to playing Barnsley away.
Pullis has again drafted ex-eagle Gerry Francis into his management team. The camera’s picked Gerry out in the crowd. They had to give the former QPR manager the seats in front and behind him too… just to accommodate his mullet and double chin
The second half was an all too familiar story this season. The blues were dominant but lacked the killer instinct to bury their visitors. Juan Mata was replaced with 30 minutes left as Mourinho wielded the hook to our past favourite. Oscar regaining his usual spot in the triumvirate. Ba also came on for Torres, much to the obvious disdain of the Spaniard. Schürrle also got a late run out as Willian’s afternoon ended early.
But nothing changed as the Blues hung on to their slender lead to claim victory.
Might I suggest Jose try one more experimental tweak. Play Schürrle at centre forward in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday. He may be the answer to our prayers. It would also allow Hazard, Oscar, Willian and Schürrle to be on the pitch at the same time……. think more goals would come of that!
The good news for Chelsea and Mourinho is that we are not at full throttle and still well in this years race. We could easily be in Manchester United’s unenviable mid-table position considering we are yet to settle on our strongest combination. Although the fact that the Red Devils have a bunch of crap players probably isnt helping them!
As said in earlier dispatches it is the Blue team of Manchester that forms the major hurdle in Chelsea’s path to glory this season. Hopefully the Gunners spanking at their hands today is the end of their upstart effort for any silverware. Let’s try rub their noses in it on the 23rd.