Chelsea inflicted the first home defeat of this season on Manchester City, and all agree it was well deserved.
Mourinho yet again proved why he is the best coach in the Premier League. His tactical prowess took some fizz out of Pellegrino’s title charge and puts Chelsea right back in the middle of things. Jose may still be playing down his team’s chances of being top of the League come May, but make no mistake his reaction at the final whistle last night said it all.
Certainly injuries to Aguero, Nasri and Fernandinio slightly blunted the Blue Mooner’s weaponry, but they also have the strongest squad, so no excuses there. After all, the situation was not deemed serious enough to even give the man-for-all seasons, James Milner a run around!
In my opinion the man of the match was our new/old signing Nemanja Matic. He has slipped seamlessly into the team and has provided the combination of steely defender with attacking DNA that has been sorely missed since Super Frank entered his twilight period. Matic is half Mikel , Half Carrick (the good halves) and was one of Jose’s missing pieces. He is the fulcrum that turns defense into attack at blinding speed (Not in John Obi’s playbook). He is the first midfielder I have seen muscle Yaya off the ball. He was the key to last night’s victory.
The reason Jose keeps stressing we are not yet Championship winning material is that he knows the team is not yet complete. Until we sign a new striker in the off-season his plan is still pending. Having said that I think we saw 10 of the 11 first choices at the Ethiad last night. Striker apart, the only exception would be the inclusion of Oscar in place of David Luiz when playing an all out attacking formation.
Chelsea’s work rate continues to be the defining feature of this team. From Eto’o’s pressuring of the goalkeeper/centre-back combination to Hazard playing emergency left back when needed, Opta’s odometer must have had steam coming out of it in an effort to track the distances covered.
Thankfully the fact the we scraped more woodwork than Geppetto didn’t end up robbing us of all three points. This season Chelsea, due to our center forward shortcomings, have been accused of not “putting” teams away when given the chance. Last night could have provided the perfect opportunity for the pundits to repeat this chorus. I’m sure every Blues fan felt like the equalizer was only moments away after the upright was walloped again by Matic. Yet it seems what we lack in killer instinct up-front, we are more than making up for with a brick wall at the back. JT is having a remarkable season prompting talk of a well deserved England recall and in the running for PFA player of the year. His marshaling of the back four has given Chelsea the meanest defense in the League. I will be first to admit I thought his days were numbered after last season’s events. I applaud him.
Generally when a long streak comes to an end, as did Manchester City’s last night, it’s not a one -off. So I expect a slight dip in form over the next few weeks from the Light Blues. In fact maybe worth a bet on Norwich to surprise at Carrow Road this weekend.
Also with Liverpool hosting the Arse on Saturday, I will be so bold as to suggest Chelsea will be atop the table after this weekend’s round of fixtures. To mimic Jose’s racing analogies, once he gets his nose in front he will be hard to catch.
ps apologies for the delay, weather issues!……… had to stay on the beach an extra day. 🙂