Chelsea kicked off their 2015 BPL campaign with a performance that justified the bookies calling them title favourites. All the shortcomings from the last years team appear to have been solved with shrewd business in the summer transfer market.
Mourinho has already said that this is the team he wanted. Piling that little bit of extra pressure on himself , and yet again defelecting it away from his players, won’t bother him. His outfit performed to such quality straight out the gates that we will not see him making statements about “also rans” this year!
We were introduced to 3 of our new signings tonight and lets not forget the one returning old one!
Jose gave our Belgian streak of p@ss the nod over our beloved Petr Cech for this game. After all, what better way for him to get his Premier League legs than against a newly promoted side. Unlike some of the pundits who now feel that Petr Cech’s Chelsea days are numbered , I am not reading too much into tonight’s selection.
He made a couple of decent saves and certainly commanded his area well on the set pieces, where his height advantage was almost laughable. I’m sure he would have like to have kept a clean sheet but sadly that wasnt in the script.
His distribution was a little off , particularly from his kicking clearances, but lets put that down to the optics of the Turf Moor Stands versus those of The Bernabeu or The Camp Nou.
There was no need to worry about our new midfield general requiring any time to settle back into life in the EPL after his stint back in Spain. He looked like he had never left. He actually played one of the best games I have seen him play, but that could be because he is now one of ours. Place your bets on him being named Club Captain for the 2015/16 season upon JT’s retirement.
Tonight he played in the deeper midfield role behind the Schurrle / Hazard/Oscar triumvirate, we can expect him to fill one of those 3 spots on occasion when Jose opts for a different look. His vision and passing accuracy were great to watch and he also seems a lot more solid in his physical presence than I remember from his Arsenal days.
What a pleasure it was to see a Chelsea team with a proper Centre Forward again. The contrast to watching Torres toil for 3 years made you realize how badly poor old Nando has actually been playing.
Costa is a proper athlete. He is strong, fast and even seemed to fill the attacking midfield role with ease when required if a teammate was further forward. He also chased the defence around all night when not in possession, his odometer must have run out of digits.
He scored for good measure on his debut. Mourinho was visibly relieved that the monkey didn’t get a chance to get onto Costa’s ankles let alone anywhere near his back!
Lets have a little flutter on him getting given the golden boot this year.
So all in all our newcomers starred in the opening act of this years title campaign……. Jose will be very happy tonight.
Anyway onto the game. Burnley had a dream start, when 14 minutes in Scott Arfield , following some early season Chelsea defending, converted a Matty Taylor cross by thumping it past an unsighted Courtois’.
Cheslea responded like future Champions are expected too. It took 3 minutes to level the scores when the Blues’s quick passing movements around the box resulted in a cross/ shot from Schurrle ricocheting off the far post into Diego Costa’s cross-wires and he quickly dispatched it into the home side’s net.
Chelsea then started to dominate the game. A few minutes later they were in the lead.
The goal was breathtaking and even at this early stage may be a candidate for goal of the season. Hazard, thankfully showing no negative side effects from a poor World Cup, had rung rings around 3 or 4 Burnley midfielders before laying off a wide ball to Ivanovic. The Serb then dummied a near post cross, instead chipping it sideways to a beckoning Fabregas. the Spaniard also faked a shot for a half volley chip into a charging Schurrle who beat the offside trap and slotted home…….. I think everyone in my apartment block heard my celebratory scream!
The game from this point became a formality, although the Blues scored another one for good measure with 10 minutes left in the half, when Ivanovic bullied his way into the six yard box from a Cesc corner, scoring with a raised right leg as opposed to his usual brick wall of a forehead. Game really over.
The second half became a little boring as Burnley offered little in attack and Mourinho had made sure his players know this was hopefully game 1 out of 50 or 60, so ease off the gas.
The only real interest came from Didier Drogba’s appearance in the dying embers…….. he still looks lean and mean. This pushes Torres further down the pecking order.
Couple of other mentionables:
Matic, whom we did not get the pleasure of seeing in Brazil, stroked the ball around providing the perfect fulcrum for the team.
Cahill, having returned from World Cup duty with the “honour” of playing a full part in that debacle, also showed no hangover.
Early days but very encouraging signs indeed…….. We do need to see us against stiffer opposition but let’s enjoy it when we play well!!