In a poignant moment ahead of kick off both teams and the crowd showed their respect to those that lost their lives in the TSUNAMI disaster – 10 years ago to the day. Thank goodness that the only Blue wave seen today was that of this Chelsea team’s dominating performance over a West Ham side that had been in recent good form.
Today’s match, which saw The Hammers sitting in the fourth Champions league spot at kick off, only went to show the massive gap between the Top 2 and the rest of the also rans in this years title race. Mourinho apologized to Sam Alladyce ahead of the kick off for his “inappropriate” slur of “19th Century football” after last years corresponding fixture — Although he only upgraded them, they now play 20th Century football.
This was possibly Chelsea’s best display of the season. Most players would be getting 9’s out of 10 in the fantasy football rankings. The only Chelsea exception was possibly Oscar who looked a little rusty after a couple of games out. Our Brazilian mighty-mouse didn’t have too bad a game either, but his shooting boots were on the wrong feet for a change.
Fabregas, Matic and Willian showed why they are the most formidable midfield in the Premiership. West Ham pitting the War Horses of Nolan and Noble against them was always going to end in a one-sided match up.
“Fat Sam’s Travelling Band” had no option but the try to limit the damage. Penned into their own half for much of the game, particularly in the first half, the Hammers did well stop the Blues racking up a cricket score. Chelsea contributed to stopping a landslide in the first 45. Cahill, Costa, Fabregas and others all missed decent chances to give the league leaders an early advantage. Although in truth it was only a question of time until the claret and blue defence succumbed to the onslaught.
John Terry finally broke the deadlock in the 31st minute finishing at close range following a corner.
With Chelsea only conceding 3 goals at home all season, one of those a JT own goal, this was likely game over. Especially with so many games in such short order, if the Blues could add another one, it would be foot off the throttle to save energy for the upcoming tough away games at Southampton and Tottenhan – both these sides seemingly over their bad patches and likely to provide sterner opposition than the Hammers.
Diego Costa provided the required insurance by adding a second on 61 minutes. The Spaniard had looked back to his best in the first half after a couple of so-so performances. He has a sort of bumbling appearance which deceives even the best defenders. It looks as if he is never in full control of the ball, which causes the opposition to have the confidence commit to a “nibble”…. this is fatal, for as soon as they do, he is past them. He has a very unique method and one to which no full back has yet figured out.
His goal was a perfectly slotted low drive across the keeper after making space from a Hazard pass. At this point we should mention Eden Hazard’s performance, he seems to be getting quicker feet the longer the season goes on. Also it was nice to see less of the fragile side of the Belgian in today’s game. He kept on his feet more of the time, not folding like house of cards at the slightest breath of a tackle. I think Referees are also becoming a little wiser to his antics, so partly his new more solid approach is out of necessity – Whatever the reasons, it is to his benefit as he was very effectual in this game, probably his best this season.
Carroll had nothing to “sing about” as he was marked out of the game by a combination of Matic and Terry. He was replaced early on in the second half. Sam Alladyce tried to mix things up by bringing Alex Song in with a 3rd of the game left….. unfortunately Cesc Fabregas’s former team-mate had a poor showing, looking more like a former Barnet than Barca player today.
The Blues saw out the rest of the game without incident as Ramires, Mikel and Didier all got to run off their Turkey dinner.
Unfortunately there is no shaking Manchester City as this campaign seems destined to go all the way. As I write the Blue Mooners were bagging all 3 points away at sliding West Brom. City has a relatively easy Christmas program and wouldn’t be surprised if things are equal at the top after the period ends….. Although it does feel that this will be Jose’s year, and the fact that we have already played City away, taking a point, may well prove to be be the difference come May.