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An encouraging run of four successive victories was halted, as Chelsea lost on Merseyside for the second time this spring, each time conceding two second half goals. The ploy of fielding Hazard in a false number nine position once more backfired. Our record against the top teams is now a running sore, as the strategy is increasingly a cautious and negative one. Silly Sarri stated that he felt that his team played well in the first half, but how can no goals and a small share of possession and a failure to work the opposition goalkeeper amount to a terribly cosmic effort? Surely Conte or Mourinho wouldn't have been so contented. The loss of the speedy Rudiger just before half time was a blow. Hopefully he will be back before the end of the season. The Blues can still finish in the top four but there is no margin for error now, especially as their three rivals have a game in hand. Maybe just maybe Chelsea will assert themselves more when they visit unconvincing ManUre in two weeks' time.
Alonso Heads Home Precious Winner
This was yet another unconvincing performance but a most welcome result. After the first eleven hit the heights with an impressive conquest of West Ham three nights ago, the periphery players cooked up a largely mediocre effort. However the team warmed to their task as the evening wore on, and a fine cross from Willian was converted from close range by the lurking Alonso. The visitors now have one foot in the semi finals, but know that this fare will not suffice against Liverfools this Sunday, but then fortunately many of these turkeys will be warming the bench instead.
A Hazard Masterclass
The Chelsea faithful, who have had to be patient through a winter of mediocrity, were treated to a double helping from the majestic Eden Hazard. This was a cracking game, and a score of six goals to two would have been much more appropriate. As it was, the hosts attacked with gusto and aplomb, and narrowly avoided converting other chances. The trouble was that the delay in scoring the second goal gave rise to fears that Wet Sham would mug us with an equaliser, like they did twelve months ago. Fortunately that pesky Hernandez didn't score against us this time. This was a refreshing performance from Chelsea. Having got out of jail at Cardiff, they've really kicked on with two clean sheets, five goals, and maximum points since then. The confidence has come flooding back, which is timely, given the big challenges ahead. We really need to take something from our two visits to the north west, to Liverfools and ManUre, or else this incursion into the top four may prove to be a temporary one.
A 'Brighter' Performance
Chelsea remain firmly in the mix for a top four league finish, courtesy of their second win in the last few days. Even stubborn old Sarri belatedly granted young Hudson-Odoi his first league start and the prodigy duly obliged by creating the first goal for Giroud. I think both Callum and Olivier deserve to start in the next match too. Then after the interval came two similar goals in quick succession. Eden Hazard as only he can, fashioned a shooting opportunity for himself which resulted in him planting a right-footed effort into the far corner. Not to be outdone, RLC then suggested that he might be a mean free kick taker when he deliciously curled a right-footed shot from just outside of the box and beyond the goalkeeper's despairing reach. It remains to be seen whether West Ham United will be as easy on Monday night, but the Blues are still fighting on two fronts for a place at European football's top table next season.
An Undeserved Victory
Another abject away performance was heading towards a 'merited' nul points when the hapless visitors pulled a couple of rabbits out of the hat late in the proceedings. Instrumental in this dramatic turnaround was the referee who tolerated a blatantly offside equaliser by 'Dave' and made two or three questionable decisions which collectively enraged Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock. This win should not camouflage the fact that Chelsea were awful for large portions of this contest. Nevertheless the away team stagger on and remarkably can overtake Tottenham Hotspur this Wednesday with a home win against struggling Brighton and Hove Albion. On the evidence of this peculiar triumph, another win in a few days' time is far from certain.
For all of their European progress, albeit against mediocre opposition, Chelsea's domestic woes continue. Having struggled to score last week against Wolverhampton Wanderers, today's team in yellow totally failed to score a single goal, for the eleventh time this ragged season. I can't quite make my mind up as to whether it's the team that is awful or the manager that is awful or those who recruited them that are awful. Either way, this team is way too lightweight for a league campaign. They looked clueless and bereft of inspiration in the second half, having failed to cash in on their first half dominance. What is most alarming is that Chelsea seem incapable of responding well after having played a European match a few days earlier. Also, Gonzalo Higuain looks the latest in a depressingly growing list of toothless centre forwards. We were so ordinary today, we succeeded in making Evercrap look good.
Demolition In Kiev
Whilst their domestic campaigns have faltered all winter, the one beacon of hope for Chelsea appears to be the Europa League. Here they can do no wrong. Even Olivier Giroud can't stop scoring. Young Hudson-Odoi keeps scoring too. Most surprising of all, the team seems to have reinvented itself as a free-scoring unit (in the absence of talisman Hazard) at least for the one-sided double header against poor Dinamo Kiev. Now the London giants must try and repeat the trick against Slavia Prague in the quarter finals. I suspect that they will be less of a pushover than the Ukrainian punch bag proved to be. Maybe just maybe Chelsea can rescue themselves and their beleaguered manager from an otherwise underwhelming season.
Eden Hazard may have rescued the goal shy hosts with a shot from the edge of the penalty area in added on time, but there is little to celebrate about this result. On a weekend when both ManUre and Rottenham lost, here was an opportunity to make real inroads in our quest to finish in the top four. Yet again, for all their futile possession, Chelsea came up short, something that they are ultimately doomed to repeat in both the Europa League and the Premier League. How ironic that an Ancelotti and a Grant were moved on after finishing a season in second position, and yet unwarranted patience is being shown to the current incumbent. It beggars belief.
A Brilliant European Result
Dinamo Kiev were a huge disappointment, but that's not Chelsea's fault. They can only beat what's put in front of them, and in spite of missing a hatful of first half chances, they did precisely that. It was the three wide boys who scored the goals, including a cracking second half free kick from dead ball specialist Willian. The Blues now look to be well on their way to the quarter finals, and a realistic tilt at the Europa League is on the cards. To keep a clean sheet whilst securing a third consecutive win is also good for morale and keeps old Sarri in a job for another week.
A Second Successive Triumph
Chelsea are firmly in the hunt once more for a top four league finish, courtesy of a double over neighbours Foolham, with today's victory following hot on the heels of a derby win against Rottenham Hotspur. However, this win was far from convincing. The hapless hosts deserved a share of the spoils after heaping much pressure upon the visitors in the final half hour. I yearn for the days when Chelsea ran rings around opponents, dominated matches, and won comfortably with three or four goals. The current bunch are merely stuttering forward, and they ain't fooling me. At least common sense has prevailed with the first-choice goalkeeper restored to the team, after his much-publicised Wembley stand-off with Sarri.