Big Matic Seals Semi Triumph
By Gary Watton
April 22 2017
Nemanja Matic: he scores when he wants to! Fortunately, he selected a very good occasion to blast in his first accurate effort of the season. Following on a mere five minutes after Hazard's left foot had drilled us into the lead for a third time, the big Serb took a lay-off from the Belgian wizard and coolly despatched a drive into the top corner that left Lloris, his troops, and supporters alike all feeling rather stunned. If Chelsea had a better striker, the score could have been more substantial, as both Batshuayi and his replacement Senor Costa were wasteful with free headers. Otherwise, apart from the customary display of erratic defending, it was all good against the norf London wannabes.
Earlier, the energetic Willian had twice given the Blues the lead, as he reminded observers of his expertise at set pieces. His first goal from a direct free kick was special, while he restored the lead shortly before the interval with a spot kick reminiscent of Drogba's winning penalty in Munich four years ago. Interestingly, with Hazard surprisingly benched, the manager repeatedly implored his team to allow Willian to take the penalty. What a good idea that was! Conte clearly is a man with ideas, and upgrading Ake to a starting place was radical and most welcome, and in spite of the Dutch prodigy not getting close enough to foil Kane's headed goal, young Ake totally vindicated the manager's choice. The same I'm afraid really could not be said of the bold experiment with Batshuayi. The young Belgian looked distinctly lightweight and definitely needs a loan spell, as he is not justifying the ludicrous transfer fee yet.
Presumably Costa and Hazard were being rested for the fast-approaching Southampton contest. This was a masterstroke by Conte which could easily have backfired, but I guess that fortune favours the brave.
Hopefully the winners can go on to seize the coveted double, but having one hand on each major trophy amounts to nothing. Celebrating a semi final spectacular against your London rivals is one thing, but celebrating the acquisition of silverware in a month's time is quite another. Still, the latest conquest of Tottensham is an occasion to savour. Not even a lookout on a lookout post, equipped with a pair of binoculars and a telescope could have seen that victorious goals bonanza coming!
CHELSEA 4 Tottenham Hotspur 2; half time: 2-1
CHELSEA goal scorers: Willian (two); Hazard; Matic
CHELSEA team: Courtois; Azpilicueta; Luiz; Kante; Moses; Ake; Alonso; Matic; Batshuayi; Pedro; Willian. Used substitutes: Costa, Hazard, Fabregas
CHELSEA leading scorers:
Costa eighteen goals
Hazard fifteen goals (including two penalties)
Pedro eleven goals
Willian nine goals (including one penalty)
Fabregas six goals
Alonso five goals
Batshuayi five goals (including one penalty)
Cahill five goals
Moses four goalspqs: qs:
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