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Away Day Goals Spree
Chelsea comfortably returned to winning ways with a stroll in west Yorkshire against a Huddersfield team that seemed more intent upon damage limitation than actually going forward and scoring goals.
For the umpteenth time the champions conceded the first goal in a match, but this time there was no happy ending. Also, for the umpteenth time Chelsea produced their party trick of losing to a struggling London team. Many Chelsea supporters would dearly love to see Crystal Palace and West Ham United both relegated, so you can imagine the feeling of dismay that our pampered prats seem intent on keeping such clubs in the Premier League by granting them morale-boosting wins.
Chelsea Finish In Second Spot
For the third time in the last four matches, Chelsea had to come from behind, having conceded the first goal. In the end they had to make do with a draw, whilst AS Roma overtook them to finish top of their group. How crucial the difference is between first and second will only be revealed with next Monday's draw for the last sixteen. The Blues will be confronted with either Besiktas, Barcelona (again), or PSG (yet again). However coming top could also have landed an assignment with Bayern Munich, Juventus, or Real Madrid, so the advantage of finishing first seems more flimsy than ever before.
Despite the handicap of conceding an early goal, the Blues bounced back to secure a convincing win against our regular punch bags of Newcastle United. It was a highly satisfactory performance, graced by the silky skills and finishing of the incomparable Eden Hazard. Scoring twice, including a cheeky second half penalty, the Belgian maestro could easily have scored five or six.
Antonio Rudiger headed him his first league goal for Chelsea, having previously scored with a header in a cup match at home to Evercrap. This was enough to squeeze past impotent Swansea. The visitors did little but defend and ride their luck, as a number of Willian crosses narrowly avoided being turned into the net. Fabianski also excelled in goals too. Nevertheless, the hosts missed too many chances which underlines the suspicion that Morata and chums are not ruthless enough in front of goals. On the same night, Arsenic put five past Huddersfield, who are having a better season than Swansea. Furthermore, the dastardly Salah scored twice again. He has more goals this season than Hazard, Pedro, and Willian put together - which pretty much says it all.
Chelsea Have Last Laugh
Conte's third and final substitution Willian scored a peach of a goal with less than ten minutes remaining to bail Chelsea out of jail after a horribly negative performance orchestrated by the cautious manager. Blues fans may well be in awe of the Italian maestro, but he has yet to figure out a way of defeating Liverfools, after three failed attempts. To rescue a point near the end will be good for morale but the defensive-minded approach against rival clubs is tiresome in the extreme.
An Away Day Stroll
It was certainly an inconvenience having to travel to Azerbaijan a mere three days before a domestic trip to Liverpool, but Chelsea made light work of their chore, with a comfortable success in the east. The visitors were greatly assisted by the referee who granted them two penalties and generously sent one of the hosts off the pitch, thereby ensuring a one-man advantage for the ensuing seventy minutes, a luxury compared to the Premier League where opponents seem to frequently enjoy the benefit of the doubt.
The champions easily dismantled struggling West Bromwich Albion, thereby securing their third consecutive Premier League clean sheet and their fourth straight win in the top flight. Surely it's not possible to emulate the heroics of last year's winning sequence, but we can dare to dream. What is more, Saturday represented a hat trick of wins twice in the same calendar year against potential banana skin opposition from the Midlands, namely victories at Leicester City and two four-nil destructions of Stoke and West Bromwich Albion, following on from away day triumphs against this triumvirate earlier in the year, in the second half of last season.
Crisis-hit Chelsea recorded their third consecutive Premier League win and their second successive clean sheet in the league plus their third shut-out against ManUre in a year, which is a pretty good return for a besieged team. In so doing, the champions remain nine points adrift of runaway leaders, Manchester Mercenaries, whilst closing the gap on second spot to a solitary point. In spite of post-match protestations to the contrary by that laughable tosspot Mourinho, Chelsea fully deserved to win this compelling contest, after taking the match by the scruff of the neck after half time.
Hallowe'en Horror In Rome
Well that was one scary performance from the English champions, as befitting Hallowe'en. Okay it wasn't quite as crushing as a six-nil drubbing at Rotherham on this very date in 1981, but it was embarrassing nevertheless. Nobody in the team emerged well after this debacle. At one end the team couldn't defend properly, and at the other end the team couldn't convert any chances. In midfield the team was overrun. To rub it all in, the other English clubs had a party in their matches, scoring goals and helping themselves to morale-boosting wins. Chelsea by contrast can't seem to string two good seasons together, so their fans will have to brace themselves for a year of under-achievement. Maybe the team just might push the boat out and win the League Cup and scrape a fourth place in the Premier League. However, on the evidence of tonight's fiasco, even that seems a bit optimistic.