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Another Derby Shocker
How very appropriate that the team that fielded two proper strikers scored two goals while the team that played no genuine centre forwards scored no goals. Although Chelsea 'enjoyed' an abundance of possession, they typically looked incapable of scoring a solitary goal against Arsenic. I hate this team right now and the people who are ruining the club with their awful recruitment policy. On the field, Chelsea are clueless in the final third. This is the same club that boasted Flo, Hughes, Vialli, and Zola in the same squad. This is the club that played Gudjohnsen and Hasselbaink in tandem. This is the club that had Anelka and Drogba playing together. However in recent years, the lone striker lark has been a serious drag. We've sought out misfits like Falcao, Pato, Giroud, and sulky Morata. We need to go back to two up top.
Another Narrow Win
For the second time this season, Chelsea took the lead against Newcastle United, the latter equalised, and then the former scored again to win narrowly but deservedly by two goals to one. Willian scored the all-decisive goal, with a delicious effort. However this was another patchy performance. It appears that the crowd are losing patience with Jorginho, the teacher's pet, who remarkably has not contributed a solitary assist this season. Jorginho is just the new John Obi Mikel, with a limited footballing style. What the team desperately needs is a dynamic, all-singing, all-dancing midfielder like a Ballack, or Essien, or even a Dennis Wise, someone who can tackle, provide goal assists, and also chip in with some goals. Jorginho is not ticking many of these boxes. Ahead lies two encounters with our lovely norf London neighbours. They will be a step up in quality from lowly Newcastle. It remains to be seen whether Chelsea will be sufficiently lethal to cope with these challenges.
Further Goal Shy Woes
Chelsea dominating possession but failing to turn pressure into goals is becoming an all-too-familiar story. This semi final first leg demonstrated the real need for a target man in the penalty area. Otherwise the team is restricted to trying to pass their way into the opposition goals. It comes to something when your biggest goal threat ends up being the excellent Kante. However, the hosts defended with great gusto. They observed the rule that if you can't keep the ball (and they couldn't) then make sure that you're good without it. In the end, Chelsea might have been mugged with a breakaway goal which would have been an absolute travesty.
A Comfortable Cup Win
The home team returned to winning ways, courtesy of a second half double from the moody Morata. His efforts were both close range, including a header resulting from outstanding wing play from the talented Hudson-Odoi. Earlier, the Spanish marksman characteristically missed a header from point blank range, and in spite of his goals brace, the centre forward made straight for the changing room, after being hooked later in the second half. A Monaco-bound Cesc Fabregas unfortunately saw a penalty saved in the first half in what is likely to be his last outing for his current employer. Cesc did a grand job for Chelsea, helping himself to two league winner's medals. He will be missed and fondly remembered. Meanwhile the Blues will probably find their next cup opponents, Tottenham Hotspur in the Carabao Cup semi final, an altogether more formidable proposition than Nottingham Forest.
I feel sorry for Chelsea supporters who pay huge money to go and watch such a toothless team. The least that the club can do is apologise for such dreary drivel. Maybe the team should be refunding the supporters. Perhaps the club will eventually end its fixation with Italian managers who tend to bring Italian football to the team. Slow and patient build-up play is not paying dividends. Worst of all, the team seems incapable of recording an early goal in any match which means that they are constantly seeking a late effort to bail them out. Until they attack with pace and learn how to unlock packed defences, Chelsea will be also-rans in the Premier League, looking on with envy at the endeavours of our rivals. This goal-shy team now seems ill-equipped to win any silverware this season. Happy new year? The omens don't seem to suggest so.
A Deserved Victory
The team in yellow helped themselves to maximum points and a rare double over Crystal Palace courtesy of a close range effort from Kante shortly after half time. The French midfield maestro made an intelligent run into the Palace penalty area and controlled an exquisite pass from David Luiz before just about stroking the ball beyond the goalkeeper with his weaker left foot. It was a move worthy of winning any match. This was yet another narrow victory, but it was the least that the visitors deserved. The hosts showed little attacking intent until the last fifteen minutes, and it would have been a travesty if they had equalised. With this in mind, it is absolutely crucial that Chelsea put more daylight between them and opponents, or else they will eventually get stung with a late equaliser one of these days. It really should be the team's new year resolution to work out a more emphatic way of coping with packed defences, an all-too common occurrence in this footballing age. Anyway, the away team are now only two points behind Tottenham Hotspur and a nice five points ahead of Arsenic.
Another Underwhelming Win
Not for the first time, an unconvincing Chelsea did just barely enough to collect maximum points. Not for the first time, they had Eden Hazard to thank for the victory. Whilst Tottenham Hotspur are scoring eleven goals in their last two matches and climbing to second in the league, Chelsea are just scraping by. This is unacceptable. This 'great triumph' at Watford isn't pulling the wool over my eyes. Admittedly Watford are frequently a banana skin for Chelsea, so this is an improvement on the debacle there earlier in the year, but I still feel that this team is going nowhere slowly. Maybe Europa League or domestic cup glory beckons, but we will struggle to finish in the Premier League's top four unless we attack with greater intent and end product.
On January past, the team went through a few matches without scoring a goal. Almost one year on and one new manager later, the team still seems toothless in front of goal. The club only has itself to blame. The recruitment of Morata and then Giroud to fill the hole vacated by the departed Costa has been far from successful. Then we have the affliction of three non-scoring midfielders. The seemingly inflexible Sarri needs to give the pacey Loftus-Cheek more starts and stop faffing about. There definitely needs to be a shake-up of the decaying first team, or else more results like the home setback against mid-table Leicester City will become more commonplace.
A Characteristic Chelsea Triumph
Lightning struck twice as Chelsea narrowly defeated plucky Bournemouth at home in the quarter finals of the Carabao Cup for the second successive year, courtesy of another late winner. Furthermore, the victors are also pitted against norf London opposition for the second year running. Hopefully there will be a better outcome this time around. However the omens are not altogether good. Yes Tottensham are awful in cup semi finals and we generally excel in them, but this was another typically Chelsea victory which does little to inspire much confidence.
Another Cheerful Little Win
Chelsea did just enough to see off the threat from the Seagulls, as they held on to all three points, courtesy of two first half goals which featured Eden Hazard. First the Belgian maestro waltzed past defenders before skilfully steering the ball with his left foot into the path of the predatory Pedro who couldn't fail to miss from two yards out. Then Hazard ended his own lean spell in front of goals when he raced through and calmly slotted the ball with his right foot into the corner of the net. Marcus Alonso was desperately unlucky to hit the post with a sweetly struck left-footed shot. However the visitors' hopes of maximum points were put in jeopardy when the hosts pulled a goal back halfway through the second half. Fortunately the team in away day yellow held on for a triumph that puts a little daylight between them and the dastardly Arsenic and heaps of daylight between Chelsea and Mourinho's numpties.