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Hazard's Triple Whammy
Whilst all the hype focuses on Liverfools' cosmic start to the league campaign, Chelsea continue to defy the media luvvies by matching the Kopites stride for stride. In fact Sarri's troops have only gone and marched to the top of the charts. Cardiff City were expected to leave empty-handed, but it was they who led in the opening half hour. Arrizabalaga has probably conceded more goals than made saves so far in the early weeks of his Chelsea career. Let's hope that he starts keeping the ball out of the net more often, because after all that's what he has been handsomely paid to do.
A Fourth Straight Win!
For the second week running, the Blues had to be extremely patient against bus-parking opponents and scored twice again deep into the second half. Pedro is in a rich vein of goal scoring form, and he finally opened the scoring with a decent strike from the edge of the penalty area. The excellent Hazard took a pass from Alonso and stroked home the decisive second. It was good to achieve a clean sheet and it's heartening to reel off four straight wins at the start of the league campaign. Bigger challenges lie ahead, but Sarri's brave new world is ticking along very nicely indeed.
Happiness On Tyneside
The media luvvies and assorted experts have decreed that this is merely a "transition year" for Chelsea. Transition year is frequently a euphemism for under-achievement. Well, three wins from three league outings represents a darn good transition year to me. In this peculiar encounter, Benitez instructed his troops to defend deep and defend in numbers, play for a goalless draw or maybe mug Chelsea with a breakaway goal. Their anti-football approach finally got its comeuppance when Chelsea's constant but fruitless probing finally resulted in the awarding of a contentious penalty. Alonso was partially impeded, but it was a soft penalty. However when you attack often, you may end up with a soft penalty or free kick, and moreover if you defend too much, then you're liable to incur yellow cards, red cards, and soft penalties. Therefore Newcastle brought on their own misfortunes courtesy of their blatant negativity. In the event the great Hazard fired home an accurate spot kick.
Crazy First Half, Marvellous Result
Chelsea returned to winning ways against Arsenic - something they seemed incapable of doing when Antonio Conte was in charge. It took the Spanish trio of Pedro, Morata, and Alonso to provide the goals. The league table currently consists of us in the top four with Arseholes and West Ham United in the relegation zone! Tis my kind of league table.
An Excellent Start
Huddersfield Town proved to be mediocre opposition, but nevertheless Chelsea safely negotiated this potential banana skin with a resounding three-nil success. This represents a big improvement on our first fixture last year, and Maurizio Sarri recorded a better result than the likes of Conte or Mourinho achieved with their first league match. Kante scuffed the ball into the net after an uncharacteristic foray into the opposition penalty area to open the scoring. If he could strike his shots with the same ease that he spreads the ball around, then more goals would surely follow from our pocket dynamo. Then Jorginho on his league debut comfortably passed the ball into the net from the penalty spot after spotting the goalkeeper head the wrong way. Our new addition is clearly a cool customer, and we can only hope that he's a better buy than the hapless Bakayoko. Finally, Pedro wrapped up the three points with a deft finish, after being expertly teed up by the excellent Hazard. Our new goalkeeper even earned himself a clean sheet. Here's hoping that Arsenic will prove equally compliant next Saturday.....
Community Shield Woe
A goal in each half by Sergio Aguero ensured that the English champions enjoyed a comfortable triumph against a much-changed and lack lustre Chelsea. This was a painful reminder that without Hazard and Kante, Chelsea look much like a mediocre mid-table team. I was rather hoping that the Londoners would get demolished about five-nil, so that the numpties that run the club would be shocked into belatedly strengthening the squad. Quite frankly, if Chelsea lose more than two of the following and don't adequately replace them, then mid table will beckon: Courtois, Hazard, Kante, and Willian. Chelsea have been a car crash of a club all summer, procrastinating over the selection of a new manager and dilly-dallying over alterations to the squad. It was therefore quite fitting that the off-field shambles was mirrored by today's awful performance.
Cup Final Redemption?
This may well be sulky Conte's last match in charge, and he has managed to bow out with more silverware. In doing so, Antonio (a self-proclaimed "serial winner") has emulated fellow-countryman Carlo Ancelotti by winning both the Premier League and the FA Cup, albeit not in the same season. This eighth FA Cup triumph (third only behind Arsenic and ManUre) goes some way towards salvaging the wreckage from a car crash season. It's always sweet to get the better of ManUre and especially Mourinho, leaving them empty-handed, but truthfully this was an awful final, even though most Chelsea followers won't be complaining.
An Appropriate Finale
I was rather hoping that Bakayoko, the teacher's pet, would get sent off, thereby ensuring that he would not be available for next week's FA Cup final. Alas no such red card was presented to him, and Chelsea fans will be steeling themselves for the logic-defying omission of Willian next Saturday in favour of the inadequate Bakayoko. Such a selection decision will reveal Conte's overwhelming desire to 'stop United' as opposed to a wish to take the game to them.
Another Impotent Nightmare
The Blues' late-season charge towards an unlikely Champions League spot finally fizzled out at home to lowly Huddersfield Town who deservedly secured Premier League survival, courtesy of a gritty defensive display against one-goal Chelsea. The proceedings perfectly encapsulated Chelsea's inability to create chances and convert the rare ones that they do produce. The team has completely lost the knack of scoring late winners or equalisers when the chips are down. This has been the most frustrating of seasons, as the purgatory of the Europa League beckons for last season's champions. How the mighty have fallen and indeed been washed away.
Blues Defy Hyped Reds
Chelsea have kept alive their slim hopes of qualification for next season's Champions League when they deservedly defeated an impotent Liverfools team. The Blues have now strung together five wins, whilst Liverpoo and Tottenham Trophy Dodgers appear to be doing their level best to drop out of the top four, having shipped several points in recent weeks. The whole drama of the race for a top four finish is further proof that the league is a marathon and not a sprint. Consequently, teams that are sitting pretty at Easter and looking poised for success would do well to nail down their objectives rather than dwell upon probabilities. In the event, Chelsea still need snookers in order to penetrate the top four, but they clearly have the momentum while the two clubs above them are evidently staggering towards next Sunday's chequered flag.