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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.
Giroud Steps Up
The peripheral Olivier Giroud came on as a replacement for the injured and ineffective Morata and promptly scored another Europa League goal with an excellent free kick to add to a free kick strike from Willian earlier in the match. This proved to be little more than a glorified friendly for the visitors, but they dominated emphatically in terms of possession and can feel satisfied that they ended their group campaign with a respectable share of the spoils. Finally a few words of consolation to Ethan Ampadu who headed into his own net to quickly cancel out Willian's opener: If you're going to score an own goal, always make sure that it is in a match that doesn't really matter much.
It was so typical of Chelsea to lose meekly at mediocre Wolverhampton Wanderers and then four days later to cut the league leaders down to size. It's almost something of a Chelsea tradition to gun down the team that goes on to win the league. Hopefully this will be the case this season, as a Manchester City triumph is a lesser evil than Liverdisease or Tottensham becoming champions. Hopefully the Blues will go on an extended run of wins or at least a prolonged unbeaten sequence. Otherwise they will revert to the Chelsea of the 1990s: good at conquering the best team in the land and also equally good at conceding many points to lesser teams.
Dismal Display In Wolverhampton
Chelsea Football Club's obsession with Serie A managers may be rebounding once more, as Maurizio Sarri presided over another lack lustre performance and miserable result. As a consequence, the wheels appear to be coming off their league campaign. They allowed struggling Wolves to come from behind with two goals in quick succession in the second half, slotted past the unconvincing Arrizabalaga. In front of him was the recalled Christensen. Chelsea always seem to be fragile when he is in the centre of defence. Meanwhile Willian looks to be having one season too many at Chelsea, while Alonso and Kante are being played out of position. High-flying Manchester Mercenaries must be licking their lips at the prospect of competing on Saturday evening against our misfiring, overpaid numpties.
A Far From Perfect Victory
An early goal from Pedro should have led to the floodgates opening against bottom of the table Foolham, but instead Chelsea limped through much of the proceedings, bereft of both inspiration and perspiration. The visitors looked most likely to score the match's second goal in the second half, before the hosts belatedly awoke from their slumber, with RLC slotting home from close range. Alonso had a stinker and Morata missed another sitter, while it was no coincidence that the home team only secured the decisive second goal when No Goals Kovacic was replaced by the pacey RLC. It's good to move up to third position, narrowly ahead of our main two London rivals, but this stuttering performance simply won't do when the league champions pay a visit in six days' time.
A Gentle Little Stroll
This tussle, if I could even call it that, was nullified when the visitors incurred an early red card. Thereafter it was merely a case of how many that goal shy Chelsea would convert. In the end, a brace of goals in each half was just about a par total against mediocre and outnumbered opposition. Tis hardly a time to crack open the champagne, but nevertheless the hosts kept a clean sheet, peripheral players received valuable game time, and even Giroud managed to double his season's goals account. Our two unconvincing centre forwards now have eleven goals between them which isn't too embarrassing - even if some of their efforts are. Twas also good to see the prodigal Hudson-Odoi score his first Chelsea goal. Elsewhere Pedro continues to insist on blazing shots over the bar. Someone really needs to have some words with him on the training ground. Oh well. Let's hope that Foolham prove to be as equally obliging this Sunday lunchtime - though I seriously doubt it.
Absolutely Awful Derby Performance
For the second time this year, Tottenham Hotspur defeated Chelsea by three goals to one, and predictably Delle Ali was amongst the scorers. This rarest of Wembley wins by the 'mighty Spurs' against Chelsea could easily have resulted in a far more humiliating result, such was the inadequacy of Chelsea's defending and the wastefulness of the hosts in front of goals. Chelsea too were guilty of spurning chances, as the cockeyed Willian missed from close range and Pedro might have scored a late goal. Meanwhile the frustrating and frustrated Alvaro Morata shall henceforth be renamed Morata Offside. Aside from diabolical defending, the away team remain handicapped by fielding a trio of non-scoring midfielders.
Not Quite Today
Chelsea's attacking endeavours came up just short against a solid Everton, leaving the hosts trailing Manchester Mercenaries by four points in the English charts. In other years, a four point gap would be insignificant, but the league champions look well on course for another points total in the region of one hundred points, so Chelsea's only possible route to success appears to be at least four points in their head-to-head with the league leaders. Otherwise home draws like today will feel like defeats because they only serve to increase the points margin between the top team and Sarri's chasers. Of course it remains good for morale to preserve our unbeaten run and to collect a clean sheet, but only a string of wins will enable the chasing pack to keep pace with the league leaders.
We were treated to the rarity of a Morata double on Sunday past, and four days later another collector's item pops up, namely a goal from the notoriously non-scoring Olivier Giroud. The French Muppet with the stupid beard got himself onto a cross from Emerson and successfully headed the ball in at the near post. He also had another excellent scoring opportunity from a header but he directed it straight at the goalkeeper. The visitors will be extremely pleased to leave Belarus unscathed, as the hosts thrice hit the woodwork and probably deserved at least one point for their endeavours. Nevertheless the London club have now taken a maximum twelve points from their first four group matches and are already comfortably through to the knockout stages, with two fixtures to spare. Hopefully the manager will employ some more young and peripheral players in the remaining two dead rubbers, thereby furnishing them with valuable game time, as the team winds its way through a congested list of footballing commitments.
A Double From Morata!
Double helpings from Alvaro Morata are as rare as the proverbial hen's teeth. Today was one such occasion when the Spanish marksman earned his inflated salary with two decent strikes which significantly twice gave the hosts the lead, either side of half time and either side of a fine goal by Andros Townsend.