It wasn’t anyway near as one sided as it was last year when we put 8 past them, infact it was quite the opposite. A nerve wracking game at the Bridge which resulted in a hard fought 2-1 win for Chelsea. A game Chelsea dominated in possession from the start, bossing the midfield and playing for most past in Villain’s half. Soon the deadlock was broken when Oscar put the ball in the path of Hazard who running in from the left guided it across goal, saved by the keeper but caught Luna on its way in. 1-0 Chelsea after 7 minutes courtesy an own goal.
Chelsea’s trio of Hazard – Oscar – Mata continued playing in the Villian half but without much success. The midfield clearly was looking to spot Demba Ba with long passes, who was caught offside on numerous occasions. A surprise inclusion one might say ahead of Lukaku but his linkup play with Hazard was pretty good. Encouraging signs for Chelsea fans.
Aston Villa didn’t pose much of a threat until right at the stroke of the half time when Benteke was picked by Agbonlahor and finished the move brilliantly beating Cech on the near post. Not Easy That, It was pure class from the Belgian. The teams went level at Half Time
In the second half Jose didn’t make any changes and Ba stayed upfront and the midfield stayed narrow. Things didn’t change and soon Jose decided to throw in what in the minds of many should have started the game, Romelu Lukaku in the 64th minute. Mata clearly wasn’t his usual self since he has been out for the best part of preseason and didn’t look his imperious best by any means; therefore he was taken off by Jose and replaced by Schurrle to add some much needed width. He will soon be there folks, very soon.
In the 71st minute Branislav Ivanovic was very lucky to stay on the pitch as he was given only a yellow for elbowing Benteke, a decision that was the turning point of the match as couple of minutes later Ivanovic was at the end of a lovely freekick by Lampard. Ivanovic’s strong header meant a 2-1 lead for Chelsea.
Chelsea put in MvG late on to see of the match, a player who should have started. Surely with Jose’s assuring tactics at the back we were not going to throw away a lead like we have done in the last couple of seasons.
In the last few minutes Villa launched attacks on Chelsea goal only to be denied by the ever-so-reliable Petr Cech twice denying Andreas Weimann (in the second half). We can’t thank him enough, Mr. Reliable surely.
Chelsea held on and moved to the top of the Premier League table with maximum points from the two games. A win’s a win, no matter how they come. Three points none the less.
What we learned today and what’s next?
Ramires had a great game tonight. He was probably the best player on the pitch for Chelsea and IMO our man of the match today, boasting a really high pass completion ratio. Ramires has been an even better player under Jose this season and seems like Jose knows exactly how to use him as he looks to make the pivot his own.
FACT: Ramires has completed 165 passes in the 2 PL games this season, misplacing just 12. That’s precision for you.
Chelsea enjoyed great spells possession during both the Hull and Villa games. Possession stats today were 69%-31% in favor of Chelsea. Still we didn’t manage to make it count and needed plenty of luck to get this win. A major concern for Chelsea this, but surely this is the start of the season. First few games are never easy, keeping fingers crossed and hope things get better.
Chelsea played a rather congested midfield today. Mata, Hazard and Oscar were playing a compact midfield with virtually no width at all. This made it easier for the Villa to defend as the fullbacks were not making forward runs as much as they usually do. Starting KDB on the right may solve this problem. Also, starting MvG instead of Lampard might help us as he will surely cover more ground than Frank. Lampard starting today’s game came as a surprise to me. Will he make it 3 in a row? It remains to be seen.
The next game vs Manchester United at Old Trafford will be the real test of the team as to whether the team has got what it takes to win the title this season. A win will really send a message to the rivals that we are genuine title contenders.
Up The Chels!