Substitutes Eden Hazard and Willian netted late goals as Chelsea were made to work for a 3-1 win over Norwich City at Carrow Road.
In a thrilling and sunny after noon at Carrow Road, the Blues won their first away match of the EPL season and are now back to 3rd place in the league table. Even though we had the lead early on with an Oscar goal right in the 4th minute, Norwich started to hit us on the break and finally got a goal in the 2nd half through Pilkington with a header. Then, not looking to take a draw as a fair result, the fearless Jose Mourinho sent in Samuel Eto’o, Eden Hazard and Willian to go all out attack and try to win rather than draw.
Even a defender, Cole who was hurt in the ribs was sacrificed as we finished the game with 3 center backs late on. It was a brilliant counter attack from Willian, Oscar and Hazard that got us the lead late on as the Belgian capitalized on a defensive error to unleash unstoppable effort into Ruddy which slowly rolled on to the back of the net. Then, when we thought the Blues will defend the lead late in the game, Willian once again proved troublesome for the opposition on the counter and sent in a screamer right to the top corner after a loose ball on the edge of the penalty area.
Jose Mourino’s super subs Hazard, Eto’o and Willian won us the 3 points in a crucial first away win of the season. We must also not forget OSCAR’S brilliant performance today that won him the man of the match award by Sky Sports. Let’s now take a look at the main things we learned from the game….
1. Oscar our best player so far into the season.
I keep saying it in previous What We Learned articles, but can’t stop to admit how much i’m admiring the Brazlilian’s transformation under Jose Mourinho this season compared to last season. He has become the IT factor of this team as his hard working and speedy play on and off the ball has made him the Chose no. 10 to play behind the striker in every game. He looked awesome through out the game exchanging positions and passing a one two with Juan Mata. We must really expect some big things from the tricky and genius Selecao star this season. His goal in the 4th minute also shows his confidence in front of goal which is really helpful when our striker are currently misfiring.
2. Ashley Cole’s form being put in a question as performances falter game by game.
The English left back who is still one of the best LBs in the game at his best, has been under performing in recent matches as maybe age is catching up to him as he is now 32 and on his last year on his contract. Cole was easily to blame for Nowich’s equalizer since We left Terry and Luiz alone in the box while he should have been marking his player right on the left side of the post. When he goes out ATTACKING, he doesn’t get back in time to defend against wingers like Ivanovic is doing on the right flank and as he was used to 2 or 3 years ago when clearly he was the best Left back in the world. Jose might wanna look to the future to solve the issue and let’s wish his a good little recovery from the rib injury he suffered resulting in Hazard coming on in late 2nd half.
3. Demba Ba’s wasting scoring chances
The Senegalese didn’t even trouble Norwich’s mediocre center backs like he was supposed to and the only good thing we saw from his was the brilliant assist he provided to Oscar right in the 4th minute early on. But, the striker was lost through out the remaining period as he was later on substituted for Samuel Eto’o. And that might prove a huge point to Jose Mourinho that Ba might not benefit the Blues as he is supposed to as a striker. This is not a good news for Ba in any way you look at it as he was even close to leaving this past summer before the manager blocked his loan move to Arsenal as he saw Arsene Wenger’s men as title-challengers. We will see what awaits Ba if he keeps under performing like this and misfiring when the January transfer window rolls around and Chelsea are reportedly interested in signing Benzema from Jose’s former club Real since they are looking to sign Suarez from Liverpool.
4. Juan Mata jelling well into a player Jose wants to see in the magician.
The Spaniard has really improved his form since the Swindon game displaying the hard work and running style that Jose Mourinho wants to see from his attackers and he displayed the same performances against Norwich has orchestrated the midfield along side man of the match, Oscar. The two trickery midfielders proved too much too handle especially in the first half as the Blues held out 1-0 lead in that period. If he continues his form in this way and keep creating chances like he used to last season, he might be a big performer in big matches for Mourinho. What we can conclude from this is that the Special One has transformed our double player of the year winner into a complete attacking midfielder like Mesut Ozil was used to at Santiago Bernabeu. Mata is still one of the key players on the team and will perform well this season like he did in the last.
5. Super Subs by Mourinho inspired a victory for the Blues late on.
Mourinho’s courage and bold substation of taking off Cole, a defender for Eden Hazard proved he doesn’t settle on for a draw in no particular case against lesser or top teams. The formation after that changed to a 3-5-2 from a 4-2-3-1 immediately with Hazard acting as the 2nd striker next to Eto’o as Jose said in his post match comments. Also the substitution of Ba for Samuel Eto’o made a huge impact as the Cameroonian worked brilliantly in linking up with our midfield trio behind the striker and created danger. He did as much as Ba did despite the latter playing over 70th minutes of the game. And last but not list, the Brazilian Willian who came in for Juan Mata late on scored a screamer for the 3rd after playing a key part in the 2nd goal scored by Hazard. Eden Hazard got his first EPL goal of the season while Willian got his first strike for the Blues which puts both players in a strong contention to start on the wings in the next game we play.
Other things we learned:
6. Ramires performing well with consistency game by game.
7. John Terry is acting like a bed rock in center half as he has rediscovered his intimidating presence in front of strikers.
8. David Luiz is brilliant but, should do well defensively and not be too shakky when he loses possession of the ball up in midfield.
Mourinho was surely much satisfied by his sides performance overall and especially with his late substations which showed the great depth of this Chelsea squad compared to last season. The team has come a long way under Jose Mourinho despite what critiques are thinking and we should only hope he finds his perfect, untouchable starting 11 sooner rather than later even though rotating and giving every one a chance should be instrumental part of a winning side. The players are only going to get better as we go into the stronger stages of the season to win trophies and the future is looking bright for the Blues as ever before.Thanks for reading a let us know of what you think about this article and what you learned.