So I asked for thumping wins the last week, but even though Bolton was a game that should have finished 10-1, I am a happy man today. The Villa game was a game of total dominance by Chelsea and the lack of excitement after the victory was actually the scariest part. Suddenly, this was a routine victory. No problems, whatsoever. As sweet as they come. And not after Mourinho’s last stint at Chelsea have I felt such confidence. And that is just brilliant. So here are the talking points from the last week:
1. The Best is yet to Come:
Yes, and I am talking about the Bolton game. We had crazy number of chances and Schurrle and Remy should have definitely done better. Mourinho, before the beginning of the last season, said that he thought the best of this team will come five years later. Clearly, he saw a huge potential and some big evolution before we became a champion club, before we reached the heights of Barcelona at their best. And that will happen when the likes of Schurrle start burying chances and even our second string team is winning like its nobody’s business.
2. Salah Needs More Time; Luis and Zouma, More Games:
Mohamed Salah is a very interesting player. He is super pacey, probably the fastest runner in the squad, tracks back well and can play a pass or two. But the final product seems to be missing there. Mourinho needs to work on him a little more and Salah needs to play with the reserves more to improves aspects of his game that are currently stopping him from breaking into this Chelsea side. I really think he can dislodge Willian and be a better player than Willian in that position. As to when, that’s an answer only Salah knows.
Felipe Luis and Kurt Zouma impressed me a lot against Bolton. Agreed, it was just Bolton but you can only play what you have got. Besides, Luis has got a bit of a show-in in the previous games too and he looks super-impressive going forward. It will be nice to have Mourinho rotate between Ivanovic, Dave and Luis more often. Ditto for Terry, Cahill and Zouma. These guys need to have match fitness and you don’t wanna be in a position when one of your starters picks up an injury and the replacement hasn’t played a game in the month. Especially in defence, where the quality of attach of opposition’s reserves side, just can’t do justice to the premier league quality.
3. Oscar Needed Rest and is Slowly Getting Back to His Best:
Two goals in two games after being benched in two of the most important games played in the season, is a hell of a response. That is what is expected of a top, top talent like Oscar. It was also interesting how Diego Costa dropped deep and at times allowed Oscar to lead the line against Villa. That shows that his team has confidence in him and after a sumptuous display, Oscar’s confidence in himself should be coming back. We’re back to the magical Champions League nights where Oscar first made his impact and he would back himself to make an impact in the group stages. It was a sumptuous display against Villa and with Premier League teams being more cautious of Fabregas and Costa, it was wonderful to see Hazard, Oscar and Willian create a menace in the final third all by themselves.
4. This is a Totally Different Team from Last Season:
One of the reasons why yesterday’s victory was a routine victory was because we approached it in a manner that was nowhere to be found last season. We went out there, scored an early goal, wore down the opponent, controlled the game and at the right moments geared it up to score a couple of more goals and make it a romp. All of that without conceding a goal. This was a game similar to many games last season that cost us the title. And we seemed to have learned from our mistakes. Of course Fabregas and Costa have been the impact players but Hazard, Oscar and Willian have also individually and collectively improved. The evolution of this team is also evident. You could get the feeling that this team is not trying too hard unnecessarily and every member in the team already knows what it takes to win the title. Everybody is enjoying themselves and nobody is talking too much and they have their targets clearly set in front of them. Just the Mourinho dressing room.
5. Lisbon Lineup Should be Interesting:
Costa was replaced early. So was Oscar. Could Costa play against Lisbon? I would highly doubt it. Oscar? I would say yes, but then there is also an Arsenal away game that is looming large in the shadows. Against Arsenal, I would expect our best XI to start which is quite simply the XI that started against Villa. Since Hazard and Fabregas didn’t start against Bolton, I think they will pick themselves for Sporting. With Ramires out injured with a groin injury, would expect Mikel to get his first start of the season. Also I think Remy and Luis should get another game. But could Zouma start too? Could Ivanovic get a break with Dave on the right?
Here’s my starting XI against Sporting: Courtois (I almost wrote Cech), Dave-Cahill-Terry-Luis, Matic-Mikel, Hazard-Fabregas-Willian, Remy.
Wishlist for the next week: Victory against Sporting with a Remy goal and a thuming win against Arsenal with Drogba coming on as a sub and scoring.
Blue blood, as ever. Let me know what you think about this week’s Talking Points and what do you wish for the coming week. KTBFFH.