Boxing day, Stamford Bridge, London Derby – that all counts for an intense, heated up battle, right?
Well, that’s exactly what we got when big Sam’s high-flying West Ham visited us at the Bridge in a hope to secure some crucial away points. Jose Mourinho was absolutely up for the show himself as the Portuguese went with an attacking line-up with Oscar replacing Mikel as the only change from the win against Stoke.
So without wasting any further time let’s get on with the initial reaction and analysis to see how the game panned out for the Blues:
– Sam Allardyce went into this fixture a bit defensively with Alex Song and Sakho the two-star players who were rested this afternoon with the comparatively more winnable Arsenal game probably on big Sam’s mind. Blues started the game brightly with Oscar having a brilliant chance to put us up in the 4th minute after Willian curled a beautiful pass for the other Brazilian from the right wing but Oscar’s shot missed the target altogether with just the keeper to beat. Bad play from our No. 10.
– Our high pressing and passing was excellent from the start as our front three linked up brilliantly with Fabregas, who was immaculate with his long balls and both the fullbacks playing high and wide provided us the necessary width against the Hammers. Meanwhile, Andy Carrol and Valencia struggled to get on the ball for the Hammers up top as they were completely cut off from their midfield.
– Gary Cahill had a couple of chances for the Blues in the 10th and 21st minute to get on the scoresheet but the English defender failed to put one past Adrian on both the occasions. In the absence of Alex Song in the middle of the pitch, Hammers struggled to control or slow down the pace of the game as Chelsea continued to dominate the fixture and a goal looked quite imminent for the Blues before the half-time after Willian forced a good save from Adrian.
– As the commentator put it the best, “it was a blue tide against the maroon wall” which was broken by the “Capitano” himself. John Terry scored his second goal in as many games for the Blues from a corner to put us 1-0 up against the Hammers in the 31st minute. Fabregas corner was flicked goalward by Diego Costa and Terry fought his way to be at the right place at the right time and easily tap it in past Adrian who had been really good till now for the Hammers. Well deserved lead for the Blues.
– Costa was another player who despite not getting a goal was quite a live wire on the pitch, causing all sorts of problems to Collins and Reid at the back. His link-up play with our front three and Fabregas was brilliant and he got involved every time we were in the Hammer’s final third. The Spaniard nearly got a goal in the 43rd minute just to see his shot fly over the bar.
– The first half ended with Blues leading the London Derby 1-0. It was one of our most dominating performance of the season as the Sam Allardyce’s side had no clue against our fluid and beautiful attacking play. Although, just one goal behind and very much in the game, it looked very difficult for the Hammers to salvage anything from this fixture if Blues continued their onslaught in the second half.
– The second half started with Jose Mourinho making no changes to the Chelsea line-up. It was a high-intensity start from the visitors as they forced us a couple of corners in the starting few minutes. There was little more ambition for West Ham as they exploited our either wings. Adrian had to make a great block on the other side of the pitch after a shot from Eden Hazard looked en route to goal.
– Big Sam introduced his big stars Sakho and Alex Song at the hour mark as West Ham looked to search for the equalizer. It’s not every day you see West Ham a bit more open with an attacking intent against us. Do you?
– Well, a Costa goal was imminent wasn’t it? The Spaniard was brilliant all day long and his goal was a perfect one, rounding off three (!!) Hammers defenders before putting it past Adrian as Chelsea put the game to bed with a lead of 2-0. Immediately after that goal Courtois made a brilliant stop in a one on one situation against Valencia to deny the striker. How good is it to have two of the world’s best at both end of the pitch? Quite unfair for the opposition!
– Chelsea had a strings of “Shaolin Soccer” attacks against the Hammer wall after that second goal and we could have been up by a lot more than 2 if it wasn’t for some really good goalkeeping from Adrian. Having two goal cushion meant everybody tried their luck from outside the box which was quite amusing.
– What was so good to watch as a Blues fan was all the players still pressing the Hammers high up the pitch even when we were 2-0 up after 80 minutes being played. Just shows the commitment of this team.
Jose Mourinho took 82 minutes to make his substitutions after a brilliant night of Costa and Oscar ended when they were subbed off in the favor of Drogba and John Obi Mikel respectively. Ramires came on for Willian as the final sub of the game for the last five minutes as one Brazilian made way for another.
– There was a bit of late drama in the game as Amalfitano hit the post in the 88th minute. Although, Hammers tried their best in the final few minutes, but it read 2-0 at the final time as Chelsea capped of their brilliant performance with one more win in the Premier League. We now move 6 points clear of Manchester City who have a game in hand as they play West Brom later tonight. Next stop, Southampton. Till then, KTBFFH!
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Edited By: Ankur Bhatt