If you are from Asia, you will know that it was a night worth staying up late when Chelsea hosted Everton at Stamford Bridge, in a late kickoff on Wednesday. The game ended 1-0, with the home team coming out handsomely victorious among the two.
Though the scoreline may tell you that it was a boring game to watch, I swear there was a lot more to it. While we dominated possession for most of the time, Everton looked good on counters. But none of the team could open the scoring despite so many attempts on goal, thanks to the heroics of the two goalkeepers, until the 89th minute when Willian blasted a low, long range shot into the net for Chelsea.
Let’s start with some positives we derived and the things we learned from the match:
Willian responded amazingly to the critics
Seriously, what a match-winning performance by the Brazilian! And there couldn’t have been a better time to do this than last night, when questions had begun raising over his statistical performance this season. It was just 6 minutes into the game when he had his first attempt on goal with a nice curling shot, which went just above the crossbar. He had a great influence our game throughout- making runs, cutting inside, dribbling, leading the counters. Only thing he lacked in was in making the goo crosses to find his teammates inside the box. But his well-deserved moment came in the 89th minute of the game when he pounced upon the ball received by Howard’s clearance from a Fabregas’ freekick, and struck strongly with his right foot into the goal. Scoring the only goal of the match and stealing the spotlight, he won all the three points for the Blues.
Chelsea have a remarkable work rate
Need not to say, Chelsea’s squad is full of hard working players. Cecs Fabregas, Nemanja Matic and Oscar have gathered some appreciations earlier for their ability to make runs and chase the ball while out-of-possession, but last night it was an amazing sight to see many other different Chelsea faces at multiple positions making their impact on the game. Ivanovich, Willian, Azpilicueta, Matic, Hazard and the new signing Cuadrado all had a lot to offer with each one of them fulfilling their defensive and offensive duties well. Add Terry and Zouma’s heading qualities to that, and you have a Chelsea side who are the biggest nightmare for any opposition.
Petr Cech- the legendary Saviour!
With Thibaut Courtois having some fatigue problems in the last couple of games, Petr Cech was brought into the squad against the Toffees. And the 32 year-old didn’t disappoint with a couple of crucial saves. He maintained his record for 5 clean sheets in all the 5 games played this season in the Premier League. The best moment of the game or, it wouldn’t be wrong to say, of the entire season for Cech came in the 68th minute when he made a nearly impossible and brilliant reflex save after Lukaku had a touch to ball from a cross, just 3 yards away from goal. Save of the season, indeed! Petr Cech is undoubtedly a refreshing and more experienced option to have on bench for the amazingly talented Courtois. With important games coming our way in Champions League, Capital One Cup final and our quest for the Premier League title, we are assured with two pairs of safe hands guarding the back of our net.
Diego Costa’s 3 match ban is finally over
Good news folks! Premier League’s top goalscorer this season has finally completed his 3 match ban, and will return for the UCL Round of 16 game first leg game against PSG. Costa was accused was deliberately stamping on Liverpool’s Emre Can in Capital One Cup semifinal. The period of these 3 matches felt like never ending period as Chelsea missed the killing instincts of their leading goalscorer on many occasions, especially in the 1-1 draw against Man City. With Fabregas coming on as a substitute against Everton and looking fit, and Costa set to return for the Champions League action, there will surely be no looking back for Jose’s men now.
Chelsea fight until the end
Thanks to the heroics of Everton’s goalkeeper, Tim Howard, that the Toffees held us to 0-0 almost till the end, when in the 89th minute we finally found a way through. But as Jose said after the game, “I don’t remember a team to be champions without a couple of victories in the last minute”. And that’s what a true champion’s spirit is- against a team that came to the Bridge to try and grab atleast one point and gave it all to settle for a draw, we didn’t give up till the last minute in spite of many failed attempts earlier in the game. And as we have it now, we have our seven points lead over Manchester City intact and a strong grip on that Premier League title.
Edited By: Vikram Vadiganeni