Let’s start with a quick match report.
The Blues’ game at Wembley last night was one of the most professional performances ever seen by the 89,294 attendees and millions watching at home.
Just like how it is supposed to be in a Cup final match, the first half was full of sparring, observing and analyzing the opposition’s ways of attack and defence. We opened the scoring with a John Terry-strike inside the box off a free kick and then from there, the game took off.
The second half showed just how professional and methodical a football team can get: Chelsea vs Tottenham became yet another case of men vs boys.
Diego Costa buried the ball into the back of the net in the 56th minute off of a deflection from Kyle Walker and every Chelsea fan’s hopes of watching their team lift the title strengthened.
That was it: the rest of the game was played out by the ever-so-outstanding Chelsea midfield. Don’t get me wrong; the chances kept coming. The Blues did not, for one minute, look like they were sitting back and trying to hold on to what they had.
Before the game, Nemanja Matic’s absence in the squad seemed to dampen the looks of Chelsea’s midfield, but Kurt Zouma proved to be an amazingly trustworthy replacement. Throughout the game, Matic was not at all missed – not even when Chelsea’s dynamics in play was at its peak.
Here is analysing Zouma’s game and in what form his effectiveness proved to be priceless for Chelsea last night.
Before the game began, the one single question in every Chelsea fan’s mind was whether Matic’s absence will prove costly. Zouma taking hold of his position was a bit questionable – how will the thriving genius in Matic ever be replaced? But man, Zouma carried in a fantastic way.
He went on to completely revert the Spurs attack singlehandedly on more than a few occasions. For a man of such great height, he runs like an overclocked engine, keeps a steady balance and manages to hold a low center of gravity in his ways of jockeying and regaining possession for his team.
He holds his ground, waits for the opposing man on the ball to make a run, attempts a tackle and if the tackle fails to do what was intended, he runs and chases the opposing player down and before he could make a pass, he slides in and retrieves the ball whilst making sure he does not make contact with the player’s feet.
If everything fails, his sheer physical dominance enables him to seal out the player on the ball and thus, force him to make a non-threatening pass back to his team’s defence. He “stabilises” the opposition, so to speak. What more could one ask for in a center-back who is now proving to be equally worthy in the defensive midfield position?
THE FIFTH CENTER-BACK:
John Terry, the infamous Chelsea legend is a true path-provider when it comes to instructing young defenders such as Zouma as to how the Chelsea defence operates. In the game, JT always seemed to have been at par with Zouma’s position on the field; staying close to him and shouting out instructions.
This not only amped-up the young Frenchman’s game, but also helped him stick to the roots of the once-thought-irreplaceable role of Matic in the Chelsea squad.
As we all know, Matic is the Chelsea midfielder when it comes to back-tracking. He strives equally in attack as well as in defence. Zouma filled in his shoes and the Chelsea midfield seemed to have lacked nothing when compared to Matic’s game.
The “fifth center-back”, which is now one of the key roles played by a Chelsea defensive midfielder, was successfully carried out by Zouma. When he drops back, the defence becomes more compact and hence a lot harder to get through. This was seen in aplenty at Wembley.
THE FUTURE CHELSEA CAPTAIN?
Marcel Desailly had five years at Chelsea and could play in defence or midfield. Jose Mourinho, after the game, said that he sees a new Desailly in the 20-year-old Zouma. Here is how Zouma responded:
“That is a lovely thing what the boss said.”
“But it is too early to say that because Marcel Desailly is a Chelsea legend.”
“Me, I have only played 10 games and I am 20 years old. I have to improve every day.”
“Marcel is an idol of mine. I loved to watch him play before. He was an amazing performer and so important for us.”
“I have never met him or spoken to him, but I would love to one day. I just have to keep working hard.”
“I was just so happy on Sunday. Everyone wants to win titles and we have to show that as a team we can do that, and we did.”
“I am a center-back, but if the manager said to me that I have to play left-back, striker or keeper I would play there, because I want to help the team.
When I signed for Chelsea I knew that we had to play big games, finals, but I never dreamed that I would be playing in the middle in midfield in one of them. But I had to play there.
The manager told me two days before the game that I was going to play there.
That was very exciting because then I knew I would be playing in a final at Wembley.”
Carrying on the expertise of Marcel Desailly, John Terry has proven to be a legendary captain for Chelsea for the past 10 years. Can Kurt Zouma be the next center-back who will make his way into the list of the most able Chelsea captains? Most definitely.
WE’VE DONE IT! THE CAPITAL ONE CUP IS OURS FOR THE CLINCHING!!
The shedding of tears seasoned with salt of immense satisfaction was a truly sentimental sight for Chelsea fans around the globe. I cried my heart out watching Jose express his emotions.
Will this only be the first out of three potential titles this season? We don’t think so!
Now that the Capital One Cup is conquered, there will be huge focus on performing equally brilliantly in the rest of the Premier League and Champions League games to come.
Making it 3/3 come end of this season – that, my fellow supporters, is the dream.
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Edited By: Harshal Ahire