Premier League will be back this weekend when the League leaders Chelsea take on Steve Bruce’s Hull City at the KC Stadium to extend their lead to 9 points ahead of second placed Man City.
Jose Mourinho’s side have been in a bad form as of late, considering the bars we have set with our performances in the early part of the season. The magical duo of Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa have cooled off a bit while, fatigue has started to take its toll on the likes of Matic and Oscar.
The fluency and aggressiveness of Chelsea that we came to love in the first half of the season is missing and we are clearly struggling against any opposition playing the high press system.
Lack of rotation, is it?
Maybe! Let’s leave that to Mourinho and the team. After all, the Portuguese has always been shy of using the squad depth anyway. So, the situation is nothing new.
However, we are well placed in the League; 6 points clear at the top with a game in hand and only a royal screw up would see us losing the PL trophy this season.
Hull City, on the other hand, are just 3 points clear of the relegation table and the home side would more or less look to salvage at least a point from this fixture, to stay afloat in the league.
With that in mind, let’s get on with some of the key player battles which are most likely to influence the outcome of this game:
CESC FABREGAS vs JAKE LIVERMORE
But despite glowing starts to each campaign, Cesc’s contributions to the cause gradually decreased as each season drew to a close. From being someone who joined in with the attack, supplying and scoring goals, the magic tended to fade later on in each season. He only scored one, six and one goals in the last 24 games of each season. For some reason, he was never as good in the second half of a season as in the first. – Barcelona Official Website
Well, that’s been the trend with the Spaniard for a long, long time now. Rocking the League in the first half of the season but then fading away into nothingness in the second half. Maybe it’s the fatigue or the something else, we are not entirely sure, but there’s no doubt we are seeing the similar trend with Fabregas this season too.
Our most impactful player in the first half, Fabregas has been out of form as of late. A drop in form from Matic has not helped his cause either as the Spaniard has struggled between his offensive and the defensive duties. It’s definitely not a coincidence that the dip in form from Chelsea has coincided with Fabregas’s own bad patch. An in-form Fabregas for the business end is what we are hoping for if we are to retain our lead at the top which starts tomorrow when we play Hull City.
In the absence of Tom Huddlestone due to suspension, it will be Jake Livermore who will have the primary responsibility of controlling the midfield for the home side, which includes keeping a check on the Spaniard in the deep. When Livermore’s at his best he could be a difficult player to face. He’s athletic, strong with an imposing figure and Fabregas needs to bring his A game at the KC Stadium when he comes up against the midfielder. We hope for our sake that our “midfield maestro” regains his magical touch and make this battle a fun for Chelsea fans to watch out for.
EDEN HAZARD vs MICHAEL DAWSON
Amongst the inconsistent performances from various star players for the Blues, the one player who has been consistent for us all season long has been the young Belgian, Eden Hazard.
If it was Costa, Fabregas and Oscar who enjoyed much success in the first half of the season with loads of goals and assists while, Matic bossed around the midfield, it has been the twinkle-toed winger who has consistently performed for us, week in week out, since the word go.
After destroying numerous defenses and fullbacks with some magical performances, it is safe to say that Eden Hazard is definitely amongst the top 5 players in the world right now and he needs to continue that form when he starts at the KC Stadium tomorrow and comes up against Michael Dawson.
Dawson definitely has a lot to worry about, coming up against the Belgian. Hazard’s ability to cut inside from the left wing with such ease is what makes him such a lethal performer in the final third. Combine that with his lightning speed and you have got a top player on your hand who is a joy to watch out on the pitch. Do look out for this battle!
DIEGO COSTA vs ALEX BRUCE
Another player who lost his way a bit after he returned from his 3 match ban against Liverpool. Diego Costa alongside Fabregas tore up the league with some absolutely brilliant performances for the Blues racking up goals while the Spaniard assisted the lot.
A dip in form from Costa has seen Chelsea go a bit wanting at the front and the Blues’ have since struggled to put on big numbers on the goal sheet just like they did few months ago.
Good news though, from Chelsea’s point of view, is that Diego Costa did end his mini goal scoring drought last week against Southampton and the Spaniard looks far more sharper and better in his movements than he looked a couple of weeks ago.
He might still not be at his best, but Chelsea needs the Spaniard to up his performances just like his partner in the crime, when he comes up against Alex Bruce at the KC Stadium tomorrow.
Alex Bruce has been the regular member of the Steve Bruce’s side and the defender has a big job on his hand coming up against one of the best in the business. Costa managed to score our second goal, the last time we met the Tigers at the Stamford Bridge and the Spaniard will be hoping to repeat that performance making this battle an important one to watch out for!
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Edited By: Ankur Bhatt