Only Chelsea fans would know the relief at the 93rd minute when referee Anthony Taylor blew the final whistle at the KCOM Stadium. The game was dead and buried long ago, and an impetus for a Hull comeback never even seemed a slight possibility. But the fact that Chelsea had kept a clean sheet seemed like a blessing straight from heaven.
Nobody needs reminding how bad Chelsea had been defensively in the matches prior to the Hull match. 9 goals conceded in 4 matches, and many of them due to horrendous lapses of concentration by mostly Gary Cahill. Notably, 3 out of those four matches had John Terry missing through an ankle ligament injury, and the defence looked in bad shape.
Against Hull too, Terry was left out of the squad as a fitness test revealed he had not yet recovered. But on Saturday, Chelsea never looked like conceding. With a change in the system, and with Courtois making two fine saves, Chelsea’s clean sheet looked well deserved. Yes, for the first time this season, Chelsea had fielded 3 defenders at the back, and 2 wing backs on the two flanks, and it worked out quite well.
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