On a weekend of FA Cup upsets a professional display from Chelsea ensured there was no further embarrassment in the capital as they beat Brentford 4-0 at Stamford Bridge to earn themselves a spot in the quarter-finals.
What We Learned :
1. Juan Mata – Chelsea’s best player.
2. John Terry – Best under pressure/scrutiny.
3. One striker up top doesn’t work.
4. Oscar in top form as of late.
1. Juan Mata – Chelsea’s best player –
As always, he was at the centre of everything Chelsea did well, and it was no surprise when he was the man to break the deadlock. Finding little pockets of space almost by instinct, he tormented Brentford and set up Lampard for the Blues’ third. He is brilliant, but Rafa Benitez will be wishing his team were not quite so reliant on him. He has 5 goals and 6 assists in 10 career FA Cup games. He has been involved in 39 goals in 44 games he has played this season. The key behind his success is unknown as he has prospered under AVB, Benitez and Di Matteo. Mata is simply a genius player, he strives to succeed and gives 100% every match. He is certainly very consistent, even though he has struggled as of late. Nonetheless, Juan Mata is Chelsea’s best player and for him not to receive POTY at season’s end would be a shock.
2. John Terry – Best under pressure/scrutiny –
Rafa Benitez didn’t have kind words for Terry when he said that Terry needed to work harder and stronger to get a place in the squad. Benitez also added that Terry wasn’t guaranteed a spot in the XI. However, Terry was unflappable at the heart of defence, and Brentford’s conservative gameplan meant his lack of pace was rarely exposed. Got himself a well-taken goal late on. Despite Benitez’s words at the Press Conference, Terry came out with a bang (as he usually does after a rough week). His goal was one that many players wouldn’t have gone for, but he did. He was properly awarded with a goal after months of problems due to injury. Terry plays like a champion no matter what he is facing on/off the pitch.
3. One striker up top doesn’t work :
The days of Didier Drogba playing alone up top are still fond in memory, but with Torres/Ba being our only strikers, those days seem unachievable. Demba Ba hasn’t been the striker we wanted when he signed and Torres is just, well Torres. Their inconsistency and inability to play as lone strikers at Chelsea have fans wondering why they aren’t paired up for a few matches. Also, when one of them is playing up top alone, you can tell they are uncomfortable as Ba was used to having Cisse as support at Newcastle and Torres has never found his top form again. Whether Benitez takes the gamble or not is yet to be seen, but it’s certainly worth a try.
4. Oscar in top form as of late :
He was unlucky to hit the post in the first half while off balance, and was Chelsea’s brightest creator for long periods. Still a delight to watch, and his sublime flick – though fortunate to trickle in – made the game safe. Also put in a lovely cross for Terry to nod in a fourth. Oscar came on and instantly scored for Chelsea in midweek in Prague giving Chelsea a priceless away goal. Today, he was oozing class. Distributing balls brilliantly and finding his way into many crucial positions that created many chances for us. He seemed frustrated at times, but he did find his way on goal several times, being harshly denied by the post once and also picking out Terry for the fourth and final goal that capped off a solid night for our Brazilian superstar.
Other Points :
1. Nathan Ake yet to be given a chance.
2. Marko Marin’s future becoming more and more uncertain.
3. 2 cleansheets in a row make the defense look better than it really is.