The 13/14 season opened up and all eyes were on Jose Mourinho as he returned to Chelsea for a second stint as Blues manager. A great first half and a slightly worrying 2nd half ended in a 2-0 victory for Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. With the win, Mourinho is now unbeaten in 61 matches at Stamford Bridge – his record is 47 (W)-14 (D)-0 (L).
What We Learned:
- Ramires molding into a Makelele/Essien
- Torres’ link-up play might be his saving grace
- Oscar and KDB look fresh and hungry
- Defense taking a good shape
1. Ramires molding into a Makelele/Essien:
The enforcer in midfield, he covered ground with gusto, biting at heels and winning possession back for his side. Rarely wasted possession when on the ball, feeding his team-mates, shielded his defence well and drove forward when he could. (Goal.com). Ramires was incredible today, he dictated the midfield as the game progressed. Slightly sloppy at times, but he has started to evolve in the midfield commander we’ve been craving since Makelele, Essien (in his prime) and Michael Essien. Ramires has a lot of potential under Jose Mourinho, he can attack and find the net when needed while also holding his ground in midfield. Hopefully, he can keep this up.
2. Torres’ link-up play might be his saving grace:
Often peripheral and hasn’t quite tuned into the same wavelength as the rest of Chelsea’s attackers. Won the penalty Lampard missed, and the free kick he scored, but didn’t have a single shot on target and never looked like scoring. (Goal.com). While I will agree that Torres was anonymous, I will also argue that the service was never there as the match progressed. Torres’ movement and passing was brilliant in the first half when we dominated the match. In the second half, we allowed Hull City back into the game and took the foot off the pedal, Torres suffered as a result. The movements and runs decreased as the service decreased, his hungry start was perhaps overshadowed by the lack of service and therefore anonymous performance in the second half. His link-up play could be the main reason he starts this season should we not get Rooney. His passing and movement as I said was very good today, especially in the first half. Let’s see if he can keep it up.
3. Oscar and KDB look fresh and hungry:
Oscar- Oozed quality, always searching for gaps and threading passes. The Brazilian was a conduit of creativity and class, and took his goal with enormous composure, prodding the ball underneath McGregor. (Goal.com)
KDB- Continued the excellent pre-season form that earned him a place in the starting XI, darting into space and probing the backline. Played a perfectly executed pass in behind the Hull defence for Oscar to open the scoring. An encouraging display. (Goal.com)
Indeed, KDB and Oscar were brilliant today, they linked up well with the defense, Torres and the rest of the midfielders. They were well synchronised and showed themselves well. Their passing in the first half and how well they created chances is certainly a bright sign. I think only one of them will start this season and it looks like KDB to me. KDB had the better preseason, while Oscar impressed at the Confederations Cup. They both want that starting spot and are working hard to get it. Competition for a starting spot brings out the best in all players and they will certainly get many games this season regardless.
4. Defense taking a good shape:
A fairly solid defensive performance today. Our defense held up well against Hull City’s corners, crossers and set pieces. This is the exact performance we need every game to assert ourselves as Champions in any tournament. We weren’t shaky for the most part and stopped anything and everything Hull City threw at us offensively (for the most part).
John Terry- Barely tested by the isolated Graham, though competed well against the physical, robust frontman when required, taking him out of the game. Organised and marshalled the side well. (Goal.com)
Gary Cahill- Very composed on the ball, always looking to play out from the back and driving forward with the ball at his feet. Rarely troubled by an impotent Hull attack, but did his work with little fuss. (Goal.com)
Ashley Cole- Got forward occasionally, though with less verve than Ivanovic, and was never overly troubled by Aluko at the back. Kept Hull’s right flank on lock-down, but perhaps could have shown more intent on the overlap. (Goal.com)
Branislav Ivanovic- Such a threat going forward and faced little challenge in the air – notably powering a bullet header towards goal that was kept out spectacularly by McGregor. Could also have won his side a penalty with a storming burst into the box. (Goal.com).
It will be interesting to see how our defense shapes up with Azpilicueta as RB and David Luiz in the CB role instead of Gary Cahill, I think we’ll be more solid in the back with a back 4 of Azpi, JT, Luiz, Cole than this back 4. Our weakest link in the defense is Ashley Cole, for me. He had a lot of hiccups today both in attack and in defense. Hopefully, we see Bertrand get some matches soon which will allow us to choose our LB for the rest of the season. I am also in favor of buying Coentrao from Real Madrid, he has turned in a transfer request according to rumours.
- We still need a striker (preferably Rooney/Lewandowski or Suarez)
- Frank Lampard looks like he’ll be a regular this season (played 90 minutes today)
- Shaky start for Hazard after a shaky preseason (let’s hope that changes)
What are your thoughts/talking points from the match? Let me know in the comment section below! Also give me a follow on Twitter if you want to share your thoughts with me!
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