Sunday, October 6, 2013

Chelsea's first away win in the league

Chelsea fans won't be getting too excited by what should have been and ultimately was a fairly routine victory at Carrow Road against a very workmanlike Norwich City.

It was a performance with several short comings but it is the three points that matters and that is what the pragmatist Mourinho will ultimately care about.

Chelsea had taken an early lead through an excellent first time finish from Oscar after a lay off from Ba who had started brightly. After that the game settled into a fairly predictable pattern with only Oscar and Schurrle looking threatening occasionally for the Blues.

Yet again, Chelsea's centre forward - Demba Ba today - failed to find the net or look particularly like doing so, it is of course a problem that everyone is aware of and no one will have failed to notice that Romelu Lukaku notched again for Everton yesterday, this time against Manchester City.

Chelsea sloppily conceded a Norwich equaliser in the 2nd half although the Canaries' hard work and endeavour had possibly deserved something by that stage.

What is of concern for Chelsea fans is that the Chelsea central defence was again 'out muscled' for the goal. Chelsea's core strength was always the heart of their defence but Christian Benteke was also able to bully the defence physically early in the season.

David Luiz - the writer is a huge fan I would add - again showed some excellent anticipation and touches mixed with some typical over zealousness. He remains a rough diamond that Mourinho must surely polish. His talent is without question.

It is interesting that Luiz and Mata have attracted much of the criticism and doubt during Mourinho's early return but both have started the last two matches and it would be a surprise were they not to form part of his inner sanctum. Mourinho's psychology is already at work.

One of Mourinho's previous traits was his excellent use of substitutes and Mourinho duly utilised his strong looking bench supremely with two of his three substitutes scoring the goals that ultimately took the three points back to Stamford Bridge.

Mourinho's ability to alter the team's tactics and shape not relying on substituting like for like - Hazard replacing Cole and going to a three at the back system - was also reminiscent of his previous stint at the Bridge.

Chelsea broke quickly from a Norwich corner with Willian heading on to Oscar who's sublime first touch took him clear of the Norwich defender. His through ball to the on rushing Hazard was mis controlled by Norwich's last man allowing Hazard to fire in under John Ruddy who possibly should have done better.

Chelsea have always had a strong character under Mourinho and rather than sensing relief from the goal, Chelsea pushed on and via a slightly lucky break of the ball involving Samuel Eto'o, Willian curled in a sublime third to end the match as a contest.

The scoreline was possibly a little tough on Norwich although Chelsea had demonstrated a huge technical superiority over their hosts throughout the ninety minutes.

The Blues still have work to do and whilst it was not a hugely impressive performance, there were the first signs that Mourinho's will is starting to imprint itself on the team - No Nonsense.

Man of the Match - Oscar.