Chelsea fought their way back from a 3-1 deposit to win 4-1 in extra time last night. They are now the only team to represent England in the Champions League. With Reberto Di Matteo at the helm for now, that’s 3 wins out of 3 for the Blues, conceding 1 goal and scoring 7 at the other end of the field. Are there signs of Chelsea returning to the dominant force they once were?
Let’s get one thing straight, the 4-1 scoreline was flattering. Yes, Chelsea did well to overcome the first leg to qualify, but Napoli are a very poor team defensively. It seems Napoli rely on a ‘we’ll score more than you’ mentality. Chelsea had lots of chances in the first leg too, so it was no surprise they found the back of the net regularly, particularly with Stamford Bridge rocking. Chelsea have found a bit of form in three games, but against a Championship side and 10 man Stoke. It’ll give them a boost in confidence certainly, the real test is yet to come if they are to finish in the Champions League places.
Chelsea still need their stalwarts
Three of their four scorers last night are part of the old guard; the very people some believe Chelsea need to shift. Last night showed why change needs to be introduced gradually, because when you need a performance, the older group stepped up. When they got the penalty, there was only one player who was going to take it and score – Frank Lampard. You almost feel certain he will score a penalty, even with the intense pressure upon his shoulders. John Terry turned in another excellent display of leading by example, organising his partner David Luiz is a feat in itself while scoring the second goal on the night too. Even when he was subbed, Terry was telling players what they should be doing . Michael Essien was reintroduced into the starting line-up having sat on the bench in the first leg. He too bossed his area, remaining disciplined while others attacked.
Chelsea need to sign Drogba on for another year at least
Bobby Gould suggested Drogba didn’t have a good game. Despite not having a great game by his high standards, he terrorised the shaky Napoli defence with his control and sheer physical presence. Continually backing into defenders, he held the ball up tremendously well, managing an assist and goal in the process. There’s talk of this being his last season in a Chelsea shirt and him leaving for piles of cash in China. He showed he still has a part to play while Chelsea make their transition and should stay for at least another season.
Fernando showed signs of the old
It’s almost become sad to watch Torres play; almost willing the underdog to score in some ways. How can such a player fall from grace in such a short period of time? Although he spent half of his time out on the wing vacated by Sturridge, he tried exceptionally hard in the short spell he had on the field. Much like Andy Carroll at Liverpool, Torres was seen to chase every ball, even if it was a lost cause, putting pressure and defending from the front. In previous games he’s stood still, not wanting the ball and hid behind defenders. Now he was making runs and even tried to take on not one but two defenders on numerous occasions. Even managing a couple of shots at goal, it was a marked improvement and should he continue with this motivation, Nando won’t be far off from being back to himself and causing defences up and down the country problems.
Abramovic was right to sack AVB, and maybe should have done it sooner
The LMA lambasted the Chelsea billionaire owner for yet another quick sacking at Stamford Bridge, but in the end it looks like he made the right call. Di Matteo called for the players to stick together, and it looks like they have. Under a cloud when AVB was in charge, the team looked unmotivated, almost performing badly on purpose to get rid of the the young Portuguese manager. They’ve got their wish and with the back bone of a solid team created by Jose plus a couple of additions in Mata and Sturridge, they look like a confident attacking team once again.
Do you think Chelsea will continue their rich vein of form? Will Fernando Torres kick on from here? Tell us in the comments section below. Stay tuned for more football news.