Big Big Win!
Chelsea took on Leicester at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night for MW 37 of the Premier League season. It was the Blues last home game of the season and it also had 10,000 fans in the stadium which was really good to see. The atmosphere was electric. It was a must win game for Chelsea with Leicester two points ahead of us and Liverpool a point behind us. Too keep matters in our own hands we had to beat the Foxes. The newly crowned FA Cup winners stuck with the same lineup as the final. Maddison came in for Iheanacho though while Albrighton came in for the injured Evans. Chelsea made a few changes. Mendy came back in goal; Reece James, Silva, and Rudiger continued as the 3 at the back with Azpliicueta and Chilwell as the wing backs. Alonso was dropped. Mount and Werner kept their place with Pulisic coming in. Regardless of who started though it was the 1st of 3 must win games.
As soon as kick off it was one way traffic. Chelsea pressed Leicester into their own half and for 45 minutes it was just a journey to somehow get a goal. There were several chances. Werner was involved in quite a few. Early on he broke free to pass the ball into Chilwell who’s shot/cross fizzed past the goal. Werner was then brought down in the box by Tielemans and the blatant penalty was not given. Mike Dean was under pressure from then on. Chelsea kept coming at Leicester’s goal. Werner then had the ball in the back of the net but he had drifted just offside. Mount then had a shot blocked. Werner scored but it went to VAR and it showed the ball had hit his hand from a corner. Pulisic came close as well. Two disallowed goals by VAR, one clear penalty not given, and several shots at goal but Leicester had held on at half time. Chelsea were resilient though and the stadium was cheering them on at every moment.
The 2nd half began in the same fashion but this time Chelsea scored from a corner in the 47th minute. Rudiger came in at the back post and hipped the ball into the net. After all that we had created in the 1st half this was slightly lucky goal to score but it was more than deserved. Of course many in the stadium and at home had learned their lesson and had to wait to see if VAR didn’t create some rule to cancel the goal. The goal stood though and Chelsea continued to search for another. The 2nd goal came in the 66th minute as Werner was brought down in the box after a light touch from Fofana. This was given as a penalty but somehow the one in the 1st half was not. VAR probably wanted balance proceedings and Jorginho hop, skipped, and jumped to make it 2-0. Leicester then sent on Iheanacho and he made a difference up front for them. The Nigerian brought some much needed energy and he caused Chelsea small problems. Nothing serious though as Chelsea kept on creating chances at the other end. Chelsea were once again made a mistake to concede a goal as Kovacic was caught in possession. Ndidi then passed it to Iheanacho who made it 2-1 in the 76th minute. Game on for Leicester and Chelsea fans were a bit on edge. Chelsea unlike Leicester have been in these situations before and Leicester began to loose their heads in the final 10 minutes. There were several yellow cards shown as tackles went flying in. One in extra time found Ndidi go in on Chilwell late. Rudiger then popped up and all the players gathered around. Players from the bench also began to fall on to the pitch and just as things were calming down one Amartey popped up. Silva clocked him first and the Brazilian went straight for him. Mount then realised who it was and along with Azpilicueta they also joined Silva. Amartey was pulled away but it was Alonso and then Alonso had to get pulled away. The subs also realised who it was and then like a wave they went after Amartey. Matters calmed down though and Amartey was shown a yellow. Chelsea saw out the final few minutes and Chelsea had 3 massive points.
Chelsea Team Review
No clean sheet for Mendy today and he will be slightly annoyed because the goal was of Chelsea’s making. Other than that it was comfortable day out. Mendy’s passing out from the back was on show for the whole Chelsea crowd and he clearly enjoyed it. His assured and calming presence at the back has been massive for the team.
Everyone in defence was world class yesterday. Reece James once again handled that right centre back position really well. Reece ended the game as wing back because Zouma had come late on for Azpilicueta. There was one moment when Reece and Thomas both went for the ball and they made contact shoulder to shoulder with Thomas flying into the stands. Silva was his controlling self at the back and marshalled the defence well. Vardy basically had no joy for 90 minutes. Perhaps the best part of Silva’s game was when he went for Amartey. Silva’s family was also in the stands and it was good to see them enjoying it as much as the fans. Silva and his family are already true blue. Rudiger put in yet another amazing shift. The German’s renaissance under Tuchel has been extraordinary and he is probably one of the first names on the team sheet now. The fight, and passion is amazing. Rudiger got a crucial goal as well. One moment in the game he did a Cruyff turn but lost the ball and then went after it and one it back following which he drew a fould for Chelsea. Amazing. Azpilicueta fought hard as the right wing back and delivered some good balls into the box. Azpi was ofcourse tired and was told by Mike Dean to leave not walk to the bench when getting subbed but Azpi took the yellow and ignored Dean. Chilwell was also very good. Chilwell especially went up a gear when Pereira came on and maybe there was some history between the two but Chilwell was ready to go toe to toe. A constant threat and great fighting spirit.
The midfield was much better today. Kante came off mid way through the 1st half as he felt a slight niggle in his hamstring and didn’t want to risk it. Kovacic came on though and there was no loss in the flow. Jorginho was great as well and got what would be the game winning goal with a brilliant penalty. Mount was Man of the Match and could have had a couple of goals as well if not for Schmeichel. The newly crowned Player of the Year by Chelsea’s fans should why he has been so consistent this season. There was a moment when he nutmegged Soyuncu and could have got a brilliant assist if Pulisic had finished at the near post. A top notch display from all involved.
Pulisic worked hard but didn’t really make any real impact on the game. Of course the American was causing trouble but there was no real moment which stood out. It was a professional performance from him. Werner on the other hand was involved from minute one. A clear penalty not given, an offside goal, a goal which went in via his hand, shots on target, and of course drawing the foul in the 2nd half for the penalty. It was an all action performance from him. Timo worked hard and the fans saw it. Anybody else with the luck he has would have called it quits for the season a long time ago. Werner came off late in the game for Giroud. Giroud did well to see out the final few minutes as he probably played his last minutes at Stamford Bridge.
Tuchel got a response from his players and that was key. It was a much better performance than the one in the FA Cup final. Tuchel was acknowledged by the fans and it was good to see him get the feeling of playing in front of Chelsea fans. Tuchel was adamant post match that the job isn’t done though. “Enjoy today, Shut up” were his exact words as he knows that Villa is going to a massive game on the final day. Tricky Tuchel though what a guy.
So, Chelsea move into 3rd with the 3 points, 4 points ahead of 5th placed Liverpool. Leicester drop down to 4th just 3 points ahead of Liverpool. Burnley entertain Liverpool in a massive game Wednesday night. Can Sean Dyche give the Foxes and Chelsea a gift? It is the Clarets final home game of the season. COME ON CHELSEA!!!