The 19th of December was the last time we won a home league game. I had almost forgotten how it felt to dominate a match and win so convincingly- even away at MK Dons in the FA Cup we conceded an equaliser. Apart from aspects of Crystal Palace away in the opening weeks of January, this was the first time all season we have played like champions.
I said last week that I would stop ranting about playing Nemanja Matic and John Obi Mikel together, so I was quite happy that they didn’t today. I actually thought for the first time since Hiddink became manager he picked the right team for the game that we were playing. If he was fit I imagine that Oscar would have played in place of Pedro, but considering how the game went, it probably worked out in our favour.
In almost every league game that we’ve played under Guus Hiddink we have been under the cosh from the off. On Saturday we were totally dominant from the start and this showed on the score line. The first goal basically summed up our attacking play during the past few weeks, Willian continuing his brilliant season with an excellent run before setting up Diego Costa, who finished like the brilliant finisher that he is.
There isn’t much I can write about the second goal. Rolando Aaron’s pass was shocking, and once Pedro got there before Daryl Janmaat, he wasn’t going to miss. Even though I thought he took it too early, it was a very good finish. I think we managed the game very well in midfield in that first half, as I think we quickly realised that we weren’t going to get our goals by playing keep ball.
This was clear with the third goal in particular where we hit Newcastle on the break and they had no answer to it. Costa did something he always does when he’s at his best and run in behind, and he held it up pretty well so to set up Willian. Again it was pretty poor defending as Willian has run 60 yards without once being marked, and it was a simple finish. From that point it was easy enough to coast through the first half, seeing that Newcastle had no chance of getting anything out of the game.
The second half continued in similar fashion. It looked like Newcastle were just happy to let it finish 3-0, and that was fine for Chelsea as well as long as we took very few risks. The fourth goal was simple, but brilliant. Cesc Fabregas, who has found a new lease of life under Hiddink in recent weeks, played a trademark pass over the top to find Pedro, who controlled it really well on his chest and finished well.
I’ve said it before and I’ll probably end up saying it a couple more times on here but I have very high hopes for Bertrand Traore. From what I have seen he is an immensely talented footballer, and he has a big future in the game. Even though Cesar Azpillicueta did all the hard work in the build up, Traore’s movement was good and it was a clever finish at the near post. I’d much rather have kept a clean sheet, but it was a good strike from Andros Townsend, and I doubt goal difference will mean anything to us at the end of the season.
The one worry is definitely the injury suffered by John Terry, and with FA Cup and Champions League games coming up over the next week, we really need him fit, especially with Kurt Zouma injured. Given that our other centre back is Matt Miazga, a man who no one has any idea who he actually is, that’s slightly worrying.
If we can keep up the level of performance that we produced in the opening 20 minutes, we can go on and finish in the top 8 of the Premier League because it is so tight in mid table at the moment, and we can certainly go on and win the FA Cup. I’m not so optimistic about the Champions League, but who knows? Leicester City are top of the Premier League.