Three things we learnt from the game against Leicester
Chelsea won their second Premier League match comfortably only after a very laborious and tricky first half. Leicester had strong resilience and wanted to take the attack to the big guns and it took the Blues a Mourinho team talk at half time to get them going. There are a lot of things that we learnt from the game and here are three main points.
1. Chelsea need width in their attack.
The first half was very rough for the Blues as they had possession but no penetration. Diego Costa, though a powerful figure up front was left without much support as all the attackers crowded centrally instead of spreading the build up play. Ivanovic and Azpilicueta were defensive minded and despite being free from markers, they hardly attacked or marauded up the pitch resulting in wingers Schürrle and Hazard being double teamed by Leicester wingers and fullbacks. To free themselves from their markers, both Hazard and Schürrle drifted very central thus playing right into Leicester’s hands. Only in the second half we saw fullbacks especially Ivanovic bomb forward to attack aerial crosses delivered as well as provide support to Schürrle and other attackers increasing the width.
2. Thibaut Courtois justifies his selection.
How often do you see a 22 year old goalkeeper playing for one of the best teams in the league and giving a flawless performance? Courtois was unbelievably calm and composed while collecting aerial balls thrown in the box. He imposes himself physically in corners and set-pieces with steely composure and his one on one save was the icing on the cake. It is apt that Chelsea chose him over Cech who is also world class, yet struggles a bit with set pieces more because of his fragility after the head injury he suffered in 2006. As Cech would have to be content with a place on the bench, there is no doubt that Courtois would do anything to repay the faith José shows in him.
3. Mourinho won’t sacrifice defence for offence.
For those who were thinking of Chelsea playing a brand of football that is generally associated with 5 or 6 goal thrillers, then last match would leave many fans disappointed. Mourinho’s main reason for bringing in Costa and Fabregas is to open up defences which sit back deep. We saw Costa score and Fabregas assist against Leicester. But Chelsea managed 2 goals with a rather solid display than fluid free flow.
Under José Mourinho, Chelsea’s main attribute would be the defensive resilience and a solid game. The Blues won’t concede and would outscore the opposition by a goal or two to get the win. We would also witness a phase when Chelsea are leading 2-0 and the game would be solidly controlled by Chelsea by keeping possession rather than looking to score more. The key point about José has always been results and the team Chelsea has now, will give results.