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Four lessons learned from Chelsea’s vital win over Tottenham

Posted: August 22, 2017 at 2:40 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Chelsea brushed off the doom and gloom with an incredibly gutsy performance against Tottenham on Sunday. Having taken the lead via a Marcos Alonso free-kick, the Blues rallied against a late Spurs equaliser to secure all three points. Here are four things that we learnt from the crucial victory.

1. One-game crisis is over

According to most people, Chelsea were on course to be relegated out of the Vanarama National League after losing to Burnley. The Blues’ summer transfer business had left the squad on the verge of a complete and utter implosion. The opening weekend defeat was the tipping point.

However, those who mattered – Antonio Conte and the players – managed to put all the speculation to one side and focus on the task at hand. Chelsea were by no means dominant (in fact, Spurs deserved at least one point) but they managed to pull themselves together, take their chances and steal a victory. They showed the grit and determination that needs to be their best friend in this packed 2017/18 campaign.

There is still plenty of work to be done, both on the training field and in the boardroom. Sunday’s performance, though, proved that there is no discord between the players and the coach. Chelsea will not suffer the same fate of their 2015/16 version. They are here to fight and defend their title.

With Eden Hazard still to return, expect things to only get better from here.


2. Andreas Christensen is the real deal

Let’s hark back to John Terry, speaking in 2014.

Believe me, I am sure that he will be a top footballer and one of the future men for Chelsea…I have always told him that he should chase me and knock me off the team. He should be hungry to take my place in the team. – Sky Sports

Andreas Christensen didn’t exactly push John Terry out of the team, but he does seemed poised to succeed him. Conte’s choice of tactics at Wembley allowed Christensen to get a start in the trio of central defenders. He didn’t disappoint.

The Dane proved himself to be positionally assured and defensively sound. He was also able to come up with key challenges when times were desperate – a block on a Harry Kane effort comes to mind.

Christensen is one of the few success stories from the loan army. He was uniquely afforded a two-year loan spell when Borussia Monchengladbach took him on. He took advantage of the stability to develop immensely and show that he is a force to be reckoned with.

It was unclear whether he would receive many starts back at Stamford Bridge this season. However, Gary Cahill’s suspension presented an opportunity and the youngster has grabbed it with both arms.

Antonio Rudiger, the signing of whom could have provoked Christensen to move, was not great. Christensen showed that he should be ahead of the German in the pecking order.

Simply put, Andreas Christensen is the real deal.


3. Tiemoue Bakayoko still has a lot to learn

Tiemoue Bakayoko received his competitive debut for Chelsea on Sunday. With the Blues short of midfielders, Conte gave the new signing the start in centre midfield alongside N’Golo Kante and David Luiz.

Despite only just coming back from injury, Bakayoko was able to see out the full 90 minutes. However, he does have a lot to learn.

Overall, there is no denying that the Frenchman was impressive. His driving runs were particularly eye-catching as Chelsea fans have not seen someone do that since Frank Lampard.

There were some points of frustration, though. Bakayoko committed a number of careless fouls in dangerous positions. Most notably, it was his clumsiness that caused the free-kick which Michy Batshuayi headed the wrong way.

In the end, Bakayoko escaped the spotlight as Marcos Alonso saved the day not long after. The incident would not have slipped past Conte, though. With Chelsea’s busy schedule, there will be a number of tight games. To undo 80 minutes of hard-work with a silly and unnecessary foul could be the difference between silverware and disappointment.

Again, Chelsea fans should be excited by their new midfielder. Fresh from injury and on debut, he was superb. However, he is still young and he can still improve. At the age of 23, he will be keen on developing and polishing his game and that is only a positive thing.

4. Striking is still an issue

Having spent £70 million on a new striker to start ahead of a £30 million one, it is hard to justify more action in the transfer market. However, Chelsea will have problems hitting the back of the net this year.

Alvaro Morata disappointed on his first Premier League start, failing to give the defence and the midfield any respite. His glaring miss early in the first half was worryingly reminiscent of Fernando Torres.

It wasn’t all his fault, though. Willian was poor until he realised he was going to be substituted, but Morata did struggle to make an impact on the game. Chelsea’s striking concerns were then compounded by the introduction of Michy Batshuayi. The Belgian has recently lost track of where the correct net is, a notion only emphasised by his expertly taken own goal.

Against Burnley, Morata showed glimpses of the player that he could be. Unfortunately, he took a step in the wrong direction at Wembley.

Hopefully, we can put it down to general battling performance of the team and the way the game played out. Nonetheless, some Blues fans may be harbouring slight concerns in the back of their minds.



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