Chelsea fan Eric Yap pens his thoughts on the Blues convincing victory over Norwich over the weekend
No doubt it was against an out-of-sorts Canaries side, but the composure and panache shown after falling behind to an early Holt jolt, especially after a mid-week Champions League travel, was commendable.
It was, on paper, a foregone conclusion. Norwich City travelled to London on the back of a 2-5 mauling by an inconsistent Liverpool, while Chelsea were looking at a fourth straight home league win.
But we started the game like sleeping giants who looked to just turn up and expect to win. Torres epitomised that very analogy as he broke the offside trap before choking on the ball. Obviously, this giant needed awakening.
With a lively Wes Hoolahan and persistent Grant Holt, the Canaries were putting on a decent counter-attacking show. The latter then provided that rude awakening with an expertly-taken volley that left Stamford Bridge shocked. The scriptwriters must have gotten a few calls to check on a potential plot mix-up.
The Blue giant finally started to get up, with Torres making amends minutes later as he glanced in Branislav Ivanovic’s inviting cross for the leveller. The relentless pressure and complementing impetus continued, as Frank Lampard rifled home a loose ball with extreme prejudice to hand us the lead on 22 minutes. The hugely-impressive Juan Mata then carried the ball over half the pitch on a counter, before carving Norwich open like Sunday roast and laying it on a platter for Eden Hazard to slot home the third.
The second half saw controlled possession from us as Norwich began to tire from our pass-and-move routines. Hazard had two strong penalty claims turned down, before Ivanovic’s third league goal of the season made it 4-1 via an emphatic volley off Mata’s miscontrolled touch (to stake his claim for the Golden Boot?).
Trailing? Never mind!
If Norwich’s opener had taken place last season, things might have turned out very differently. Teams knew they could actually get something from a predictable and insipid Chelsea, while the Blues themselves lacked both belief and ideas to “shift the bus”. On Saturday, it was evident that this team had plenty of belief, and many, many ideas.
Much has been said about the rest that has propelled Mata into the form of his life (6 goals, 4 assists in his last 5), but the additions of like-minded creators in Hazard and Oscar have certainly made it much easier for him to finally bring the “David Silva effect” to Chelsea.
He might be playing much less, but Super Frank continues to break records. On 129, he is now our joint all-time leading top-flight goalscorer.
Trusty Luiz, Uneasy Terry
After another no-frills defensive performance, David Luiz seems to be (finally) shaking off the brash and error-prone sides of his game with simple, safety-first clearances. On the other hand, after an inspiring performance at the Emirates a week ago, John Terry struggled against a robust Holt. The forward won more than a couple of headers, and had an amazing wealth of space away from the Chelsea captain as he lashed home the opener.
Food for Thought: Fernando Torres
Yes, he is putting in the shifts, laying on assists, and getting some goals. Yet, there is still something about his game that is still leaving fans somewhat frustrated. We might need to realise that while he is still no slouch, El Nino has lost some of the pace that made him one of the game’s most feared finishers. With that as a significant determinant to one’s game, it might be time we judge him based on what he can bring to a team, rather than what he used to.