A frenzy building
Guest Fan Blog Mon 20 Mar 2017
It’s that time of the season again. That time when a team is within touching distance of the Premier League title and are grinding out results with the finish line in sight.
Saturday’s 2-1 scoreline suggests that was the case when we faced Stoke City on Saturday, yet one would be completely in the wrong for accusing our Blues of playing such a game.
We only scored twice, but with the amount of chances we created, we could have scored a whole lot more.
The match proved far from easy, however. Eden Hazard’s influence in the attacking third was certainly missed, and the Potters were also at their physical best. Like Manchester United in our previous fixture, they set out to bring out the rough stuff, but we did well to cope and managed to walk away with yet another victory.
The news of Hazard’s injury was quite disappointing, and it did somewhat sour the build-up for me, but I was also sure that Willian and Pedro would both be threatening. As it happens, it was Willian who scored the opening goal with a scintillating free kick. The Brazilian managed to beat the keeper from a tight angle by putting a wicked curve on the ball and slipping it in at the near post in the 13th minute.
Mark Hughes’ side drew level before half-time, through Jonathan Walters’ penalty after Gary Cahill was adjudged to have brought the forward down in the box. The contact was minimal and Walters appeared to have made the most of it, but a spot kick was awarded anyway, and our players didn’t make much of a fuss.
It looked like we would be leaving with just a point for our troubles, however, in the 87th minute, Cahill popped up with winner. Cesc Fabregas’ corner found the head of David Luiz, and the defender’s shot was not cleared properly. Cahill instinctively pounced and blasted into the roof of the net to send our travelling supporters into a frenzy.
‘Frenzy’ doesn’t begin to describe Antonio Conte’s reaction. Our livewire manager promptly found himself hanging from the roof of the dugout, clearly unable to contain his excitement.
The Italian’s sideshow is a growing attraction for us fans, and we can’t wait to see what he’ll do next. I simply can’t imagine what his demeanour will be like if we can keep things together and lift the title.
Whatever his celebrations happen to be, the medics will have to be on full alert to ensure he doesn’t injure himself.
Heading into the international break, our lead is still intact at the top. We were ahead by 13 for a bit, but Spurs’ victory over Southampton brought the gap back down to 10. Manchester City and Liverpool played out to a favourable Sunday draw, however.
A home game against Crystal Palace is next on the schedule, and with Sam Allardyce having finally found the winning formula, we could be in for a feisty one.
Hopefully, Hazard will be back for that one. It’s just a shame we have to go through an annoying break first.