Responding to rotation
news Sun 31 Dec 2017
Three changes. Five goals. Three points. Another clean sheet.
Certainly not a bad way to round off 2017 for Antonio Conte and his side, who moved up to second in the Premier League table following yesterday’s win over Stoke City at the Bridge.
In a period when rotation can be crucial given the number of matches each team plays, Danny Drinkwater, Willian and Pedro were brought into the side and all three players responded in the perfect manner
Drinkwater looked confident and composed alongside his former Leicester team-mate N’Golo Kante in midfield and scored his first goal for the Blues, a wonderful right-footed strike to make it 2-0, while Willian and Pedro were both a constant threat and added their names to the scoresheet.
Conte spoke about the impact of the players brought into the side in his post-match press conference.
Willian has had to be patient this season given the fact in many matches Conte has favoured a three-man midfield, with Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata partnered up front, but the Brazilian is certainly making a contribution when he plays.
He has now scored six goals in just over a month, including an important equaliser at Liverpool and the opener in our Carabao Cup win over Bournemouth. Yesterday, as well as winning the penalty which he then converted, Willian also provided assists for both Toni Rudiger and Pedro and he was the game’s top performer in terms of successful dribbles and the number of key passes made.
He spoke to Chelsea TV after the game.
Yesterday’s result followed our 4-0 win at Stoke in September meaning we have now scored nine goals without reply against Mark Hughes’s side this season, and the Potters certainly haven't enjoyed trips to the Bridge in recent times having lost nine and drawn one of their 10 Premier League visits. They have also been beaten twice in the FA Cup in the same period.
It was also a fourth consecutive Premier League clean sheet for the Blues, who will hope to begin 2018 in a similar vein to how we ended 2017 when we take on Arsenal on Wednesday.
Happy New Year!