Hazard: Time to shine
Eden Hazard says confidence remains high after yesterday’s draw at West Ham and we will take that in to our next league outing against Liverpool on Saturday.
The names of Lee Dixon, Nigel Winterburn and Silvinho who did similar to us with unlikely strikes 20-odd years ago are painfully etched in memories, and for Gianfranco Zola, who played in two of those games and was sat on the Chelsea bench as a coach for the first time in a home competitive game today, he could be forgiven for thinking that at 2-0 up against Arsenal, nothing is assured given his past experiences of turnarounds against the Gunners.
Wayne Bridge in our famous Champions League success at Highbury in 2004 began to redress the full-back goal balance and again, happily, it was the current Chelsea vintage rather than the north Londoners’ which had the means to do the damage late on.
There was a certain symmetry too in Alonso’s goal today and the winner he netted in our equivalent second league game last season. That was in the last 10 minutes too, albeit away from home and against the other local rivals from that side of town – Tottenham Hotspur.
At the Bridge against Arsenal today he played a major part in Pedro’s opener too.
“The first half was half-and-half, we started amazing and then we lost a bit of space. We started pressing high and losing the ball which allowed them to go on the counter-attack. They [Arsenal] played very well at the end of the first half, but the second half since the beginning we have been the best team and I think three points deserved.”
— Marcos Alonso
While we are talking about Spanish players setting up Spanish players to score, Cesar Azpilicueta with a ball forward to Alvaro Morata to find the net is of course nothing new.
The centre-forward, as can be watched below, spoke afterwards about what Maurizio Sarri had said to revive them at half-time, and about establishing a strong base in our home stadium.
With goals from front to back, that firm foundation is surely possible.
Although his team not finding a way through the West Ham defence yesterday meant he fell short of equalling the record of straight league wins at the start of a managerial career at Chelsea, Maurizio Sarri is still able to claim the second best start, and one of the best five commencements to any league campaign at the club overall. Carlo Ancelotti in 2009 still has the outright best lift-off as Blues boss.