Chelsea beat, a stubborn, Stoke City thanks to a late winner from Ashley Cole, surely the best left back in world football. RDM rotated and gambled on the ‘new guard’, but as on many previous occasions, the ‘old guard’ were the ones instrumental in securing the three vital points.
Chelsea huffed and puffed but never reached the heights of the Newcastle performance. The fear was, as always, a midweek hangover and the Blues certainly had an aura of ‘after the Lord Mayor’s show’. Too many passes went astray and the home support was frustrated with the lack of shots on goal. RDM left Lampard and Terry out of the starting line up which was surprising, considering Stoke are always well organised and very physical.
The positives from the day are that Oscar looks like a quality act, Luiz had Crouch in his, £120K a week, pocket and Mata looks refreshed and full of confidence. Petr Cech had a very quiet afternoon and will surely be delighted with another clean sheet. Mikel continues to frustrate and it must be time to look at other options. I cannot understand why RDM does not consider playing Luiz in the holding role. Luiz reads the game well, has electric pace over 20 yards and can pass the ball. He always looks forward and plays on the front foot. For me, Mikel is cumbersome, lacks penetration and is suspect, positionally. This role is vital to our formation and we must get it right, come on RDM try Luiz!!! I am also starting to get very concerned about Fernando Torres’ body language. It was apparent yesterday, on a few occasions, that Chelsea’s number nine is not 100% happy and this must be sorted, now. Torres is all about confidence, he needs a goal and Chelsea need him on top form, at least until the next transfer window when, if rumours are correct, we will have a certain Mr Falcao playing in Blue!
Chelsea have bigger challenges ahead, starting with Arsenal, up next. If RDM and his ‘fresh faced’ kids can get three points at the Emirates then we can start to dream of the halcyon days returning. Thirteen points, from our first five games, is a fantastic platform to build on and next week is an opportunity to open an early season gap on our rivals.