In truth this game was finished after about seven minutes. A great goal by Branner and a penalty by super Frank as good as nullified the match. Both goals were as a result of great play by Premiership debutant Eden Hazard who sparkled in this game until subbed in the second half. The turn and pass for Branners goal was a joy to behold and the finish was almost striker like by the big full back.
Soon afterwards a tricky run by the Belgian was illegally halted by the hapless Ramis who, frankly, had a ‘mare. Frank blasted the penalty home underneath Al Habsi. The game ebbed and flowed after that with the defence looking solid and Mikel playing a disciplined game in front of the back four.
In fact the only real threat to Chelsea’s lead was ‘soon to be blue’ Victor Moses who gave Branner a bit of a torrid time in the second half. With the withdrawal of Hazard came the debut of other new boy Oscar who showed some nice touches and great promise for the future. In truth this wasn’t a great Chelsea performance but for the first league game and with a brand new playmaker it was a good three points and a clean sheet.
So, as for Eden Hazard. Other than his involvement in the goals he was neat, tidy and always looking for the ball. He was brave too, despite the best efforts of Wigan skipper Caldwell to kick him out of the game. Physically he is a strong player with a low centre of gravity who can withstand tackles and challenges and will probably settle quite quickly into the Premiership. He has good pace and linked up well with the other players. He reminds me a little of Joe Cole with his tricks and turns but hopefully he will stay injury free.
Oscar only had a cameo role at the end but showed craft and vision as well as excellent pace when taking on the Wigan defence and shooting just wide. The inclusion of Ryan Bertrand gave the defence extra cover down the left hand side and the back four looked pretty solid with Cech not making many saves and taking crosses with confidence.
Nando had a hard working game and looked dangerous on a number of occasions including when Ramis cleared the ball of the line when Torres prodded goalwards.
So a satisfactory start to the Premiership season which bodes well. With Marin to come back and the possibly of a new player or two coming in the team will go from strength to strength as fitness and familiarity kick in.
Rumours for new players include Hulk, Cavani, Moses and Jovatic and a couple of right backs. Hopefully these deals are done quickly with the minimum of upheaval and, as always, it’s thanks to Uncle Roman for writing the cheques.
So back to the Bridge now for games against Reading and Newcastle.