Last night I attended the County Ground in Swindon to watch the League Cup third round match between Swindon and Chelsea. Apart from the fact that Swindon seem to be stuck in the 80’s in terms of facilities in the ground, the overall evening was a good outing for The traveling Blues support with a case of job done with a sense of ease in the end. Having said that, Swindon didn’t look out of place and did manage to provide a few scares, but realistically Chelsea offered us the same old story so far this season and failed to convert chances to sew the tie up.
A lot has been talked about regarding the type of player that Mourinho likes and wants in his starting line up. With many chances to impress given to fringe players last night, I decided to take an in depth look at individual performances and decide through Mourinho’s eyes whether they impressed the Manager or failed to impress.
Mark Schwarzer –
It’s difficult to judge whether a goalkeeper is Mourinho’s type of player, but Schwarzer was very good last night, produced some good saves, held on to the ball and was commanding on crosses. One save in particular saw him rolling back the years in terms of reactions when a header came in from close range, he dived fast down to his right to stop the ball on the line and keep hold of it, inevitably it was offside anyway but he didn’t know that.
Cesar Azpilicueta –
‘Dave’ was solid, fast and strong and although he made a few small errors, overall he would have impressed Mourinho. He worked hard and whenever he received the ball he was quick to travel with it making direct runs and delivering some dangers crosses. He showed good stamina to get up and down the wing to support both defence and attack.
Gary Cahill –
Cahill had another decent solid performance, but looking at it from a Mourinho perspective, he would have failed to impress last night. Solely down to two moments in the game, the first being a very bad first touch almost allowing a Swindon attacker to get in one on one with Schwarzer but he did make a good recovery tackle. The biggest mistake that puts him in the ‘unimpressed’ category was when he was near the touchline instead of making a safe pass, he attempted a back heal to John Terry which was easily intercepted and put Swindon in to a very decent attacking position, where they could easily have scored and ended up winning a corner. This would have angered Mourinho and concerns me with his whole ‘one mistake and you are dropped’ attitude.
David Luiz –
As with Cahill, he was solid enough and of course was better and less of a liability when he was moved in to midfield in the second half. But again as with Cahill, he too attempted a silly back heal when in the last line of defence that would have angered Mourinho once again, he was lucky that the rebound went back to him and nothing came of it. But with my judgement, that leaves us with only Terry and Kalas to pick for Tottenham, which wont happen!
Ryan Bertrand –
He was solid as always, offered a good attacking outlet driving in to the box on occasions and defended well. Did nothing to damage his hopes of breaking in to the side and I certainly see him as a player that Mourinho will like. He’s fast, no nonsense, strong and direct.
Michael Essien –
We already know that Mourinho is a fan of Essien’s work and last night he backed up his managers faith and really gave him something to think about for the next selection. He worked tirelessly in the pivot and was useful in attack and in defence, he broke up play well, covered his back four and made a number of driving runs forward with the ball, producing affective counter attacks for the Blues. He made a couple of small errors and gave away a silly free kick near the end, but he was impressive and this will not be ignored by Mourinho.
Kevin De Bruyne –
I don’t know what was wrong with De Bruyne but he simply could not do anything right last night, apart from one random shot at goal that threatened. He was generally poor and gave the ball away a lot whilst failing to take it past players and was very predictable cutting inside. Not a good effort at all in his attempt to break in to the first team and Mourinho would not have enjoyed his performance last night.
Like De Bruyne, he was on another level last night in terms of looking completely out of place and generally poor. He seemed to pass to red shirts more than he did blue and had no imagination when trying to beat a player and could barely cross beyond the first defender. He was frustrating as he is normally so fast and direct but he offered nothing last night and this will be duly noted by Mourinho. In Willian’s defence, he certainly is when at his best, a Mourinho type of player so he will get other chances to shine.
Juan Mata –
Was probably one of our hardest working players on the pitch, albeit in his laid back style. He was often seen in front of our back four defending his heart out and chasing down lost causes. Apart from when he got turned on the edge of our area and allowed a long range shot come in, he was excellent all night even though he died down a little in the second half but that isn’t surprising after how hard he worked. He kept possession well, created chances and always looked a threat. You can physically see the difference already and the fact that he is trying to work on the side of his game that has been critisised by Mourinho. His performance tonight would have been noticed and his attitude will be the biggest aspect that Jose will be impressed with, Juan Mata is not going down without a fight.
Fernando Torres –
Another Spaniard who is desperate to impress Mourinho did an excellent job in doing so and although he should have scored more once again, he was the best Chelsea player on the pitch. Along with that, he is our first striker to score this season and scored a real goal poachers goal. He also created, crafted and set up the second goal beautifully with some fine skill and direct running and vision. This was a repetitive scene whenever he got the ball, he was confident enough to get his head down and run at defenders, succeeding to get past them most of the time creating something from nothing. He was constantly pressing and chasing down with Mata up top and was very effective in holding the ball up and linking play. This was certainly the type of central striker role that Mourinho loves and I believe this will have done enough to see him starting against Tottenham at the weekend. Many have written him off, but last night was the best I’ve seen him play in months and the Chelsea faithful also continue to back him, when on 75 minutes the chant ‘TORRES, TORRES’ rang around the away end, which was received by an appreciative clap from Torres, who really staked a claim last night.
The substitutes didn’t really get enough time to be judged but Ramires scored a great gold, Demba Ba was unlucky with an excellent shot cutting in from the left and John Terry was solid.
It will certainly be interesting to see who is starting for Mourinho’s men this weekend with the Portuguese Boss admitting that he does not know his strongest eleven yet.
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