Gary Cahill and Fernando Torres (photo credit: theguardian.com)
There was cause for concern among the Blues faithful in the first two weeks of the Premier League season. Chelsea FC saw defeat in both the opening matches of the domestic campaign and Champions League football. The expectation was for Chelsea to begin the season flying high with the addition of former Blues Manager Jose Mourinho, and there was an uneasy feeling after the two unfavorable results.
The Blues did not panic however and have not lost a match since falling to Basel on September 18th. Chelsea are now winners of four straight, including two matches after the most recent international break. In the Premier League, Cardiff City was pushed to the side by a four goal effort, and Schalke was shut out in midweek Champions League action.
Through eight matches, Chelsea is second in the Premier League to only a resurgent Arsenal squad. It is very important for the squad to continue playing at a high level early in the season to avoid creating yet another deficit to overcome in the latter half of the campaign. Getting a 4-1 result against newly promoted Cardiff City was clutch for the Blues. This season seems to have more contenders than usual for the top spot, and no top team can afford to drop points against the lower half of the league.
Winning two away games in the group stages of the Champions League was absolutely crucial for Chelsea. After a shaky start to Basel the Blues have really bounced back with two resounding wins against solid opposition. At first there was concern that the former European Champions would not advance to the round of 16, but now Mourinho’s got his sights set on winning the group.
There are two huge positives that can be taken away from this past week for the squad. Not only is the team playing very well together and defending as a team, but the strikers are in fine form. Chelsea has had fantastic midfield play in the last few seasons, but there really has been a struggle to find goals from the strikers since Didier Drogba left the club.
Veteran striker Samuel Eto’o scored his first goal for his new club against Cardiff City and showed a very impressive work ethic. Eto’o almost opened the scoring for the Blues in the first half, but was tackled and lost possession, only to have teammate Eden Hazard smash in the goal. Eto’o had stolen possession from the keeper and had put himself in a fantastic position to score. Mourinho must have been extremely pleased with his new striker’s effort.
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The real positive light of the week was Torres’s two goal effort in Champions League action. Torres has endured an incredible amount of criticism since his massive move from Liverpool and has never quite lived up to his price tag. A selfless, hardworking performance like the one against Schalke is definitely going to make Mourinho feel better about his striker options though.
Two months into the season, the Blues seem to be clicking. Goals are sailing in, the defense has been solid and one can only think that Chelsea will continue their run of fine form barring a string of critical injuries.
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