As Chelsea drew 1-1 to Wolves in the Premier League. I look at the 5 key talking points from the game yesterday at Stamford Bridge.
Before we get into the key talking points, here are the highlights from the game yesterday, encase you missed the game;
- Sarri rotated the squad again- Maurizio Sarri did say in his press conference that he will be rotating his squad again, and he has lived up to his word.
This was the Chelsea team that came out at 1:05pm yesterday;
This side fielded by Sarri yesterday included five to six changes from Chelsea’s 1st leg victory on Thursday in the Europa League round of 16 against Dynamo Kyiv.
These changes were; Rudiger back in for Christensen. Emerson back in for Alonso. Kante back in for Barkley. Higuain back in for Giroud, and Hazard in for Willian.
The likes of Pedro retained his place from Thursday night. Unfortunately Pedro starting yesterday meant that Hudson-Odoi missed out on a Premier League start again. And Loftus-Cheek only had a place on the bench for yesterday’s game, after Sarri admitted earlier this week that he still is not ready for 90 minutes, as he is still recovering from his back injury.
2. Slow start to the game for both sides- In the opening 30 minutes of the game, nothing of any note happened.
This was because Wolves were just sitting back and frustrating Chelsea. And Chelsea were just flat in the attacking sense causing little problems to the solid Wolves backline.
The Blues were just passing around at a slow tempo, and were playing into Wolves hand.
Although Chelsea had around 74% possession in the opening 30 minutes, they created very little in that period. Like many say, possession stats are very misleading.- It’s not how much possession you have- it’s what you do with it that counts.
3. Chelsea’s lethargic tempo was punished in the second half- Chelsea continued in the same tempo at the start of the second half, and they were punished by Wolves first and only effort on goal.
Their 0-1 lead came in the 56th minute when a Wolves counter attack led to Jimenez scrambling home his deflected effort past Kepa. It was a good last ditch effort from Azpilicueta to block the Mexican’s attempt, but it wasn’t enough as the Wolves striker picked up his 12th goal this season so far.
Chelsea only picked up the tempo in the last 10 minutes of the game, which was bizarre as many fans were expecting a fierce reaction after going 1-0 down. But that didn’t happen…
4. Hazard’s brilliance saves any chance of top 4- Hazard was very quiet for most of the game again today. But when his team needed him the most, he stepped up.
He scored the equaliser in the 2nd minute of stoppage time at the end of the second half. And that goal probably reduced the pressure on Sarri by a notch.
That goal from the Belgian Chelsea star was his 13th goal this season.
Here is the goal ICYMI;
From a different angle;
5. Kovacic was awful- This didn’t surprise me one bit. Personally I think Kovacic has been very average this season, and today highlighted how bad he is in the attacking sense.
The Croatian midfielder did the simple things right like passing etc. But when it gets to attacking, he goes braindead.
And as soon as he was subbed off for Loftus-Cheek , you could see the difference immediately. Loftus-Cheek drove forward and only looked for forward passes, whereas Kovacic just passes side to side, and when he goes forward- he immediately losses the ball.
This performance from Kovacic makes me wonder how Loftus-Cheek doesn’t start many more games. And from now on, he has to start over Kovacic in that midfield. But knowing Sarri, he will opt for Barkley instead.
In terms of the future, the only way that the club should consider signing Kovacic permanently is as a back up to Jorginho in that regista role.
Here is a good summary of the game from Alex Goldberg;
Here is a good video review of the game from YounesHH on Youtube;
Chelsea next play on Thursday away to Dynamo Kyiv in the second leg of their round of 16 tie against the side from Ukraine. The Blues go into that game with a 3-0 lead from the first leg. That game kicks off at 5:55pm.
In terms of next Premier League action for the Blues, they play away to Everton next Sunday at 4:30pm. That game is now must win, after their draw today. If they drop points at Goodison, then I think it is goodbye to top 4.
In terms of Wolves, they’ll look to build momentum in their next game in the FA Cup at home to Manchester United next Saturday at 7:55pm.
Comment down below- What are your thoughts on yesterday’s result for the Blues. Is top 4 still on for the West-Londoners?
By Danyal Khan