As Chelsea beat Brighton 3-0 in the Premier League this evening, which boosted their chances of a top four finish at the end of the season- I look at the 5 key talking points from this match
- Perfect lineup from Sarri- After Chelsea’s lucky win at the weekend against Cardiff, most people wanted Sarri to make a couple of changes for tonight’s game, as the starting eleven put out on Sunday put in an underwhelming performance despite the late win.
With all that in mind, this was the line up that Sarri picked for tonight’s game;
In my opinion, that was a perfect line up.
Starting off with defence, and Christensen got a long overdue start, after Chelsea’s recent poor defensive performances. The Danish centre back replaced Rudiger in the starting eleven tonight, and that was probably the right decision as Rudiger played poorly on the weekend, and was lucky not to get a red card on Sunday.
At left back- Emerson came in for an injured Alonso, and that was good to see. Alonso’s injury is a blessing in disguise in my opinion.
Into the midfield, and it was amazing to see Loftus-Cheek in the LCM role, in a midfield three with Kante and Jorginho. It’s good to see Loftus-Cheek return to the starting line up after his ongoing back problems which have hindered his season. But his late winner against Cardiff really forced Sarri to start him in tonight’s game.
Before going into the front three, one interesting stat that came out of the line up selection was that Ngolo Kante starting tonight, meant that this was his 100th appearance for Chelsea in the Premier League, and all I have to say is congratulations Ngolo! Hopefully many more appearances to come in a Chelsea shirt.
And the front three was refreshing to see. Hazard coming back in was great after being left out at the weekend. But the big news was with Hudson-Odoi getting his first Premier League start. In my opinion- this was so long overdue.
The final surprise was seeing Giroud start, and it was a well deserved start after Higuain’s poor recent run. Sarri has admitted that Higuain is struggling to adapt to the League, and it was good to see Sarri give Giroud a chance after his brilliant goalscoring form in the Europa League.
Here is how a few Chelsea fans reacted to that line up;
2. Giroud scores a rare Premier League goal- Olivier Giroud was given the opportunity to prove himself tonight, and he got a rare Premier League goal. That goal will surely put Giroud in a strong position to start on Monday against West Ham.
Here is Giroud’s goal tonight;
That Giroud goal was his second Premier League goal of the season.
3. Hudson-Odoi dazzled tonight- Hudson-Odoi took his chance well. He was the main threat in the first half for Chelsea. Here were his first half stats;
Hudson-Odoi didn’t manage to get his dream goal on his Premier League debut, but did manage to get an assist for Olivier Giroud’s first goal.
A main highlight that impressed me tonight from Hudson-Odoi’s performance is that his defensive work. He has been heavily criticised by Sarri for his lack of defensive awareness, but all throughout the night, he tracked back and helped out the defenders when Brighton were on the counter attack.
There was a moment in the dying moments of the game where he ran all the way back, and nicked the ball of the Brighton player in the Chelsea box.
Surely this performance from Hudson-Odoi makes him a contender to start more games in the Premier League? We will find out what Sarri does soon…
4. Mixed game for Hazard- Eden Hazard really struggled in the first half of tonight’s game, and that raised the question- is the transfer talk linking him to Real Madrid in the Summer affecting his mindset and productivity on the pitch?
However the Belgian put that question to bed in the second half when he grabbed the important second goal in the 60th minute to give Chelsea a cushion in this game.
Here was his goal;
Hazard topped his night off with the assist for Loftus-Cheek’s goal in the 63rd minute, before being substituted off for Willian in the 84th minute.
The goal and assist means that Hazard has 14 goals and 12 assists so far in the Premier League this season.
5. Midfield were solid and very creative tonight- Each midfielder had an excellent game tonight. And the three of them together offered Chelsea something different compared to different weeks.
Jorginho was ‘quietly brilliant’ tonight. The Italian regista was liberated to create in the deeper role in this match, and the reason why he was so good was due to the fact that no Brighton players man marked him out of the game, as they had other Chelsea players to worry about.
Here were Jorginho’s stats from the game to prove why he was so good;
Onto Kante, and he was energetic and solid like always. Making forward runs and intercepting the play in the midfield. it’s what we have to come expect from Kante!
But the main standout performer in the midfield was Ruben Loftus-Cheek. He was a beast tonight. Driving the play forward at all opportunities and picking the right passes at the right moments.
And then scoring an absolute beauty to kill the game off in the 63rd minute to give Chelsea the 3-0 lead.
His performance tonight showed me that he should be starting every Premier League game from now on over Barkley and Kovacic. He saved Sarri’s job on Sunday, and has now scored in Chelsea’s win tonight.
Here was his goal;
Here’s how fans reacted to that goal and Loftus-Cheek’s performance on the whole;
Loftus-Cheek also liked the look of his goal;
Loftus-Cheek also gained an assist tonight for Hazard’s goal, which meant on the whole- RLC was my man of the match.
Chelsea’s next game is on the eighth of April against West Ham at Stamford at 8pm (UK time). Brighton’s next game is in the FA Cup semi-final on Saturday at Wembley against Manchester City at 5:30pm (UK time).
Comment down below- do you agree with my five key talking points? If not- what other talking points stood out for you?
By Danyal Khan