For once, there was nothing to complain about for Chelsea fans. In their own little bubble, Ashley Cole and John Terry are saints. Even Fernando Torres is suddenly finding the net on a constant basis. More Importantly, Chelsea’s two most talented players, Eden Hazard and Juan Mata, are finally playing well at the same time.
The combination of the two led to Chelsea’s third goal, as they completed a 17 minute blitz, coming back from a surprising Grant Holt opener. Very much later Branislav Ivanovic added a fourth in an impressive, easy 4-1 win over Norwich, looking like the worst team in the Premier League at the moment.
Terrible defenses make for excellent companions when you want to put on a show, and Chelsea couldn’t have found an easier defense to thread through before going on the international break. Juan Mata looks comfortable with Eden Hazard for the first time this season. The two players that create almost everything for Chelsea and for their striker Fernando Torres played a good match for each of them individually for the first time.
Hazard is the most talented player on this Chelsea team, but after a roaring start, the glamour and flair of his passing and dribbling, not to mention not finding the net, faded a bit. Maybe it was Mata finding his form, maybe it was Oscar finding a spot in the starting lineup and taking some of the Belgian’s thunder. But Hazard is moving around and is one of those hard working stars. The diving is disappearing, and eventually, this kind of hard work and talent pays off.
Slowly, it’s about figuring out his place in the team and in the formation, and Roberto Di Matteo has half of a new team on his hand. Fernando Torres is trying to be a new player, somewhat succeeding on some days. The rest of the attacking midfield – Mata, Hazard and lately Oscar, is nearly brand new. Very different from the side only looking not to concede against almost everyone last season. This season is about playing attractive football while staying efficient on both fronts, gunning for both major titles. So far, the results thing is working out fine.
Ability? Norwich might not be the best indication for Chelsea’s true capabilities, but a work in progress needs some smoothing around the way. Frank Lampard continues to be a problem because he’s not really needed as one of the play makers but his ability to stop attacks won’t make very useful once stronger opposition comes along.
Fernando Torres is a special case, but as long as Hazard and Mata with the still not-to-adapted Oscar keep playing well like this, and their distribution to him continues to be undisturbed, even his low confidence and slower than before reactions, goals will come. Even if he’s never going to be the player he used to be once more.
The whole project of turning Chelsea into the strongest team in Europe and not just a lucky winner of the Champions League trophy, it’s up to Eden Hazard and Juan Mata to find a common language, and turn into one of the best attacking midfield duos in Europe. The win over Norwich might not be so impressive, but it was proof that combo can work, and has a bright future.