The excellent performance from Oscar and the fantastic result coming from throwing in Eden Hazard and Willian late into the match is another big encouragement to Jose Mourinho that what he’s doing with Chelsea this season is keeping them on the right track, as substituting Juan Mata might have raised some eyebrows, but still delivered the goals his team was looking for.
The Brazilian midfielder continues to be the cream of the crop in Mourinho’s bolstering attacking midfield, scoring the opening goal for Chelsea and setting up another one, as both Hazard and Willian scored late to give their team a 3-1 win over Norwich, who made the final 22 minutes of the match quite tense with their 68th minute equalizer, lasting until the introduction of Hazard and Willian.
Very few teams can use two players worth £62 million combined off the bench, or have the luxury of bringing off someone like Juan Mata, who was active, accurate and dangerous for most of the match and played very well with Oscar, as the two kept switching positions and creating for one another. Mourinho was more risky than usual, taking off Ashley Cole and remaining with three defenders, but possibly his urgency to win the match did enough to rally his players.
In a very weird Premier League so far, giving us Southampton at fourth, Liverpool at second and Manchester United at 9th, it wouldn’t have been a surprise if Norwich, leaving the match with plenty of praises but no points as they drop to the bottom three, would have gotten a point or three at Carrow road. Chelsea might have a very rare accumulation of talented players at one position, but it comes at a cost on other places on the pitch.
So while Chelsea rely on goals that come strictly from their midfield and sometimes a centre back strong enough to rise above others in set pieces, their strikers issue is a worrying situation. Yes, teams don’t have to make it about their strikers to score goals, but we haven’t seen a single one from the trio of Fernando Torres, Samuel Eto’o and Demba Ba so far this season. They do help in link up plays and possession, but Chelsea need an option to score that comes from inside the penalty box, making it a bit easier sometimes on the working process.
Another problem continues to be Frank Lampard. When he does score goals, it’s possible to forget his defensive lapses and his weakness as a central midfielder instead of what he’s much better at, which is playing a lot closer to the striker. However, with the current crop of players, Lampard won’t be moving back to that place again, and is destined to continue and make mistakes defensively that leave Chelsea inferior in the midfield against teams they should have an easier time handling.
Despite being far from perfect, Chelsea hit the international break with plenty to be pleased about, sitting two points behind Arsenal and Liverpool, even if the public perception is that they’ve been doing a lot worse so far this season.