In our last 3 games we faced Leicester, Man United & Southampton in fixtures that you would have expected to be tough. It would have surprised nobody if all 3 ended in draws but instead we took maximum points.
Despite hammering United, I’d say the Southampton game was most impressive as we showed patience and got the formation and tactics spot on. Southampton saw a lot of the ball but did little with it and Thibaut Courtois had nothing to do all game.
It’s as impressive a performance as I’ve seen from Chelsea and now the top 4 is more realistic than I felt after the Arsenal loss. Since the change in formation, we have become the Premier League’s form team scoring lots and conceding none in our run of wins.
There appears to be a balance there that has been missing previously and more importantly, it seems that having missed out on European football, the extra time we have is being utilised well. For example the move to a 3 at the back. David Luiz is looking more composed as a defender and the trio, along with Cahill and Azpilicueta, doesn’t look like it was cobbled together this season, rather they look like they have been playing together for a while. The work on the training ground is evident.
My only worry is we are 1 or 2 injuries away from having an issue: Who replaces Alonso on the left? More importantly who replaces Moses?
For me no one embodies Conte’s work more than the Nigerian and he has been most impressive, a revelation even. He showed a lot of character, having spent the last 3 years out on loan, to come back and claim his place in the team like he has. He’s had a tough time but kept himself motivated and has been as good as anyone for Chelsea this season.
Another player that has played a big part in Chelsea’s ‘revival’ is Diego Costa and like Moses, his story is an impressive one. After his struggles last season and being linked with a move away during the summer, the Diego we loved and that rivals love to hate is back, scoring 8 goals in 10 games to become the Premier League’s top scorer. It’s unlikely that he will continue in this kind of form, every striker goes through dips but that said we have been getting goals from all over the place, case in point Man United where we had 4 different goal scorers and none of them Costa.
An injury to him devastates our faint title hopes but if he can keep scoring like he has been then perhaps we can look beyond top 4?
We’ve got a tough run of games coming up with Everton, Spurs & City along with Middlesborough and they should give us a better idea of what we can expect come May.
I fancy us in the games against Everton and Spurs at the Bridge, although against Spurs with how they have been in recent weeks and our new found defensive resolve it could be a stalemate.
City away is as tough as they come, and will be the real test but I think we can definitely at least get a point there.
It’s not unreasonable to expect a minimum of 5 points from those 3 games.