Written by Alex Honcoop
Chelsea saw off Man City in a game between the two sides that many think will finish first and second in the Premier League. City were definitely the better side for the majority of the match but Chelsea scored three times on the counter attack. This game made me believe that the title is now Chelsea’s to lose.
Why Fabregas should start next to Kante
Fabregas started his first match since his well below par performance at the Emirates when Chelsea went down 3-0 to the Gunners. In fairness to him, he wasn’t the only bad performer that day. Since then, manager Antonio Conte changed formation and it seemed that Fabregas was on his way out as there was no spot for him in the team. Quite frankly, I’ve always thought that Fabregas should start over Matic and Saturday proved why.
On two separate occasions, the Spaniard played over the top, long passes which created two golden chances for Chelsea. One of which was converted by Diego Costa. His long passes are simply something no-one else in the team can play with such accuracy. So far this season, Fabregas has won Chelsea five points as he also set up the winner at Watford earlier on in the season. Although David Luiz hits a brilliant long ball, they aren’t quite up to the standard of the former Arsenal man.
Fabregas starting also greatly benefits N’Golo Kante. The Frenchman is absolutely brilliant at tackling and intercepting the oppositions passes but his passing isn’t the best and playing Fabregas next to him reduces the need for Kante to play long balls. Nemanja Matic, the man who has been playing next to Kante for the last month or so, can’t play a pass nearly as good as Fabregas. Although Matic is far better defensively, I feel Fabregas should be starting.
David Luiz is world class
This one might be controversial, but since joining Chelsea, David Luiz has been nothing but incredible. Yes he was a little shaky against Arsenal and Liverpool but since the switch of formation, Luiz has been nothing short of exceptional. As I said in my preview, I was not only surprised, but also a little sceptical of the deadline day move given his history of making mistakes in key areas of the pitch.
credit Ben Sutherland
I must confess that I don’t watch French football regularly, but the little bits of Luiz I saw for PSG, he was very solid. The Brazilian has always been a brilliant passer of the ball, but since his return to the Bridge, he seems to have erased the constant mistakes out of his game. For me, that can be put down to the brilliant system he is playing in, and playing next to a world class central defender in Thiago Silva for a couple seasons has made him the complete centre half.
Against City on the weekend, Luiz made countless crucial blocks and interceptions which kept Chelsea in the game. He was caught out of position on a few occasions, but overall, along with bad finishing, David Luiz was a key reason that Chelsea were only one goal down when they hit City on the counter attack. Some would argue he shouldn’t have been on the pitch but I feel that there was nothing wrong with his little nudge on Aguero. Even if it was deemed a foul, I don’t think he should’ve been sent off.
Did Chelsea deserve to win?
In my opinion, Chelsea were hardly deserving of even a point given the amount of chances they offered City before Diego Costa’s equaliser. Kevin De Bruyne’s open goal miss was the pick of the bunch. When Jesus Navas played the ball across to him, it seemed easier to miss than score. City created numerous brilliant chances but in the end, their only goal came from a fluky ricochet of the shins of Gary Cahill.
credit Ben Sutherland
Chelsea on the other hand, took their chances to great effect. Excluding Eden Hazard’s where he took it round keeper Claudio Bravo, they didn’t create any clear cut chances until Costa’s goal. Chelsea’s third goal would almost certainly not have happened if Man City weren’t chasing the game. Their other two goals they scored, were brilliantly converted. The first three of the four chances I’ve highlighted were all bad defensive errors from Argentinian centre back Nicolas Otamendi.
Whether they deserved the three points or not, the win moved them three points clear at the top and for me, makes them title favourites. Chelsea now have five matches in-a-row that are very winnable – West Brom (H), Sunderland (A), Palace (A), Bournemouth (H) and Stoke (H). On paper they should be picking up maximum points in all those fixtures however I can’t see them gaining any more than thirteen points from those five games.
Is Luiz World Class? Should Fabregas be playing? Let us know in the comments below!
featured image by joshjdss