LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 15: Ramires of Chelsea celebrates with his teammate Juan Mata of Chelsea after Ramires scored the third goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Everton at Stamford Bridge on October 15, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Chelsea beat Wolves! Crisis over! In all seriousness, this was a game that Chelsea really needed to have given their current string of results (or lack thereof). Anything less than three points from this one and Chelsea fans everywhere were going to have some serious meltdowns. AVB faced some selection difficulties today with the injuries and illnesses that have recently struck the club, his bench today was made up with a backup keeper, a fossil from the Mourinho age, and five youngsters trying to break into the first team. While seeing Ramires starting on the right wing was a bit odd, it was hardly unjustifiable given the lack of other options.
Wolves surprised me early on with the amount of pressure they decided to apply. With teams finding so much success recently by parking the bus and countering I was fully expecting Mick McCarthy to apply the same tactics. He didn't, and Chelsea looked very good in attack early on because of that despite the lack of finishing. The game quickly got chippy though, and yellow cards came in abundance in the first half. Within 33 minutes 5 yellows had already been awarded and several player (Ashley Cole anyone?) were probably also deserving of some more color. The stop and go nature of this spell really slowed down a fairly fluid Chelsea passing game, and Wolves started to get a toehold in the game. They also looked very dangerous on a pair of set pieces when they simply targeted whomever Fernando Torres and Bosingwa were supposed to be marking.
As the game calmed down around the 40 minute mark Chelsea would begin to reclaim control. They continued to show some nice buildup play, although they seemed too eager to cross into the box at any and all opportunities for my liking. They were clearly the better side throughout the majority of play, but this was beginning to look worryingly like several past games where the lack of clinical finishing would again leave the opponent an opportunity to snatch points.
Chelsea made no changes after the break and continued to control most of the action. They were rewarded for their pressure 9 minutes in as John Terry flicked a corner to Ramires with his head. Ramires struggled to do anything with his initial play on the ball, but when he held off the defender and turned on it the ball was sitting perfectly for him to strike at the net. I love when Ramires doesn't have much time to think about his shot and just lets fly, he really seems to be much more clinical taht way. This attempt was no exception, nestling nicely into the upper left corner of the net.
Chelsea would continue to control the game after the goal, passing it around fairly comfortably and creating several more chances which they'd fail to put in the net. It was looking worryingly like Chelsea were going to leave Wolves a chance to snatch some points again, and true to form they did. In the 83rd minute Steven Fletcher was let go by Bosingwa and played a beautiful flick into the path of Stephen Ward. Ward slotted home nicely, and Chelsea fans everywhere went ballistic. It appeared that Chelsea would again drop points in a game they'd controlled due to an awful individual defensive error.
Amazingly Chelsea managed to regain the lead just minutes later. Fernando Torres turned creator in the absence of Juan Mata, playing an absolutely perfect ball into the path of the marauding Ashley Cole. Cole then crossed the ball perfectly to the onrushing Frank Lampard for the game winner and all was well in Chelsea-land again. It was 3 points well deserved, even if it did again highlight some serious weaknesses in the squad. It was also nice to see McEachran again albeit in just a quick cameo appearance.
Our set piece defending is a mess at the moment. Bosingwa offers nothing, and Torres just can't provide the same help that Drogba can in covering that up. The potential addition of Gary Cahill should help some, but the return of Brani would be very welcome as well. I imagine a few less silly fouls by Ashley Cole would do wonders as well, I wouldn't be upset at all to see Ryan Bertrand get the start this weekend. Anyway, sit back, enjoy the other games coming up, and stay tuned for some additions and loans. Our next BPL fixture won't come until the 14th, so we have plenty of time to work on some things and get healthy.
Mata (47 votes)
Torres (293 votes)
Cech (11 votes)
Ramires (98 votes)
Romeu (5 votes)
David Luiz (6 votes)
Lampard (56 votes)
516 total votes