Chelsea recorded their first Premier League win of the Rafa era over Sunderland on Saturday, breathing life into their attempt to challenge for a title this season.
Chelsea returned to winning ways in the Premier League on Saturday, easily defeating Sunderland and staying in touch with the top of the table. It will be a while before we play a league game again, so it was certainly nice to stop the bleeding before the trip to Japan.
The big news today will certainly be the performance of Fernando Torres, and he was much better than he has been for most of the last several months. Hopefully this is the start of a good run of form, as having a center forward on the pitch should definitely help Chelsea's other ten players.
Here's a few thoughts now that we've finally put together a pair of decent results again:
- Excellent work by Rafa Benitez in this one, he laid out a very simple game plan that the squad executed perfectly. This was the most direct I've seen the Chelsea attack play this season, and there was a notable focus on getting the ball to the outside edge of the 18-yard box and then looking for a near post run. We very rarely recycled possession (intentionally), we simply pushed forward and tried to create a chance. That will be fairly easy to adjust to if we continue to make the offense this simple, but as a short term fix to get some vital points it is a fairly excellent move.
- Playing this direct without a fundamentally sound and defensively oriented midfielder will probably not go over well. The way we played today will create many changes of possession, and that's probably not a style that best uses Oscar and Ramires in the pivot. Get well soon Romeu.
- It was nice to see Chelsea identify Seb Larsson as a weak link early and continue to exploit him in this one. He probably should have been sent off a minute into the game, but honestly, that might have helped Sunderland's cause.
- I was absolutely shocked when Fernando Torres pushed David Luiz out of the way to take the Chelsea penalty, and fairly pleased about it as well. I don't really want to see Torres as our primary penalty taker, but it's hard to criticize him for actually wanting to be involved.
- Ramires picking up his fifth yellow late on was excellent news in my eyes. There is just no way that he was getting to January without picking up another, so serving his suspension against Leeds in a competition a little lower on the priority list is about the best possible scenario for the Blues. Here's hoping Romeu is healthy for that one, but if not we may be seeing a full game of either Oscar or David Luiz in the midfield.
- As mentioned earlier, this was a pretty simply game plan that prepared clubs should be able to deal with fairly easily. With a pair of glorified friendlies and a League Cup game coming up, this is a pretty perfect opportunity to work on adding to it. Actually, this would have been a pretty ideal time to sack someone and replace him with an interim manager. Just saying...
- It's off to Japan now for some games we earned by winning the Champions League. Yay!