Game in a sentence
Chelsea coast to a 2-0 victory in what was easily their most complete performance of the season.
- No Lamps or Terry for the blue shirts. In a bit of a surprise Ryan Bertrand received another start. No Cheick Tiote for Newcastle, forcing Alan Pardew to introduce new signing Vurnon Anita to the Premier League – let’s just say the Dutchman has had better days, this ain’t the Eredivisie.
- The words ‘cagey’ and ‘lively’ were bandied about on Twitter during the opening 20 minutes of the match – which was bizarre, because for the most part the best word for those devastatingly dull minutes was dour.
- For both positive and negative reasons, Fernando Torres was the story of the game. The maligned Spanish striker drew a penalty in the 22nd minute thanks to the combination of his Sundance-esque theatrics and a clumsy Anita challenge. Marginal penalty – but with Phil Dowd on the whistle it was always going to get called. Torres was mid dive when Anita brushed his leg, but contact is contact – I guess.
- Eden Hazard’s continued brilliance in the early part of the season may be the biggest story to emerge thus far. The Belgian cooly put the penalty past Tim Krul to give Chelsea a 1-0 lead and the only goal they would need to take nine out of nine points. Hazard has been in on all but one of the Chelsea’s goals this season. Insert clever Opta like word here. Another stat courtesy of the stats wizards, Hazard has scored on all 10 penalties he’s taken in league football.
- Bad Torres emerged in the 39th minute, milking a dive that drew no foul and then yapping in the ear of Phil Dowd – annoying the referee enough to earn a yellow for his troubles. Just before half Good Torres took a backheel from Hazzard and toe punted the ball into the top right corner. The last thing club’s around the EPL want to see is an in-form Fernando.
- Newcastle need another striker. Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse were non-factors today. Pardew could opt to employ only one forward up front, seek out help in the transfer window – Andy Carroll!#$%!## – or risk being too reliant on a pair of strikers that won’t be available during the African Cup of nations. Cisse didn’t look good against Spurs and he looked worse today. To the phones Mr. Pardew.
- Petr Cech recovered from his less than sublime performance on Wednesday with a clean sheet – a relatively easy day save one Demba Ba shot that Cech did well to get to in the 59th minute.
- Chelsea looked good. Very good in fact. It was easily their most solid 90 minute outing of the season and it also indicates that the West Londoners will challenge Manchester City for the title. It is way too early to write Manchester United off, but their defensive deficiencies are glaring. Until those are shored up I maintain this will be a two horse race for much of the season. But hey, United have made me look like an ass clown before.
1. Fernando Torres
2. Eden Hazard
3. Juan Mata