Things to take away from the 8-0 win at Stamford Bridge
Chelsea repeated the feat of scoring 8 goals in a match, after a period of almost 31 months when they drubbed Wigan on the final matchday of the 09-10 season to clinch the title. Aston Villa just didn’t turn up for the match as they were left ball gazing the whole 90 minutes and had only one decent effort on Cech’s goal. Rafa Benitez made several tweaks for the game and is now focusing on taking one game at a time, breaking the opponent’s weaknesses and exploit them. So what can we infer from the match? Let’s take a look.
David Luiz in Midfield
The absence of Mikel has given Benitez the opportunity to test the ability of Luiz in a new role. It is more like a rehearsal for the January period when Mikel will be playing for his country in the African Cup of Nations. Luiz had already shown signs of positiveness in the Club World Cup semifinal against Monterrey, when he played in the midfield. Aston Villa was the more advanced version of the test, and he passed with flying colors. Though he conceded possession a few times, his aerial ability to take on Benteke and win most of those balls helped breakdown the only thing Villa were good at. His passing was spot on, most of the time, and he helped to carry the tempo in the attack. His freekick was a joy to watch as he executed it with seamless accuracy. Benitez was instrumental in converting Lucas into a defensive midfielder, he might be successful this time around.
The Hazard Factor
Eden Hazard sent out a strong message to rival fans who were at the peak of their voice, criticizing him for being only a flash genius and a consistent one. He is still 20 and has long way to go. His starting position was the usual left wing, and he had acres of space to run into. The Villa back three meant there was a lot of space on the flanks, which was being guarded only by the two wide players in Lichaj and Lowton. Chelsea were able to double up in the wide areas and Hazard was the man getting the ball with ample space ahead of him. His skill came into play for the freekick he won which resulted in a goal. His goal was a good step over to beat the defender and a fierce drive into the top corner from an acute angle. He now has a trip to Norwich on Wednesday, a team he ripped apart in the reverse fixture.
Torres on target
Torres now appears a completely different man under Benitez. He seems to have developed his lost hunger for goals and is now looking more like the Torres Benitez bought to Liverpool. The first goal can be attributed to poor defending, but take nothing away from Torres. He chased the Villa players whenever they had the ball and unsettled their rhythm. His willingness to get involved in the play brought him deep into the midfield and initiate attacks. It seems as if he has got his mojo back.
Lucas Piazon makes his debut
The young Brazilian came on for Juan Mata in the second half and went into the assist book right away. His ball for Ramires was exquisite and Chelsea fans will be hoping to see more of that in the coming weeks. Though he missed a penalty, which was a good save from Guzan to be honest, his movement and ball control showed flashes of resemblance to Brazilian legend Kaka. Piazon actually looks similar to Kaka and is also a similar kind of a player. Only time will decide the destiny of the youngster.
Everyday is not a Sunday
Paul Lambert’s young team had to learn this the hard way. They came into the match with optimism on the back of a 6 game unbeaten run and a thumping win over Liverpool, but would never have expected to go back home with the worst goal difference. Football is cruel and such days do come. Chelsea had their moment against Falcao and Atletico Madrid and there is always light at the end of the tunnel as such defeats act as catapults to good performances. With the next matchday coming in very soon, there will be no time for Aston Villa to lament the heavy loss. A win against Spurs would certainly boost their rattled confidence and Paul Lambert will be hoping the same.