Chelsea started with a lot of energy, drive and intent, by stepping into maneuvers, pressing well and creating chances. But then an ill-advised intervention from Conor Gallagher resulted in a second yellow in just a few minutes, and Chelsea dropped to 10 men just before the half-hour mark.
Chelsea were supposed to be a duo by then, as Loftus-Cheek lost a slim chance and then the VAR intervened to control Havertz’s offside with a hair (not Kokurila’s hair), disallowing the penalty, which was also won by Loftus-Cheek.
The sending off did not radically change the game, but it made Chelsea less effective with the ball, much less effective in pressing, and gave Lister More opportunities to tackle seriously or build patiently. Chelsea still dominated possession, but no points were awarded for possession.
The tactical shift in the first half to 3-4-3 (okay, 3-4-2) worked wonders, at least initially, with Raheem Sterling scoring twice in quick succession, as well as hitting the woodwork in the process – the second time. In the Chelsea match after James shook the post at the end of the first half.
But Chelsea’s comfortable lead lasted only 3 minutes, as Harvey Barnes hit the ball past Mendy from a good angle.
It’s been everything from Leicester since then, but Chelsea stuck to the win!
With peace of mind.
- Chelsea’s defense quartet for the first time this season, with Cucurella and James at the back, and Silva and Chaluba at the center. Midfield three Gallagher, RLC and Jorginho are behind the usual front three.
- 3-4-2 in the second half with Azbi-Silva-Shaluba in the defense. Pulisic & Kovačić for Sterling & Jorginho in changes similar to Final 15.
- Next: Southampton away on tuesday
“Typical food guru. Problem solver. Devoted beer practitioner. Professional reader. Baconaholic.”