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Chelsea's revolution gathers pace in style

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Phil McNulty | 20:38 UK time, Saturday, 20 October 2012

At White Hart Lane

Chelsea did not exactly bury bad news with a very good day at Tottenham, but behind the many unwanted headlines there is much that deserves admiration as a revolution gathers pace.

Roberto di Matteo's side arrived at White Hart Lane as Premier League leaders but, as seemingly happens with monotonous regularity, this status was not top of the Chelsea agenda.

John Terry was absent at Spurs but his presence hung over the preamble like a toxic cloud. He was starting a four-game ban for racially abusing QPR's Anton Ferdinand as chairman Bruce Buck revealed the centre-back would keep the captaincy but had been hit with the heaviest club fine ever imposed on a Chelsea player.

Chelsea's stylish attacking football is something their owner has craved for years. Photo: AP

Buck also publicly apologised for the suffering the incident and subsequent court case had caused the Ferdinand family, all this hard on the heels of Ashley Cole's £90,000 fine for firing Twitter abuse at the Football Association.

So it should surely be a matter of huge regret to Chelsea that these events have also overshadowed some of the most creative, attacking football they have played in a long time.

When owner Roman Abramovich sought Pep Guardiola before handing the reins to the Champions League-winning Roberto Di Matteo, he was pursuing a theory based on "Barcelona In Blue Shirts" - in other words he wanted some footballing eye candy for his money.

While it still takes a leap of the imagination to suggest Chelsea are now Barca in blue, there is no doubt this current incarnation is filled with possibilities thanks to a major shift in tactical emphasis and the introduction of personnel to suit the template.

Andre Villas-Boas was initially charged with this task at Chelsea but took on too much too soon and fell foul of a powerful dressing room that swiftly lost faith in the talented young manager's methods. He was gone in nine months.

So it was a game laced with irony in which Chelsea performed superbly, and Spurs very creditably, while Villas-Boas watched his former charges, with two very notable additions, at close quarters. It could almost have been a case of "this is what you could have had, Andre".

What he has at Spurs is promising but what Chelsea showed, even at this very early stage of the season, is they must be taken very seriously as title contenders. If one stand-out threat has emerged to Manchester City's crown in these opening exchanges, then it is Chelsea.

And there is also a growing body of evidence that suggests a serious move to the next era in this side. Frank Lampard was hardly on long enough to get grass on his boots and Terry was absent, but Chelsea still confirmed the outstanding impression they have given so far this season.

Villas-Boas was as warm in his praise for Chelsea as he was in his greeting for his former right-hand man Di Matteo, backroom staff and players like Lampard before kick-off. If there is a lingering, sour aftertaste from his time at Stamford Bridge it was not in evidence.

For this match he could also plead mitigating circumstances with the late absence of Gareth Bale after his partner went into labour and the injury that robbed Spurs of Mousa Dembele.

Nothing, however, should detract from Chelsea's ominous authority.
Gone is the grinding, give-them-nothing machine that was forged under Jose Mourinho and brought further successes under Guus Hiddink, Carlo Ancelotti and Di Matteo last season.

It insults a fine group of players to suggest they achieved this without huge measures of skill but the silverware was based on solid foundations and the occasional flourishes were added extras.

This season, with the addition of fine young talents such as Oscar and Eden Hazard alongside the superb Juan Mata, Abramovich may finally be getting to witness the flesh and blood embodiment of his somewhat fantasised football philosophy.

Their movement behind Fernando Torres was at times bewildering and all done with pace and panache, although Mata easily outshone his colleagues. They intervened fleetingly but Mata was the great manipulator, the heartbeat of this new Chelsea.

The season is in its infancy and tests such as Manchester United await next Sunday, but Di Matteo has found a shape that suits Chelsea's players and a win at Spurs to follow another impressive effort at Arsenal tells the tale.

Villas-Boas felt no compunction to hide his admiration for Oscar, Mata and Hazard, calling the trio "amazing". He talks of how they could unlock doors whereas Chelsea in previous guises might have pinched their lines from Michael Caine's "Italian Job" and just blown them off.

The lockpicker-in-chief at White Hart Lane was Mata. He came into his own when quick goals from William Gallas and Jermain Defoe turned the game around after Gary Cahill's volley thrashed Chelsea into the lead.

This was the moment to test Chelsea. Was there substance grafted on to the style? On this occasion there was, as their response was an icy calm and a ruthless touch.

Gallas, goal apart, had a horrid day and Mata swept home his poor clearance before beating the recalled Brad Friedel to add a third. He then supplied the fourth for substitute Daniel Sturridge. He could not miss and he did not.

Torres was not at his best but he did not need to be. Chelsea carry invention and menace to spare and even the best efforts of Spurs could not contain them.

The public may not grow to love Chelsea, this would be a step too far of course, but they may just find themselves secretly admiring the football they are playing. And that is a start.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Juan Mata - The best player at Chelsea. Oscar and Hazard are good but not quite to the Spaniard's level.
    Fernando Torres - The best striker Chelsea have. If you think that over-rated Sturridge is better than him, then you are ignorant.
    Oriol Romeu - The future of CFC's holding midfielder. Easily one of the best youngsters in the team.
    Azpi - I don't get it. Azpi is waaay better than Ivanovic, but RdM insists on playing him when Azpi is: Faster, More composure on the ball, great cross, great tactical awareness, etc.

    Spain - World Champs and Euro Champs.
    Same with Cazorla

  • Comment number 2.

    This shows how weak the Premier League is.
    Silva, Mata, Cazorla are the main creative players in their team and the entertainers in the league.
    The same trio used to play for Valencia (Silva and Mata) and Malaga (Santi). Not even Madrid came for them.
    If the La Liga's 4th/5th best team's players are your best players, that shows how superior La Liga is to the Prem.
    Without Cazorla - Arsenal would be below 15th.
    Without Silva - They would be below 5th, thanks to an ex-La Liga and CL winner Yaya Toure saving their blushes every game.
    Without Mata - Chelsea would not be first, below 5th.

  • Comment number 3.

    They say the first sign of madness is talking to yourself...

  • Comment number 4.

    Good performance by a very creative Chelsea but poor defending by Spurs all afternoon. Gallas and Walker in particular had very bad days. Also without Bale and Dembele, Spurs almost completely lacked creativity. Torres was busy and active, but still lacks confidence in front of goal. Spurs need to make a couple of changes in defence. Already Chelsea and the two Mancs are starting to ease away fro the rest.

  • Comment number 5.

    Play Ivo in the middle Azpi on the right - and get David Luis out of defence, an inventive midfielder maybe, a central defender, not by a long way!

  • Comment number 6.

    @ The_Soul_Patch_of_Juan_Mata. You can only be as good as the guys you are playing with. Madrid and Barca would not be winning the league every year if they were playing in the EPL. Madrid plays a different kind of football and have a different preference for players. Barcelona has a over talented midfield which do not require them to spend a premium to get players like Silva, Mata and Santi (a little over rated). I think the EPL is one of the most competitive league just due to the number of clubs competing for the top spot each year. I would say the German league is the next most competitive league after the EPL.

  • Comment number 7.

    I am watching a great game at the moment Deportivo vs Barcelona , Barca down to 10 men and are winning away 5-4 with 10 mins to go.

  • Comment number 8.

    @ 2 Soul_Patch_of_Juan_Mata
    Madrid actually went for Silva but he snubbed them.

  • Comment number 9.

    Messi hattrick saves Barca-they would struggle without him.

    Chelsea seem to be taking the Barca approach, small, technically gifted players who play through the middle. If RDM fails I am sure Pep would be happy to step in

  • Comment number 10.

    Chelsea definitely the real deal and without question title contenders. Superior today all over the pitch. That said, Spurs were especially ordinary... no Bale or Debele didn't help, but neither do AVB's bewildering selections. Vertonghen at left back and Dawson on bench when Gallas is clearly past it...? Dempsey ahead of Adebeyor when we need someone to hold the ball up front...? And Huddlestone isn't, I'm afraid, a Premier League player...

  • Comment number 11.

    CHELSEA "MINISTRY OF HEALTH"= MATA-OSCAR-HAZARD....IF U HAVE A PROBLEM IN YOUR TEAM THIS GUYS CAN TREAT IT WELL 4U...Is too early to talk about the tittle but am happy with the way things are going..Chelsea need a striker because Torres has wasted numerous chances so far this season and lack confidence,serious he scored incredible, amazing goals at Liverpool but its like he is joking at Chelsea!! PLEASE ROMAN GET US FALCAO!!!!

  • Comment number 12.

    I was pretty irritated in the pre-season when nobody was giving Chelsea a hope of challenging never mind winning the league, when it was clear as day that we had an unbelievable squad in terms of ability and depth.

    Thoroughly revelling in everybody slowly turning their opinions around now.

  • Comment number 13.

    Chelsea looked frightening today - Mata and Hazard owned Spurs back line with those slide rule passes.

    My prediction however is that they will fade towards the end of the season and Man City will retain the title - because they are the ones winning whilst they are not on top form.

  • Comment number 14.

    I too was surprised people weren't taking Chelsea more serious, Champions League winners for a start. They have spent more than any side in this country in the last 18 months, add that to an already good squad and it is strange people were talking about City & Utd only. I think the Terry, Lampard & Drogba problem seems to be going too, Lampard is now a bit-part player and I seriously think Cahill & Luiz are better players then Terry now.

    City don't seem to have a great group, 3 or 4 top class players then players such as Rodwell, Milner, Nasri etc. I think it will be close between the current top 3, if Chelsea can avoid defeats against both Manchester clubs they may be too far away to be caught come May.

  • Comment number 15.

    Phil, Like Barca in Blue but with three regular Brazilians in the side, how about Spa-zillians?

  • Comment number 16.

    AVB went up in my estimation today with his warmth and magnanimity towards the Chelsea hierarchy, manager and players, even in defeat.

  • Comment number 17.

    Having said that Di Matteo continues to impress with his seemingly unflappable cooleness and carefully and cleverly crafted answers to journalists at post and pre-match press briefings amd interviews.

  • Comment number 18.

    I realise that The_Soul_Patch_Of_Juan_Mata is just a wind-up merchant, but I'd just like to remind him (or her) that Chelsea of the English Premier League wiped the floor with Valencia in last seasoins ECL, put Barcelona out and beat Bayern, the conquerers of Real Madrid in the final. And there were five teams who finished ahead of them in the much-maligned Premier League!

  • Comment number 19.

    10.At 23:01 20th Oct 2012, benoitstolemycar wrote:
    That said, Spurs were especially ordinary... no Bale or Debele didn't help, but neither do AVB's bewildering selections. Vertonghen at left back and Dawson on bench when Gallas is clearly past it...?

    And who would you suggest he puts at left back with Bale, Assou-Ekoto and Naughton all unavailable? Vertonghen is excellent at left back, and Gallas has been one of our best defenders up till today, especially in the face of the Manchester United second half onslaught a fortnight ago.

  • Comment number 20.

    Comparative Pts Diff Team (Same stage last season):

    +11 CHE
    +4 MNC
    +3 EVE
    +3 SUN
    +3 WBA
    +2 SWA
    +1 FUL
    +1 STO
    -1 LIV
    -1 MNU (-3 eve, -3 spuds; +2 liv, +3 newc)
    -2 NOR
    -2 TOT
    -3 QPR
    -4 AST
    -5 ARS
    -5 NEW
    -9 WIG

  • Comment number 21.

    Chelsea still an average side with an average manager. The form after winning the Champions League will eventually go and Di Matteo will be another ex-Chelsea manager.

  • Comment number 22.

    @15: "spazillions". Love it, is that how much they've spent?
    Seriously though, they are looking a classy, classy outfit this season. Partisan views aside, I'm glad at least one London club is giving the mancs a run for their money. They've had some pretty radical surgery, but the operation seems to have been a success. That's not to say Mourinho's Chelsea weren't just as good (subjective opinion, not hard fact), but the fluidity and the eagerness to attack with trigonometry rather than trajectory is extremely entertaining to watch.

    Had a tooth pulled today, that came out more less painfully than praise for that team across the river, but they both had to come out, regardless.

  • Comment number 23.

    Chelsea are real contenders for the title this season - the midfield is packed with creative talent. The defence is looking pretty solid but every top club seems to be vulnerable this year. I'd like to see Torres being more clinical in front of goal - he has the class and the form but is still lacking confidence.

  • Comment number 24.

    @6 You don't work for the Sky Sports marketing department do you? The English league isn't really competitive at all. Man Utd win every year apart from a few blips where they choked in the run in but Sky will still tell you they always finish strongly! After 8 games this season you can guarantee the winners will be Man Utd, Chelsea or Man City and guess what most people predicted that before the season started. The other CL place will be either Arsenal or Spurs. Sky tells you its competitive but it isn't really unpredictable at all: Man Utd have won 60% of the Premier League titles, whereas Barca have won 45% of La Liga titles and Bayern 45% of Bundesliga titles in the same period. Glasgow Rangers have won 60% of the Scottish titles in the same period. Do you think the Scottish League is competitive?

    The German league is usually far more competitive than the Premier League as shown by the fact it has had more different winners in the past 10 years and smaller teams can compete for titles. This year is a bit of an exception though as Bayern Munich have won all their games so far home and away.

    The Bundlesliga is a much fairer league though. It has much higher attendances at the matches (helped by larger stadiums but it beat English attendances even before the World Cup stadiums), cheaper tickets, salary caps, rules that promote the German national side and every single game is shown live on tv. All these things we could have in England and our league and national team would be much more competitive but we are brainwashed into thinking money making schemes like high ticket prices and semi-monopolised tv coverage is "good for the game" and makes the league "competitive" when all the evidence actually points the other way.

  • Comment number 25.

    Mata is a very good player,playing in his preferred position.hazard and Oscar are world class not playing at there best.on the market they would cost double the fee of all three where second best to mikel,who's name not in your comments

  • Comment number 26.

    RDM started by building a brilliant defence and then built an outstanding attack!
    To me this was the only way rebuild confidence and introduce new players. Remember he had the added burden of his boss insisting on a Champions League result. He did that and added the FA Cup. Now with 7 wins and a draw Chelsea lead the EPL by 4 points with the best goal difference.
    What does he have to do to convince the knockers he is THE REAL THING!

  • Comment number 27.

    If Chelsea continue to defend like they did today, they won't be getting very far in the Champions League, there are at least 20 sides in the Champions League with more potency going forward than Spurs had today.

    Domestically, Chelsea can't keep up this form of wiping the floor with teams that don't know how to defend. It is public knowledge that they go into an annual slump starting in October/November. I'm not saying it will happen for sure just because it has done in the last few years, but they can't win 7 games out of 8 all season long. I reckon they'll finish with 80-90 points, whether that is enough remains to be seen.

  • Comment number 28.

    Yes, Chelsea were very good today. But as an avid Spurs fan, I have to say the scoreline seriously flattered the blues. Let's not forget that Spurs went up 2-1 against Chelsea's strongest side and Spurs had their weakest side fielded. Spurs were without Bale, Dembele, Kaboul, Assou-Ekoto, Parker. Yes, Chelski are title contenders but a weak Spurs team gave Chelsea's strongest side a real worry and run for their money!

  • Comment number 29.

    Re 27…If Chelsea keep getting 22 points from 8 games they will have 99 points by the 36th round. 3 points more than their record breaking 96 points from 38.
    It seems that people were waiting for them to lose to Barca, they didn't, then they were to lose to Bayern, they didn't and the knockers are waiting, or is it hoping, for them to lose the top spot. They won't.

  • Comment number 30.

    Lacking in skill with only "occasional flourishes? I think you are lazily regurgitating the cliché that past Chelsea teams were short of excitement and flair. In particular the 2010 title winning team was full of goals, scoring a premier league record of 103 at an average of 2.7 per game. They scored 7 goals four times, and I wouldn't say Joe Cole, Lampard, Malouda, Anelka, Drogba, Essien and Deco were lacking in skill. The style may have been different to the current team, but you could easily argue that overall the 2010 team was more exciting to watch.

  • Comment number 31.

    Chelsea looking good, and the addition of Hazard and Oscar, with the removal of Drogba's 34 yo ego has certainly improved their stle of play.

    2 years ago Chelsea started the season scoring goals for fun, and at the end of the season double winner Ancelotti was sacked.
    De Matteo probably faces the same fate when City win the league again.

  • Comment number 32.

    @ 30. tapster, you're spot on.

  • Comment number 33.

    @ 30. tapster, you forgot to include Ballack.

  • Comment number 34.

    Chelsea are still an unknown quantity. The way they are at the moment anything is possible, but who knows in 6 months.

    The cold winter months up north may have a bearing...

  • Comment number 35.

    I think now people will start to believe that this Chelsea sid will definitely be up there at the end of the season,its not about the two Manchester clubs for the title and next week we will give Man utd a real fight at the Bridge,Chelsea in my opinion still need a striker in January though Torres is not scoring enugh goals bring in Falcao please,well Mata,Carzola,Arteta,Silva they are not even on the spanish starting 11 thats how u can see that Spanish have got quality of midfielders.

  • Comment number 36.

    Chelsea stylish? Please! The Blues conceded 2 goals to a depleted Spurs team. And Spurs are hardly Barcelona! Spurs were without Bale and Dembele which is the equivalent to Chelsea being without Mata and Hazard. And without those two Chelsea are nothing. Today, £50 million Torres proved yet again that he is surplus to requirements. Defoe was pure class in comparison to Torres who in the market is probably on worth £10 million if that! Maybe there was a slight handball in Gallas goal but let's not forget Mata's phantom goal - what goes around comes around. Speaking of Gallas, he made more assists that Hazard did for Chelsea. Gallas is seriously past it. Gallas was playing in the school of David Luiz defending. And minutes before Walker was bundled to the ground by the amazing Mata causing him to inadvertently pass the ball to the amazing Mata, Walker could have made it 3-3 with an excellent low driving curving shot. Yes Lennon scuffed his shot and yes there was an element of luck in Spurs goals - but Chelsea know all about luck. Exhibit A: Champions League! Yes Chelsea won today but its no real big deal. It's all hype because - whoopy doo - Chelsea only beat a weak Spurs side and not a strong Spurs side!

  • Comment number 37.

    This game was not a true reflection of either team. Spurs were missing too many key players to judge the relative merits of both teams. Throw in Bale, Dembele, Assou-Ekotto and Parker and you would get a different outcome.

    That said, with the Rusiian throwing money around like confetti again Chelsea were always going to be contenders this season. They'll never earn respect however and will remain despised by most.

  • Comment number 38.

    @ 37


    I totally agree with you. The game was certainly not a true reflection of Spurs. There certainly would have been a different outcome had Bale, Dembele, Assou-Ekotto and Parker player. The result was certainly not a true reflection of the game. It certainly flattered Chelsea!

  • Comment number 39.

    Errr, is this the same Chelsea that emerged from the Stoke game with a lucky 1- 0, Luis escaping with a yellow for assaulting Walters, and Ivanovic inexplicably allowed to elbow an opponent in the face?

    That was less than a month ago, and suddenly they're the new Barca??

  • Comment number 40.


    That's a bit harsh!! More like envy.

  • Comment number 41.

    Chelsea are nothing without Gallas. He was instrumental in at least two of Chelsea's goal today - especially that wonderful pass to Mata from which I believe he scored his first!

  • Comment number 42.

    @ 39

    Rob Smiley

    Haha. And this new Barca conceded 2 goals to a depleted/weakened Spurs side - the team who are apparently destined for mid-table - yet currently sit comfortably at 5th, 4 places ahead of the other "great" team of London - Arsenal!

  • Comment number 43.



    That's what I mean... Chelsea were immensly flattered by both the scoreline, and the leniency of some of the refereeing AGAIN.

    You won't have seen it on Match of the Day because it wasn't shown, but in the United-Stoke game, Knightly was booked just before the half hour for a foul on Rafael (who got away without even a warning for his revenge attack on Knightly 2 minutes later, but I digress). Knightly came in on Rafael from the side, hip first and back to his opponent, looking for/at the ball but clearly blocking/barging Rafael on the way there. Fair enough...

    But when you compare it against the way Ramirez went in on (I think it was) Sigurdsson, just before Mata scored to level it at 2-2, Spurs as a unit stopping and looking towards Referee Dean... nothing given, play waved on, Mata scoring seconds later.

    Not only did Chelsea unfairly get back on par but Ramirez, who was already at that point on a yellow, remained on the field.

  • Comment number 44.

    Finally refreshing to see that this writer is begining to see Blue is true. With the seemingly big red begining to fade and not hold any promise, we see the writer jump ship. Old style prooved to work. New style begining to work. What is common is Blue. Get your finger out, clean your eyes and you will begin to see & believe.

  • Comment number 45.

    36 - HT - Hotspur.
    Spurs must be a really poor team, as they have no money to afford a player to back up their first choice. Will AVB be made to pay for having a choice of only 11 decent players? And who said does not play a part haven't spurs managed 5th in the table with only 11 decent players? Get your finger out, plug your hole, before the Russian torpedo sinks your ship.

  • Comment number 46.

    @ HT-Hotspur & @RobSmiley

    Are you both absolutely seething that your team got beaten today? It sounds like it.
    By no means are Chelsea the new Barcelona, not even close to it. They have a new found confidence for being more attack minded. Players who fit the mould better than the last crop. Granted Chelsea have spent over the summer but so far its been proven correct.
    Any real Chelsea fan will realise its over the next month or so, thats when we will be really tested, passed Arsenal & Spurs away.

    Away to an incredible Shakhtar Donetsk, then 2 games against Man Utd before the end of October.

    November sees Chelsea in a trip to the Liberty against Swansea, again having to play Shakhtar, at home. Moving on to a difficult game against Liverpool at the Bridge, then a road trip to the increasingly-hard-to-get-a-result Hawthornes then heading to Turin to face the Old Lady Juventus. THEN wrapping up the month with homes games against Man City & West London neighbours Fulham.

    These next 2 months are where the test is, any real Chelsea fan would agree. Come the end of November and if we are still top or even in the hunt then even the most hardened fan (Spurs) must think that - Yeah Chelsea are a team to be taken serious.

    As for Tapster - Brilliant post mate. 100% correct.

  • Comment number 47.

    Actually, Phil - there are many out there in the world who DO admire Chelsea, myself included... (I'm from Houston, btw, a long way from London.) They surely STILL have the ability to park-and-grind (as per last year's Champions League campaign), even in Drogba's absence - so the more polished and flowing attacking style is an ADDITION to their other tactical options. Hopefully it becomes the preferred option... but I also hope they don't lose the ability to grind out a result along the way. (The John Terry story doesn't really detract from anything outside the UK, by the way - where else on earth can a bit of rather mild name-calling in the heat of a football match result in a court case? I'd have thought poor Anton Ferdinand would be embarrassed to death to have to testify, "He called me a nasty name", especially after admitting to instigating the affair. Anyway, one can hope that this circus is nearing its end, because the FOOTBALL at Chelsea is, as you noted, the REAL story this season...)

  • Comment number 48.

    My team won today... at the ever increasingly-hard-to-get-a-result Hawthornes... with only 10 men.

    To be fair we did still have 60+% posession and 13 shots on target, so it can't be that hard to get a result there :D

  • Comment number 49.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 50.

    So that means Suarez is innocent, too, does it?

    Surely if Terry's verdict is a cop-out on the part of the FA, then Suarez is equally blameless, and there will be no more chanting of "We know what you are" at The Bridge?

    Didn't think so.

  • Comment number 51.

    Ah Rob your a Man City fan - i apologise then. Imagine tarring you with a Spurs brush!

  • Comment number 52.

    I've been tarred with worse ;o)

  • Comment number 53.

    The more I see of Mata the more I feel like I am watching Zola all over again.

    I think you have built Azpilicueta up too much. He is good as a right back going forward but he does not have the tactical awareness to cope defensively yet and he also lacks the fantastic aerial threat of Ivanovic. Ivanovic also isn't that slow, I think you may be going on FIFA 13 stats or something.

    RDM has been very clever in the transition by keeping a strong and tough physical backbone while bringing quick and stylish attacking play from midfield going forward. Azpilicueta will take a little longer to work in along with a couple of other signings we are yet to see much of like Marin.

    I'm pretty sure Sturridge was Chelseas joint top scorer last season with Lampard and before that he scored about 15 goals in half a season for a Bolton side lacking in midfield supply. I don't think he is better than Torres necessarily (Torres has picked up some form now) but he certainly makes a strong case to at least be considered equal.

  • Comment number 54.

    #2 prem league is rubbish....without arsene wengooner arsenal would be top. well done to chelski...although gallas should have scored early doors.

  • Comment number 55.

    Chelsea looked good against an albeit depleated Spurs, who caused them problems after the break, and deservedly led 2-1 for a while. But Chelsea were brilliant after going down and really upped thier game, they took it to spurs and Mata took control of the midfield (with Hazard and Oscar as supporting acts.) But there will be sterner tests than this to come, none more so than next Sunday with the visit of Manchester United, peolple have been writng them off this season, do that at your peril, you have been warned!
    As for the title, well on current form it looks rosy for Chelsea, but can they keep it going for the whole season? Only time will tell, one thing is for sure, they WILL slip up at some point, it`s just whether other teams around them can capitalise on it.
    Oh and who will win La Liga this year? Oh yes, a choice of two as usual! Barca and Real Madrid should have thier own "La Premier Liga" and play 30 El Classico`s a season! And let the others compete for a proper league!

  • Comment number 56.

    Just as report of Man. Utd's decline has been premature (albeit for years) so is the talk of a revolutionary Chelsea slightly dipping the quill into the hyperbole pot.

    Chelsea and Man City are 1-2 injuries from struggling for a top 4 finish. For starters who is going to score the goals for Chelsea if something happens to Torres and Mata inevitably fades away like he did last year? I am not saying Torres is the prolific striker he once was, but the creative spark in the team depends entirely on these two. Hazard and Oscar are exciting to watch but still largely unproven. The former has already shown signs he blows hot and cold (God forbid he turns into a Nani: 1 year hot - 2 years cold).

    I certainly like the look of the current Chelsea squad (and when I say 'like' I mean prefer it to last year's). I am not convinced however, of the depth in this squad and the tactical prowess of RDM.

    My own team (Man Utd.) are starting to look more and more like the Dutch giants of the 70's who bothered most about scoring more goals than the opposition. Might be exciting for the neutrals but it sure gives me indigestion.

  • Comment number 57.

    My own team (Man Utd.) are starting to look more and more like the Dutch giants of the 70's who bothered most about scoring more goals than the opposition. Might be exciting for the neutrals but it sure gives me indigestion.
    I totally agree, they actually remind me more of the Liverpool team of the same era, "i don`t care how many they score, we`ll score more" Bill Shankly.
    As for Chelsea and City, like i said before, only time will tell!

  • Comment number 58.

    As one of the commentators said the difference between the two teams was "Craft and Guile" one team had it and the other team did not. Siguardsson, Dempsey, Defoe, Lennon, Sandro all got into great scoring and chance making opportunities throughout the game and lacked the "Craft and Guile" to make an impact. I felt very let down by AVB selection knowing that Cahill and the suspect Luis were guaranteed to be selected surely the presence of Adebayor would have been the more effective along with Defoe up top...the inexperience and the lack of pace of Caulker really showed along with Gallas and his bad day. And can anyone please explain to me at 2-2 you bring on Livermoore bringing what to the game? to settle for a draw at home with 20 minutes to go. To win the premiership firstly you have to have a great squad of players. Then a tactically astute manager who can also install a belief into his players that they can win every game even when the team goes behind...well done Chelsea you looked like a team who are compact along with the resilience of a possible premiership winning team.

  • Comment number 59.

    First of all, Anybody thinking Chelsea are an average team is simply in denial.

    Few gave chelsea a chance against barca and bayern last season but RDM's men went Against all odds to win the champs lge.

    With the change of style from last seasons catenaccio to total football this season, CHELSEA are bound to be more dangerous.

  • Comment number 60.

    My pre-season forecast was 1=Chelsea, 2=Man U, 3 Man=C. (Below that, my accuracy tails off a lot!) So, I'm not surprised they're doing well. My main pre-season doubt was whether RDM would have the authority (caught between Abramovich & an awkward dressing room) to make the transition from the 'old guard'. To an extent, the juty's still out on that.

  • Comment number 61.

    We`ll judge Chelsea after they have played the two Manchester clubs, until then , well, they simply haven`t been tested!
    If they are still top at xmas, then we can start to think about them as title contenders.
    How they won against Bayern Munich, i still don`t know!

  • Comment number 62.

    Chelsea remain an average team and the most undeerving team to have ever won the champions league, which they won by pure luck. Having a disgusting man like Terry as their Captain and reatining him as captain tells a lot about the team and its supporters. A rubbish club with rubbish values.

  • Comment number 63.

    as a chelsea fan this was a great day, enjoyed it immensely. knew we would till come out on top when 2-1 down.
    as an england fan it was a bit worrying to see walker's performance. got ton apart all game by hazard, oscar and mata and you could see that he lost his cool when he tried to kick mata's head off with the ball.

  • Comment number 64.

    61.....To say Chelsea have not been tested when we have beaten 3 of the teams that finished in the top 5 last season does not make sense.

    However i do agree the games agst the two United teams will tell us more about Chelsea.

    My own view is that we are vulnerable defensively this season and we have developed a bad habit of allowing teams to get shots in at goal from the edge of the penalty area.

    If we allow teams like United the same opportunity they will surely punish us because they have the players like Rooney to score from that distance. If you watch the game yesterday Spurs had numerous shots on target at Cech and this highlights the weakness in the Chelsea team at present.

    Having said that we are improving all the time in our attack and if only we had a world class striker in front of midfield 3 we would be awesome.

  • Comment number 65.

    The games agst the two Manchester teams I mean............sorry.

  • Comment number 66.

    62............Loving your bitterness pal

  • Comment number 67.

    @61: So you are trying to suggest that the PL is only about two teams... your manchester clubs? Suggesting that winning away at Arsenal and Totenham, against whom your mightly Manchester club lost at home, doesn't tell us much about Chelsea is pure arrogance. I won't say that Chelsea are a sure bet for the title but at the same time I wouldn't say that winning or losing against Manchester clubs will define Chelsea's season. It is about getting more points than your opponents and not just about how you play against Manchester clubs.

  • Comment number 68.


    5-1 Wembley
    Champions of Europe
    Knocked you out of the Champions League
    2-4 in your own back yard

    Now I wonder where your bitterness has arisen from???

    Take a leaf out of your boss' book and learn the term 'being gracious in defeat'.

  • Comment number 69.

    When will the moronic Chelsea haters get it through their incredibly dense skulls, that we feed off your hate.

    Chelsea KTBFFH!

  • Comment number 70.

    The pertinent question is if Chelsea face Barcelona/Madrid/Munich again will they resort to the same 'anti-football' tactic or will they actually play football. If latter, then we need to see by how many goals they get spanked.

  • Comment number 71.

    Chelsea do look very good and a class above us, no average players. We have about 4 or 5 in the starting line up. Yes we missed are two form players and it showed in abundance. Chelsea - no problem. If they get the better over City in the 2 games- they should win the league.

    Spurs? Long project- but the right man at the helm and once "natural wastage" occurs then we could be very good. But this is Spurs so stupid decisions could be made.

  • Comment number 72.

    Well done Phil, good blog ............ you only managed to squeeze the words "Manchester United" in once ..... and not a single "Wayne Rooney" was uttered !!! .... a phenomenal effort !

  • Comment number 73.

    I am really optimistic this season that Chelsea can be title contenders. Many were saying it was going to be with the two Manchester clubs but while both of them have not been nearly convincing enough, especially Man City, Chelsea have looked extremely good. As what as been said before, while Hazard and Oscar are certainly future world class players (if they are not already), Mata is the most consistent performer and is the heart of our midfield. His assist tally as well as his goal tally will be right up the order. Yes, Tottenham didn't have Bale or Dembele but they were still a threat and have a squad that should be challenging for the top four at least. Our football is better than ever and it's a great time to be a football fan, let alone a Chelsea fan!

  • Comment number 74.

    70...........When i actually see United play attractive football agst Barcelona and win i will give your comment some merit, but until then and while teams like Barca and Basle continue to play United of the park in the CL then Chelsea, a team who Barca rarely beat win the argument hands down.

  • Comment number 75.

    Man City this season remind me a great deal of Chelsea in 2005/2006. They do not particularly thrill but they grind out the results almost machine like. The fact that they are unbeaten despite not being anywhere near their best should worry the rest of the PL. For me they are massive favourites to win the title this season...

  • Comment number 76.

    Just a point here. All this banter ( after all its only a game of football) will not last long ( few more years) as Chelsea will not be playing Spurs in league football. There will be a European League. Financially there has to be for the top clubs. Demand is not what it was ( There were still unsold tickets for this game!), most of the comments are comparisons to other top European clubs. So it will run that course.

    I suppose that will put an end to "stuffed in your back yard etc" but I can't argue that Chelsea are far superior to us. But that's life.

  • Comment number 77.

    Suprised Cahill does not get a mention here , he played well yesterday. I think JT might struggle getting back in the team after his ban.

    If the rumours are true that RA is after Busquets and Falcão to replace Mikel and Torres then Chelsea will have a strong team.

  • Comment number 78.

    @ 2 soul patch first of all, if you are so negative about english football, you can post tour comments when there is a post about barc and real madrid, BTW chelsea 5th last season without cazarolla and hazard beats tic tak barca, spanish 4 and 5th equall to york city football club

  • Comment number 79.

    Chelsea are doing brilliantly so far. They have developed this fluid style which carries far more of a threat than they did last season. Di Matteo has done a very good job and the acquisitions they have made over the summer have brought some much needed flair to the team. There is certainly a long way to go but they look strong so far.

    What is interesting and rather mouth-watering for the rest of the season is that Man United are right their having been broadly poor defensively so far. Tottenham, Arsenal, Everton and Newcastle will all take points off the top sides and the league seems more and more competitive.

    Then we come to the champions, Manchester City. They have been playing at less than half their potential capacity so far yet they are four points off the top and unbeaten in the league. When they start firing, the league will be very interesting. Roll on Chelsea vs City/United, they will be very telling games this year.

  • Comment number 80.

    Phil,if your tired about the Terry story stop writing about it. Concentrate on producing your usual repetitive sound bite mis-quoting articles. As for the game, Gallas was responsible for 4 goals but Spurs had twice as many shots (on and off target) as Chelsea so the not so creative as you make out.

  • Comment number 81.

    Stellar performance by the boys in blue. I know we still have a lot of haters out there, but we are playing good quality football, and have already beaten three of the sides that finishes ahead of us in the league this season. Come on Chelsea. Long may it continue.

  • Comment number 82.

    First of all why are people hating on Chelsea, we won simple as that. Mata gave an outstanding performance so did Hazard, Oscar and the rest of the lads. Yes Spur where missing important players but dont take away the fact that Chelsea played well and with style. And all you who are saying that we are funded by a billionaire, we most clubs are Arsenal, Man United, Man City and many more. For example when Man United could afford players that we could'n where people saying it's a sugger daddy club no, why now? Because we are the best team in London. Plus all teams can be beaten, eg when Spurs beat a weak Man United team. Oh I have to add we are playing with more class and style than most teams in England

  • Comment number 83.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 84.

    Chelsea all good but David Luiz definitely needs to improve. Every position has a replacement but we need to get a striker but we shouldnt spend too much i.e spending £50 odd million on Falcao is pointless when we would have 2 world class strikers with one on the bench as we play 4-2-3-1. We need to buy a young proven striker for at tops £20 million or so - Andre Schurlle would be fantastic - he's similar to reus who would be a dream to have but he moved to Dortmund

  • Comment number 85.

    please stop posting mindless drivel on this, spain are good yes, but i believe if they had come up against the germans on a good day they would be quashed, like tiny bugs, barca and spain are narrow minded, both go for little men, and have a narrow minded, through the middle, no real skill in passing 3 yards, it skill when you can do that for 50 minutes realise you arent getting anywhere and bring on a big man to whip a few in, ''inventive''? i think not.... ill prove my point... rather than pop balls in at torres in the euros they took him off and brought on cesc???? reason?...

  • Comment number 86.

    ....... so they could play keep ball, one day, when a great nation realises that you shouldnt be scared of spain or any other barca style team and that if you do what cfc did and break with big men and long balls, then maybe we will start reading about teams being great instead of teams being great like barca!!

    well done RDM you and your team have given us manc clubs something to worry about (especially with our non existing defence!!) see you sunday.

  • Comment number 87.

    What's all this fuss about Chelsea? They're good, but not as good as all that. They are not in my view going to win the title. They did however expose Gallas' lack of positional sense yesterday. VB hasn't been able to play his best Spurs side yet - an absentee-free Spurs would have won that match yesterday. Bring back Dawson - quick and snuffs out danger well. Also hoping Scotty P. recovers soon. They really missed his work shielding defenders from the stuff on the floor and nipping things in the bud yesterday.

  • Comment number 88.

    All of you idiots complaining about Torres are talking out your backside. He was absolutely outstanding today. His only fault was not scoring that chance, and thats all you saw on MOTD. It was the only one chance that came his way. He was largely playing as an extra attacking midfielder throughout the game and he rarely lost the ball in tough situations. He is really playing some lovely football at the moment.

    Obviously, Mata was absolutely outstanding. Turning in to Lampard in the respect pops up with goals when you need them.

  • Comment number 89.

    Torres had two outstanding chances and missed them both. People are not talking about Torres over one game but his abject failure to deliver consistent performances over the past 20 months. Add this to the fact that he says he was a a stage when he did not care about how the team did on the pitch and as far as i am concerned i can't wait for him to leave Chelsea............roll on January when he can go back to Atheltico with my blessing.

  • Comment number 90.

    Completely agree about Mata. He has clearly been watching Lampard as well, look at the timing of his runs, arriving lat in the box like Lamps used to. Brilliant timing twice yesterday. One he should have scored the other he did finish off. He has the technique to simply place it in the bottom corner as well. Jury is out for Torres as far as I am concerned.

    I think most people are missing the point of what is happening at Chelsea though. This season most Chelsea fans would like to have seen a push for the League but you've got a whole host of new players, to be honest if RDM guaranteed 4th place it would be a sucessful season. Hazard and Oscar need a season to get used to the premier league, its been a miracle that they have done as well as they have so far, but they will certainly get better in their second season. Chelsea want to finish with Ideally 80+ points. Forget about which position that puts them in, if they can get that points target, it will have been a good season. I suspect 70-75 would guarantee CL football the season after but they want to be closing the gap on the top two. If they get within 5 points of 1st place the RDM certainly deserves another year to continue to develop these players.

    The problem is lose to Shaktar and the whole picture changes. Literally everyone will be saying Chelsea can't get knocked out at the group stages, sack Di Matteo. Give him the job for 2 years. See where he is then.

  • Comment number 91.

    Look the team to beat already! Can't help feel they will have a bad patch at some will they respond! Season shaping up nicely already for the big 3...4 down is anyone's

  • Comment number 92.

    That was a lush performance and there's so much more to come from this relatively inexperienced midfield. Good news for Real Madrid is that Chelsea are most unlikely to be asking for Michael Essien back.
    Yes, Chelsea are the Championes of Europe and look set to become the first team to defend this title back to back.
    The confidence is oozing through their play, I think it will soon be a case of Barcelona will want to be like Chelsea.

  • Comment number 93.

    Chelsea can't do anything right can they? They play park the bus football and win and get slated. They play open football scoring goals against a depleted but still decent spurs and they get slated. All the detractors (this time around mostly from the Lane) give it a rest. Bemoan your own teams' shortcomings before picking at others.

  • Comment number 94.

    Going forward chelsea look good, but they are just as weak as anyone else at the back. McNulty seems to have completely overlooked Chelsea's slide down the table, they are nowhere near as defensively strong as they were. Cahill has to be the most overrated centre back in the premier league, a few times yesterday attackers walked past his challenges

  • Comment number 95.

    As a completely independent observer on this issue, I think that it is far too early in the season to get carried away. However, at the moment, I think Chelsea are way superior to any other team in the EPL. They are a joy to watch and yesterday's match was the match of the season so far. I live in France and have watched Hazard over the last few years and am not at all surprised by his impact. Mata was superb yesterday but Hazard's tireless running pulls defences all over the place and his deftness of touch leaves defenders bemused. For me, he makes it all happen. And it is great to see such a pleasant unassuming man in RdM leading all this. As an OM supporter, I am delighted with the complimentary comments about Azpi - have patience, his time will come.

  • Comment number 96.

    Is this some sort of joke. This Chelsea team is full of mercenaries. If Roman had bought Stoke or Wigan we would be saying what a great team they are? Mata, Oscar and Eden were all linked to Spurs however Chelsea paid more in transfer fee and more in wages to bring them to Stamford Bridge. This is fact!
    Instead of writing an article about adding a more level playing field to the Premiership this is a predictable and boring article.
    I was at the game and the reason Spurs lost that match was because after taking a 2-1 lead, Spurs did not have confidence to look for a third, went on the defencive and caved in. Chelsea were not as good as this article are making out. Spurs should have stretched themselves but bottled it.

  • Comment number 97.

    Man U fan here. Chelsea are looking impressive this season and the last thing I wanted is them emerging victorious at Tottenham moreover in such an emphatic way - Spurs beat United at Old Trafford let's not forget and played well yesterday!

    That combined to the sloppy goals United conceded makes me feel the best possible result for United would be a draw.

    Chelsea look like they're more than serious contenders for an unprecedented back to back European success, plus a mouthwatering prospect of clinching the title at the expense of City - who also look much stronger.

    I recall years ago Chelsea getting off to a flying start and then crumbling at Old Trafford.
    I'm afraid, I can't see it happening at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea are just too strong at the moment.
    This season is definitely going to be a 3 horse race and honestly it adds some extra spice. If United were to win the title this year, it'd definitely be quite an achievement, because this Chelsea team is in the same breath as Barecelona, and currently perhaps even better.

  • Comment number 98.

    All of the anti-Chelsea comments on here are based purely around people desperately hoping that the wheels fall off at some stage. If you want to be critical then please be critical of actual fact ... oh sorry you can't because there is very little to actually be critical of a team that is clear at the top of the league and who are playing the most efficient and attractive football in the league by some distance just now.

    As for Torres, just because he is not banging in 30 goals a season (yet) means that he is a failure. His energy and movement off the ball is superb and the space he therefore creates for those behind him is just the type of front player the team needs for the style of football they are trying to play. A selfish out and out goal scorer would not complement those behind him.

    Chelsea and the system they are trying to play remain work in progress and will only continue to improve, which must be a scary thought for everyone else! They are also changing the way Torres plays to fit into the system and he is also therefore work in progress. I wouldn't swap him for anyone else thank you very much.

    I mean really, we've actually only scored 31 goals in 11 competitive games so far this season. Find something constructive to criticise us about please.

  • Comment number 99.

    Crikey there's some belting bitter man u fanboys on here this morning. Still banging on about how chelsea became champions of europe in bayerns backyard. Get over it ladies

  • Comment number 100.

    Surely Chelsea are breaking their traditions by playing this way?

    Ever since their history started in 2004 the 'Chelsea way' has been to play boring, functional, effective football, players like Lampard typify this approach. This was drilled into the club by Mourinho and their fans loved it. It brought them the Champions League last season.

    Maybe their manager John Terry likes a more expansive approach, but going against the 'Chelsea way' could upset the hardcore fans.


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