Chelsea sauntered to a 4-0 Champions League victory over Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Champions League on Wednesday night at Stamford Bridge.
In usual circumstances the story would just be a run-of-the-mill victory for Jose Mourinho’s side.
However, the Chelsea players have been sloppy, under-par and downright poor at times this season.
Blues fans could have been forgiven for being slightly nervous about last night’s Champions League opener, especially when last season’s Player of the Year Eden Hazard smashed an early spot-kick over the bar.
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho decided to shake things up in his starting eleven, just as was suspected prior to the team sheets being confirmed. Nemanja Matic, John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic and Diego Costa were all left out of the starting line-up, although Costa was off the bench for the injured Willian after 22 minutes.
To be fair it had the desired effect of improving the team’s performance. The team looked sharper and the Blues could have won the game by a far bigger margin.
Two notable moments of the night, albeit against modest opposition were Spanish internationals Costa and Cesc Fabregas getting on the scoresheet.
The pair has suffered a difficult start to the Premier League campaign. In fact Fabregas’ struggle for form goes back to the tail end of last season, when his form seemed to desert him.
His goal will be a welcome relief to the former-Barcelona man, who has contributed very little to Chelsea’s campaign so far, and whose position in the team has even been questioned. That single moment may not seem that significant, but if it helps raise the Spaniard’s confidence it could be priceless.
When Fabregas is at his best, he is such an influential player in the centre of the park. However, he does seem to go through spells during the season when he is ineffective. Hopefully for the champions sake the goal can kick-start his form.
Costa is a player who has undoubted talent and has been prolific in front of goal for the last couple of seasons with the Blues and before that with Spanish team Atletico Madrid.
His goal touch and form seems to have deserted him this season. He has scored just once in the first five Premier League games and also collected just one assist. It is not just the goals that have disappeared this season.
His all-around play has not been great, which has led to Chelsea being poor going forward at times, as he is the focal point of their attack.
There is an imposter in the Chelsea team this season. Somebody wearing the Chelsea number ten shirt is pretending to be PFA Players Player of the Year Eden Hazard.
Somehow Hazard has gone from one of the best players in the English top-flight, as proven by his award, to a player who seems like he cannot figure how to walk in a straight line.
Last night he endured more misery, as he fired a spot-kick over the bar early in the game. The miss did not prove crucial in the final reckoning, but the miss summed-up the Belgian’s fortunes this season. Like many of his Blues teammates he has just struggled to find his top form.
Chelsea needed a good performance and victory to kick-start their flagging fortunes this season. The game against the Israeli champions may have come at just the right time for Jose Mourinho and co. to kick-start their season.
Even champions sometimes go through difficult spells and need a comfortable victory to remind them off what it feels like to win. This game was the perfect pick-me-up for the Blues.
Mourinho’s men needed it as well, with a tough home game against London rivals Arsenal on Saturday. They needed a confidence boost, because they need their season to begin at the weekend, as they are playing catch-up to last season’s runners-up Manchester City.
Mourinho’s men are incredibly 11 points behind the Citizens, after just five games played. It is still very early days in the Premier League campaign, but Chelsea cannot afford to keep underperforming and struggling in the league.
Not only was a win vital for Chelsea to build confidence for their Premier League campaign, but also vital to their chances of progressing in the Champions League. The Blues are clear favourites to win their group at odds of 2/7 and are expected to easily qualify from Group G.
Any slip would have given their group rivals hope that they could top the group ahead of the Blues. As it is Chelsea sit top of Group G and everybody at the club will now be hoping that the win can kick-start their Premier League campaign.
Can Champions League victory kick-start Chelsea?
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