The Premier League is back and it did not disappoint at all. Cardiff City hosted Chelsea, in a game which was a must win for both the teams. Cardiff are fighting to stay in the Premier league whilst on the other hand Chelsea are fighting for the top 4.
There was a lot of negativity amongst the Chelsea fans as soon as they saw the lineup. Maurizio Sarri had benched Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kante, the star players in that team. Chelsea fans were trying to figure out why Ross Barkley was starting, after Sarri clearly said in his press conference that he was going to rest the players who came back from the international break. But Barkley started the game over Loftus-Cheek who was at Cobham training for two weeks and he was clearly fit.
The first half was pretty much the same old for Chelsea, a lot of possession but no chances were created in that first half, whilst Chelsea failed to have a shot on target. Cardiff had a penalty shout turned down by the referee in the first half when Marcos Alonso pulled Sean Morrison down. The Chelsea fans feared that Cardiff would score in the second half and 1 minute into the second half Camarasa converted his chance after a brilliant pass by Harry Arter.
After being a goal down, Chelsea fans started to voice their opinions about Sarri. It was clear to see that majority of the Chelsea fans want him out. Chants of “We want Sarri out” were sung by majority of the fans. When things were not going according to plan for Chelsea, Sarri made the substitutions at the right time. Eden Hazard, Giroud and
Loftus-Cheek were subbed on.
In the 84th minute, captain Cezar Azpilicueta, who was 2 yards offside, headed the ball into the back of the net after Marcos Alonso had flicked the ball into his path to bring Chelsea level. The flag stayed down and Chelsea were right back in it. A lot of decisions went against Cardiff, especially when Rudiger was very fortunate to escape a sending off after bringing Zohore down.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek had completed Chelsea’s come back as he scored a header in the 91st minute after a Willian had crossed the ball in. Loftus-Cheek might have just saved Maurizio Sarri’s job.
It was a very scrappy win for Chelsea and most of the fans walked out with mixed emotions as they should have performed at a higher level against a team that is struggling to stay in the Premier League. It is fair to say that the bluebirds were very unlucky and deserved to walk out with the three points after the officials had ruined their chance of staying in the Premier league.
This result lifts Chelsea to within a point of the top four, and for Cardiff they are 5 points away from safety with a game in hand on Burnley.
Neil Warnock was furious after the game and who can blame him ? Here are some of his post-match quotes:
- “To get let down by the officials – roll on VAR. I might be too old by the time we get VAR, but that’s why we need it”.
- “The offside [for Azpilicueta’s goal] is not even close. We’ve worked three weeks for this, and we get let down by decisions.”
- “We felt that [Sean] Morrison could’ve easily had a penalty.”
Maurizio Sarri will be a happy man after that result and during the game the fans were not shy to voice their opinions about him. Here are some of his quotes after the win against Cardiff:
- “We did not play very well in the first half. In the second half as usual, we conceded a stupid goal but today we reacted better.”
- “We were lucky for timing but in the end I think we deserved to win.”
Chelsea Player Ratings
Kepa – 6
Azpilicueta – 7
Rudiger – 5
David Luiz – 5
Alonso – 5
Jorginho – 6
Barkley – 6
Kovacic – 5
Pedro – 5
Higuain – 6
Willian – 6
Hazard – 7
Loftus Cheek – 8
Giroud – 6
Whats Next for Chelsea ?
It was clear to see that Chelsea were absolutely dreadful against Cardiff and there are a lot of improvements to be made if they want to get Champions League football next season. The fans are clearly not happy and are putting all the blame on Maurizio Sarri. whilst also starting to question his team selections. Players like Marcos Alonso and Ross Barkley, who have not been good enough still manage to get into his starting eleven week in, week out. Chelsea were lucky to get the three points yesterday and they need to improve significantly if they want to finish in the top four. They have a couple of tough fixtures coming up and it can certainly make or break their season.