The Blues are Kings of Liverpool. Well… at least in the month of March. A 2-0 win against league leaders Liverpool in the FA cup was followed by a 4-0 thrashing of a Premier League resurgent Everton. Despite a depleted squad, Chelsea made short work of the Toffies.
Even before the score line was 4-0, Chelsea’s midfield was bossing it. Prior to the start, the trio of Mason Mount, Billy Gilmour and Ross Barkley was a cause for concern to many Blues’ fans, considering the lack of experience amongst them. Thankfully, the lack of experience proved to be of no concern.
A precautionary sub off for tweaking his ankle, Mount controlled the entire game. He was easily the most influential player on the pitch, as he dictated play and went on to open the scoring for the Blues. Elsewhere, Gilmour was on and off the ball, always popping up in pockets of space to maintain Chelsea’s possession. While Mount served as the heartbeat of the Chelsea squad, Gilmour was an effective complement, as he broke up Everton’s attacks by winning the ball back and then immediately facilitating Chelsea on the attack. Gilmour’s Man of the Match award was much deserved. Pour one out for both players!
As for Ross “The Boss” Barkley, he may have just put together his first two consecutive games of tremendous form while playing in a Chelsea shirt. In Tuesday’s FA Cup bout, the inconsistent midfielder scored a belter of a goal, while making a fool of Liverpool’s beloved Fabinho. Against his former club, Barkley bagged two assists as he helped secure Chelsea’s 4-0 win. Despite some early turnovers, Barkley showed class and determination to help lead the Chelsea midfield, and he was instrumental in the decimation of an in-form Everton squad.
An Unexpected Boost
Pedro had a good showing against Liverpool, and he took advantage of yet another appearance, except this time in a crucial Premier League fixture. The highly decorated Spaniard ended the game with a full 90 under his belt, as well as a goal and an assist. Before Everton, Pedro hadn’t tallied a goal or an assist in Premier League play. Credit Pedro’s tremendous work rate, which could be seen against Liverpool, because against Everton he was rewarded by landing on the stat sheet numerous times. Tip of the hat to the veteran winger!
On the topic of unexpected, Willian started the match. This came as surprise only because many thought the Brazilan was injured, along with what seemed like a whole starting XI of Chelsea regulars. Regardless, Willian, who has drawn unwarranted criticism from Chelsea fans across the globe simply from trying to negotiate a contact, started the match and scored a goal that ultimately put Everton to bed. After putting the Chels up 3-nil, Willian also made his presence known when he bagged an assist, while also making life hard for Everton’s Djibril Sidibe. Willian was so committed to the press that he challenged the Everton full-back via a sliding tackle with the aim of keeping Everton on the back foot, which proved successful.
Shout out to a duo of wingers who, despite being scrutinized all season, stepped up when the club needed them most.
What a partnership! Kurt Zouma and Antonio Rudiger absolutely bossed it. Being at the match, I often forgot that Richalison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin were even on the pitch, as Ancelotti’s forwards were unable to make an impact on the game.
As a long-time fan of Zouma, I was pleased to see the former Everton loan-man make a strong showing in the center of the defense. While Rudiger isn’t my favorite, he was spectacular against Everton, and of course I was on my feet as he told Calvert-Lewin to shove it. Although I rate both Fikayo Tomori and Andreas Christensen, Frank Lampard may have – again – found his center back duo.
What a showing from the French World Cup winner! Giroud’s constant presence up top as a target man for outlet balls and hold up play was essential to Chelsea’s attack. On top of that, he buried Everton when he scored to put the Blues up 4-0. Amid transfer rumors, Giroud has emerged as a true professional and he has been a key part of Chelsea’s recent squad.
Remember: there was a reason he was France’s first-choice striker throughout the team’s championship 2018 World Cup run, despite not scoring a single goal.
Kepa Gets the Nod
Kepa Arizzabalaga got the start and rightfully so. Against the league leaders, the Spanish goalkeeper dropped a much need master class, as he sent the fans that thought he was done and dusted scurrying back into the dark. Kepa didn’t have much to do against a stagnant Everton attack, but even so, he recorded his second straight clean sheet. Kepa looked great back in the lineup, and back on the right side of Frank. Sorry, Willy.
Is Emerson Palmieri even a Chelsea player anymore? Who the hell cares! Marcos Alonso is on course to win Chelsea’s Player of the Month, and the veteran Cesar Azpilcueta made short work of Everton’s attack. Reece James didn’t get that start, but he featured off the bench in the center of the pitch, which is a position where he shined while on loan for Wigan. The trio of fullbacks were tremendous. Give a massive shout out to Alonso for continuing to perform in the back four. Give another a shout out to Frank for trusting in James to play in the midfield, and of course James deserves praise for putting on such a tremendous performance in limited play.
On a personal note, I just want to say that I’m often critical of this squad and its manager. That being said, players that were counted out by Chelsea supporters have stepped up big time, and so have the youngsters who otherwise frequent the fringes of the first team. Huge props are owed to the healthy Chelsea players for coming through, and to Frank himself for setting the tone. What a result against Everton! Now it’s onto Aston Villa. So proud of this squad. Up the Blues!