Chelsea on Saturday beat Wolverhampton Wanderers in an unspectacular but positive way. On paper a 2-0 win over Wolves looks slightly disappointing and the home support may have hoped for more but, in reality, it should be considered a very satisfying victory.
Wolves’ performance from the beginning was strong and aggressive; the game had ‘potential slip-up’ written all over it until Salomon Kalou scored yet another goal after coming on as a substitute. Kalou has now scored 5 Premier League goals in 6 games (and he’s only started 3 of them). Malouda had earlier scored the opening goal – making him the joint-top Premier League goalscorer (equalling Carlos Tevez’s tally of 7).
The game saw the return of Didier Drogba after a week-long absence and also hosted Jose Bosingwa’s first game at Stamford Bridge for over a year. Drogba was, by his standards, disappointing, whilst Bosingwa had a good return and was one of the stand-out players. Carlo Ancelotti agreed and suggested that he ‘was one of the best players on the pitch‘.
Something that has been missing from Chelsea during Bosingwa’s absence has been an attack-minded right-back. Ivanovic has been fantastic, but his favourite position is clearly alongside Terry in the centre – where be played very well today.
After a, for Chelsea home-standards, disappointing result, the aspect of the game that will bring most joy to Chelsea fans will be the late display of Josh McEachran who came on for, the hard-working and consistent, Yury Zhirkov. Zhirkov looks to have enhanced his reputation with the Chelsea faithful a lot this week and he should be feeling positive.
Josh McEachran did nothing spectacular (apart from a tackle on Ebanks-Blake late on which would have been goal-saving if the Wolves striker was not called offside) but looked really comfortable in a team of international superstars.
“There’s only one Josh McEachran!” echoed through the stands following his tackle on Ebanks-Blake, showing just how much a home-grown talent means to the Chelsea supporters. McEachran will feel on top of the world after that ovation and it should improve his confidence even more.
An ordinary win for Chelsea but it has been accompanied by some great performances by Chelsea players who don’t often get a mention. Each will feel uplifted by their performances and will be pushing for the regular starters’ places even more after today.
With players like Lampard and Alex returning for league leaders, Chelsea, and with confident players bursting through the seams at the moment and contending for places. Ancelotti’s selection problems do not compare with the problems of the Premier League chasing-pack.