Chelsea Happy to Slip Under the Radar

By on September 17, 2018

Five weeks into the new Premier League season and despite the fact that we have new leaders at the top of the table, much of the focus remains on second-placed Liverpool. The Reds maintained their 100% record with a 2-1 win over Spurs at Wembley and it was a scoreline that flattered an unusually poor home side.

With a charismatic manager in charge of an attack-minded team, the feeling among Liverpool supporters that they are the true ‘people’s champions’ is reflected by their relative dominance in the media. In contrast, Chelsea are maybe seen as a dour side but as the Blues sit on top of the league, their fans should be happy that they are slipping under the radar.

Bluebirds Brushed Aside

Players out on the pitch

Maurizio Sarri’s side were given an early scare at Stamford Bridge on Saturday against Cardiff  – a team not renowned for their cutting edge in front of goal. A Sol Bamba striker on 16 minutes put Chelsea behind but a hat-trick from Eden Hazard and a late contribution from Willian sealed a 4-1 win for the hosts.

That victory was Chelsea’s fourth in a row and put them ahead of Liverpool at the top, courtesy of a better goal difference, but many remain unconvinced about the Blues’ title credentials. Those unimpressed observers include the bookmakers where the odds on Chelsea to win league 2019 stand at 19/2, some way behind favourites Manchester City at 8/11 and Liverpool at 23/10. Based on form alone, Sarri’s men could be a value punt at that price but can they sustain this strong start?

Positive Return

Eden Hazard / Эден Азар

The most positive aspect of that win over Cardiff was the contribution of Eden Hazard. With Alvaro Morata still struggling for form, it would be no surprise to see the club go in for a big-name striker in the January transfer window but until then, goals from other areas of the pitch will be vital in order to compensate for an underperforming strikeforce.

Predictable links on a move to Real Madrid surfaced again in the summer but thankfully for Blues fans, nothing materialised, and after a draining World Cup, Hazard is clearly fully fit again and ready to play a pivotal role in Chelsea’s season.

Willian’s strike would have also been welcomed and while Pedro has outscored Morata up front in those opening four games, Sarri’s priority in January would lie in finding a striker to finally replace Diego Costa.

Challenges Ahead

Liverpool’s biggest test was supposed to come at Wembley on Saturday but an under-par Spurs side barely threatened to take even a share of the points. Next up for the Reds is a home game with Southampton which is expected to yield another win to extend their perfect record even further.

The Blues will face a potentially tricky trip to West Ham United who, despite a poor start to the campaign, were impressive as they brushed aside Everton. There are some challenges to come but this all builds up to Saturday, September 29 when Maurizio Sarri’s men host Liverpool at Stamford Bridge. If the home side were to win that game, perhaps the pundits would start to take Chelsea’s title challenge a little more seriously.

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