The great thing about rotation, when it’s done properly, it gives players with a point to prove their long-awaited chance… to prove their point. All five goals were scored by Chelsea players that have spent more time on the bench this season than on the pitch – and they showed today they’re more than just backups.

And maybe it was the quality of the opposition, but Chelsea also showed vastly improved finishing compared with their previous games. They had a 42% conversion rate today versus 13% against Southampton, 0% v Everton and 25% v Brighton & Hove Albion. It helped to avoid shooting straight at the keeper maybe.

The most important stat though: Manchester United drew with Southampton after Romelu Lukaku was stretchered off injured, so Chelsea ended 2017 second in the league! Yeah it’s just halfway through and City are too far ahead, but it’s not bad for a transitional season. At least so far. Well done to Antonio Conte, the players and the board.

And Happy New Year everyone! […]

By, Ayodeji Itasanmi (Twitter: @aryhorblueblood)     Stamford Bridge/December 30, 2017 After seeing off a resilient Brighton and Hove Albion side on Boxing Day, we await the arrival of yet another troublesome opposition, even though they were comfortably dispatched at the Bet365 Stadium earlier in the season, as we look to rack up points even […]

Chelsea were in a 3-5-2 today, with Gary Cahill, Antonio Rudiger and Cesar Azpilicueta in defence. N’golo Kante, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Cesc Fabregas were just ahead of them in midfield.

It wasn’t the most aggressive line-up but even taking that into account, they started this game pretty sluggishly. It was almost as if the players were recovering from a really heavy Christmas dinner.

Brighton set up in two defensive lines of four and five, with Tomer Hemed as the lone striker up top. They showed much more energy and desire than the home side in the first half, as well as a willingness to get forward in numbers when the opportunity presented itself.

For a midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko gets into a lot of good positions to score, and he had a great opening early on – but he wasn’t able to get the right contact to put his shot on target. […]

By, Ayodeji Itasanmi (Twitter: @aryhorblueblood)   Stamford Bridge/December 26, 2017   As expected, it was a frustrating afternoon at Goodison Park at the weekend with the home side playing ten players behind the ball. Nonetheless we created enough chances to win the game, but we found Jordan Pickford in inspired form. There’s no time to […]

As expected, Antonio Conte started Eden Hazard in place of Morata, with Michy Batshuayi back on the bench as usual. Apart from the game against Huddersfield, whenever Chelsea have used Hazard as a striker this season they’ve been a bit ineffective in attack. It was the same today – lots of chances but no goals.

Everton crowded their penalty area, with only Calvert-Lewin up top. The effect was that Chelsea could easily get back possession whenever Everton tried to go forward, but they didn’t really counter-attack properly, even with speedy players like Hazard, Kante, Willian and Pedro in their side.

This meant Chelsea lost the offensive benefit of the large number of opposition turnovers they forced in their defensive area and in the middle of the park.

They made thirty (!) crosses in total this game – it was difficult to tell at what point they would realize the strategy wasn’t working. They tried 25 shots to Everton’s 5, and although they were 8 – 0 up on the home side in shots on target, only one stat counted at the end. […]

By, Ayodeji Itasanmi (Twitter: @aryhorblueblood) Goodison Park/December 23, 2017   We may have escaped from the Carabao Cup quarter final tie against Bournemouth by the skin of our teeth but that’s what champions are made of and a win is a win no matter how it comes about. To score straight from the kick off […]

The game looked like it was going to extra time – but apparently nobody told Alvaro Morata, who just two minutes later, sadly ruined the Cherries’ comeback with a really, really inconvenient goal.

Well he might have scored it, but this goal was really all about Eden Hazard. He blazed into the box straight from the kick-off to receive a long cross from Davide Zappacosta.

Then duplicating Kenedy, having made himself the decoy Hazard back-heeled for Morata, who was steaming in behind him to whip it off Boruc and into the net. 2 – 1! It was the ultimate sucker punch, both the move specifically and the goal in the context of the match. […]

Back to West London now, after two road trips to West Ham and Huddersfield. Chelsea’s opponents today: Southampton FC, fresh off a 4 – 1 home defeat to Leicester City. The game before though, Southampton managed a creditable 1 – 1 draw v Arsenal, who were in seventh place. They would not be pushovers today, by any means.

Chelsea (and Antonio Conte) were in game two of a “small ball” experiment. Even though Alvaro Morata was unavailable v Huddersfield, Michy Batshuayi was left on the bench. Today, both Michy and Alvaro were ready to play, but Conte started the same small, mobile attacking three as the previous game: Willian on the left, Pedro on the right, Eden Hazard in the center.

Mauricio Pellegrino rotated in Wesley Hoedt and Manolo Gabbiadini for Virgil van Dijk and Charlie Austin. Gary Cahill replaced Antonio Rudiger, who’d played well against Huddersfield, but maybe could have done more to prevent their late goal. N’golo Kante and Tiemoue Bakayoko were the two midfielders in Chelsea’s 3-4-3 today, so Cesc Fabregas was on the bench second game in a row. […]

By, Ayodeji Itasanmi (Twitter: @aryhorblueblood)     Stamford Bridge/December 16, 2017 After two successive away matches we’re back in the comfort of Stamford Bridge where we’ll play our next two games with this game followed by the Carabao Cup quarter final match against Bournemouth on Wednesday. It was so important for us to get back […]

London is Blue is a soccer fancast created by Chelsea FC fans from America and covers all things Chelsea. Hosts are @BBBusbee, @DanDormer and @NickVerlaney. London is Blue is proud to be presented by WorldSoccerShop. Visit them at www.WorldSoccerShop.com to find the best Chelsea FC gear! GUEST: Amadí, @amadoit__ Part 1: Huddersfield Town Review Chelsea […]