Do Chelsea Have a New Spine of Players?
Do Chelsea Have a New Spine of Players?
Let's take a look at Chelsea's most consistent players
Why bend it like Beckham when you can curl it like Costa? What a shot! What a goal! I think we need to take a moment to appreciate our striker, Mr. Diego Costa, the EPL’s greatest villain. He hasn’t been involved in any rifts and has had no behavioral issues in weeks. Diego is starting to focus on performing and producing, instead of inciting small-scale riots. He quietly is becoming the most lethal striker in the Premier League... and the world.
Hazard’s role in Conte’s 3-4-3 is catered to his strengths. Conte found that Hazard isn’t lazy on defense, he just doesn’t have the ability to track back and defend in 1v1 situations - it’s not Eden’s strength. Eden is much more suited to high-pressing the opponents’ back line. When he isn’t pressing players directly, he is cutting off passing lanes to make life difficult for the opponent on the ball. By Hazard pressing high instead of tracking back, Hazard is staying higher up the pitch and is creating more offensive opportunities. Eden was put on this earth to play offense and the ball was meant to be at his feet. By making him play mostly defense is like owning a Maserati, but only driving it 35 miles per hour. Hazard is brimming with confidence and back on form. Welcome back Eden, we sure missed you!
Marcos Alonso has played a vital role in our new system. He is the only true wingback we have on the left side. We as fans have been quick to appreciate his defensive contribution, but what I noticed is how brilliant he is at passing and crossing. The ball that he placed through for Hazard was cut out by Southampton’s center back, but it really put the defense under pressure. Remember that a key pass from Alonso also unlocked Pedro’s opening goal against Manchester United. This has been a great run of matches for Alonso.
César Azpilicueta has also been a rock in our back 3. I rate him higher as a right back in our 3 back system than I do as a wingback or a fullback in a back four. This new RB position suits his skill set to perfection. He has the pace to cover and even though he looks frail, he is strong enough to hold his own. He is vocal from the back and I’ve noticed him organizing the defense. It may be early, but Azpi could be a candidate for our next captain after John Terry inevitable retires.
Courtois has had 4 clean sheets in a row! He is in a great run of form; impenetrable at the moment. Courtois is often quoted for saying the wrong things in the media, but I don’t believe he intends to cause the stir that he does… as he is poor at dealing with the media. As of late he has let his playing on the field do the talking and he has shied away from the media. I think he may be growing up before our eyes.
Matić is experiencing a rebirth under this new system, he looks like a new man. I always thought of Matić as this big destroyer that sits in front of the back 4 to shield the defense. It never occurred to me that he is a confidence player as much as Hazard or Oscar. When Matić is brimming with confidence, anything is possible. There isn’t a pass on the field that he can’t make, a run that he can’t make, a defender that he can’t take – the guy can do it all. When he loses that confidence, he disappears like he did last season. Conte has him in a role where Matić seems confident and his game is improving every match.
So far, so good
We have players this season who are doing the dirty work and sacrificing personal glory for the glory of the club. Players like Alonso, Kanté, Azpi, and even Matić are all being asked to perform in new roles. They all seem to be up to the challenge and thriving in these new roles. Team spirit is high and the future looks bright. Chelsea sit one point off the top of the table and our name is gaining respect.
Clubs no longer look forward to playing against Chelsea. It feels great to be a Chelsea fan. Up the Chels!!
Miles J. Sarbacker, @milesj1323