Chelsea continued their 100% start to the season as Carlo Ancelotti’s men proved too strong for surprise-package Burnley. A match that signalled the league leaders’ intent bared much resemblance to the two previous fixtures of which Chelsea also won. Complete dominance is a feature becoming much of a standard procedure to the players, seeing much of the ball, although still working hard to regain it when lost. Right from the off, Chelsea created chances with flowing moves as once again Didier Drogba was hailed unplayable by pundits. The powerful striker was a real menace to the Claret’s backline and with Deco’s trademark through balls and natural awareness for his teammates – the visitors failed to cope with the Chelsea onslaught. Deco once again demonstrated his renaissance since the arrival of Ancelotti, largely due to the fact the Portuguese maestro has been enlightened by his free-role (arguably the only position Deco is comfortable in).
As commented in a previous article, the attacking abilities of Ashley Cole are integral to the success of the Christmas tree formation. This was reiterated in his instinctive strike after a well worked one-two with Frank Lampard ended any chances of a Burnley comeback. The England left-back played more of a left-wing role and his delicate finish lifting the ball over Brian Jensen was only one touch of an all round impressive display. The goal followed an earlier strike from Nicolas Anelka after he once again linked up with his striking counterpart, Drogba, to slot the ball home. Michael Ballack added the second, in what was a strong performance from the German, who is clearly growing in confidence in the Christmas tree formation.
The system and style imposed upon the Chelsea squad has seen formerly quiet players once again flourish. However, this same impact was demonstrated under the reign of Luis Felipe Scolari, perhaps in an even greater fashion. It could therefore be inferred that the momentum of a new manager taking charge has been an instrumental factor in the results the club has so far achieved. A new manager brings with them an air of expectancy and respect as the players tussle for starting positions. Deco has been rejuvenated again in his free midfield role under Ancelotti, much in the same way as he undertook this role under Scolari in which he so successfully defeated Wigan and Portsmouth early last season. After all, both years the two managers had relatively comfortable games to ease them into Premier League life. So can Ancelotti rise where Scolari fell?
That question will not be answered until a difficult period just before Christmas. However the signs are promising, as the big Italian has an array of experience in the important club fixtures – an area of naivety for Scolari. The former Portugal boss failed to impress the board with lacklustre displays and results against the clubs the side will base their success upon. All clubs will look to gain an advantage over their rivals that fall in positions in and around themselves. As Scolari found, every managerial mistake will be heavily scrutinized and Ancelotti’s real tests will be against fellow title rivals as apposed to home games against relegation contenders Burnley. For this reason it is perhaps too early to say Chelsea are the team to beat this season, despite an impeccable start, the team and Ancelotti will face much sterner tests in the upcoming weeks.
Some players however are still deemed surplus to requirement, Andriy Shevchenko was unable to re-create himself under new manager Ancelotti, who managed the striker at previous club Milan. The Ukrainian striker will return to Dynamo Kiev where he will settle back in his homeland and hope to find more first team opportunities. Shevchenko will put an end to a problematic three year stay at the Bridge – a turbulent spell for one of the former greats of the game. While Sheva departs, the Blues hope to welcome back their mercurial winger Joe Cole who is on the brink of a comeback as is summer acquisition Yury Zhirkov, after both competed in a practice match earlier this week. The pair will provide Chelsea with another option, offering width in a Plan B solution if the narrow Christmas tree formation is to falter against stronger opposition. For now, all is working in harmony at the Bridge as the players, manager and formation are engrossed in a successful open to the 2009/10 season.
Chelsea Club Focus
Terry commits future to positive Blues set-up – July 29
Reading ask all the questions of Chelsea – August 5
Chelsea start as they mean to go on – August 12 Patience is a virtue – August 18
Christmas comes early for the Blues – August 21
Chelsea maintain 100% record – August 25
Blues to cruise over Burnley pot-hole – August 28
Cole scoring prowess – September 1