The Guardian, Louise Taylor: “Jose who? Admittedly it was against a Championship side in the Carling Cup but a vibrant Chelsea performance suffused with goals and improvisational attacking suggested that there just might be a life for the Blues post Mr Mourinho after all.”
The Times, Matt Hughes: “Avram Grant must have feared being fed to the sharks in the nearby aquarium after sitting through 36 scoreless minutes, but to his intense relief Chelsea’s misfiring players finally showed that they, too, possess teeth. Scott Sinclair, Salomon Kalou and Steve Sidwell all scored their first goals of the season before the Ivory Coast striker added another to bring a satisfactory end to one of the most turbulent weeks in the club’s history. After scoring only one goal in their previous four matches, any evidence of cutting edge is to be welcomed, though it would be wrong to assume that a comprehensive win over a team seventh bottom of the Coca-Cola Championship represents some sort of panacea.”
The Independent, Jason Burt: “This was … not just a would-be banana skin for the new manager, coming to grips with his elevation, but a whole crate of fetid, stinking fruit that could have been poured over his head with anything short of a resounding win.”
Daily Telegraph, Tim Rich: “The “Special One” banner that Chelsea’s supporters had rallied behind at Old Trafford on Sunday was not at the KC Stadium last night but the first and last chants were all about a man whose ghost dominates the club he has left in the way that Brian Clough and Kevin Keegan haunted Derby and Newcastle. At the Baseball Ground, Clough’s successor, Dave Mackay, coped; at St James’ Park, Kenny Dalglish did not. With the pick of Europe’s coaches, from Guus Hiddink to Marco van Basten, standing in the shadows, Grant still needs more than 4-0 wins over sides who are 18th in the Championship.”
Official Chelsea FC Website: “The recently goal-shy Blues had found no problem finding the net against lower league opposition. Now more of the same in the top flight on Saturday is the order.”
- Our first win in five games; three and a half quality goals; we’re still in the League Cup (the last time we were holders we lost in the third round to Charlton); overall a promising performance.
- First senior goals for Scott Sinclair and Steve Sidwell. Jose Mourinho is said to have singled out Sinclair for special praise when he made his final farewells at Cobham last week. “You can be a star,” he told him. Sidwell’s goal capped a fine performance, so much so that we didn’t seem to miss Frank Lampard, probably for the first time since he got injured.
- Juliano Belletti. If Avram Grant is serious about playing attacking football this season, then Belletti needs to start the majority of games.
- John Terry. A commanding display at the heart of defence, albeit against weak opposition.
- Wayne Bridge’s return from injury. Great to see him back.
- Salomon Kalou. Yes, he scored one good goal and was on the scene when a Hull player headed into his own net, but everything else he did was poor. Crap ball control, weak crosses and final balls, persistently offside – really frustrating to watch. I’d rather have seen Andriy Shevchenko huffing and puffing upfront, even if he can’t run any more.
- The injury to Shaun Wright-Phillips. It would be cruel on Wright-Phillips if he was to miss a chunk of the season after the start he’s had. Let’s hope it’s not too bad.
Man of the Match
It was vitally important for Avram Grant that we won this game convincingly. Not only has it eased the pressure on him, albeit temporarily, but it will lift the spirits of the players and the fans. It certainly feels good to get back to winning ways, though Saturday’s visit of near neighbours Fulham promises to be a far bigger test: lose our unbeaten home record and the pressure on Grant will increase tenfold.