Here they cometh
The word is spreading. Pillagers are returning from the fields with not firewood or food, but stories – stories of impending doom. They report back to their respective tents trembling with fear – only able to utter two words. Mata and Hazard.
Their army’s crests drape mournfully around their base as rumours begin to fester amongst the villagers. Doors have been bolted and defences have been readied, but they still don’t feel fully prepared. Children had heard tales of two magnificent men that if combined could unleash an impalpable power. Until now they’d believed it to be nothing more than a fable.
The rumours are true. These men are on their way, and there will be no one to stop them.
The pillagers’ report
Today should be dedicated to a loyal servant – a real hero. For the 200th time he has delivered a fatal blow to the enemy, and along the way he has seen the side grow into champions, but for once Frank Lampard isn’t the name on everyone’s lips. There are two new kids in town, and they’re finally ready to set the world alight.
It’s almost poetic to see the old and new combining so graciously, and if Chelsea’s greatest server does happen to leave in the summer at least he will be eased out by a supportive partnership. That’s exactly what happened in today’s game against West Ham when Hazard’s wizardry floated the ball onto the head of Lampard to make it 1-0 inside 20 minutes.
The Blue Army started strong, carrying confidence from their FA Cup performance against Manchester United. It was reminiscent of the Chelsea side we saw at the beginning of the season, with a creative influence in midfield. The ball was held well and every attack looked promising. The tip of the blade however was not so sharp as Demba Ba failed to finish the job with a number of one-on-ones. Like everyone else he was in awe of Mata and Hazard whose inch-perfect passing and blistering runs were creating a whirlwind on the pitch.
There was only so much the east-enders could take, and within 50 minutes Hazard had made it 2-0. Again, Mata and Hazard combined to rip apart the away side’s defence, and a similar piece of trickery from Mata complimented Hazard’s earlier assist, and allowed him to let off a sublime left-footed shot that buried itself in the corner of the net.
In the rare occasions that West Ham could prise the ball from Chelsea’s clutches they managed to fizzle in a couple of futile attempts at goal. Carlton Cole’s out-stuck leg managed to connect with the ball giving Cech his one moment of worry.
Lampard is now just two goals away from equalling Chelsea’s all-time highest goal record, but something far more special happened in today’s game. Mata and Hazard showed exactly how much damage they can do when they link together. United couldn’t deal with them, West Ham didn’t stand a chance and the rest of the league can only sit in fear as these two brilliant young talents get ready to unleash their full potential.
The Guardian, Dominic Fifield: “The script felt prescribed. Frank Lampard had been twitching nervously on the brink of a major landmark for a month, the flurry of goals that had propelled Chelsea through the winter suddenly choked, when Eden Hazard clipped over a mouth-watering centre and, at last, the veteran rose to nod in No 200. There was a quick glance back over his shoulder at the linesman on the far side, the lack of a flag prompting a flash of relief, before the realisation dawned his timing was finally in.”
The Daily Telegraph, Paul Kelso: “One of the crowning moments of Frank Lampard’s career collided with bad blood from his formative years as his 200th Chelsea goal was met with a hail of missiles from West Ham United fans at Stamford Bridge. Substitute John Terry is understood to have been hit by a coin thrown from the section of the Shed End housing visiting supporters after former West Ham player Lampard scored the opening goal in an ultimately comfortable Chelsea win. Missiles including drinks bottles, coins and other objects were hurled towards the Chelsea players as they celebrated, and the incident could yet lead to an FA charge if it is reported by referee Michael Oliver.”
The Independent, Kevin Garside: “It had to be Frank Lampard, his 200th goal for Chelsea coming against his boyhood club. There were fairytale displays too by Eden Hazard and Juan Mata, two players operating on a level way beyond the capabilities of West Ham, who are once more looking over their shoulder at the gathering storm just six points below.”
The Official Chelsea FC Website: “The Blues moved into third in the Premier League table with a comfortable 2-0 win against West Ham United at Stamford Bridge, our fourth home league victory in a row.”