Premiership: Chelsea 3 – 0 Manchester City

Match reports

The Guardian, Kevin McCarra: “The team is not yet as finely honed as Mourinho will ultimately demand. All the same, Chelsea can busk it and still produce results that are sweet music to their fans.”

The Independent, Sam Wallace: “The outstanding performer was Essien, who dominated the midfield once again. Mourinho said the only problem he has his with Ghana international is trying to control his instinct to cover every blade of grass, “because then I won’t have him in the areas I need him”. He also promised that Essien would not be dropped after this performance.”

Daily Telegraph, Henry Winter: “Michael Essien, Accra’s finest, earned rave reviews for dominating proceedings against Manchester City, Didier Drogba headed a magnificent goal while Andrei Shevchenko exuded everything but a finishing touch which Chelsea’s coach, Jose Mourinho, insisted would come. “We just have to let the birds fly with confidence,” philosophised the Special One.”

The Times, Matt Dickinson: “Jose Mourinho has changed his haircut, his formation (4-4-2 yesterday) and some of his hugely expensive squad but, for all the talk of a galáctico culture enveloping Stamford Bridge in the wake of the arrival of Shevchenko and Michael Ballack, the Portuguese will fight fiercely to protect his team’s core values that rank unnecessary frills below hard graft, organisation and subservience to the manager himself.”

Official Chelsea FC Website, Paul Mason: “So the end result was three goals and a clean-sheet for Carlo Cudicini that puts him second in the all-time Chelsea list for shut-outs. If this was what an under-prepared, not fully-fit Chelsea side can achieve, all looks promising for the weeks ahead.”

The Herald, Karen Giles: “For those who questioned Chelsea’s motivation this season and the possible negative reaction to some high profile, summer signings, early indications suggest Chelsea are as committed and united as before and possibly even stronger.”

The good

  1. The performance. Despite a short, rushed pre-season and last weekend’s so-so display in the Community Shield, not to mention the number of injured players, yesterday’s performance was up to the standard we’ve come to expect at Stamford Bridge. Granted, Manchester City weren’t the strongest opposition but you can only beat what’s in front of you and the players did that with something to spare. That’s now forty-five Premiership games unbeaten at the Bridge.
  2. Michael Essien. Was quite simply outstanding, the driving force in midfield from the first minute till the last. Got the assist for Frank Lampard’s deflected goal, and had a great strike of his own saved by City’s ‘keeper Nicky Weaver. Showed a petulant streak when grabbing Bernardo Corradi’s hair after the Italian hacked him down, but Mourinho was immediately on his case and will no doubt have had words with him post-match. Mourinho’s stated that he will now find it impossible to drop Essien for Wednesday’s game at the Riverside. He played the whole 90 minutes with a broken bone in his wrist too.
  3. Wayne Bridge. Had a very good game at left-back and looks to be regaining the form he showed prior to his career-threatening ankle injury.
  4. Didier Drogba’s goal. Great diving header after some good work from Arjen Robben and Bridge, who put in a decent cross which the big Ivorian connected with perfectly to power the ball inside Weaver’s right-hand post.

The bad

  1. Essien’s petulance will cost the team if he’s not careful. Mourinho said after the game: “It was not intelligent … he may regret this card in a few months’ time.”
  2. If I was to be overly critical, I don’t feel Shaun Wright-Phillips is doing enough to give Mourinho a selection headache once Joe Cole returns to full fitness.

Man of the Match

Michael Essien. Great during pre-season, the Ghanaian was magnificent and just seems to be getting better and better.

Final thoughts

A great start to the new campaign; ruthlessly efficient but a pleasure to watch. With a number of players set to return from injury in the coming weeks, we can justifiably feel optimistic about retaining our title.

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