Tuesday, March 9, 2021
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Tuesday, March 9, 2021

A tale of two halves as Chelsea rebounds to beat Aston Villa away

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Chelsea came from behind to beat Aston Villa 2-1 at Villa Park, but the game wasn’t so much a cakewalk as it was a tale of two halves.

Chelsea rebounded from a ball-dominating, but result-poor, first half to beat Aston Vill 2-1 on Sunday. There were a lot of negatives in the first half, but many positives in the second. A consistent result-oriented game it wasn’t. Chelsea’s first half was maddening, leaving supporters pulling their hair out and screaming at the television.

Frank Lampard fielded a team with a few surprises to start off the match. Olivier Giroud got the nod and would later reward the gaffer’s faith by scoring the winner. Ruben Loftus-Cheek made his long awaited return, while Christian Pulisic made an impact off the bench. Captain America was up for Man of the Match, as was Mason Mount and N’Golo Kante, here’s the tale of the two halves at Villa Park.

The first half was not positive. It was the same feeling supporters got from early season poor performances. Lots of possession? Check. Decent looks and shots? Check. No goals? Check.

This has been a rather disheartening—and rather maddening—aspect of Chelsea’s 2019-20 season. Many came out blazing with optimistic predictions that the Blues would net three or four goals. But, it was not looking good after 45 minutes—not at all.

Villa opened up the scoring in the first half on a rebound that wasn’t cleared by the defense after a good save by Kepa. No fault to the keeper there, the defense just got caught ball watching. The central defenders didn’t get the job done and despite many bright spots in the first half, the Blues went to the locker room trailing. Holding possession for about 80 percent of the time, a Sarri-ball type effort couldn’t dent the back of the net. Chelsea had shots, as usual, but too few on target.

Fortunately, the Blues came back in the second half to take three points away from Birmingham. However, it was tougher than it should have been win over relegation side in Aston Villa. The Blues took the win, but not without the Villains getting some quality chances late on. Chelsea bounced back and broke the ice, notching two goals in three minutes which proved the difference. Christian Pulisic, back after a significant injury, brought the Blues even at 60 minutes with a beautiful finish from a cross from Azpilicueta. Minutes later, Pulicic’s goal was followed up in short order on a nice turn and shoot by Olivier Giroud.

In about two minutes the team reversed the game, showing it is capable of brilliant spurts, but still has a lot to work on. Giroud has now already won one game in the restart and you can expect at least one more winning goal in the final games. He’s a much better player than many give him credit for. He’s criminally underrated seeing as he’s a winner—a game winner.

A super chance was lost at the 82-minute mark when a great break by Chelsea with Kante faltered as he failed to catch Willian on the left. Instead, he held the ball and slowed the break down as pointed out by the game announcer. A good chance squandered. Yet, it was still great seeing Kante playing in his best position in the center of the midfield. He is one of the best holding midfielders in the world and that’s where he belongs.

The missed chance highlighted the most annoying aspect this entire season, Chelsea not being able to put a team away in a game in which the Blues dominate. There is no doubt the transfers made to date, Ziyech and Werner, plus others who will eventually arrive should help remedy that deficiency in the team.

Next: Chelsea: What exactly do the Blues have left to play for this season?

Chelsea has to avoid these nail-biters next season, but also down the stretch for the remainder of the current campaign. Meanwhile, three points is three points. No matter how one looks at the game overall, it’s the the end result that matters.

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