A Fan’s View: 3 Points on Turf Moor
It certainly helps when the Premier League fixtures are released and your club’s opening game is against a team fresh from the Championship. You would think different things at the time, “We’ll absolutely beat them” “They won’t have adapted to the league this is easy three points for us” “We should score lots of goals.” Those might have been the reactions from some fans when they saw the opening game and personally I knew we would have the three points, however, there were certain things that surprised me and some that didn’t.
Thibaut Courtois over Petr Cech
I think to an extent a majority of us Chelsea fans saw this coming, reading the latest Four Four Two Magazine, a Chelsea season ticket holder’s interview in our preview section, when asked if Courtois should start ahead of Cech against Burnley, he replies “100 per cent. Why wouldn’t you start the best goalkeeper in the world?”
He definitely has a point, Courtois has performed at a very world class level in the previous seasons he has been loaned out, but if indeed he is the ‘best goalkeeper in the world’, I doubt that had much to play in Jose’s decision to choose him over Petr Cech. In my opinion, a Courtois debut was long overdue, a player of his growing caliber not starting a game for us shows lack of seriousness on our path and I’m glad we rectified that.
Lastly, I felt the assessment of age and relationship comes to play in this decision. Petr Cech has been our first team goalkeeper for 10 years and he was at the very start with Jose in starting the ‘Roman Empire’ at Chelsea. I think Jose would have talked with him about the decision to give Courtois the start. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not by any chance saying this was some sort of sentimental decision; Courtois rightly could walk into the starting lineup of a number of teams, but what happens when his competition is a man who has consistently proved himself for 10 years? This battle between the Czech and the Belgian goes down the wire for me, as they are both number one goalkeepers for their countries as well.
Diego Costa Goal
I absolutely had no doubts about this one, I firmly believed Costa would have a performance in our first game and get a goal in the first two and I’m glad he has hit the ground running on the very first one. What a finish as well, I hope it gets frequent to the extent of pinching myself and saying ‘so this is what having a top class striker feels like.’
You know this one still hurts because in my fantasy team I was debating on Gary Cahill or ‘Brana’ Ivanovic in defence. He always starts the season well, Brana. He did score on the first day of the season last season and in a number of early games as well, wasn’t surprised when I saw him on the end of the corner to make it 3-1.
There’s always been a bit of emptiness in the playmaking role for me since the departure of Juan Mata, one of my saddest moments as a Chelsea fan by the way, but that’s football, and with the arrival of Fabregas, the grin was back on my face and the void is completely filled, watching him play for us in preseason and I expected nothing less on opening day. Given a debut start just like Costa and Courtois, the Spaniard impressed hugely, assisting two goals and with a key pass via a back heel for the opener as well. One of the goals might the best build up goal you might see this season.
He was awarded the Man of the Match and rightly so and I’m quite sure he had more touches on the ball than any player, paired with Nemanja Matic in the middle of the park. Spanish flair, technique and precision are back to Chelsea.
As stated earlier, I wasn’t surprised by Courtois’ start, neither Diego Costa’s or Fabregas’, however I was surprised Filipe Luis was left out and didn’t get to come on later instead Didier Drogba came on at the later stages. I thought Luis would come on and Drogba reserved on the bench for the next game and for a bigger Stamford Bridge reception, but that wasn’t to be.
Luis remained on the bench and Drogba came on for Eden Hazard, the reception from us, the away fans was incredible considering the amount, a standing ovation for the man who immortalized us in Europe’s history. He even managed to have a bit of highlight, controlling a long ball before volleying just wide. Drogba appreciated the travelling Blues and even gave his shirt to a lucky supporter who couldn’t believe his luck. Welcome back Didier, officially.
Second half 0-0
Many might have wanted a result with more than a two goal margin, but before the game I thought back to last season’s opener against Hull City. We went 2-0 up in the first half with chances to even further the league, then came half time and the second half ended 0-0, so when we had no goals at all in the second half I didn’t for once question anything.
We seemed to pass the ball around, more patient in the build ups than the first half because there was no risk whatsoever. Mourinho is not really a big fan of overblown score lines, those would come once in a blue moon for us this season so far he is in charge, and personally I would take 3 points over a 3-3 draw any day.