Following Chelsea’s second 6-0 win of the embryonic 2010/11 Premier League season every man and his dog seem to be jumping on the Chelsea bandwagon praising their prowess and ability to score goals, and score lots of them.
I agree, two 6-0 wins to open up a Premier League season is an impressive feat – beating the previous record of +10 after two games achieved over a hundred years ago by (I think) Sunderland – but before everyone gets over excited about Chelsea and becomes hypnotised by their prowess in front of goal, you have to consider the opposition.
West Brom, though noted for their valiant attempts to play good football rather than scrap and battle and bully their way away from relegation, were always going to come unstuck at Stamford Bridge, and if it wasn’t for their diabolical attempt at blocking free-kicks the arrears wouldn’t have amounted to six.
West Brom, simply put, are relegation candidates so a 6-0 defeat away at Chelsea is no disgrace, especially when you compare it to similar score-lines from last season when Chelsea only won the league by a single point.
Following on from their thumping of The Baggies, Chelsea travelled to perennial whipping boys Wigan Athletic, again coming away 6-0 winners. Impressive on paper. In retrospect, not so much. The fact that on the final day of last season Chelsea beat Wigan 8-0 at Stamford Bridge and only the week before, newcomers Blackpool won at the DW Stadium by 4-0 takes some of the gloss from an otherwise textbook performance.
A huge question mark would have been placed against Chelsea if they hadn’t of come out comfortable winners in both of their opening matches, and with a home games against Stoke – who have already lost their opening two matches – and Blackpool, either side of a visit to West Ham – who have also lost two from two – in their next three league outings the champions are not likely to face a real test until the end of September, when they travel to ‘Middle-Eastlands’ to face Manchester City.
The way the opening league fixtures have panned out for Chelsea couldn’t have been any better, even if Roman Abramovich had paid off the Premier League and let him pick them himself.
Chelsea had, by their high standards, and pretty sub-par pre-season and looked off the pace against Manchester United in the Community Shield at Wembley, the week prior to the Premier League kick-off. Receiving a favourable opening allows their players to find their form and, as we have already seen in the opening two matches, find the net as they prepare for much bigger tests ahead.
Last season Chelsea done the double over all of the other three ‘big four’ sides, Manchester United (1-0 at home, 2-1 away), Arsenal (3-0 away, 2-0 at home) and Liverpool (2-0 home and away) and it will be these matches against the bigger sides, which now has to include Manchester City also thanks to their bottomless pit of money, that Chelsea’s title hopes should be judged upon, and when their praise would be richly deserved.
To think that the title race is all but over based on two performances against sides that will mostly likely be in the Championship come this time next year, is jumping the gun just slightly, and suggestions that Manchester United are already on the back foot following their disappointing 2-2 draw with Fulham at the weekend, also reeks of prematurity as Chelsea WILL drop points.
If last season’s up and downs in the title race are anything to go by, plenty of points will be dropped by both sides as the best of the rest (Tottenham, Manchester City, Everton and Aston Villa) draw the ‘big four’ in, as they progressively have been doing season on season.
Chelsea are deserving of their pre-season favourites tag, they did win a league and cup double last year, but hold off on the praise just for the moment, at least until Chelsea have beaten one of the bigger fishes in the Premier League’s deep, deep ocean.
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