Chelsea v Cardiff City –
Final Score/Result: Chelsea 4-1 Cardiff
Man Of The Match: Eden Hazard
Chelsea jumped to second place in the league table with this victory as Liverpool dropped points against Newcastle United. But most importantly for Jose Mourinho, his side is finally producing the football they are capable of.
Chelsea of course went in as the favourites for this tie, but it was Cardiff who took the early lead. A defensive error from David Luiz put Jordon Mutch through on goal and the 21-year old put the ball past Petr Cech. The goal almost bought Chelsea back to life and they pressed hard for an equaliser. Finally they got that goal, but it came along with lot of controversies.
Cardiff goalkeeper gathered the ball in the 33rd minute of the game and tried to bounce the ball with his hand before kicking it. But Samuel Eto’o who was standing close to him challenged him as he dropped the ball and it fell to the on rushing Eden Hazard. The Belgium international passed to Eto’o in front of an empty net. The striker tried to take it round Marshall, but lost possession. But the ball fell kindly for Hazard once again and this time he buried it at the back of the net.
Chelsea came out stronger in the second half and dominated possession. Then in the 66th minute of the game, the former Barcelona striker scored his first Premier League goal with a wonderful strike. His footwork and composure in that goal rolled back the years and showed that he is still capable of doing it at the highest level.
Brazilian international Oscar continued his stunning form in the league with a long range effort in the 78th minute. By that time Chelsea were cruising in the match as Cardiff had failed to get a grip of the game. But that goal from Oscar was not the end of suffering for them as Hazard added a fourth just four minutes later. It was deserved goal for the wonderful performance he put in the game.
Jose Mourinho, who was sent to the stands by the officials after he expressed his anger at Cardiff for wasting time from set pieces, wasn’t available for the post match interview and first team coach Steve Holland stepped up for him. Holland explained the situation and what caused Mourinho’s outburst.
“Jose is really frustrated regarding one incident which reoccurred during the first hour of the game and that, quite clearly, from the first couple of minutes, it was taking longer and longer for Cardiff to take their goal kicks, free-kicks, corners,” said Holland, standing in for Mourinho in his post-match interview.
“We didn’t badger the fourth official; it was a point that was made on two or three occasions quite professionally. Was the referee going to do something about it? It was clearly having an effect on the game, the game was being stopped for long periods.”
“The referee did say he was aware of it but nothing actually happened and it continued. I think it was 56 minutes before he finally made the point to the goalkeeper and gave him a yellow card he needed to speed up.“
“It was nearly an hour gone by then. The game then changed – we got the goals, then there was an incident near the corner flag, just in front of our dugout. I’m not certain of the reason why, I don’t recollect, but Cardiff had to give us the ball back.“
“They gave us the ball back, they chose to kick it right down towards the corner flag, which is their right. The young ball-boy went off to receive the ball, threw it back to Ivanovic who was standing in the position it was kicked out – it didn’t actually reach Ivanovic, it went towards the dugout.“
“It wasn’t a very good throw from the ball-boy, and none of this is Ivanovic’s fault. He then picked up the ball and within literally two seconds, I’m sure if you watch the footage back, it certainly isn’t three seconds, the referee is on to him about getting the ball into play and the game continuing.“
“This was really frustrating from all of our points of view given that for an hour, it had been clearly okay to take 20, 25, 30 seconds to take a restart. When suddenly Chelsea had the lead, the new ball had to be thrown back in within two seconds so that was the frustration.” – The Chelsea first team coach said after the game.
Holland also expressed his delight at securing the win after an international break, unlike last time.
“We were conscious that the last time we came back from the international break, we didn’t get the result at Everton and didn’t follow that up with the result against Basel.“
“It can be difficult. We’re very fortunate to have players who play all around Europe at international level.“
“The downside of that is that having an international break, you can have a number of players coming back with a selection of issues having travelled here, there and everywhere.” – Holland added.
Chelsea v Cardiff City – Statistics
Eden Hazard perhaps produced his best performance in the league this season in this game. The 22-year-old scored two goals and set up another for his teammate. After a slow start to the season, Hazard is seemingly getting back to his best. The above heat map depicts his movement and positioning in the match against Cardiff.