Chelsea brushed Hull City aside as they continued to set the pace atop the Premier League table.
Diego Costa returned to the starting line-up and led Chelsea to a victory that was more or less routine although, Hull did have their chances. Costa opened the scoring for Antonio Conte’s side and was typically defiant with his celebration, seemingly mocking the speculation surrounding his future.
Hull tested Thibaut Courtois on a few occasions and the Belgian did a fine job to keep them out, but Chelsea never looked like they would drop points as they continued their push for Premier League glory.
The Blues now have an 8 point lead at the top after Liverpool and Tottenham both dropped points over the weekend, with Arsenal moving into second place and we take a look at some of the significant talking points to emerge from the result.
Diego Costa the key to the title
Chelsea did win convincingly against Leicester last week, with their 3-0 victory going some way to silencing those who thought that Conte’s side were over-reliant on Diego Costa. However, it is clear that Costa is the main man for Chelsea and will be central to any success they have this season.
Returning to the side after intense speculation over his future, Costa was back to his terrorising self against Hull. Costa nearly scored within a minute and was clearly looking to prove a point from the get-go. The Spanish international took a total of 6 shots and was a handful for Hull’s defence throughout the game.
He then scored after some smart positioning and his celebration said it all. The forward doesn’t seem to care what the speculation around him is and is happy to keep performing for the Blues while he is here.
If Chelsea want to win the title this season, they will be hoping he maintains the same mentality as he is absolutely key to their challenge. Costa may yet leave in the summer which will be a huge loss, but Chelsea have a lot to gain while he is still around.
Victor Moses impressive again
Victor Moses is one of the success stories of the season, with the Nigerian winger reborn this season after Antonio Conte saw his potential as a right wing-back. Moses has been one of Chelsea’s most consistent performers this season and he put in another impressive shift last night.
He completed 47 passes, 2 dribbles, won 2 tackles and was not dispossessed even once, according to Whoscored. Moses was also important to Chelsea’s attack and made 2 key passes. It was his assist that enabled Diego Costa to open the scoring, and Conte will be hoping he can keep this level of performance up for the rest of the season.
Chelsea’s luck continues
There is no question that Chelsea are deservedly at the top of the league, but their luck continues to aid them. Conte’s side were lucky not to concede a penalty after a clumsy challenge by Marcos Alonso, and the game would have taken on a different face if Hull had managed to equalise.
There is always an element of luck to a title victory, and it seems Chelsea have it when they need it. Marco Silva’s side were unfortunate with the penalty incident, but it has to be said that Chelsea looked set for a victory despite the incident.
Cesc Fabregas’ successful cameo
Cesc Fabregas came on in the 71st minute and had an instant impact on the game. The Spaniard ended the game with a 100% pass success rate, 2 tackles, 1 successful dribble, 2 key passes and the all important assist for Chelsea’s second.
His ball into the box for Gary Cahill was both perfectly weighted and perfectly aimed, and Cahill didn’t have much else to do than place the ball in the back of the net. The goal provided a comfortable two-goal cushion to Chelsea.
Fabregas may not be Conte’s first choice when it comes to his midfield options, but the central midfielder has made some very telling contributions to Chelsea’s season. There is no doubt Conte considers him an important player, and he was quick to show his appreciation for Fabregas at the end of the match.
Harry Maguire brilliant against Chelsea
Hull’s Harry Maguire was the best performer last night, even though Chelsea ran out the victors. The 23-year old centre back would have known he was in for a tough night seeing as Diego Costa would be roughing him up all game, but he put in one of the best defensive performances from any player this season.
Maguire won a whopping 8 aerial battles and made 8 tackles. He also made 7 clearances and 8 interceptions, and if anyone deserved a clean sheet last night it was the Englishman. If he keeps up this level of excellence there is no doubt bigger things will soon come his way.