October: The Month to remember... from the Chelsea Blues perspective
In our tenth game of the season and our second Champions’ league outing, a win was needed as badly and quickly as possible. This was for a number of reasons: having lost against the unfancied Basel at Stamford Bridge in the Champions League, winning an ‘ugly’ match at County Ground in Swindon and then drawing with our neighbours, who ‘claim’ to be a ‘top four team’at White Hart Lane. The usual hullabaloo about Jose’s purported failure in his second term had begun and talk of who’s in the squad and who’s not had already commenced.
Surprisingly, October presented the team with a lot of games away than at Stamford Bridge. The total number of games to be played in that month was six (6) with four (4) trips. Such schedules could be quite a headache for any team aspiring for laurels in a season.
The team got the job done in Romania with a vintage 4-0 win to show what they’re made of, especially in Europe. The score was not only flattering but the kind of mentality and play that was exhibited by the guys showed what it meant to play for Jose Mourinho’s team. That was the game, most of us, really appreciated the inclusion of ‘Justin’ Schurrle to the team. His runs were exceptional and his recovery was admirable. In fact he was all over the place. With smiles on the manager’s face for a good work done, the squad returned to England.
Not only were they to return to England and London, but also to pack up baggage to Carrow Road for our first premiership game of the month-Norwich City. Norwich do not really offer a stern competition but when they play at home they are very obdurate at the back. They shape up in a way to make them hard to penetrate and break down. Our early lead was cancelled out in the 68th minute and it took a very risky and bold tactical decision to come home with the three points in the bag. Eto’o and Hazard replaced Ba and Cole respectively and then Schurrle was pushed to left back. Yes, that was how bold that decision was! Mata was also sacrificed for Willian (I hope Spurs fans know him…) and the rest is history. Eden got us back in the lead and Mr. Borges put the nail in the coffin with that sweet curler of a goal; what a way to score his first goal!
Next up was Cardiff City at the Bridge, a game that saw Eto’o score his first goal for the club. Having gone down earlier in the game when a knock-back was allowed to roll by ‘geezer’ Luiz, the Blues responded back with an even better performance. Hazard was on target for the equalizer before further goals from Eto’o, the in-form Oscar and Hazard again. Four goals was a good thing and clearly the team was gearing up for better things and Hazard in particular was ‘shining his eyes’ for the goals!
Touted as one of the difficult matches in the group, our trip to Gelsenkirchen to play Schalke was the most dreaded. Coming from the backdrop that they (Schalke) had won all three previous games, Jose demanded more from his group. He made it clear there was no margin for errors and that culminated in Luiz dropping to the bench for his error in his previous game. Azpilicueta had his first start of the Champions league this season at left back with the impressive Ivanovic at right back. Cahill and Terry completed the back four and Torres led the forward line. The game ended well with a Torres brace and a first Champions league goal for Hazard and his fourth goal in three matches. We returned to London with three points and three goals and top of the group, how nice!
Our biggest test was yet to come in the premier league and Manchester City didn’t present anything short of that. Cahill and Terry still held the back tight with the returning Cole and Ivanovic shoring up the defence. Lamps and Rami occupied the double pivot and Schurrle, Hazard and Oscar played just behind El Nino. The team played a very good game and showed the kind of mentality Jose had previously stated he wanted from his boys-the winning mentality. Torres was guilty of an earlier easier chance to score but he was also responsible for Schurrle’s first Chelsea goal. Torres was a constant torment for the defence of City and he deservedly had a goal to show for at the blast of the whistle for full time. The kind of performance shown by Torres in this game is one that Roman probably will be happy for getting him. The jubilant mood around The Bridge when that Nando ball hit the back of the City net showed how much those three points meant to us. No wonder that ‘weird’ celebration from Jose; don’t forget he’s one of us!!!! To cap a fine performance from the team in the month of October, we travelled to The Emirates to ‘put the Gooners in their place’ in the Capital One Cup. A rare and a first Chelsea goal for Azpilicueta and an excellent right foot strike from the magician, Mata, was enough to send the home fans to bed earlier than expected. The 9,000 Chelsea fans at the Emirates were just so amazing and fantastic on the night. Kalas was also given his debut, at least at the Emirates. The Gooners were out muscled and outplayed throughout the entire game. Even their record signing couldn’t help them! So the question became ‘when does Wenger get a bite of Jose’s cake?’ Five (5) losses and four (4) draws and still counting, what a bully Jose is!
October certainly has been a good month to remember for all Chelsea fans; six (6) wins in six (6), eighteen (18) scored and 3 goals conceded. And oh, October is also a month of ‘firsts’ for most of the Chelsea players: Willian’s first Chelsea goal, Eto’o’s first Chelsea goal, Schurrle’s first Chelsea goal and Azpilicueta’s first Chelsea goal!
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