Chelsea: Points to Ponder from Win vs. Newcastle
Top. Of. The. League.
Granted they have one more match than nearly every team in the competition, but with three wins from three matches, the fact remains that Roberto Di Matteo's men have started the season very, very well and must be considered genuine title contenders.
The match wasn't without it's talking points, which will come out, but what I want to do is look towards the future—what does this match help us understand about the Blues' chances this season and what to expect from them?
Here are some points to ponder from the win over Newcastle.
Is There a Changing of the Guard at Chelsea?
Once upon a time, had Chelsea boasted a starting side without John Terry and Frank Lampard, pandemonium may well have set in amongst Blues supporters.
Eden Hazard, Juan Mata, Oscar and Marko Marin are ushering in a new guard at Stamford Bridge, and so far it's leading to strong success for the Blues.
They will still have the experience that comes with players like Fernando Torres, but we can expect to see a transition from the old to the new at Chelsea over the next few years—starting with significant progress this year.
Is That a Problem at All?
The obvious question then becomes is that a problem—the answer of which is both yes and no.
Chelsea will lose Frank Lampard, Ashey Cole, Petr Cech, John Terry—players which have made their name on the world stage through their performances for Chelsea—and that must be considered somewhat of a loss.
Having said that, with a player like Eden Hazard who is just 21 years old and already starring for the club, they won't suffer too much when the club legends do depart.
Youthful players like Cesar Azpilicueta and Ryan Bertrand will fill the void and make their own name at Chelsea—leaving no doubt that the future at Stamford Bridge is in safe hands.
Has Fernando Torres Gotten His Mojo Back?
Not wanting to jinx the man or anything, but Fernando Torres is showing good form to start the Premier League this season and looks like he's starting to return to the format that saw his incredible transfer from Liverpool to Chelsea all those years ago.
El Nino's failures and inconsistencies have been well-documented, but the Chelsea striker is seemingly showing new life and a resurgence in form—potentially starting an EPL season better than he ever has done for the Blues.
Maybe it's the arrival of Eden Hazard; maybe it's the Golden Boot Award he won at Euro 2012; maybe it's something entirely different, but Fernando Torres is looking good.
Just how good will he be this year? Well, that still remains to be seen.
Will Chelsea's Attack Edge Cost Them This Season?
Chelsea has quality attacking defenders in Ashley Cole and Branislav Ivanovic—players that have been superb in attack throughout the Blues' opening three games. But against a quality attacking team on the counter-attack, Chelsea could be found wanting at the back.
Newcastle wasted opportunities to get on the scoresheet against the Blues, particularly Demba Ba, and they did create several good passages of play through Hatem Ben Arfa.
Just some food for thought.
How Will Juan Mata Operate This Season?
With the arrival and spectacular start to the season by Eden Hazard, Juan Mata has become somewhat of a forgotten man at Stamford Bridge. The Spanish international isn't getting the ball or the attention that he'd ideally like and isn't having the individual success that he had towards the end of last year.
Which for me is quite okay.
Mata has taken the backseat for a while; that will change when defenses start to focus on Hazard and the Belgian's incredible success rate begins to slow down.
The 24-year-old is still a crucial player for the Blues this season and will prove that throughout the season.
Does Chelsea Need Anything Else This Season to Win the EPL?
Thus with a few days remaining in the transfer window, Chelsea has put themselves in a commanding position to seriously threaten for the EPL title this year. They have most (if not all) of the pieces they would like to have added when the transfer window opened, and are definitely starting to gel over the first few matches.
How they deal with the unexpected—new tactics, injuries, shock losses—will determine just how far they go this season, but for now, it's top of the table and a perfect record to start the season.
You can't ask for much more than that.
What did you take away from the win vs. Newcastle United?
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