The Week In Chelsea: Pato announces his arrival
The week in five words
What went well
There have been few teams worse than Aston Villa in the history of the Premier League, let alone this season.
Eric Black’s side are the epitome of poor, which is why they stand on the brink of relegation to the Championship.
We shouldn’t let that take away from what was an impressive display from a much-changed Chelsea side on Saturday, though.
From the outset Guus Hiddink’s side played with intent, getting at their opponents with a desire that has been lacking at times this season.
Chelsea were ruthless against Villa, punishing them with all the efficiency we would expect from reigning champions.
The problem is that Chelsea have only been champions in name this season, which has been a major disappointment. We haven’t seen enough of them dominating opponents in the way they did Villa.
Aside from Villa’s shortcomings, what helped Chelsea on Saturday was the inclusion of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, with the academy graduate helping maintain a good tempo in midfield and he always looked a threat.
The 4-0 scoreline certainly didn’t flatter Hiddink’s men and it could have been more.
Chelsea found themselves having to defend the integrity of their players and the club in general on Sunday when the Blues were embroiled in a Sunday Times exclusive on doping in British sport.
The paper claimed a London-based private doctor, Mark Bonar, had revealed he had worked with a number of professional sportsmen to provide performance-enhancing drug programmes.
Chelsea strenuously denied any connection with Bonar and doping, as did Leicester City and Arsenal.
In a statement Chelsea said the claims were “false and entirely without foundation” adding they have “never used the services of Dr Bonar and have no knowledge or record of any of our players having been treated by him or using his services.”
The Sunday Times also noted in its report that there was no evidence to back-up Bonar’s claims.
Quote of the week
“We forgot that you were here!”
Alexandre Pato joined Chelsea in January and almost three months on, finally made his debut against Aston Villa. Chelsea fans gave him a warm welcome. Well, sort of.
The need-to-know facts
- Alexandre Pato has scored more Premier League goals than Eden Hazard (yes, zero) this season.
- Chelsea's largest-ever recorded win over Aston Villa was 8-0 in 2012.
- The last time both sides shared the spoil of the games was in a 0-0 draw on 17 October, 2010. Since then, Chelsea have won nine out of 11 meetings with Aston Villa.
Video of the week
Chelsea fans mark Alexandre Pato’s debut goal with some more tongue-in-cheek chanting.
— ChelseaFansChannel (@ChelseaFansYT) April 2, 2016
Winner of the week
Alexandre Pato has grabbed the headlines after scoring on his Chelsea debut, but it’s the performance of Ruben Loftus-Cheek at Villa Park that impressed most.
For all the hype surrounding him, Loftus-Cheek hasn’t quite delivered when he has appeared in Chelsea colours; the potential has been there, but the 20-year-old has seemed to play with the handbrake on.
He’s been too cautious and the feeling has been an element of awe has crept in given the big names he is playing alongside. Well, the shackles were well and truly off on Saturday.
Loftus-Cheek put in the sort of commanding display that will save Chelsea a few million in transfer fees this summer. Not only did he score the game’s opening goal, Loftus-Cheek completely dominated the Villa rear guard. He also completed the full 90 minutes for only the second time in his Chelsea career.
“For [Ruben] it's very important that he is not just making 45 minutes or 60 minutes but that he feels the substance to deal with the Premier League's demands," Guus Hiddink said after.
Loser of the week:
Chelsea’s Spanish international striker Diego Costa has been given a one-game extension to his two-match ban picked up against Everton in the FA Cup last month. It comes after he was first suspected of biting Gareth Barry in the melee that followed his reaction to a tackle from the Everton midfielder.
No wrong doing was proved in that instance, but Costa has paid the price for remonstrating with referee Michael Oliver before he headed off down the tunnel at Goodison Park in his customary strop. The FA were clearly unimpressed, dishing out Costa’s extended ban on Thursday, with a £20,000 fine added on top for good measure. It means Costa will not be available until 16 April when Chelsea face Manchester City—more than a month since he last featured. In total, the striker has missed six games through suspension this season.