Inside Track: Chelsea

By SFC Media Fri 15 Dec Chelsea v Saints

Evening Standard journalist Simon Johnson gave us his assessment of Saturday's Premier League opponents, Chelsea.

How would you sum up Chelsea's season so far?

You would have to regard the season up until now as inconsistent. The last seven days have, in many ways, epitomised Chelsea's unpredictability. It is uncertain which Chelsea team will turn up on the day. The performance against West Ham lacked any desire, and they didn't compete against a highly motivated David Moyes side. But conversely, against Huddersfield they were very impressive and in control throughout.

Who will be Chelsea's key men on Saturday afternoon?

Undoubtedly Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata - fully fit, Hazard is unstoppable. He has been phenomenal since his return from injury and has only failed to make an impact against West Ham of late. Morata has also made a good start to life in the Premier League, and the two forwards have a good partnership and understanding in the final third. N'golo Kante is still a standout performer and Cesc Fabregas is intelligent with his passing from deep.

How have Chelsea's new signings settled in at Stamford Bridge?

Morata has made an obvious immediate impact. Tiémoué Bakayoko has rather underwhelmed - broadly, his performances have been below par for the price paid in the summer. Davide Zappacosta has been okay and Antonio Rüdiger looks reasonable, although hasn't played much. Danny Drinkwater's game time has been curtailed because of injury.

How do Chelsea fit in to this season's title race?

With Man City out in the distance, it is hard to see anyone catching them. Perhaps Chelsea more appropriately fit in to the race for a Champions League spot, which is vital for attracting new signings and to minimise the damage in terms of a largely disappointing title defence. Chelsea still look strong enough to finish in the top four.

Has the win over Huddersfield lifted the mood in camp?

It was an excellent display against a dogged side, who had recently beaten Manchester United. This will ideally spark a winning run of games, to cement a top four position. There is also the League Cup quarter-final to look ahead to next week and they will be keen to deliver a positive display to take in to that tie against Bournemouth.


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