By Gary Watton
January 23 2017
Hull City succumbed to a second two-nil defeat of the season against the league leaders, with Costa scoring in both encounters. However, the east coast team proved to be anything but a pushover. Their resistance was only eventually surmounted when Gary Cahill headed home a Fabregas free kick from close range. Cahill himself had been involved in a sickening collision with Ryan Mason in the first half which resulted in serious concussion for the latter. That drama aside, the Premiership favourites cashed in on a weekend of dropped points for Liverpool and Tottenham, whilst the two also rans of Manchester also mustered a mere solitary point.
Although Conte's team have a Becher's Brook and Canal Turn ahead of them in the guise of matches in quick succession against Liverfools and Arsenic, their journey to the winning post should be straightforward if they can safely negotiate these two fences without defeat. Perhaps only Tottensham look capable of mounting some semblance of a challenge, but as I have suggested, the five teams of pretenders below Chelsea look likely to keep taking points off one another, thereby insulating a solid Chelsea from any potential sting in the tail.
Next weekend is the local derby against Brentford, with an opportunity to field some fringe players. Chelsea can and should still progress in this cup encounter and then go boldly forth to cope with the dark forces from Merseyside and norf London.
CHELSEA 2 Hull City 0; half time: 1-0
CHELSEA goal scorers: Costa; Cahill
CHELSEA team: Courtois; Azpilicueta; Luiz; Kante; Matic; Cahill; Alonso; Moses; Costa; Hazard; Pedro. Used substitutes: Fabregas; Willian; Batshuayi
CHELSEA leading scorers:
Costa fifteen goals
Hazard nine goals (including two penalties)
Pedro seven goals
Willian five goals
Batshuayi four goals
Cahill four goals
Moses four goals
Alonso three goals
Fabregas three goals