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An Away Day Stroll

By Gary Watton
November 22 2017

It was certainly an inconvenience having to travel to Azerbaijan a mere three days before a domestic trip to Liverpool, but Chelsea made light work of their chore, with a comfortable success in the east. The visitors were greatly assisted by the referee who granted them two penalties and generously sent one of the hosts off the pitch, thereby ensuring a one-man advantage for the ensuing seventy minutes, a luxury compared to the Premier League where opponents seem to frequently enjoy the benefit of the doubt.

Not exactly a bunch to look a gift horse in the mouth, the English champions helped themselves to a brace of goals in each half. Yes the penalties were both fairly soft, but the bottom line is that if you commit any kind of foul in the penalty area, however petty, then the referee is obliged to apply the letter of the law and award a spot kick. Firstly the in-form Hazard duly despatched the first penalty, while Fabregas did likewise in the second half, although he had to endure the trial of scoring again from a retaken spot kick, but cool dude Cesc still sent the ball rolling into the same corner of the net.

While the recalled Luiz and Rudiger can take heart from this latest shut-out (a far cry from the debacle in Rome), the night belonged to Willian who stroked home two fine goals, one of which was courtesy of a Hazard back-heeled pass. The only cause for concern was some awful finishing from Morata in the last half hour. Well, if he's going to have an off day, he might as well have it when his team are four goals to the good!

Chelsea's good day at the office got even better when Atletico Madrid conquered AS Roma to the tune of two goals to nil, thus allowing the Londoners to proceed into the final round of group matches in early December perched at the top of the tree. However in this season's unfolding competition, the advantage of finishing top of your group seems less pronounced because there will be a few heavyweight runners up, lying in wait for any unsuspecting group winner in the last sixteen.

The next item on the agenda is the small matter of a visit to Shamfield on Saturday. I suspect that the opposition and the referee will be less accommodating then.


Qarabag 0 CHELSEA 4; half time: 0-2

CHELSEA goal scorers: Hazard (penalty); Willian (two); Fabregas (penalty)

CHELSEA: Courtois; Luiz; Azpilicueta; Alonso; Rudiger; Zappacosta; Kante; Pedro; Willian; Fabregas; Hazard. Used substitutes: Cahill; Morata; Drinkwater


CHELSEA leading scorers:

Morata nine

Batshuayi seven

Hazard six

Alonso three

Willian three 

Azpilicueta two

Bakayoko two

Fabregas two

Pedro two


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An Away Day Stroll
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22/11/2017 18:26
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