Chelsea 2021/22 Revisited: January 2022

LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 02: Thomas Tuchel, Manager of Chelsea reacts towards the fans during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on January 02, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Lee – Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Game 34/66: Chelsea vs Liverpool

Coming off the back of a pretty dismal December, everyone associated with Chelsea was hoping that the New Year would bring a fresh start – an opportunity, if you will, to get back on track. Everyone, it seemed, apart from one person. Because, if there’s one thing you need to get back on track, it’s unity amongst the team, especially when your next fixture is against rivals not only that season, but also historically.

So when a member of that squad decides to speak in an interview unsanctioned (we’ll hear that word again) by the club, bemoaning an apparent lack of play time, an unsuitability with the system favoured by the manager and a desire to return to the club he had left just six months ago, preparations are more than a little disrupted.

Of course, this is all in reference to the infamous interview that Romelu Lukaku gave to Sky Italia, which led to him being left out of the squad for the Liverpool match. Not only that, but his reputation with the fanbase fell off a cliff, and while some came to forgive him over time, there are still many to this day that would prefer he left the club this summer. In truth, it’s a shame. The Belgian had just got back into form after an absence first with an injury and then with Covid, scoring against Aston Villa and Brighton in the previous two fixtures.

He would’ve been in pole position to start up front against the Reds, and few would’ve bet against him causing their defence plenty of trouble with his physicality. As it was though, Tuchel made the decision that, ultimately, disciplinary action took precedence over the chances of winning a game being potentially reduced, and there’s not many who disagreed with that choice. And so, in what felt like a true ‘Super Sunday’ classic, there were all the ingredients for a vintage Premier League matchup under the lights, with the 90 minutes that followed being one of the most energetic, engrossing and entertaining of the season.

It possessed just the right amount of feisty challenges – the first of which came barely 10 seconds in, as Sadio Mane went up for a header with Cesar Azpilicueta and elbowed the Spaniard in the face, receiving a yellow card for his infringement. There were chances for both sides early on, first as Havertz blocked an attempted Alexander-Arnold clearance that fell kindly to Christian Pulisic, but the winger couldn’t round Kelleher in the Liverpool goal to make it 1-0.

Just a couple of minutes later, the visitors took advantage of a defensive error in the other direction, as Trevoh Chalobah mistimed a low header, allowing Mane to do what Pulisic couldn’t and round the ‘keeper to put Liverpool ahead. It felt as though every time the Reds went forwards they might score, and they did so again midway through the half when former Blue Mohamed Salah duped both Alonso and Mendy by not cutting inside, before beating the man in net with a near post finish.

At that point, it felt like game over. Liverpool kept on coming, looking for a third to really kill the Blues off, and they would’ve got one had Chalobah not made some amends for his earlier mistake by producing a fine last ditch slide tackle on the aforementioned Salah as he looked to be through on goal. It was going to take something of a miracle for Chelsea to get back into this one, but three minutes from half time that miracle came, as Kelleher punched out a free kick from Alonso that fell to Mateo Kovacic on the edge of the box.

Most expected him to take a touch, and then find a teammate. Some might have thought he would bring it down before having an effort himself. A few could have foreseen him taking on the volley first time. But virtually nobody would have predicted that the volley – which was carried out with both feet off the ground and the midfielder leaning backwards – would fly into the top right corner, bouncing in off the post to get the Blues back in the game.

And yet, it did. The eventual Goal of the Season for the club gave the hosts a renewed sense of belief that there was plenty of time left to find an equaliser and get back into this one. In the end, they played as if there were only seconds left, the Stamford Bridge crowd roaring in approval as Rudiger nicked the ball off Salah and sent it up the pitch towards N’Golo Kante.

A clever pass over the top meant Pulisic was in on goal, and this was his chance to make up for his earlier miss, and send the home crowd absolutely ballistic. If you couldn’t tell by the trademark Gary Neville moaning noise on commentary, the crackling of the microphones around the pitch as the home fans screamed their hearts out would have given away the fact that the American did indeed get the game back on level terms, and a remarkable comeback had been completed in the space of a little under four minutes.

There was even a moment when Chelsea thought they might go ahead before the break, as Mount attempted a shot while turning, but it went a whisker wide of the post, and so at the interval it was all square. Perhaps due to the frenetic nature of the first half, the second was never quite going to be able to live up to its predecessor, but it certainly wasn’t bad either.

Liverpool had two excellent chances within the space of a couple of minutes – the first saw Salah attempt an audacious chip from a very long way out which forced Mendy into a diving save, and the Senegal international was on hand to deny his compatriot Sadio Mane too, when he lashed a shot from the edge of the box towards goal. It was a reminder of the ability that Chelsea would miss for the next month or so, as Mendy headed off on international duty for the African Cup of Nations – a tournament he would go on to win with his country, being one of the heroes in the penalty shootout in the final.

Anyway, back to this game and Chelsea too had chances to win it, the most notable being when Pulisic got on the end of a cross from Alonso, directing an effort on goal, but fast reactions from Kelleher prevented the home side from going ahead. There were to be no late winners in this one, and it was probably a fair result on the balance of the game, with each side playing their part in a thriller of a game, but as far as the Premier League table went, it didn’t do much for either team’s hopes of catching Manchester City at the top.

Really though, as the fans filtered out on that cold Sunday night, the only thing in most people’s minds would have been how privileged they felt to have been present for a game that would be remembered for some time.

Game 34/66: Chelsea 2-2 Liverpool
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 02: Christian Pulisic of Chelsea celebrates after scoring their side's second goal during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on January 02, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 02: Christian Pulisic of Chelsea celebrates after scoring their side’s second goal during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on January 02, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Game 35/66: Chelsea vs Tottenham

Next up was the first of three games in one month against London rivals Tottenham, with the first two coming as part of the two-legged affair that is the Carabao Cup semi final. Quite why the competition still insists on playing an extra game at this stage, when even the FA Cup – the more prestigious cup tournament – doesn’t do so, remains unknown.

All it does lead to is greater fixture congestion for those clubs that do make it to the final four, something that Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp would complain about incessantly over the following months. As for Chelsea though, Thomas Tuchel simply took on the challenge without disturbance, opting for a slightly altered team from the one that had taken part in the thriller against Liverpool just three days before.

Not only were the personnel changed though, the formation too switched, as Tuchel opted for a back four, which had been fruitful in the away league game against Spurs this season, back in September. Just as it had in North London early in the campaign, it worked a treat once more, as the Blues found the breakthrough with only five minutes gone.

Marcos Alonso took advantage of a half-asleep Emerson Royal, nicking the ball off the Brazilian before charging forwards and playing Kai Havertz in with a well-weighted through ball. The German’s shot ended up being somewhat scuffed, and looked as though it was heading wide of the target, before it was deflected into the goal off of Davinson Sanchez. There were question marks over whether the goal ought to be given to Havertz, and in the end it was, with it being assumed that his shot was in fact heading on target.

If that debate over an own goal was a contentious one, the second goal for the Blues certainly wasn’t. Hakim Ziyech swung a free kick in from the right hand side, but it was nowhere near a Chelsea attacker, so Tanganga went to head the ball away. Unfortunately for him, his attempted clearance cannoned straight back in the opposite direction off his own teammate in Ben Davies, duping everyone in the Spurs defence, and they could do nothing as the ball somehow ended up in the back of the net.

It wasn’t the most graceful goal the Blues would score this season, but their dominance with the ball certainly warranted a two goal advantage, which could’ve really been more. Lukaku had a good chance from a header which went just wide of the post, while Havertz had an opportunity a little before the second goal that Lloris saved well, but for the majority of the second half Chelsea appeared to simply accept the lead as large enough in preparation for the second leg in a little over a week’s time.

It might not have been as exciting as the Liverpool fixture, but it was a job well done, and yet another example of the Blues triumphing over their North London rivals this season.

Game 35/66: Chelsea 2-0 Tottenham

Game 36/66: Chelsea vs Chesterfield

Another new competition was upon the Blues, this time one of the all-time greats in the form of the FA Cup. Chelsea have become synonymous with the trophy, in particular with games at Wembley, and every year the expectation remains high for how far the team might go. Of course, one of the other joys of the FA Cup is the fact there is a chance a lowly non-league team in any one of the tiers of English (and Welsh) football could face a behemoth of the game, and that is what happened on the weekend of the Third Round at Stamford Bridge.

Chesterfield of the National League were the opponents for a chilly Saturday evening matchup, and it meant a chance for a couple of new faces in the starting eleven, including Marcus Bettinelli in goal and Lewis Hall at left back. That said, the lineup was otherwise relatively strong, which was quite a surprise given the number of fixtures around that time, as many had expected Tuchel to rotate more and give youth a greater opportunity.

In part due to the strength of the team on the pitch, it didn’t take long for the Blues to open the scoring – though Chesterfield can take some pride from the fact they lasted a minute longer than Spurs had just a few days prior. In fact, once Chelsea had accrued a sizeable advantage, the chant of ‘Are you Tottenham in disguise?’ broke out, in another dig at the city rivals.

Back to this game though, and as mentioned the first goal came early on, as Mateo Kovacic ran some way up the pitch, before playing in Hakim Ziyech. He attempted a shot which was blocked by Gunning, but the ball fell right into the path of Timo Werner, and even he couldn’t miss from such close range. The second was a far more exquisite finish, as Callum Hudson-Odoi decided to try his luck from long range, curling a right-footed shot into the bottom right corner.

A couple of minutes later a third goal was added, and it came from the man who had endured quite the frosty reception from home fans since being brought back into the team after his interview. Romelu Lukaku simply had to tap home, thanks to Lewis Hall’s determination to win the ball back high up the field, which he did so, then having the presence of mind to look up and square it to the Belgian in the middle of the box.

Lukaku put his hand up, seemingly in an apologetic fashion towards the home support, and some did choose to forgive, chanting his name once more, but it’s fair to say that it wasn’t a universal level of support, and some were wanting more than a goal against non-league opposition to make up for his comments. Having already had an impressive game so far, Lewis Hall had a good effort on goal from just outside the box which was saved, but the goalkeeper only succeeded in palming the ball straight into the direction of Andreas Christensen.

The Dane, who had only scored his first goal for the club a couple of months before, managed to somehow loop a header over the ‘keeper, and it was the expected dominance from the Blues at the break exemplified in the scoreline. Really, they should have gone on to score many more, perhaps even breaking into double digits, but the story of the second half was one of frustration as far as the hosts were concerned.

Repeated sighs and groans from the crowd became more common, as over and over again the Blues would come forward and appear to be in a threatening position, only to end up either cutting it so far back that Bettinelli had the ball, or lost out due to taking too much time. There was a fifth goal in all fairness, and it came from the spot after Christian Pulisic was fouled, as Hakim Ziyech tucked away the penalty.

But, apart from that, it was a pretty disappointing second 45 minutes after a first half that had potentially promised a huge score. In fact, there was even time for a goal for the visitors, that sent the away fans absolutely wild, as they celebrated the goal in spectacular fashion. It came after a long goal kick was headed on by Asante towards Tshimanga, and he turned away from Lewis Baker and Malang Sarr before firing at Bettinelli.

The goalkeeper did save the effort, but it fell right to the aforementioned Asante, and all he had to do was pass into an empty net which, while delightful for the away side, was a pretty dissatisfying way to end a game that really should have produced a more dominant result. Nevertheless, the Blues were into the next round and were unbeaten in 10 games in all competitions too.

Game 36/66: Chelsea 5-1 Chesterfield

Game 37/66: Tottenham vs Chelsea

With something of a half time interlude between the two legs of the Carabao Cup semi final having been completed in the form of that FA Cup fixture, it was time for the second and decisive leg to take place. This one was at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, where Chelsea had cruised to a comfortable 3-0 victory in September, and with a 2-0 lead on aggregate heading into this one, it was expected that they’d get the job done fairly comfortably.

Lukaku very nearly put the Blues in front, which would have certainly done something to heal his reputation, but after taking the ball down expertly with his chest, he couldn’t quite squeeze a shot past the Tottenham backup ‘keeper in Pierluigi Gollini, as the Italian got himself in the way. While he had done well to prevent that effort on goal, he had questions asked of him a short while later, as he attempted to punch clear a corner from Mason Mount that was swinging inwards, relatively close to him.

The shot stopper mistimed the punch though, and the ball came off Antonio Rudiger’s back, ending up in the back of the net and pretty much putting the game out of reach for the opponent with less than 20 minutes on the clock. For some reason, after they had gone 3-0 down in the tie, Antonio Conte’s men put up more of a fight than they had at any point beforehand, which was no doubt of some frustration to the home support, and they did trouble the Chelsea back line at times.

They had an appeal for a penalty waved away in the first half as Harry Kane played Pierre-Emile Hojberg through, with the Danish international being fouled by the goalscorer Rudiger, and the referee pointed to the spot. By this stage of the competition though, VAR was in use, and they correctly decided that, while it was indeed a foul, it had taken place outside of the box and therefore wasn’t a penalty for the hosts, with the following free kick coming to nothing.

There was another moment in the second half when the home side thought they had won a penalty, as Kane launched forward on a counter attack with only Andreas Christensen in front of him and Lo Celso and Lucas Moura to his left and right. The England captain played in the latter, and Kepa Arrizabalaga looked to have taken out the attacker as he rushed out of his goal to smother the ball, with the referee once more signalling for a kick from 12 yards.

However, upon further examination on the screen at the side of the pitch, he changed his mind again, realising that Kepa had in fact won the ball cleanly and fairly, prompting copious cheers and jeers from the visiting supporters. Those away fans had another opportunity to laugh at their rivals’ expense, as Spurs thought they had finally grabbed one back, when a loose pass from Kepa towards Jorginho was pounced upon by Hojberg.

The loose ball was picked up by Moura, who this time passed towards Harry Kane, and he did tuck it into the back of the net, but was then adjudged to have been in an offside position, and it was at that point Conte’s men appeared to realise that it simply wasn’t going to happen for them.

In truth, the most surprising thing about this game wasn’t that Chelsea had beaten Tottenham – that was a regular occurrence nowadays – but instead that VAR had made three correct decisions. Now that was headline-worthy.

Game 37/66: Tottenham 0-1 Chelsea
(Aggregate: Tottenham 0-3 Chelsea)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 12: Antonio Ruediger of Chelsea celebrates with Romelu Lukaku after scoring their side's first goal during the Carabao Cup Semi Final Second Leg match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on January 12, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Lee - Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 12: Antonio Ruediger of Chelsea celebrates with Romelu Lukaku after scoring their side’s first goal during the Carabao Cup Semi Final Second Leg match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on January 12, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Lee – Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Game 38/66: Manchester City vs Chelsea

It had been a relatively enjoyable start to 2022 so far, with the toughest game being the one against Liverpool, and even that didn’t produce a particularly negative result. Up next though was arguably the hardest fixture of the domestic season, away at the Etihad Stadium to face league leaders Manchester City. It was an early kick off on the Saturday and in the build-up to the game there was a positive mood amongst Chelsea fans.

A coordinated effort via social media had led to an influx of blow-up Champions League trophy balloons in the away end, which were waved around gleefully at kick off, as the Blues reminded their opponents of the fact they were yet to win European club football’s biggest prize, thanks to Chelsea themselves in the previous year’s final.

Unfortunately from a Blues’ perspective, that was about as good as it got in Manchester that day, with Tuchel’s team simply outdone in all areas of the pitch by the sheer quality of Guardiola’s machine which, while admittedly a little close to comfort, would go on to lift the Premier League four months later, and deservedly so. A particularly one-sided battle came up Manchester City’s right wing, where Raheem Sterling was running at Marcos Alonso for the 90 minutes.

When the Spaniard picked up a yellow card seven minutes in, it was pretty clear that Sterling was going to get a lot of joy down that side. City had a few efforts designed to test the aptitude of Kepa, who had been playing consistently recently due to Mendy’s absence at AFCON, and he stood up to them well, catching a header from John Stones and a shot at a tight angle from Kevin De Bruyne.

The best chance of the first half came relatively near the end of it, as Kovacic’s pass on the edge of his own box was deflected into the path of Jack Grealish, who found himself one-on-one with Kepa, but the ‘keeper did enough to send the ball wide. It was actually Chelsea who came out of the blocks quicker after the half time interval, as they had two excellent chances to take the lead in quick succession.

Kovacic fed Lukaku’s run and the striker tried to place it past Ederson, but saw his effort denied, and the rebound from Ziyech was fired far over the bar. A couple of minutes later, Pulisic found Alonso in space on the left hand side but the less said about the wayward shot the better. Those two chances for the visitors were enough of a wake-up call to Guardiola’s side, as they once more regained control of the game.

In truth, it was a surprise that a goal took so long to come for City; De Bruyne looked the most likely to create something, as he so often does, and he tested Kepa with a free kick that was curling towards the top left corner. While he had done well to keep a clean sheet so far, the Blues’ goalkeeper could do nothing as De Bruyne wriggled away from N’Golo Kante, steamed towards the Chelsea goal and ultimately fired a stunning strike into the bottom right corner of the net, finally breaking the deadlock and putting the hosts ahead.

It was a lead they comfortably held onto until the full time whistle came, signalling three more points for the league leaders that, in all honesty, were very much deserved. It was a timely reminder that, while Chelsea were by no means poor – they still managed two wins against top four rivals Tottenham in a week – there was still a sizeable gap between them and the level they needed to be at in order to truly challenge for the title, not only in purely points terms (there were now 13 between them and the Citizens), but also head to head too.

Game 38/66: Manchester City 1-0 Chelsea
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – JANUARY 15: Kevin de Bruyne of Manchester City scores his teams first goal during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Chelsea at Etihad Stadium on January 15, 2022 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Matt McNulty – Manchester City/Manchester City FC via Getty Images)

Game 39/66: Brighton vs Chelsea

Since the absence of Stoke from England’s top flight, there has been something of a missing piece when referring to a classic tough game in the Premier League, with ‘a cold, rainy Tuesday night in Stoke’ no longer applicable. After this next game though, a new alternative does appear to have been found, not that Chelsea would have wanted to have been involved in its discovery, and indeed coronation.

Owing to their participation in the Club World Cup next month, this game had been brought forward from when it was initially scheduled for in early February, and at relatively short notice too, with confirmation of the new date only coming a little over a week before the game. As such, for everyone involved from a Chelsea perspective, right the way through from the manager, to the players, to the fans, there was an unfortunate sense of inevitability growing around the outcome here.

Even after the Blues had gone in front, the pessimistic outlook remained, perhaps growing even more potent still, which speaks volumes about the general mood at the club during this period. Regardless, the goal itself ought to be given the recognition it deserves, with it being another for Hakim Ziyech, who was becoming one of very few that were able to find the back of the net in Thomas Tuchel’s side.

Kante laid the ball off to him, and from the edge of the area he let fly, seemingly giving opposition goalkeeper Robert Sanchez ‘the eyes’ from some distance out, as he was able to beat the shot stopper at his near post. You’d be forgiven for wondering whether the Moroccan had even scored, given his reaction was quite so placid and almost irritated, even as his teammates began to run towards and hug him.

It is possible that the winger himself felt a similar sense of concern about what might be to come still, as was common among supporters, and if that train of thought was running through his mind, it was a correct one. Chelsea failed to push on further from their opener, as had become commonplace in recent weeks, instead opting to sit back and absorb pressure which, unavoidably, led to an equaliser from the Seagulls.

Alexis Mac Allister swung in a corner which had been conceded when Kepa scrambled to push a deflected shot past the post, and it found its way to the unmarked Adam Webster, who had apparently been able to run around the entirety of the group of Chelsea defenders tasked with marking opposition attackers.

He fired a header home to bring the game back on level terms, and that frustratingly familiar feeling of being pegged back against an opponent they really ought to have been picking up three points against plagued those on the Chelsea side. While nobody in the team excelled in particular, there was another subplot which had been developing for a few games now that appeared to come to a head at the end of this 90 minutes.

Romelu Lukaku’s reputation was still in recovery mode, and it’s fair to say that he wasn’t doing an awful lot to rebuild the connection with the fans, many of whom booed him off as he was substituted in the 80th minute, following prolonged calls via the medium of his song for Kai Havertz to replace him.

In truth, it appeared that the damage was effectively irreparable – neither party appeared willing or indeed able to forgive the other, which would only make the remainder of the season tougher than it was already set to be. The full time whistle went, and once more Chelsea were forced to accept more dropped points in increasingly common circumstances.

This was, without a doubt, a cold, rainy Tuesday night in Brighton that the Blues will not want to see again.

Game 39/66: Brighton 1-1 Chelsea
BRIGHTON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 18: Adam Webster of Brighton & Hove Albion celebrates with team mates after scoring their team’s first goal during the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Chelsea at American Express Community Stadium on January 18, 2022 in Brighton, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Game 40/66: Chelsea vs Tottenham

The mood may have been low among Chelsea ranks, but if there’s any opponent that they could have picked to face in their final game before the two week winter break (though some players would still be playing for their countries in this fortnight), it would be that of Tottenham Hotspur. Having already beaten the London rivals twice this month, a third time in the space of as many weeks looked to be on the cards, and it was also a chance to make it a league double too.

As it turned out, this was just what was needed to boost morale in difficult times, as the Blues dominated their opponents from start to finish in this one. Lukaku started once more, and he had a chance within the first 60 seconds, firing a shot over the bar after Mount pulled it back to him in the box, but the real takeaway from this one wasn’t that of Lukaku’s lack of involvement, but rather Hakim Ziyech’s superb performance.

The winger was involved in almost every Chelsea attack, whether it was floating in a delightful ball to Hudson-Odoi who headed just wide, having a shot himself and forcing Lloris into a save, or linking up with Rudiger before the German sent the ball into the box towards Lukaku – and that was all just in the first half.

Speaking of the opening 45 minutes, there was a brief moment of worry as Harry Kane received the ball in the middle of the Chelsea penalty area from Ryan Sessegnon, before turning and shooting past Kepa, but the goal was ruled out for a push on Thiago Silva by the Tottenham frontman, sparing any potential blushes.

Chelsea had been on top overall, but had lacked the killer instinct needed for the breakthrough, and it felt as though they might just need a bit of magic to get the opener in this one. Two minutes after half time, that bit of magic came, and it was an absolutely sublime finish from, no surprise given the way he was playing, Hakim Ziyech.

Hudson-Odoi had picked up the ball on the halfway line, then charged up the pitch with purpose, before finding Ziyech on the edge of the area. It looked for a moment as if he might opt for a cross into the middle, but instead curled a finessed finish into the top left corner, leaving Hugo Lloris motionless in the centre of the goal, as Ziyech himself remained the coolest man in Stamford Bridge, simply turning round and lifting his arms into the air as his teammates jumped on him in joy.

Had Mateo Kovacic’s wonder goal against Liverpool not come in the same month, there is a strong argument to suggest that he would’ve won the Premier League Goal of the Month for January, with the perfection of the strike truly difficult to overstate. He was playing with a never-before-seen level of confidence in a Chelsea shirt, and it showed as a couple of minutes later he came very close to getting his and the Blues’ second goal.

Mount had a shot blocked by Davinson Sanchez, which bobbled back to Ziyech, and he absolutely leathered a rocket of a strike towards Lloris, but the Frenchman did extremely well at full stretch to push the ball behind. Chelsea were playing with quality not shown for months, linking up seamlessly between teammates, so it was no surprise when the second goal did come.

It was from a man who had also scored in the return fixture in the form of Thiago Silva. A pinpoint delivery from Mount reached the Brazilian defender, who glanced a header across goal that ended up in the bottom right, triggering wild celebrations. He may not have been at the club long, but Silva was fast becoming a cult hero amongst fans, and his name was cried with huge enthusiasm as the players began to run back for kick off, as the supporters expressed their adoration for the man who had fully immersed himself in West London.

That goal came in the 55th minute, but in all honesty pretty much ended the competitiveness of the match, with few other clear-cut chances coming beyond that point. And really, when it comes to matches against Spurs, all Blues’ supporters care about is simply beating them, no matter the scoreline. That said, it was a pretty impressive feat to be able to say that, across the four competitive matches played this season, Chelsea had defeated their London rivals by an aggregate score of 8-0.

It hadn’t been the easiest month, but it had ended on a high – and now there were two weeks of much-needed rest to come before the season really began to enter the crucial stage.

Game 40/66: Chelsea 2-0 Tottenham
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23: Thiago Silva of Chelsea celebrates with teammates Cesar Azpilicueta and Romelu Lukaku after scoring their team's second goal during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge on January 23, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 23: Thiago Silva of Chelsea celebrates with teammates Cesar Azpilicueta and Romelu Lukaku after scoring their team’s second goal during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge on January 23, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Month Statistics:
Games Played: 7
Games Won: 4
Games Drawn: 2
Games Lost: 1

Month in three words: There’s Always Tottenham.

Written and Edited by Noah Robson (@noahrobson_)

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