What a month of football this has been for Chelsea! Thrashing Tottenham 5-1 to reach the FA cup final, knocking out holders Barcelona to reach the Champions League final, and now thrashing QPR 6-1, with Torres getting a hat-trick! Coming into this game I read a stat that said Chelsea have never gone a Premier League season without a London derby win. Boy did we make sure that record stood firm, and boy did we do it in some fashion!
This specific London derby carried extra significance because of what happened in the reverse fixture. We had two players sent off, almost all of our team on yellow, and of course the racial allegations surrounding John Terry and Anton Ferdinand. It was set to be a fiery encounter, but thankfully the only fire we saw was the one in Chelsea’s belly as they thrashed QPR 6-1.
Before the start of the game, it was clear that Di Matteo was going to rotate his squad after that exhausting trip to Barcelona. The only area of concern for me was in the center of defense as we were without the injured Cahill and Luiz, and the suspended Ivanovic. I actually thought Essien might slot into center back reminiscent of the Mourinho days, but Di Matteo had other plans. It was Bosingwa, who did a great defensive job against Barcelona, starting next to John Terry, with Paulo Ferreira coming into right back. Ashley Cole completed the back four, with Essien, Lampard, and Mata in midfield. The front three comprised of Sturridge, Kalou, and Torres.
It was a rainy day at Stamford Bridge, but the wet conditions did not slow down Chelsea one bit as they opened up the scoring inside one minute thanks to a delightful right footed strike from Daniel Sturridge. At that point it was all downhill for QPR. Terry made it 2-0 shortly after, heading home from a Mata delivery from a corner, and his celebration looked of a man apologizing for his midweek actions. What massive character shown by Terry to continue to bounce back from any set backs and give it his all on the pitch.
Then came goal number 3, which was one of our more intricately created goals of the season. Torres collects the ball at the half way line, plays it to Mata, who passes in to Kalou, who plays a perfectly weighted one-time pass to Torres who continued his run, beat the keeper and slotted home. You could sense that the Chelsea crowd celebrated Torres scoring a little more than the rest, rightfully so, as it is great to see a player of his caliber get back into form. A few minutes later, Torres made it 4-0 after pouncing on a miscommunication between the defender Onuoha and his keeper. This was 4-0 inside 25 minutes and at this rate, there was no telling what kind of scoreline we would see.
However Chelsea took their foot off the pedal and the 5th goal didn’t come till the 64th minute, when Mata played Torres through, and you knew he would just gobble up that chance, and he did, signalling his first ever Chelsea hat-trick! Malouda made it 6-0 shortly after coming on, and Cisse would peg one back, but the game would end 6-1.
A different type of highlight occurred in the 81st minute when Sam Hutchinson came on for Bosingwa. Sam, who retired from an injury that ended his career was back in the first team, a monumental moment for his personal triumph.
So the game was over, we had our London derby win, and things seem to be going from good to better for Chelsea at the moment. We have a big game against Newcastle coming up, in our bid for fourth spot, and would overtake them in the table if we were to win. It’s astonishing seeing how frantic of an end to the season we are witnessing with the fight for the title, the fight for a top four spot, and the battle of relegation still all in the balance. What is reassuring is that Chelsea seem to have peaked at a crucial time of the season, and with two cup finals coming up, and the race for the top four, the momentum is surely with Chelsea.
In the end I leave you with the man of the hour, Fernando Torres!