Chelsea got 2014 underway in the same manner they kicked off 2013, with a win at St. Mary's. The weather was just awful today, and the conditions didn't do much to improve Chelsea's inefficiency in front of the goal. It didn't matter in the end though, as Chelsea managed to put away enough chances in the second half to put Southampton to bed.
The game produced a few talking points, from the early hooks for Juan Mata and Andre Schurrle, to the absolutely dreadful dive from Oscar. Here are a few thoughts following the first contest of 2014:
- I loved seeing Tomas Kalas on the bench today, even if his immediate future lies away from the club on loan. Here's hoping that wherever he ends up, he plays well and plays often.
- If one of Fernando Torres or Samuel Eto'o would just start finishing the chances they have, we'd probably run away with the title. Today was another incredibly frustrating performance from Torres, despite his well taken goal. He looked great with his movement and running past opponents, and absolutely terrible when either shooting or trying to pick out a teammate.
- Ramires looked sharp today after his one-match ban for accumulated yellows. If Fredy Guarin does end up signing with Chelsea this January, Ramires might actually get a little rest this spring. Hopefully that helps produce more performances like this one.
- Why on Earth did Oscar decide to take a dive instead of simply tapping the ball into the net? That's inexcusable behavior from the Brazilian, and hopefully results in some pretty harsh criticism from Jose Mourinho.
- Forgetting the dreadful dive for a moment, Chelsea looked exponentially shaper as soon as Mourinho brought on Willian and Oscar. I have a feeling that will be Jose's preferred attacking trio for the time being, and rightfully so.
- It was nice to see Michael Essien get another cameo today, especially with the rumors about his potential departure. Hopefully that wasn't his last appearance in a Chelsea shirt, as he definitely deserves an ovation at the Bridge if his Chelsea days are up.