For about maybe the first 10-15 minutes, this was somewhat of a contest. Chelsea's midfield were sloppy, slow, imprecise. Maribor threatened and even forced Cech into an awkward dive/save. But then Remy scored a lovely goal, and his injury-replacement Didier Drogba repeated his Munich penalty kick and Chelsea were cruising. 23 minutes into the match, it was game over. Chelsea would tack on several more, just for a bit of Tuesday night entertainment.
Some initial thoughts:
- Very confusing first few minutes as Maribor appeared to be playing in the Chelsea away kits.
- Having started all 12 of our games so far this season (the only player in the squad to do so), Cahill finally took a rest in favor of Kurt Zouma. Probably good timing considering the England's man flagging form as of late. Overall, Cahill has started 39 of our last 42 competitive games (once coming on as a sub, too), a streak stretching back to the 2-1 win versus Liverpool at the Bridge.
- As the 75-minute glorified training exercise played out, Chelsea could've easily had twice as many goals than shown on the scoreboard. Hazard himself was guilty of overplaying a few opportunities, though one of them did result in a own goal. And then he finally grabbed one at the end (nice assist by Nathan Ake) to go with one of his trademark penalties. Oscar, Ivanovic, and Drogba were guilty of wasting good opportunities as well.
- While Chelsea were utterly dominant, we did have decent luck with the Maribor defender gifting us a penalty for the second goal and John Terry's offside not getting called on the third goal. That being said, what a run that was from the captain!
- The crossbar of the goal in front of the Matthew Harding might still be shaking from Willian's hit. Meanwhile, Willian's probably running laps around London right now just for funsies.
- Ivanovic is the most theatrical diver in the history of theatrical diving. The worst thing about it is that he was fouled a couple steps earlier, but stayed up. Then realized that he was actually fouled, so he opened the vents on the ballasts, rigged the submarine for dive, spread his arms wide, and LOOK OUT BELOW.
- Didier Drogba scored a penalty kick and Petr Cech saved a penalty kick. Written in the stars. Drogba did alright with his hold up play, but there's no getting past the fact that he's simply too old to be truly effective.
- Substitute math: Drogba (age 36) = Ake (age 19) + Solanke (age 17).
- Loic Remy's injury (appeared to be holding his groin) is very, very, very unfortunate.
- It took him a few days, but 17-year-old Dominic Solanke finally completed the substitution that started on Saturday against Crystal Palace. May this be the first of many Chelsea appearances for the man (well, boy) currently wearing #35.
- Seven points to take control of Group G then. One more win and we shall be assured of the knockout rounds.