Do you hear that sound? That’s the sound of the Premier League as it is brought back to life after two weeks of everyone’s least favourite break, the international break. Chelsea have so far been flawless in the league, winning four out of four, scoring the second most (behind Manchester City) and conceding the second least (behind Liverpool).
6 - Maurizio Sarri becomes only the sixth manager to win his first four Premier League matches and the fourth Chelsea manager to do so (Jose Mourinho, Guus Hiddink and Carlo Ancelotti). Elite.— OptaChelsea (@OptaChels) September 1, 2018
Next up on the agenda are newly promoted Cardiff City who are winless in the league, losing two and drawing two. In fact, they were so dire in their first three games that they didn’t even score a goal, losing 2-0 against Bournemouth and drawing 0-0 against both Newcastle United and Huddersfield Town. Then, they somehow managed to come back from a 0-1 deficit against Arsenal to make it 2-1, only to then lose 2-3 by the time the final whistle was blown.
Considering how bad Cardiff’s results have been and how seemingly good the Blues have looked, shouldn’t we expect them to stay deep and compact and try to hit us on the counter like most of the teams that the Blues have faced so far this season?
Apparently not, if you’re ready to believe the words of Cardiff’s manager, Neil Warnock, who has stated that the Bluebirds are not going to sit back but instead will be looking to have a go at the Chelsea defence which has so far looked uncertain and porous whenever it has been put under pressure.
“If you shut shop at Stamford Bridge you’re going to get picked off and lose by two or three anyway. So you may as well have a go, you just have to hope you don’t leave yourself wide open to a pasting.
”We are looking forward to the test and with Manchester City to follow it doesn’t get much tougher than that.”
That would be a worry if they were actually going to do that, however, it’s difficult to believe that a team which had scoreless draws against the likes of Newcastle and Huddersfield will suddenly be really be going at it. They won promotion last season on the back of the defensive strength (joint-best in the Championship), not their goalscoring (barely top six). In fact, with Warnock highlighting their defensive frailties against Arsenal, it’s much more likely that he’d emphasize correcting for those rather than continuing some sort of newfound attacking ideal.
“All the goals we conceded (against Arsenal) could have been prevented and we are working on that, it has probably been our strength this season.
”Although we went forward better it was disappointing to concede goals like we did because we have not conceded goals like that over the last 12 months.”
-Neil Warnock; source: BBC
Should Warnock stay true to his word, we could be in for some fun. But as a rather experienced wily old veteran, he’ll probably just stuff the box like others before, put pressure on Jorginho maybe (like Italy’s opponents have), and look to hit back on the break, where Chelsea have been repeatedly exposed and have been riding their luck.