After nearly four months out with a hamstring injury, Ben Chilwell made his long-awaited return over the weekend, playing the last quarter hour against Fulham. He may have once again been deployed at left wing instead of left back — just Poch things! — but it was nice to see the Vice-captain and his newly flowing, Marcos Alonso-esque locks back anyway. (Now if Chilly wants to emulate Alonso in the goalscoring department, too, then that’d be great!)
Including this season, Chilwell has now missed significant portions of each of our last three campaigns, which is undoubtedly frustrating for all involved. Hopefully he can put together a solid run of form and fitness now.
“It was great to be back out there helping the team. It’s felt like a long time [being out] but I had a great reception from the fans, so thanks to them for that [and] it’s just an amazing feeling to be back out there playing at Stamford Bridge. Being injured is never a nice feeling and it’s something I’ve just had to learn to deal with and try to take the positives from. I’ve worked hard to get back fit and to be ready to help the team, both physically and mentally.
“Obviously I’ve been working hard to get myself physically fit and ready to compete on the pitch but also being a good help to the boys in the dressing room and around the training ground. I’ve tried to support as much as possible when I’ve not been involved. I try to get around the boys and offer encouraging words whether that’s at half-time, full-time or before the games. Now I’m back fit, hopefully I can help on the pitch too!”
Chilwell helped us hang on to the 1-0 win over Fulham on Saturday, which was our fourth in a row at home in the league and sixth in all competitions, the longest such streak since 2002. We haven’t won seven on the bounce in seven years, since the days of Antonio Conte when we rattled off 13 in a row from October 2016 to March 2017.
A seventh win will be needed if we are to overturn the 1-0 first leg deficit against Middlesbrough next week, so hopefully this new foundation we’re now attempting to lay down for Fortress Stamford Bridge will prove solid enough.
“I think we are starting to turn a corner a little bit now. We’re eight unbeaten at the Bridge now and beating Fulham, in a local derby, gives us real momentum ahead of a big game against Middlesbrough the [Carabao] cup semi-final.
“I’m sure the fans will be right behind us as they always are and it’s a big opportunity for us to create another special night under the lights at Stamford Bridge.”
-Ben Chilwell; source: Chelsea FC
We haven’t had too many special nights in recent years, so that would be more than welcome indeed!