Jose Mourinho is the darling of the Bridge: Five things we learned from Chelsea 2 Dynamo Kiev 1
By Chelsea correspondent Tony Hughes
The Stamford Bridge faithful overwhelmingly want Jose Mourinho to stay, Nemanja Matic shows promising signs and other things we learned from Chelsea 2 Dynamo Kiev 1.
Chelsea fans are fully behind Mourinho
We are not used to seeing Jose Mourinho’s bashful side, but it made a rare appearance tonight after the manager’s name rang out repeatedly during the first half, before and after the Blues took the lead. Each time it was started in the Matthew Harding stand and then rippled across the four stands of the stadium, bar the small smattering of Dynamo Kiev fans. Each time Mourinho acknowledged the support with a shy wave to the masses. It was a clear message from the fans to owner Roman Abramovich that they still believe they have the best man for the job in situ.
Willian is one of the few men to trust
The Brazilian is Chelsea’s standout player this season. That might not be saying much, as every outfield player bar Diego Costa has been dropped at some point. But Willian has provided a consistent level of output that is in stark contrast to the up-and-down performances of his colleagues. Not only did he score the winner after 83 minutes with yet another sublime free-kick but he created the opener with his fizzing low cross from the right during the first half that Aleksandar Dragovic headed into his own net. Willlian has scored five goals this season and is a rare beacon of blue consistency.
Costa is a shadow of his former self
In football parlance, Diego Costa looks a yard off the pace. In truth, that has been the case for the entirety of this season as his goals record – three in 13 matches – pales in comparison to his outstanding debut campaign at the club. Yet Mourinho has not lost faith in the Spain international. Intriguingly, Costa is the only outfield Chelsea player not to have been dropped this season. Nevertheless, Costa still does not look the same player as in 2014-15. He is less mobile and less threatening. He is a shadow of his former self.
Nemanja Matic shows encouraging signs
Few Chelsea players have disappointed as much this season as the giant Serbian. And that is saying something. This was a promising display from the midfield anchorman, who snapped into tackles, shielded the defence and took up good positions to sensibly distribute the ball. Try as they might, Dynamo Kiev could not build any momentum in midfield because Matic was there to negate them. A continuation of this kind of form will be crucial if Chelsea are to start climbing the Premier League table.
Hazard needs to take stock
This was another low point for Eden Hazard in a season full of them. Dropped for the second consecutive Champions League match, he watched from the bench as Chelsea failed to hold on to a one-goal lead before coming on with 12 minutes left to help rescue three points for his team. The reigning Footballer of the Year has had a horrible start to the season and it is unlikely that the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona will be thinking that he is an absolute priority for £60million of their available 2016 transfer spend.