After months of promising moment mixed with utter frustration, Chelsea finally managed to put it all together and perform for a full 90 minutes today against Everton at Stamford Bridge.
Frank Lampard’s team was good from goalkeeper to striker, ruthlessly effective in front of goal but also playing slick football throughout.
They didn’t take their foot from Everton’s throats after a strong first half either, keeping their focus and scoring twice more early in the second period to kill the game.
It was everything fans have been asking for for months, and finally sees them pick up three points at home that take us one game closer to reaching the Champions League. Despite a heavy load of injuries, the team worked hard and looked totally focused from the first kick off.
The confidence that they took from a big win on Tuesday night was clear, and nowhere more than in the imperious performance of Billy Gilmour in midfield.
He was later joined by Tino Anjorin, Reece James and Armando Broja off the bench, with Mason Mount scoring the opening goal. By the end of the game the team was full of players from the academy, despite the absence of Callum Hudson-Odoi, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Tammy Abraham through injury.
It wasn’t all the story of the young players through, and in fact the front 3, all wheeled out as backups to younger more exciting models, performed to their very best and really won us the game.
Willian, Pedro and Giroud all contributed goals and vital play in the buildup to other attempts, as well as working hard and setting a strong tone that the other players further back followed.
Ross Barkley was inspired in midfield against his old club, Kepa looked confident in keeping his second clean sheet in a week, even Marcos Alonso looked solid despite playing on the left of a conventional back 4.
Backed into a corner by injuries and suspensions, and with the chasing pack closer than ever in the league, Frank Lampard has found a sweet blend of youth and experience, and sticking with it proved to be the right call again today.
Given their Champions League tie against Bayern is probably over already, the team can safely say it has emerged from its brutal run of fixtures with its head above water.
There are points to be won against Aston Villa, West Ham, Watford and Crystal Palace all in the next month, and a run of wins in those games would all but seal Champions League football.
Lampard will be insistent that complacency doesn’t set in – this is just two good results on the back of a much larger number of bad ones – but he looks to have righted the ship in time to finish strongly.
Young or old, everyone performed today, and they will need to do so again, and again, in the final few months of the season.