TERRACE TALK: Chelsea - Waiting patiently for avalanche that never came

As Costa put us two up within the opening ten minutes, I relaxed and thought "at last". A fast start, taking on shots and, most importantly, not resting on the rather thin cushion of one goal. I then sat back and waited for the avalanche.

When will I learn?

Even Mourinho looked mightily relieved as Remy’s effort trickled over the line. For a while after the equaliser went in, we looked like we were about to fall apart and go into full melt-down mode – the half time whistle couldn’t come early enough.

Jose did what he was paid to do and we came out like a team with a purpose for the second half.

I was especially pleased not to see us drop points due to Courtois’s mistake – it would have been very harsh on our young keeper, especially given the saves he had made prior to and after his uncharacteristic error.

He can take as much pride in that win as any of the goal scorers.

Hazard once again dazzled. I am beginning to wonder whether, in a bizarre way, our ordinary performances are down to his artistry. I think we are becoming so over-reliant on him that we are becoming predictable. Instead of looking for that defence-splitting pass, or taking on players, we simply look for Hazard.

Whatever it is, we really need to do something as we still need to win a significant number of our remaining games to win the league.

At the moment I wouldn’t class any one of them as a given.

Hazard described us as having nine remaining cup finals and he’s right – the importance of every one of these games cannot be over-stated. If we keep playing as we are, they are really going to put us supporters through the ringer.

I think so many people in the media and footballing world expected us to walk this league that the team perhaps began to believe it too. I certainly didn’t, but neither did I expect us to play as woefully as we have at times. All that said, our biggest rivals have experienced some spectacular losses themselves, so we can’t beat ourselves up too much. Especially as we have only actually lost three games this season – yes, really.

Question for you – if Skrtel stamped on a player and no-one mentions it, did it really happen? But let’s move on as no one’s meant to have noticed...

As for Gerrard, he’s very, very sorry and he’s not that sort of player.... oh and it’s totally uncharacteristic and he’s a model professional and an ambassador for the game... so let’s not pillory him because he doesn’t deserve it. No, he’s the queen mother of football – godbless him.

I think Ivanovic needs a rest. He’s not as young as he was and there have been a fair few mistakes entering his game of late. I think he simply needs a couple of games off – then we can get a proper look at Azpilacuerta on the right and Felipe Luis at left back.

That must be the long term aim. Azpilicuerta is great for us and Mourinho often waxes lyrical on how he would love a team of 11 Cesars so reliable is the Spaniard.

But Luis is far more better crossing the ball into the box although he does lack perhaps in the defensive department. Never really did Petrescu any harm though.

So a two-week break now, which will be good news as far as Costa’s hamstring is concerned. Although from memory he was scoring more goals at the beginning of the season when it was still a concern, than when he was supposedly fit!

I usually curse these international breaks as they invariably come when we are hitting a rich vein of form and so disrupt our momentum. Not so this time, though I can’t imagine the majority of our squad playing all over the world will help us much either. But then all our rivals are in the same boat.

Once we’re back, it’s that final part of the season where we need to use every weapon in our armoury to drag ourselves over that line. We will need to overcome Arsenal’s customary late charge, City’s bigger squad, United’s experience and the sheer will of the media behind Liverpool’s sails. If we can do that, then we will be very worthy champions indeed.


Sorting out Posh Cork for ages!Ask Audrey: 'I'll end up looking like a woman from Kanturk'

Cork architect Loïc Dehaye tells Eve Kelliher how he created his dream home from a blank canvas.'It was like this house was waiting for us': Cork architect talks creating his dream home

Keeping to a routine can be difficult for people in quarantine.Life on the inside: 10 ways to start your day right in lockdown

Who needs a gym when you can look in your kitchen cupboards for equipment instead?Don’t have weights for working out? These household objects will do the trick

More From The Irish Examiner