Chelsea 1 Everton 0: Three talking points

Three talking points after Willian strikes late to seal three points for Chelsea

How will Cuadrado fit into Chelsea’s attacking midfield trio

The £23.3m Colombian made a great start to the game but fizzled out as it progressed. The question remains though – is he better than the current players in the same position? And, is he better than World Cup winner Andre Schurrle who made way for him? Of course Juan Cuadrado will need to be given time to adapt to English football but Chelsea’s fluid attacking triumvirate will be tough to break into. It is as difficult as nailing jelly to the ceiling as is cementing a place in the magic trio. Serie A and the Premier League are two different beasts. At Fiorentina, Cuadrado may have had so-called ‘easy games’ where he could drift out of the game and wait for the ball to find him. He will not be able to do this in England. Oscar has learnt this. Eden Hazard has learnt this. Willian has learnt this. Most importantly, the head honcho Jose Mourinho will not allow it. But he will need time to adapt to his new surroundings.

Is Martinez taking Everton backwards

Heralded as one of the bright, young managers in British football, Roberto Martinez has an impressive CV. His first season at the helm of the good ship Everton appeared to be a match made in sweet, toffee-based heaven as the club finished fifth. Fast forward nine months, and much is different. Although Everton are in the latter stages of the Europa League, the Toffees sit 12th and look noticeably different to last season’s well-oiled machine. Martinez has had to content with injuries but all managers face this problem. For the Goodison Park faithful, this season was supposed to be the next phase of Project Martinez. The plans have been temporarily shelved as Everton are five points above the drop zone. The days of yore when Everton were a Premier League yo-yo club are looming on the horizon. Martinez needs to inspire positive change but at least he will be given the chance to inspire change.]

Do Chelsea have a plan B?

Many sides come to Stamford Bridge and find themselves blown away by Chelsea’s attacking threat. In the Blues’ last two home games, against Manchester City and Everton, the free-flowing football has been noticeable by its absence. Mourinho, once chastised for playing to win rather than playing to entertain, has undergone an Ebenezer Scrooge-esque transformation in his second spell and now aims for the latter option above. But what happens when it does not work? Teams are learning, as if it was obvious, that by sitting in front of their goal and hitting Chelsea on the break is the way to lessen the Pensioners’ threat. Even Hazard and Oscar, as artistic as they are, need space to operate in. Mourinho arrives at a Catch-22: play to win and get labels thrown at him of boring, boring Chelsea or try to entertain the masses but running the risk of not getting the victory. As pragmatic as the Portuguese is, surely there is an alternate plan when things conspire against the champions elect.

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