igers caught out at Chelsea
Written By: Robert Halter
It was a tale of two cities as Chelsea were in the title chase while Hull City found themselves trying to get out of the relegation zone, the return of the Tigers to Stamford Bridge mid December was the first time they had faced the Blues away since Jose Mourinho’s return there as Chelsea manager. Hull City had never won at the Blues in twenty games which included sixteen in the league. It took just six minutes for Chelsea to register a goal as John Obi Mikel won the battle in midfield which gave Nemanja Matic the space to spray a pass out wide to Oscar, who floated the ball over from the left flank and with a powering header, Eden Hazard beat the Tigers’ keeper Allan McGregor to the chase, to strike an early advantage for the Blues. Hull then had to contend with losing Michael Dawson with a pulled hamstring as Alex Bruce, the son of manager Steve Bruce, took over. Tom Huddlestone then trod a fine line after being booked for a late challenge on Oscar. On twenty minutes, the Tigers were on the prowl but Petr Cech’s cage was not threatened as Sone Aluko sent a rising shot over the bar from a threaded pass by Nikica Jelavic. A head on collision with the two number twenty fours, saw Aluko on the receiving end of Gary Cahill’s challenge but both players were soon back in the fold for the remainder of the first half. Five minutes into the re-start, Huddlestone combined with Aluko but as the ball was played out to Jake Livermore, his low strike flashed past the near side of the post as the Tigers went on the hunt for an equaliser but their chances were squashed as Huddlestone had not learnt his earlier lesson and received a red card from referee Chris Hoy for stepping on Filipe Luis, while he was on the floor. In the sixty second minute, James Chester played ball to hand as Willian whipped in a right wing cross which went past Oscar but the Blues penalty appeal was turned away. The Tigers went for reinforcements and brought on Robbie Brady for Aluko. But the game was signed, sealed and delivered by Costa in the sixty eighth minute, after inter play between Branislav Ivanovic and Hazard, leaving Costa with a prefect angle to roll the ball past McGregor into the left side of the net. Hull made a final change by taking off Jelavic for Gaston Ramirez. Then ten minutes later, Ivanovic let fly from distance but his shot sailed over the upright. Chelsea made further changes by substituting Oscar with Didier Drogba and then taking off Willian for Andre Schurrle before Mikel was replaced by Ramires. Despite the Blues bringing three players off the bench in quick succession, the game was already won as Chelsea remained top of the Premier League in contrast to Hull City, who were second from bottom in the table.