Moises Caicedo step up solves Chelsea major problem with brilliant performance against Aston Villa

Moises Caicedo step up solves Chelsea major problem with brilliant performance against Aston Villa

“Not only Moi, I thought the whole team was good. The performance was good from the whole team. But Moi was also good.”

Mauricio Pochettino said when asked by football.london about Moises Caicedo’s performance against Aston Villa. Pochettino is like that. He does not like picking out and praising one specific player – he instead likes to make it about the team.

And it was indeed a team effort that got Chelsea a much-deserved point at Villa Park. But Caicedo helped no end. There is certainly something to be said that the Ecuadorian’s – arguably – two best performances this season have both come when he has Conor Gallagher alongside him rather than Enzo Fernandez.

The performance is encapsulated by some seriously impressive statistics. 102 touches, 91 per cent pass accuracy, 15 passes into the final third (most), 12/14 duels won (most), 11x possession won (most), five tackles made and four fouls won (most). It was the Caicedo that Chelsea supporters had been longing for.

With Fernandez sidelined for the remainder of the season after having surgery on the groin problem that had been causing him issues in recent months, Chelsea certainly saw the best version of Caicedo on Saturday night. The £115million, club-record signing version of Caicedo.

Gallagher, equally, shone alongside his partner. The England international wins the ball back for Noni Madueke to score. If Madueke had not have put the ball in the back of the net then referee Craig Pawson may well have pulled it back for a penalty after Gallagher was tripped to the floor inside the box.

The 24-year-old then does something we did not know he was capable of. Certainly on his left foot. Gallagher picks the ball up on the edge of the box, has a look around him and to see what is in front of him, before bending the ball into the far corner to leave Robin Olsen with absolutely no chance in the Aston Villa goal.

It levelled the match for Chelsea and proved to be a defining point of the fiercely-contested game. Chants of “Conor Gallagher” could be heard from the away end, who were in fantastic form all night-long – even when the Blues were losing 2-0 in the Midlands.

Those fans that continue to stick with the team week in and week out were rewarded with a spirited comeback from the team, but it could have been so much more. And for a brief moment, we saw pandemonium in the away end when Axel Disasi’s header cannoned off the crossbar and hit Olsen’s back before finding its way into the back of the net.

But VAR – the biggest party pooper the world has ever seen – intervened to deny Chelsea a much-needed three points. Either way, Pochettino was pleased with what he saw out there from his young players. They answered his call from just a few days before where he questioned their belief and character.

“I played football and I was in some similar situations with big players,” the Chelsea head coach explained after losing 5-0 away at Arsenal. “I played with [Diego] Maradona, Ronaldinho, but it is true some part of the season, this type of thing can happen.

“Because also of the opponent, our energy, nothing is for you in this situation and you cannot find nothing positive during the game. This type of things happen and will happen for sure with different teams.”

Chelsea, though, found a way to believe again. And that was in a situation where they could have easily crumbled. Villa Park was rocking – the noise was deafening at times and when we headed into the half-time break, with the hosts two goals to the good, it looked an impossible challenge for the visitors to overcome.

But they stood up, made themselves counted. The fact that you come away from the game disappointed they did not pick up all three points said a lot about what we witnessed in the second-half from Chelsea at a notoriously difficult stadium for teams to travel to.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles