bought into the opinion that Chelsea would struggle without those players still
away on international duty at the African Cup of Nations.
have enough power and goal-scoring ability within their squad to cope with the
loss of anyone - and they proved it again at the weekend.
have the ability to manage without key players at peak times over the course of
the season, whether it be through injury, suspension or other commitments, and
so far this month Chelsea have coped admirably without the likes of Didier
Drogba, Michael Essien and Salomon Kalou.
pleasing aspect of their exceptional 7-2 drubbing of Sunderland was the way
their desire and hunger to find the back of the net never relented, even after
they had put the result beyond any doubt.
Chelsea teams might have taken their foot off the gas at two or three goals to
the good; certainly it would not have been surprising to see Jose Mourinho's
side shut up shop at the break and sit on victory.
Ancelotti is a different kettle of fish and under the Italian Chelsea have got
more about them than during Mourinho's reign - certainly in terms of entertainment,
if not silverware just yet.
fans are finally being treated to a more fluent game, and as a result
opinion of the club seems to be changing.
It is safe
to say that outside west London, Chelsea were not the most popular under
Mourinho. Perhaps part of it was down to his arrogance and the club's attitude
to buying success, but the football he encouraged his team to play did him few
personnel have not changed too much since the Special One's departure, but with
a different manager and a different system in place Chelsea are now
unrecognisable. They are playing the game the way it should be played and with
that has come a begrudging change of attitude towards them from other football
is managing to get what he wanted from an ageing Milan side and he is now
working with players he could only have dreamt of having at the San Siro. And
what he has created is a side that other fans have respect for.
Cole's goal was truly representative of the football Chelsea are capable of
playing at the moment. For a full-back, albeit a skilful one, it was a
wonderful strike. Indeed, had it been Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi
who scored it, we'd be hearing about it for months to come.
Chelsea were playing against a lesser side who are experiencing major problems
at the back, but to score seven - and the manner in which those goals
came - has really thrown the gauntlet down in the title race.
If they can
carry on playing with such panache, with Drogba et al still to return and hand
them a boost at the end of the tournament in Angola, it will take quite a
downturn in form for their title bid to be derailed.