Finally we play 4-5-1 in two successive games and the results speak for themselves. Maybe Carlo read this blog in recent weeks? With one up front, dropping Ballack for the more attack-minded Deco and actually playing Joe Cole on the right wing Chelsea flourished from midfield - this allowed the side to be settled, defend well and create clearcut chances deep within the box. Even with so many injuries it was a performance that brought tears of joy to the eye and was long overdue.
It was not an easy first half. Villa's equaliser was one of the best goals I have seen a visiting side score at The Bridge and we faced another tepid referee who missed many fouls against Chelsea and did not send off Dunne for a challenge that was exactly the same as the one that lead to Belletti being sent off against Man City. I wonder if the referee at Old Trafford next Saturday might try to score against us in the dying seconds to deny us a chance of winning the league?
With one up front Frank Lampard was allowed to dominate the midfield and became our 3rd highest goalscorer of all time in his seven-year spell with the Blues. With so much focus on the supposed brilliance of Villa's English contingent, it was Chelsea that looked like the world class side with Joe Cole, Frank Lampard and John Terry shining.
A special mention must go to the Villa fans. I have never quite understood the Brummy sense of humour - if you find Jasper Carrott funny then you must have special needs - but to sing "where were you when you were shit?" to us when you only fill half of your away allocation and have even half of those fans leave with 30 minutes to go must mean that either their supporters have the most amazing sense of irony or are the truly plastic jcl's that I often criticise Chelsea for attracting in recent years!
Unfortunately I still feel it is too little, too late. This formation at home against Man City would have reaped dividends and given us a slight cushion going into the game at Old Trafford. I expect (or pray) that the same side will be played next week - maybe with Drogba replacing Anelka. If Carlo has learned from previous mistakes then he will have more than tempted me to renew my season ticket because if we play like this with our supposed over-the-hill squad next season then we will win the league by Easter 2011. Come on the Blues!