Chelsea vs Maribor: Five things we learnt from Stamford Bridge

Chelsea 6 Maribor 0: The Blues cruised to an easy win over lacklustre opposition

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The Independent Football

Chelsea were excellent in what became an easy win over their Slovenian opposition, dominating from the very start. Here are five things to take from the 6-0 win.

1) Chelsea have incredible strength in depth

They may have only been playing lowly Maribor, but Jose Mourinho sent a message to the rest of the Premier League with his performance. On an evening when Manchester City blew a two goal lead in Moscow after Manuel Pellegrini rested a number of players, the Blues played without four of their first-team regulars and didn’t miss a beat. Thibaut Courtois, Cesar Azpilicueta, Gary Cahill and Diego Costa were all missing against the Slovenians but Chelsea were as impressive as they have been all season. Petr Cech, Filipe Luis and Kurt Zouma impressed at the back and Loic Remy and then Didier Drogba ably stood in for Costa.

2) Chelsea will hope Remy is OK

Filling in for Costa against Crystal Palace, Remy was impressive without getting onto the scoresheet, full of lively running and movement. He was quick out of the blocks again in this match, taking his goal superbly but unfortunately injuring himself in the process. Costa’s injuries will seemingly continue throughout the season, though he should be back for the Manchester United match, and Remy would have provided excellent cover; the Blues will hope he didn’t injure himself too badly when opening the scoring.

3) Matic and Fabregas are the perfect couple

Chelsea’s midfield pair have absolutely everything. Both are supremely confident on the ball, willing to carry the ball forward, supremely intelligent and not afraid to mix it with the opposition. They make for a truly world class partnership with no discernible weakness and over the course of this season could grow to rival the best in world football; if they’re not already there.

4) Chelsea are all but through

With seven points from three games, Chelsea may only have a two point gap at the top of Group G but Schalke needed an injury-time goal to beat Sporting Lisbon at home. The Blues travel to Maribor next and by the time they face their toughest test in the group, away to the Germans, Chelsea may already have secured a place in the knockout stages. If they do need something, the complacency that crept into the 1-1 draw with Schalke at Stamford Bridge certainly won’t be on show.

5) Chelsea do have a youth system

Dominic Solanke, 17, replaced Oscar with about 15 minutes remaining to become the 10th youngest Chelsea player ever. Chelsea’s youth team is actually pretty good – in the last England Under-19 squad Chelsea boasted five players, the most of any one club and more than Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham and Liverpool combined. With John Terry still the only academy graduate to make a lasting impact on the first-team, hopefully Solanke’s introduction is a sign of things to come.

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