By Tim Harrison
The halftime score at Goodison Park last weekend was 0-0, and nerves were starting to jangle.
But a thunderclap of a shot from Pedro, left-foot into the roof of the net from outside the area, changed the mood like a bolt of lightning easing the tension of a storm.
A second, bundled goal from Gary Cahill and a sweet, simple Cesc Fabregas pull-back for Willian to net made the match safe. It was the Blues’ first clean sheet since January.
Goodison Park was all-but empty at the final whistle, except for the travelling fans who spent 20 minutes dancing and singing.
Spurs are still yapping at Chelsea’s heels like an irritating terrier, but the Blues are making the most of eight recovery days before taking on Middlesbrough at the Bridge on Monday.
There are two points of anxiety on the injury front; goalie Thibaut Courtois had an ankle knock, while David Luiz (replaced by Nathan Ake for the last 10 minutes) limped off gingerly with a groin strain.
Four games remain, in two hectic weeks, before everyone can relax and enjoy a sunny day out at Wembley.
The Blues can still lose one of the final fixtures and be sure of the title… but Tony Conte believes four victories are achievable.
At Everton on Sunday, the only Chelsea player who looked remotely out of sorts was Diego Costa, despite efforts by the travelling supports to lift his spirits.
Any time a couple of refereeing decisions go against him, he reverts to sulky child mode, and his team-mates have to give him a cuddle.
No shortage of hugs at the end of the match, though. Conte bounded on to the pitch to embrace everyone he could see. His attempt to envelope Thibaut Courtois in his arms was comical – like a koala bear trying to clasp the legs of a giraffe.
Three more wins, and everyone gets to go to the zoo.
The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and unless specifically stated are not necessarily those of Hammersmith & Fulham Council.
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