Cardiff 1-2 Chelsea: Loftus-Cheek rescues three points for the visitors

Cardiff 1-2 Chelsea: Loftus-Cheek rescues three points for the visitors

Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s late header secured three crucial points for Chelsea who beat Cardiff 2-1 in the race for a top four place.

Jake Stokes

A patient and resolute Cardiff kept Chelsea at arm’s length as the first half finished 0-0. Victor Camarasa put the Bluebirds in front scoring the first of the game. Chelsea then scored a controversial equaliser in an unlikely goal scorer of Cesar Azpilicueta. A late header from Loftus-Cheek rescued an expected three points for the Blues.

Chelsea made two changes from the starting eleven that lost 2-0 to Everton at Goodison Park prior to the international break with Willian in for Eden Hazard and Mateo Kovacic in for N’Golo Kante. Maurizio Sarri’s side are currently four points behind fourth place and are yet to register an away Premier League clean sheet in 2019.

Neil Warnock has never retained Premier League status in his managerial career. The Bluebirds currently sit 18th with two games in hand over 17th placed Burnley. A win would prove crucial to their mission for Premier League survival.

Story of the game

The away side began the game in positive fashion. Pedro found space inside of the right wing and produced a goal-bound shot. The Spaniard’s left-footed curling shot bent out of Neil Etheridge’s reach however flew inches above the bar.

However, as the first half progressed Chelsea found little joy going forward against a patient Cardiff side. The South West London club dominated possession, but Sarri’s side became laboured and moved the ball with little tempo. An organised Neil Warnock side held strong which forced Chelsea to make stray passes.

The home side exploded out the blocks into the second half and scored less than two minutes in. Aron Gunnarsson used his long throw and arrowed the ball into the Chelsea box. The Blues failed to clear the danger and the ball landed at the feet of the Icelandic international. Harry Arter then received the ball and found Camarasa lurking in the opposition box. The Spanish midfielder guided the ball beyond a helpless Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Chelsea soon after brought on Hazard in an attempt to rescue the game. The Belgian made an instant impact and forced Arter to bring down the winger in a dangerous position. 

Sarri’s side grew frustrated and continued to fail in finding an equaliser. Hazard linked up play well and earned the Blues as a corner. Willian’s ball found the head of Marcos Alonso who headed the ball to the back post. Captain Azpilicueta dug deep into his attacking instincts and headed the ball past Etheridge.

Late drama at the Cardiff City Stadium continued. Antonio Rudiger brought down an on running Kenneth Zohore who appeared to be soon one-on-one with Kepa. A yellow card was brandished for the German defender.

Chelsea then won the game with a late goal from substitute Loftus-Cheek. Willian delivered a curling ball towards the back post where the England international leapt above his marker to stun the home support.

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Takeaways from the match

Camarasa is crucial to Cardiff’s relegation battle

The Spanish midfielder for Cardiff is a significant element that will play a huge part in Neil Warnock’s mission for survival. Camarasa currently leads the Bluebirds with the most goals and assists as well as most chances created. His goal today has proven that on-loan midfielder has the quality to win important points for his side.

Camarasa was one of many Cardiff players who performed exceptionally. The versatility shone when in and out of possession.

Hazard transforms Chelsea into a new side

Hazard was brought on early into the second half with the mission of salvaging the game. The Belgian winger was at the centre of everything for Chelsea going forward as Sarri looked to get back in the game. Chelsea looked a new side when Hazard was brought on.

Chelsea’s number ten played parts in both goals – won the corner before the equaliser and completed the short corner routine that also led to the Blues’ second.