Chelsea continued their strong start to the season with two more victories this week.
They are now three points clear at the top of Group L in the Europa League following a hard-fought home victory seven days ago.
Three days later, the Blues were convincing winners on the South Coast to move level on points with the Premier League’s top two sides.
One of the team’s greatest ever players announced his retirement from playing earlier this week.
Two wingers have been nominated to win domestic awards for their league performances during September.
And, two of the Blues’ star midfielders have also been shortlisted to win the 2018 Ballon d’Or award.
Chelsea fan and Football Journalism student, Jonty Colman, looks at the five major talking points from the past seven days around the first-team.
Chelsea 1-0 MOL Vidi
Maurizio Sarri’s side moved three points clear at the top of their Europa League group with a 1-0 victory over MOL Vidi at Stamford Bridge.
After 70 minutes of not being able to put away any of their several chances against the Hungarian league champions, Alvaro Morata half-volleyed the ball in from close range after Willian had headed Cesc Fabregas’ cross into the Spaniard’s path it was Morata’s first goal in seven matches.
Sarri made eight changes ahead of the match, which included Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who was making his first competitive start of the campaign. He should have had a penalty before half-time when the midfielder was bundled over in the 18-yard box by Paulo Vinícius, but referee Miroslav Zelinka did not award a spot-kick.
PAOK Salonika’s 4-1 win over BATE Borisov meant that the Blues are now three points ahead of PAOK and BATE at the top of Group L.
Southampton 0-3 Chelsea
On Sunday, the Blues moved up to second place in the Premier League standings with a 3-0 victory over Southampton.
Winger Eden Hazard opened the scoring after half-an-hour at St Mary’s Stadium when Ross Barkley dispossessed Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg before slipping the Belgian clear on goal with a sumptuous through ball.
Chelsea doubled their lead shortly before the hour-mark, with Barkley netting his first goal for the club. Willian’s free-kick picked out Olivier Giroud at the back post and the French striker acrobatically played the ball across goal to Barkley, who tapped the ball into an empty net.
Substitute Morata then netted his second goal in as many Chelsea games for the first time in 11 months in the closing stages, with Marcos Alonso and Hazard combining before the latter teed up the 25-year-old.
With Liverpool and Manchester City holding each other to a goalless draw at Anfield later that day, they are both level on 20 points at the top of the league standings, alongside Chelsea, who are behind City and above the Reds on goal difference.
The end of a legacy
On Sunday evening, former Blues captain John Terry announced his retirement, signifying the end of his professional playing career,
The 37-year-old spent last season playing for Aston Villa in the Sky Bet Championship, who narrowly missed out on promotion at the hands of Chelsea’s local foes, Fulham.
During his 22 years with Chelsea, Terry made over 700 appearances and is their third-highest record appearance maker of all time.
On Wednesday night, Terry became Villa’s new assistant manager to Dean Smith, who has taken over managerial duties at Villa Park following Steve Bruce’s recent departure.
Personally, I would like to congratulate the ex-England and Blues captain on such a glorious playing career and I wish him the best of luck for his coaching career and for the future.
Captain, leader, legend.
Premier League awards shortlist for Blues wingers
Hazard and Willian have been shortlisted for September’s Premier League Player of the Month and Goal of the Month awards respectively.
The Belgian scored five times across his four league matches last month, which included a hat-trick against Cardiff City. He is one of six candidates to win the award, alongside Willy Boly (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal), James Maddison (Leicester City), Gylfi Sigurdsson (Everton) and Raheem Sterling (Manchester City). He has won this award once previously, back in October 2016.
During the rout over Cardiff, Willian scored a superb curling effort from outside of the penalty area. He is amongst eight players in line to win the award, which he most recently lifted in January.
Tomorrow will mark the official announcement of the winners of both trophies.
Ballon d’Or contention for Chelsea duo
On Monday, Hazard and World Cup winner N’Golo Kante made the 30-man shortlist to win the 2018 Ballon d’Or award.
Both players shone at this summer’s tournament in Russia, with Hazard winning the Silver Ball award after captaining Belgium to a third-place finish.
Three ex-Chelsea players could also win the title, Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne and Thibaut Courtois of Real Madrid have also made the shortlist.
The winner of the award will be announced at the beginning of December.
That’s all for this week, tune in next Thursday, where I will be discussing Chelsea’s players got on during October’s matches in the Nations League and more in the Stamford Roar.