Hull City hosted Premier League leaders Chelsea on Sunday afternoon, in a game which brought the Blues a step closer to clinching the Premier League title. However, the Blues didn’t make it easy for themselves.
Chelsea started the game perfectly, with Eden Hazard putting Chelsea in front after just 90 seconds of play. The smallest of touches from Diego Costa provided the talented Belgian with enough space to drive forward and smash it past Hull keeper Allan McGregor from the edge of the box.
Abel Hernandez was given the opportunity to level the game minutes later when he found himself 1-on-1 with Thibaut Courtois, but the Chelsea keeper made himself big and kept the shot out of the net.
Goalscorer Diego Costa soon doubled the lead, racing onto a Cesc Fabregas pass before tucking it into the net after just 9 minutes. Costa’s 19th goal of the season appeared to effectively end the tie, but Hull didn’t give up, and their efforts paid off.
After 26 minutes, Egyptian winger Ahmed Elmohamady clawed one back for Hull, getting his foot to the ball at the back-post. Before Chelsea had time to compose themselves, the home side managed to grab an equaliser. A terrible back-pass from Branislav Ivanovic, who has been flawless throughout the season, followed by a poor touch from Courtois, gifted Hernandez with a tap-in, putting Hull right back in it.
It is uncharacteristic for a Jose Mourinho side to give away a lead, let alone a two goal lead, but within 1 minute and 13 seconds the Blues found their two goal cushion cancelled out.
Hull kept up the tempo throughout the remainder of the first-half, creating a number of chances against a Chelsea side which appeared shaken. Although, they failed to take advantage of their opportunities and the two sides followed an unamused Jose Mourinho down the dugout with the score still level at half-time.
The second-half picked up where the first-half ended, with both sides looking for a third goal. Elmohamady found himself clear on the right after 65 minutes, but blasted the shot straight at Courtois. The Belgian then had to deal with consecutive follow-up shots from David Meyler and Gaston Ramirez – a fantastic triple save which made up for his earlier mistake.
Diego Costa was replaced by Loic Remy in the 76th minute – a change which proved vital, as the former QPR man scored with his first touch of the ball. Willian put the ball across the front of goal and Remy’s weak touch found its way underneath the Hull keeper, giving Chelsea the lead. The goal was Remy’s fourth against Hull in as many games, but could prove vital in Chelsea’s title charge.
The last 10 minutes were tense despite a lack of clear-cut chances, with Mourinho bringing on Kurt Zouma to provide some cover for Chelsea’s back four, the most entertaining part of the remaining time was probably when John Terry’s expletives echoed around the KC Stadium.
Chelsea held on to their lead, claiming all three points and extending the gap at the top of the table to six points, with another game in hand. Although, with nine still to go, the title race is far from over.