Chelsea FC 3 - 1 BATE Borisov: Loftus-Cheek’s treble gives Sarri something to think about



Posted Friday, October 26, 2018 by PA

Chelsea FC 3 - 1 BATE Borisov: Loftus-Cheek’s treble gives Sarri something to think about

Ruben Loftus-Cheek fired a hat-trick for his first Chelsea goals in 30 months to seal the Blues’ 3-1 Europa League win over BATE Borisov at Stamford Bridge.

England midfielder Loftus-Cheek is yet to start a Premier League match under new Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri, but handed the taskmaster Italian an acute reminder of his talents with a coolly-taken treble.

Chelsea hardly had to shift into third gear to chug past their misfiring visitors and cement top spot in Group L, Aleksei Rios’ late header scant consolation for the Belarusians.

Chelsea FC 3 - 1 BATE Borisov: Loftus-Cheek’s treble gives Sarri something to think about
It was a night to remember for Loftus-Cheek (Nick Potts/PA)

Loftus-Cheek pressed his Premier League claims though, with his first Chelsea goals since finding the net in a 4-0 FA Cup win over Aston Villa on April 2, 2016.

The 22-year-old’s six-minute brace had Chelsea two goals to the good just eight minutes in – and everything after that proved facile in the extreme.

Loftus-Cheek will care not on BATE’s ineptitude however, and can rightly cite this free-scoring turn in future chats with manager Sarri over polite requests for more league action.

Chain-smoking former Napoli boss Sarri is prone to putting a cigarette filter to his mouth on English football’s touchlines as he cannot light up.

Loftus-Cheek will hope this performance gives his boss something to chew on as he mulls over handing the England star greater future responsibilities.

Chelsea’s pitchside set-up was business as usual for boss Sarri and his back-room staff – including coach Marco Ianni.

Chelsea FC 3 - 1 BATE Borisov: Loftus-Cheek’s treble gives Sarri something to think about
BATE manager Alyaksey Baha and Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri (Nick Potts/PA)

Sarri pledged to accept all consequences from the Football Association’s improper conduct charge raised against Ianni, for taunting Jose Mourinho.

Ianni goaded Mourinho when Chelsea bagged a late equaliser in Saturday’s 2-2 Premier League draw with Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.

Sarri and Ianni apologised to Mourinho straight after Saturday’s match, with the Blues boss reiterating that stance on the record several more times.

Come Thursday night then, Ianni was back in his usual vantage point just behind the bench, with Chelsea ready to forgive and forget, pending FA punishment of course.

Chelsea needed the best part of 100 minutes to scratch a draw with United on Saturday, but had no such struggles five days on.

Chelsea FC 3 - 1 BATE Borisov: Loftus-Cheek’s treble gives Sarri something to think about
Loftus-Cheek had not scored for Chelsea for 30 months (Nick Potts/PA)

Loftus-Cheek started his selection argument in style by putting Chelsea in immediate control, stroking home inside two minutes.

The powerful midfielder swept in calmly after Davide Zappacosta’s low cross, taking full advantage of some poor BATE marking.

Some six minutes later Loftus-Cheek doubled his and Chelsea’s tally, tapping home from a corner – and just beating the lurking Olivier Giroud to the punch as the Blues stars positively queued up for glory.

Willian produced another masterful creative display, buzzing around the BATE box to fine effect, and almost helped extend Chelsea’s lead still further with a sumptuous through-ball angled for Olivier Giroud to chase.

France’s World Cup-winning striker just did not have the legs to reach the astute pass however, leaving Chelsea to carry that 2-0 advantage into the half-time break.

Loftus-Cheek cut the cakewalk again after the interval, side-footing home from 20 yards after seizing on a botched BATE clearance.

Rios nodded in captain Igor Stasevich’s free-kick at the death, but Chelsea had long since won the night.

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