“It was my best goal with Chelsea”. The man himself, Pedro Rodriguez, said this after the beauty that paved the way for the Blues’ victory over Everton at Goodison Park, before Gary Cahill and Willian rounded up the score to 3-0.
A crucial victory for Antonio Conte’s men, another step closer to that Premier League title, and yet another fundamental goal for the former Barcelona striker, revitalised – like many – by the Italian manager, and absolutely decisive even if not a regular starter.
The curler that gave Chelsea the lead at Everton is Pedro’s eight goal in this Premier League – already one more than last year -, not a huge tally, but a very decisive one. Very often he has sorted out difficult games, turning them into ugly but heavy victories, crucial to pile on the points that are now giving the Blues the edge in the title race.
Some of these eight goals have been absolutely decisive. How can we forget his stunner against Tottenham at Stamford Bridge, in a victory that now is creating the gap between the West London and North London clubs. And what about the goal for the 1-1 at Burnley? Again, points that add up for the title.
Players such as N’Golo Kante, Eden Hazard or Diego Costa have undoubtedly been central to Conte’s extraordinary season – with the title in reach – but it is also true that we’re talking about three players who have won the league in the past two seasons, under José Mourinho at Chelsea in 2015 or at Leicester City in the case of the French midfielder.
Pedro came in from Barcelona after having won every single trophy possible, both at club level and at international level, but many thought he might have already been in the concluding phase of his career. Mourinho really wanted him, and his first season was not as bad as the rest of the team, although not good enough.
This year he stepped up, like the entire squad, and has showed immense qualities. Nine assists, to be added to the goals, in the Premier League, as well as four goals and two assists in the FA Cup, another title that Conte could add to his first English season. To this, his ability to play in every position up front, and even art wing back, has made him Conte go-to substitute for whoever is missing on the day.
As centre forward, as winger, as wing back, Pedro’s contribution has always been top class, contributing hugely to Chelsea’s title race, and now one step closer to adding a Premier League to his immense personal trophy case.