A good performance by all involved.
Chelsea had already secured the top spot in their group before kick-off as Bate had beat Videoton and so there was much less on the line as the game began, but the players needed to respond after their loss to Tottenham and they did in an brilliant way. The predicted lineup was fairly similar to the one Sarri put out with Kepa in goal followed by Emerson, Christensen, Cahill, and Zappacosta in defence. Fabregas, Barkley, and Loftus-Cheek made up the defence and Hudson-Odoi made a long awaited first start alongside Giroud, and Pedro.
Chelsea started the game on the front foot and dominated possession and chances, a poor pass by a PAOK player led to Giroud being fouled when he was through on goal Khacheridi was sent off in the 7th minute and Chelsea’s task was made easier. PAOK held on as Chelsea began to launch attack after attack with Fabregas having a brilliant game in the middle of the park. Giroud scored the first goal with a brilliant curled effort in the 27th minute and added a second in the 37th minute via a first time volley from a brilliant Fabregas pass. PAOK had some chances on the counter but they posed no real threat to Chelsea. The second half began in similar fashion and Hudson-Odoi scored his first goal for Chelsea via his right foot in the 60th minute. Morata came on for Giroud in the final fifteen minutes and scored in the 78th minute via a header from a Hudson-Odoi cross. Chelsea saw out the rest of the game to make it 15 out of 15 points.
Kepa kept another clean sheet as he really did not have anything to do during the game. The defence played well, Zappacosta and Emerson provided the width for Chelsea and Emerson in particular should be given a chance in upcoming Premier League games. Christensen and Cahill had a better game than their last outing and Christensen especially did well over the 90 minutes. Fabregas had a masterclass of game playing the Jorginho role as he sprayed passes all over the pitch. Barkley was playing the Kante role and was less affective offensively but still had a decent game without dazzling too much. Loftus-Cheek was another player who had a brilliant game as he was a constant threat in attack and performed well defensively, Loftus-Cheek in my opinion should be given a chance against Fulham. Pedro was decent and Giroud did well to continue his goal scoring run but CHO was the star upfront with a goal and an assist and while he probably won’t start in the Premier League I think he did more than enough to start ahead of the likes of Willian. Willian came on for Pedro and slowed down the attacks, Ampadu was brought on in place of Zappacosta and was decent and did well. Morata was serious and kept a straight face after he scored but if both strikers are scoring then its good.
Chelsea now go into a period of three premier league games in six days with Fulham, Wolves, and Man City up next, this game has hopefully given some of our fringe players a chance as Sarri will obviously need to rotate. COME ON YOU BLUES!!!