Chelsea 0 vs. 1 Valencia Champions League Group Stage Review

Not great!

Chelsea lost to Valencia on match day 1 of the Champions League. It extends a run of no clean sheets and the fact that Lampard has not won at home yet in any of the 3 games we have played till now. The performance itself was good in the first half which saw us miss some chances and Cillessen make some good saves while the 2nd half was much of the same until we conceded and gave Valencia the upper hand. 

Lampard stuck with the 3-4-3 with this game the only change being Zouma who replaced Rudiger in the starting XI. I wouldn’t say the formation did not work because we looked solid and created chances only failing to finish those chances. It would have been better to have the extra midfielder on the pitch rather than a back 5 but those are minor details in these types of games. Valencia defended well and scored via a setpiece in the 74th minute as Parejo whipped in the ball and Rodrigo broke past the markers to finish. Chelsea tried to reply back and piled the pressure on Valencia, and it led to a penalty given by VAR as a Tomori header was handled by Wass in the box. Up stepped Tammy, Jorginho, Willian, and Barkley as it seemed that they could not decide who would take the penalty. Tammy and Jorginho backed off as Barkley stated he wanted to take it while Willian stayed on but eventually gave in. In these types of situations it is best to let the penalty taker take the penalty and then raise questions rather than make him 2nd guess his decision. Even I think Jorginho should have taken the penalty but Willian just created needless pressure in that situation. Barkley stepped up and hit the post as Valencia kept their lead and sealed the three points.

Player wise Kepa did not have much to do and could not be blamed for a good finish by Rodrigo. Zouma, Christensen, and Tomori were extremely solid at the back and looked good. Azpilicueta was slightly off the pace and seemed like him and Willian were playing on different wavelengths but he got better as the game went on. Alonso was good again in a position he knows well. Jorginho and Kovacic silently went on with their work in the midfield with Kovacic coming off in the 2nd half for Barkley. Willian was good but not great while Mount looked energetic until he was fouled in what was a red card offence by Coquelin on his ankle only for the former Arsenal player to be given a yellow. Mount eventually came off in the first half to be replace by Pedro. Pedro was not great throughout the game and looked off the pace while Tammy failed to have any real impact in the game. Giroud came on for the second half but did not do much. I would have wanted Batshuayi and Pulisic to come on instead of Pedro, Barkley, and Giroud as they would have offered something different than what was on the pitch but clearly Lampard had something else in mind. Maybe he was saving them for the game against Liverpool although I doubt Michy will start hopefully Pulisic gets his chance. 

Chelsea are 3rd for now in Group H as Ajax beat Lille 3-0 to lead the the group with Valencia taking the 2nd spot. Next up is a visit by Liverpool who themselves lost to Napoli 2-0. An interesting weekend awaits, COME ON YOU BLUE!!!

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