Valencia 2 vs. 2 Chelsea Champions League Group Stage MD 5 Review

2 points dropped or a point gained?

Chelsea managed to get a point in Valencia as the game ended 2-2 after some crazy 90 minutes. Lampard made some changes from the lineup against City as Kepa started in goal, while Azpilicueta, Christensen, Zouma, and James started in defence. The midfield was made up of Jorginho, Kovacic, and Kante while the front three were Pulisic, Willian, and Tammy. 

Chelsea started the game off at our usual pace as Reece James delivered an exquisite cross to Willian whose header was laughable and the scoreline should have read 0-1 by the 5th minute. Chelsea continued to dominate and Reece continued to put in great crosses but Tammy also found it hard to connect with them as we continued to miss chances. Soler then grabbed the lead for Valencia in the 40th minute after a great cross by Rodrigo and a good half volley past Kepa. Kepa should have done better though as the shot was close to his body. Chelsea replied back within a minute as Kovacic scored his first goal for Chelsea with a good shot from outside the box. The 2nd half started in similar fashion but with the game more open and Michy up front as Tammy had suffered a knock at half time, Pulisic though gave Chelsea the lead in the 50th minute as he was the quickest to react to a knockdown by Zouma. VAR took its good time to check for an offside but the goal was given. Valencia though had made some attacking substitutions and Chelsea were beginning to get dragged out. Kepa made some good saves but Valencia missed several tap ins as they seemed to forget where the goal was. Valencia were then awarded a generous penalty which Kepa saved as the scoreline stayed 1-2. Lampard brought on Emerson for Jorginho as we switched to 5 at the back but this invited more pressure from Valencia. Mount was the final sub as he came on for Willian but Chelsea could not find their killer touch further forward as the team looked tired. The equaliser though came in the 82nd minute via fluke as Wass crossed the ball but it awkwardly hit the post and went in similar to Zappacosta’s goal a few seasons back. Chelsea held on through the 7 minutes of stoppage time but we managed the point. 

Player wise Kepa was not great in the 1st half but was better in the 2nd and pulled of a brilliant save from Parejo for the penalty. The spaniard has shown his potential throughout last season and this season but he needs to sort out his distribution and improve his saves as he looks to be going through some poor form. Azpilicueta was good at left back and made some great last ditch blocks when he was shifted centrally in a back 5. Christensen was shaky as he was playing his first game since September while Zouma also suffered due to lack of chemistry between the two. Reece was standout during the first half and should have had 2-3 assists while he faded during the 2nd as the team got tired. Jorginho was not great and also seems to be going through a slight patch of poor form while Kovacic was once again brilliant and got his first goal as well. Kante was not at his best and he got into great positions but failed to convert his chances. Pulisic was another standout during the game as he was a constant threat to Valencia while Willian seems to have returned to his old poor self. Tammy was great at connecting play during the 1st half but really should have got at least one goal as I hope his injury is not serious. Michy offered nothing off the bench and in hindsight I would have brought Giroud on given the deliveries from James and the strong linkup play the Frenchmen offers. Emerson was decent and Mount also brought some energy during the latter stages. 

2 points dropped because we had a ton of chances in the 1st half but a point gained because we could have easily lost this game but 3 or 4 goals if Valencia had been better at finishing. 2nd in the group and qualification in our own hands, we need to beat Lille at the Bridge if we want to reach the knockout stage. Next up West Ham at home, COME ON YOU BLUES!!!

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