Chelsea took on Spanish side Sevilla at Stamford Bridge for matchday 1 of the Champions League group stage. Sevilla the Europa League champions of last season coached by Lopetegui put in a solid performance as neither side was able to break the other down. Lampard fielded what was probably our strongest lineup as Mendy started in goal with a defence of James, Silva, Zouma and Chilwell. Jorginho and Kante continued in midfield with Mount, Havertz, and Pulisic playing behind Werner. For many that lineup is a Ziyech away from what they would expect our starting XI to be and so there was plenty of excitement.
Sevilla began the better side as they out pressed Chelsea in the 1st half and kept hold of possession but Mendy and the defence were largely untroubled and Mendy was only called into action once or twice for some routine saves. Chelsea did begin to grow into the game towards half time but we went in level. Chelsea began the 2nd half as the better side as Pulisic began to play from the left and so created more of a threat. We had several chances to break away but either the final shot was lacking or the final pass. There wasn’t much to talk about as both teams seemed to have settled for a draw towards the end of the game.
Mendy did well on his return to the team as he made some good saves that kept Chelsea in the game and commanded his area as well. Another clean sheet to Mendy’s name will do him well and his dominant personality in the box is a boost as it encourages the defence to play better.
The defence was probably the best part about this game as we kept a much needed clean sheet and never looked like we would concede. Silva coming back brought a calmness to defence and it was the first time both Chilwell and James started a game as our full backs. Zouma was again assured and so going ahead I believe these Silva, Zouma and Chilwell should start but Lampard can rotate between Azpi and James based on the game.
Jorginho and Kante were ok in this game but again the problem remains that Chelsea don’t seem to have a go to pivot. Between Kante, Jorginho, and Kovacic whenever 2 play well together the fans seem to jump on and say this is our pivot but as soon as one person has a bad performance then the player benched is suddenly the best player to play in the pivot. Fact is Chelsea and Lampard are missing a player that would make the pivot work and for now it’s basically who can put in a solid performance in a makeshift position. The pivot will always be prone to mistakes but we can’t let them be big ones.
If the backline was playing their first game together so was the front line who were playing their 2nd game together. We failed to score a goal in the game but we know this attack has a high ceiling and so that shouldn’t be our worry. Ziyech featured off the bench and I expect him to start against United with Mount being moved to another position because he didn’t really play all that well at left wing and it affected Pulisic’s play as well.
A clean sheet is a welcome sight for Lampard and Chelsea but we need to now combine a good defensive performance with a good attacking performance. Hopefully that comes against United at the weekend, COME ON YOU BLUES!!!