75 minutes of timidness followed by 15 minutes of brilliance!
Chelsea took on FC Krasnodar in Russia on Wednesday night for MD 2 of the Champions League group stage. Both teams had got a point each in their opening MD 1 games and so a win was what Chelsea was looking for while for Krasnodar the goal was probably to avoid a loss. Lampard rang the changes for this game with Mendy staying goal, Azpilicueta, Zouma, and Chilwell started in the defence once again but Rudiger came in to make his first appearance for the club this season. Jorginho and Kovacic started in the pivot with Hudson-Odoi, Havertz, and Ziyech starting behind Werner. The lineup was a positive one and many were happy to see Hudson-Odoi and Ziyech involved while Kovacic was also a welcome sight. The inclusion of Rudiger brought some doubt but otherwise the lineup was positive.
This was the first competitive game Chelsea played in front of fans this season as 10,000+ Krasnodar and some local Chelsea fans were in the stadium. The opening minutes were dominated by Krasnodar as Chelsea took time to get adjusted. Earlier on Werner did draw a penalty which Jorginho missed by hitting the post. The frustration continued as we failed to put together passes in the final 3rd while Krasnodar had some half decent chances. The opening goal came in the 37th minute as Chelsea began to link up in the final 3rd. Werner played a ball into Ziyech, who’s pass found Havertz and the German gave it to Hudson-Odoi who’s shot was fumbled into the net by the goalkeeper. A slightly lucky goal but Chelsea needed the lead to ease nerves. The rest of the remaining minutes saw no real chance for the Blues.
Chelsea began the 2nd half in similar fashion as Krasnodar came out fighting. The Russians hit the post once and Mendy was forced to make some good saves. The pivot was clearly not working as it left our attack and defence isolated and so around the 70th minute Lampard brought on Pulisic, Mount, and Kante for Hudson-Odoi, Kovacic, and Jorginho. The substitutions also saw a formation change with a 3 man midfield and Havertz and Mount playing as attacking 8’s ahead of Kante. The change was instant as we suddenly began to have greater threat going forward with Kai and Mason linking up play with the forwards. The 2nd goal came in the 76th minute as Pulisic’s shot was handled in the box and Werner smashed home the penalty. The 3rd goal came in the 79th minute as Werner did well to find Ziyech in the box and Ziyech managed to squeeze through a shot to make it 0-3 and get his first goal for the club. Tammy and Emerson came on for the final 10 minutes and Tammy was involved in the final goal as well as his good work down the flank found Pulisic who took a touch to set himself and fire past he goalkeeper to make 0-4 in the 90th minute. The game ended and if someone saw the scoreline then they would have thought Chelsea dominated the entire 90.
Chelsea Team Review
Another clean sheet for Mendy as it makes it 4 out of 5 for the Senegalese goalkeeper. Mendy was once again dominant in the box and was vocal as well as he made his opinions heard. Crosses and corners were dealt with as he had his goal on lockdown while some good saves kept Chelsea in the game. Top performance.
A clean sheet is the defences goal and Chelsea’s defence kept a 3rd consecutive one and this time without Thiago Silva. There were some shaky moments but in general everyone did well and Rudiger had no errors in his performance. A solid outing.
Jorginho and Kovacic didn’t have the best of nights and while they were on pitch Chelsea failed to create chances going forward. The pivot just doesn’t work and it’s not only with Jorginho and Kovacic but if you throw Kante in as well problems arise. These 3 like to venture forward which leaves us isolated at the back and also susceptible to counters. Decent performances but nothing to shout about. Kante was active when he came on along with Mount and the 3 with Havertz as well worked well for Chelsea. I feel like going forward that will be our formation and for now it’s up to Kante and whether he can stay disciplined in front of the defence or we have to wait until we buy a more traditional CDM.
It was a good day for the forward line with Hudson-Odoi, Werner, Ziyech, and Pulisic getting goals while Havertz, Werner and Tammy got assists as well. The attack works brilliantly but we need the space and quick passes from midfield to attack to create that space. Ziyech was standout from kick off while Havertz grew into the game. Werner was frustrated due to being isolated but his goal will do him well while Tammy also made an impact from the bench. CHO had a decent game but apart from the goal he had no really brilliant moments. Pulisic was hungry for a goal as soon as he stepped on the pitch and got it with a brilliant finish.
Lampard’s team selection was good for this game but he would have been frustrated with the opening 70 minutes. The defence worked well but with a pivot it leaves the attack isolated. The switch to a 4-3-3 and subs were to Lampard’s credit and it changed the team going forward. The clean sheet will also be another feather in his cap as we slowly begin to build a team.
3 points and top of the group after 2 games, a big win and all in front of one Romab Abramovich who was in the stadium watching the game. Next up Burnley at the weekend. COME ON CHELSEA!!!