Juventus v Chelsea (3-0) - Full Match Report
3 goals conceded without reply, on a night where Chelsea were plain and simply outclassed. Unfortunately for us, Juventus were slick and...
3 goals conceded without reply, on a night where Chelsea were plain and simply outclassed. Unfortunately for us, Juventus were slick and very composed in possession, took their chances and fully deserved the win, not much more you can say than that.
Now it is time to look back at the game, and see what went so horribly wrong, but also to reflect on what went well (not much being perfectly honest).
Juventus - 3 (Quagliarella 38', Vidal 61', Giovinco 90')
Buffon / Bonucci, Bazargli, Chiellini / Lichtsteiner, Marchisio, Pirlo, Vidal, Asamoah / Vucinic , Quagliarella
Caseres 68' (Lichtsteiner off), Giovinco 83' (Vucinic off), Pogba 89' (Quagliarella off)
Chelsea - 0 (N/A)
Cech / Ivanovic, Cahill, Luiz, Cole / Mikel, Ramires / Azpilicueta , Oscar, Mata / Hazard
Moses 60' (Azpilicueta off), Torres 71' (Mikel off)
Our Italian opponent’s formation was like a coiled spring, compact when pushed back into defence but can burst out at pace on a moments notice when, direct and lethal. With that in mind, our only way to really test Gigi Buffon was to counter attack and exploit the fact that they only have 3 at the backs. They had plenty of physicality alongside their obvious flair and ability, which served up to be a deadly combo. Not only this but they are very mentally tough and reilient, shown when they came from 2-0 down at the bridge. In short, they know how to win and this was always going to be a tough test.
In the first 30 minutes of the match we looked very nervy, shown by the multiple and successive botched clearances. We were not clearing our lines effectively, ended up giving the ball back to Juve in our own half and inviting pressure. Early on the Italians produced a fine save from Petr Cech, who somehow managed to push the effort onto the post using his body, this was an early warning that did nothing to calm the nerves of our defence. Juventus did look far livelier and up to the task of getting 3 points out of the game, they caused us all sorts of problems. Having said that, with them applying pressure it did give us the chance to break and exploit the space they left behind them; we ended up creating 3 very good opportunities in the first half, none of which were taken. Our lack of clinical finishing cost us dearly in the end, as the famous saying goes “goals change games”.
One of our major problems was that our two defensive midfielders were so easily bypassed, at times you barely noticed they were even there. The 2 holding midfielders are there to make ensure that players cannot easily run directly at the back 4; because when that happens you are in serious trouble. They simply didn’t provide a good enough shield for the defence full stop, that was a key reason why Juve could apply consistent pressure to us.
I noticed that David Luiz was targeted as a weak point right from the start – they were purposefully pulling him out of position (knowing that he is extremely eager to get around the front of the attacker and nick the ball), then spinning the ball into the space he vacated, they nearly got in multiple times doing this very thing. To Luiz’ credit, he did improve late in the first half making some good interceptions and passes out from the back.
The first goal came initially from a poor headed clearance from Cahill, Pirlo got to the ball ahead of Oscar and took it under control, Ramires strangely fell to the ground when trying to challenge him, Pirlo ended up getting a tame shot off which was deflected/directed into the other corner by Quagliarella, leaving Cech stranded and unable to get down to his opposite side in time. After the goal was conceded, internal arguments and disharmony presented themselves, in particular Luiz and Mikel arguing, now I am hoping this is a byproduct of passion rather than evidence of division in the ranks!
So, after being pressured for long periods we were lucky to have only conceded one by half time, at the same time being unlucky not to have hit the back of the net a few times ourselves. Missed opportunities and defensive frailties were the biggest points to take from the first half.
Right off the bat we let Juventus in down our right hand side but they didn't make the most of it, unfortunately this was a sign of things to come. We were sloppy, constantly misplacing 10 yard passes, taking poor touches, making bad decisions, it was a nightmare in all honesty. The second half was pretty much a shambles, that is the best thing i can say about it. It seemed like we were getting opened up at will, Juve were able to play straight balls straight through our defensive line, dissecting our back 4 and getting through on goal effortlessly. We had 1 decent opportunity where Oscar had a chance to shoot on his left, but opted to move the ball back onto his preferred right foot, which led to the chance being wasted.
The second goal came from down our right hand side, only moments after Azpilicueta was subbed off, coincidence? I think not. To start off with, Vucinic again drags Luiz way wide and out of position (like i mentioned above), he turns inside and plays a ball into Asamoah who was Azpilicueta's man before he was taken off, he got in front of Ivanovic who showed no real desire to get back goal side, the ball was then cut back to the edge of the box where Vidal hit it low, it deflected off of Ramires and went in. There were a few things that bugged me with this goal, Mikel showed no real desire to get back to the edge of the box to pick up the late runners, Ramires had his eyes on the ball so instinctively dropped off and marked no-one rather than moving to the edge of the box were the danger was (unmarked men), positional sense is definitely lacking in that respect.
After the second goal, Juve missed plenty of sitters, they were getting free shots off in our 6 yard box, Vucinic in particular who found himself unmarked, but blazed it over from close.
Then the third came 2 minutes from time, a simple straight ball through to Giovinco, Ashley Cole had the run covered but Cech decided to come way out of his goal which led to the 5ft4 Italian having a simple flick into a wide open net.
At the time when we needed a leader most, it seemed like we were left wanting, everything was just falling apart with no-one on the pitch to pick up the pieces. More on field arguments ensued, this time between Ramires and Mikel. All in all a very disappointing result and second half performance in particular, we seemed to lack leadership and fight in the face of testing circumstances.
Blue = 1st Half
Red = 2nd Half
Cech – Made some fine saves in the first half, couldn’t do much to stop the deflected shot as his weight was all shifted to the other side of his body.
Made some more good saves in the second half, however he was at fault for Juventus' 3rd goal, by all accounts it was a howler by our goalkeeper. He came rushing out when Ashley Cole could have easily made the tackle, which left Giovinco with a simple toe-poke into a gaping net.
Ivanovic – Shaky to begin with and gave away some silly fouls around the edge of the box, but did okay on the whole.
Average again in the second half, the goal came down his side, showed a real lack of desire getting back at Asamoah.
Cahill – Looked very uncomfortable and nervous, grew into the game as it went on, but his poor header ultimately lead to Juve's first goal. A performance to forget for the normally solid centre back.
Looked out at sea a few times in the second half, with balls easily being played right through the middle of our defence.
Luiz – Got exploited on a few occasions, didn’t look decisive enough at times, however improved at the end of the half.
Pulled out of position completely for the second goal, Juve were playing on this and got success for their efforts in the end. Like Cahill was out at sea for large period of the game, getting beaten by simple passes, wasn't tracking runs well enough.
Cole – His usual self, getting challenges in, blocking shots and making goal line clearances.
Made a few very bad passes which could have led to Juve scoring, showed the positional awareness to cover back for our CB pairing in the final moments of the game, although this was undone by Cech's howler.
Mikel – Constantly bypassed with ease, looked very laboured at times, couldn’t deal with the pace and directness of the Juve attack.
Didn't track back quickly enough for the second goal, at points looks lively, but other times outright pedestrian.
Ramires – Like Mikel was being bypassed by the Juve attack, his defensive positioning was not the best throughout, his slip led to the Pirlo shot and ultimately Quagliarella's deflected goal. Did make some very menacing runs forward which the Italians really struggled to deal with, but i have to say long shots are definitely not Rami's strong point.
Continued his bursting runs whenever possible, constantly being felled by the Juve midfield who were "taking one for the team" because of the obvious danger he poses when he gets going. defensive positional awareness let him down for the second goal.
Azpilicueta – Did everything that was asked of him, solid and committed, another promising outing for him. Asamoah provided a real test for the young Spaniard, other than a few dangerous crosses, he kept him pretty quiet. Definitely a silver lining in regards to the game.
Gave the same performance he did as the first, proved how vital he was to the overall shape of the team -> 1 minute after he was subbed the man he was marking got free and assisted the goal.
Oscar – Had a sublime first half, wreaked havoc and was the bright spark of the night. Did well on the whole nullifying Pirlo’s threat, obviously a player of his class cannot be contained for the full 90 minutes, but won a lot of the individual battles between the two. He was at the heart of everything good Chelsea did in the first half, although arguably could have taken the shot on his left foot instead of cutting in and giving the defender a chance to get a foot in.
Other than Azpilicueta, the only good point from the game, although the team's performance as a whole dipped to a new low in the second half, he was lively, trying to make things happen. Unfortunately he didn't have his finishing boots on.
Mata – Invisible in the first half, just didn’t look at it.
In all honesty, this was one to forget for our Spanish midfield maestro, when he plays well Chelsea play well, unfortunately it seems that works the other way around too.
Hazard – After a shaky start up top with a few balls bouncing off him, he got into the game and managed to hold the ball up really well, some quality link up and played a sublime ball into Mata, who couldn’t get a clean enough connection on it. Arguably could have done better with the chance he had, although I think he was right in taking a touch before shooting.
Didn't get much service, but did well with what he had considering his lack of physical presence, the false 9 approach could work, but we need to take the chances when they come!
Moses - Had 1 good run to the by-line but wildly swung his leg at the cross, which had a lot of power but not much control. Wasn't marking his man (Asamoah) who set up the second goal.
Torres - Touched the ball 2-3 times in the 20 minutes he was on.
What issues need to be addressed?
- We lacked leadership on the pitch, that player or players who pick the team up and drive them forward
- Need a consistent goalscorer to finish the chances we are creating
- We lack defensive cohesion as a unit, don't ever seem 100% sure whether to press, sit off, cover etc.- The back 4 continue to leak goals, recently we seem to be opened up at will.
- Lack of a deeper playmaker is troubling, we don't have that Pirlo, that Arteta, that Scholes type player who sits back and controls the game. Oscar could be the man to do this, but we have only seen small glimpses of him in the deeper role.
- I love Mikel, but is he good enough to play in a role that is so vital to the stability of the team?
What positives can we take from the game?
- Azpilicueta was very good
- Apart from his finishing Oscar continued his run of outstanding Champions League performances
- Hazard played well on the whole
Where does that leave us in the group?
In order to progress to the knockout stages, we need;
1. A win against FC Nordsjælland
2. Shakthar have to beat Juventus
The problem is Shakthar are already through, and they only need a draw to top the group!
I cannot see us pulling off another Champions League miracle I am afraid, I will have everything crossed of course, but it is highly unlikely!
So Chelsea fans, what are your opinions on the game?
What went wrong?
Is there a silver lining?
Leave your thoughts
Article by Martin Smith
Follow me on twitter @MartinSmithCFC
Carefree & KTBFFH!