PSG 2-1 Chelsea: A vital away goal and Chelsea performance!
Chelsea scored a vital away goal and gave a performance that despite losing 2-1, Will give Laurent Blanc and his Parisian side something ...
Chelsea scored a vital away goal and gave a performance that despite losing 2-1, Will give Laurent Blanc and his Parisian side something to think about in three weeks time.
Everyone expected a depleted Chelsea side to sit back, remain compact and play defensive ahead of the game. With John Terry and Nemanja Matic missing it looked as though Guus Hiddink would set his stall out to come away from the first leg with a result and to still be well in the tie. Everyone had doubted the defensive stability of the partnership of Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic with Baba Rahman playing in his first big, big game in a Chelsea shirt including me.
I had stated before the game on here that I thought that the best form of defence would be to attack PSG as having watched them two weeks ago at Marseille and seeing the amount of openings the home side had that day, Chelsea would be more than capable of doing the same to the Ligue 1 Champions in waiting. They are not the best defensively, at times they get caught out as they hunt in packs to close the ball down and their two wide players do not track back.
To say I was pleased at the team the manager had selected to start the game is an understatement! The back five was the same that concluded the game against Newcastle but the only change to our midfield and attack was that Mikel came into replace Matic who was suspended. We looked to take the game to our hosts and had the players to attack them and cause them problems. If only Cesc Fabregas and Mikel could hold it together in the middle, we would have a chance to do exactly that.
OK, we had to admit that PSG were always going to create openings, chances and cause us problems because they are the home side looking to take an advantage to Stamford Bridge and it's a shame that we switched off and allowed Edinson Cavani in behind to slot the ball under Courtois to take a lead to the second leg, but for the most part, Chelsea were outstanding.
Courtois made numerous saves but nothing that really tested him a great deal, Cahill and Ivanovic looked solid enough along with our two fullbacks and both Fabregas and Mikel were outstanding with Fabregas giving us the best defensive midfield performance since he has been at the club.
That gave us a base to build on and allowed our attacking players to take the game to PSG. William was simply brilliant moving through the gears away from players and provided the spark we needed to force the home side onto the defensive. Chelsea were creating openings and chances that on another day, we could have put away with a Diego Costa header from close range being the main chance that went begging.
Their goals were disappointing as I have already said about their winner and we were a touch unlucky with their first as Ibrahimovic scores a deflected free kick that wrong foots Courtois. It's just one of those things I guess, other than that we looked comfortable with Courtois not really being forced into world class saves.
As for our goal? Well it's demonstration that they are uncertain from set plays. A Willian free kick was flicked on at the near post by Diego Costa, beating Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and the ball falls to Mikel who luckily enough uses his body to control the ball, kill it dead at his feet and then blast into the bottom corner to score a vital away goal. That's a key area we need to exploit in the second leg and hopefully, with the added height of Matic and Terry we can do that.
Make no mistake, Chelsea gave such a good account of themselves and delivered a really good performance to come home happier of the two sides. We have done exactly what we all wanted, we have given PSG a reminder that although our season has turned into a nightmare in the Premier League, on our day when we play as we can, we can create problems for anyone. Chelsea are well in this tie and without question have given Laurent Blanc something to think about when he decides on his approach for the second leg because Chelsea WILL create plenty of chances!
What did you think of our performance and of the balance of the tie?