Champions League 2nd round – Chelsea 2-2 PSG (After extra-time) (Agg 3-3: PSG win on away goals)
What is there to say about this diabolical performance and result? Firstly, the result was almost great. With a tiny bit of help from a poor referee (about time Chelsea had it in their favour for once), Chelsea was very nearly through to the quarter-finals, but instead naive defending and I suppose a bit of justice sent them out of Europe at the first KO hurdle.
The performance, mostly, on the other hand, was terrible. There was such a lack of cohesive dynamism from the midfield, meaning that they didn’t link up with each other and gave the ball away too readily. It’s wrong to pick on individuals, but nearly everyone except for the goalkeeper can be looked at. Diego Costa has now not scored in over 6+ CL games and he never really looked like scoring in this game. There’s something about him being isolated on his own up-front and drifting wide which doesn’t really suit his game. He’s a predator with a natural goal-scoring ability, and you can only score goals from inside the penalty area. So seeing him go wide and try and take on defenders with skill or pace just isn’t going to get him near the target.
Hazard was again wasteful and simply looked to be fouled instead of really providing an injection of anything too great. As always, he coolly took his penalty, but we as Chelsea fans just expect a bit more refinement, really. The entire midfield shape was imbalanced and wrong. Willian should have started on the right as he’s been Chelsea’s best player this season, but instead it was Ramires playing in a weird three, with Hazard out wide and Oscar sort of just flirting around in front of the midfield. All wrong.
What’s more astonishing is that PSG played for 90 minutes with just ten men. Chelsea, usually so good at defending and seeing out games, twice lead and twice surrendered the lead. All credit to PSG, but it’s an opportunity missed by a too inexperienced team.
Footnote: I thought I’d publish this a year on. I saved it in my drafts initially and just left the site alone for a year. It’s the 2nd leg from a previous post. I think it sums up the tie quite nicely, so alas I’m going to still publish it, even if it is massively out-of-date now.