PSG and Juventus will have time till Monday to relax and hope that they are not drawn against Chelsea in the last 16 of the Champions League, as this time, it will be Jose’s team who will be a nightmare for the French and Italian champions.
When Sporting Lisbon visited Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night in the last round of group stage matches, little did they know that by the end of 90 minutes they will be sent to the Europa League after a 3-1 defeat with Schalke winning in Slovenia against Maribor.
The game gave us some moments of individual brilliance, individual errors and a showcase of Chelsea’s promising bench, with most players from the regular starting 11 rested for the night.
If we are to survive the tight December schedule, it is important to keep certain things in mind. Here are the Conclusions from Chelsea’s Win Over Sporting Lisbon :
Schurrle can make it to the starting 11
The best moment of individual brilliance in the match was probably showcased by Andre Schurrle. The German received Matic’s pass just outside the penalty area, and after easily going past a Sporting defender, he fired an unstoppable shot on goal into the lower left corner of the net to double Chelsea’s advantage. Cesc Fabregas had earlier put the home team ahead through a penalty after Filipe Luis was brought down in the penalty area. Schurrle’s energetic performance as a substitute against Newcastle and as a starter against Sporting, go to show that the 24 year old is not only an excellent option on the bench, but also a strong contender for the starting 11. Oscar beware!
Filipe Luis wasn’t solid defensively
The Brazilian’s amazing performance on the attack has to be acknowledged. He was the root cause behind the first two Chelsea goals, winning the penalty for the first goal and pushing ahead with the ball which led to the second goal. But as for his defending, he was often seen out of position and without solidity, especially when James Carrilo easily got past him and made a cross which led to Sporting’s only goal. In the 63rd minute, Islam Slimani overpowered him quite easliy to win a header and divert it on target, to add to Luis’ out of position errors in the game. No doubt that the 29-year-old has caught everyone’s eye with brilliant attacking and defending at times, but these errors in defence need to worked upon by him.
Mikel has finally done it
It would be fair to say that it was nearly impossible to see John Obi Mikel finally score. The Nigerian could not impress in his first start of the season in Premier League against Newcastle, but in his 2nd consecutive start last night, he showed some real hard work in defence. He got his reward in the 57th minute when he tapped the ball inside the empty goal through a Fabregas free-kick, after Cahill had headed it towards the goal, thus sealing the deal for the night.
Fabregas and Matic are gems for Chelsea
Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic stood out for the blues last night, although it wasn’t a rare thing for our defensive midfield duo, as far as this season is concerned. The loss to Newcastle, this past weekend, is a clear proof of what the Serbian brings to the team. Fabregas, on the other hand, was the man to open the scoring for Chelsea and was directly involved in Mikel’s goal, which came through the Spaniard’s freekick. With these two men fit, let’s see what the coming days have got in store for us!
Chelsea have a promising bench
With 7 more games in the next 19 days, and a whole lot of winter fixtures still to come, Chelsea can’t be completely dependent on their regular starting 11 players all the time. There will be injuries in a league like BPL and we cannot survive with anything less than a fully prepared squad into the remainder of the season. But last night it was proved that Chelsea won’t have many problems in that department if last night’s performances by our substitutes are something to go by. Only Cahill, Azpilicueta, Fabregas and Costa retained their spots from last game, but our players didn’t make it look any different from the usual classic Chelsea game. When you have this kind of bench, what more can you ask for?
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Edited By: Vikram Vadiganeni