It was a devastating night for everyone associated with Chelsea Football Club, as The Blues made a traumatic exit from Champions League last night.
The tie against PSG saw Chelsea face an opposition that were better than them in almost all respects of the game.
Although Chelsea fought hard, they failed to fight true. As a consequence, Laurent Blanc’s side were the better team over the course of two legs and 210 minutes of football between the two sides; and hence progressed to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League.
WHAT THIS FIXTURE WITNESSED:
– Some of the dirtiest football ever played
The game saw a total of 28 fouls (15 committed by Chelsea), 7 bookings (3 for Chelsea) and 1 sending off (Zlatan Ibrahimovic). Putting their bodies on the line seemed to be a risk of getting stepped on by PSG for the Chelsea players, because PSG were, from the start, aggressive as hell.
It can be said that Chelsea responded and retaliated to PSG’s aggression and pressure and thus ended up committing more fouls. Overall, the game was unfriendly and unattractive to say the least.
– Dreadful refereeing
Overlooking and wrong decision-making seemed to be the norm in Björn Kuipers’ game last night as a match official.
The sending off of Ibra didn’t even deserve to be a booking, Chelsea should’ve won two more penalties; Luiz and Costa deserved to be sent off for their recklessness.
– PSG with 10 men were better than Chelsea
Ibrahimovic was sent off in the 31st minute for what seemed to be a two-footed challenge on Oscar, but as it turned out, the Swedish superstar was not at all cynical in his gesture. He bent his legs while sliding in; Oscar and the rest of Chelsea players immediately surrounded the referee and pressured him into showing the red card to Ibra.
PSG, as the rest of the game unfolded, were the more clinical side in attack.
CHELSEA’S BEST PLAYER: EDEN HAZARD
In one of the most ill-natured environments ever created on a football pitch, Eden Hazard shone through for Chelsea in terms of passing the ball accurately and building up good attacking situations. Here is a look into his game:
THE HARDEST CHELSEA PLAYER TO MARK:
Creativity was seen meagerly in Chelsea’s game last night, but who else can we rely on in that department, than Eden Hazard?
Having had a pass accuracy of 83% over 120 minutes, the young Belgian went forward and did so with motive and intent of taking his side to the quarter finals. His passing was crisp and fruitful on many occasions. His movement off the ball from the left flank deviated towards the center for most part of the game and we know how threatening he is in the middle.
But his influence in the seemingly casual Chelsea side failed to reflect on other attacking players. The creativity, the search for new ways of creating attacking situations was missing among The Blues’ attacking players.
Eden Hazard’s close-control with the ball, as we’ve come to see and admire, is oh-so-amazing. He is undoubtedly in the top 4 best players in the world at the moment. When an attacking player is so good on the ball, what can a opposing defender do in order to stop him, other than simply fouling him?
Hazard suffered 5 fouls last night, all in influential areas of the field. This allowed Fabregas, Oscar or Willian to create an attacking opportunity by putting the ball into the box and in turn, looking to capitalize on the superior aerial threat possessed by Chelsea.
Hazard is still the most fouled player in the Premier League and it was easy to spot ‘why’ in the game last night.
THE MOST CONFIDENT PENALTY-TAKER IN THE WORLD?
In present day football, there are several names which come to mind when we talk about the best penalty takers – Messi, Ronaldo, Lampard, Reus, Muller and Hazard to name a few. But what sets Hazard apart from the rest, is the fact that he doesn’t feel the need to look at the ball while taking his penalties. Even during his run-up, he keeps looking at the keeper and contemplates as to which direction he might dive in. And always, he strikes in the right corner of the net.
This is an incredible attribute to have for a penalty taker. He has missed only one penalty for The Blues, against Maribor in a Group G Champions League match. Does that make him the most reliable penalty-taker in the world? I think so, yes!
His penalty-goal in the 6th minute of extra time gave Chelsea the lead and almost got them through, if only Thiago Silva hadn’t scored with a header from a corner-kick in the 114th minute.
*SIGH* GOODBYE, EUROPE’S BIGGEST CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE –
Moving on and hoping for no more slip-ups in the Premier League is the only thing a Chelsea fan can do at this moment.
But where did we go wrong in our quest for Europe’s biggest footballing title?
Let’s hear from our man Jose himself.
Reflecting after the game, Mourinho had no complaints with the final outcome.
“They deserved to win. When a team cannot defend two corners and concedes two goals from a corner a team doesn’t deserve to win.”
“We couldn’t cope with the pressure of playing with one player more and playing at home. For me it was a surprise.”
“For them it was easy with 10 men – defensive organisation, two lines of four, Cavani in attack, waiting for the right moment at a corner or from a mistake. Mentally they had nothing to lose. I know that feeling having played with 10 men in the Champions League.”
“They were experienced, they were good. We deserved to be punished.”
[EXCERPT FROM CHELSEA FC OFFICIAL WEBSITE]
We now have only the Premier League title to play for. Getting knocked out of the Champions League shifts focus completely on going for glory in the PL.
Although getting knocked out can cause disarray and discomfort in the minds of Blue supporters around the world, we must stand by our team and hope for the protraction of the same headstrong attitude that has been present in Chelsea for the whole of this season – the very attitude that won us the Capital One Cup.
Next up, Southampton at home in the PL this Sunday at 7 pm IST.
To all the supporters I say, let’s Keep The Blue Flag Flying High, for the Premier League title is ours to lose!
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Edited By: Harshal Ahire