Chelsea vs Maccabi Tel Aviv (4-0) – Initial Reaction And Analysis
As you are aware, our start for the Premier League defense has been horrendous, maybe it was time to get back to our winning ways in the Champions League?
So, it was time for some Champions League action as Blues faced off against Maccabi Tel Aviv to kick off their CL campaign.
Mourinho, as promised, dropped/rested the senior players including Ivanovic, Terry, Costa and Matic. It was a debut for Baba Rahman as well as Cesar Azpilicueta slotted in the Right Back. Meanwhile, RLC started in the midfield alongside Fabregas.
So, without any further ado, let’s get on with the initial reaction to find out how the game panned out for the Blues:
– There were as many as 6 changes made by Mourinho as Gary Cahill Captained the side.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek managed to get booked in the 2nd minute after a bad tackle.
It was a great start for the Blues as Willian won a penalty for the Blues in the 5th minute. Ben Haim lost the ball early on in the game to Loic Remy who passed the ball to Willian and the Brazilian was brought down by the visiting Goalkeeper inside the box.
What wouldn’t have we given for a goal early on which was eventually missed by an awful spot kick from the “king of penalty”, Eden Hazard!
Well, as Mourinho said, everything’s going against us!
– You could spell relief on the face of every Chelsea player and Mourinho as Willian made it 1-0 for Chelsea in the 15th minute with a brilliant free kick.
We needed a slice of luck as Willian provided that for the Blues. It was a tricky delivery from the Brazilian that evaded everyone including the Goalkeeper to find the back of the net.
Unfortunately, the Brazilian had to be taken off minutes later for what looked like a hamstring injury. The Brazilian was our best player during his time on the field who was eventually replaced by Costa.
– The arrival of Costa meant that Remy would slot in the Right Wing as Costa moved up front. Fair to say, a goal was expected from Costa after showing some very bad form in the last few games.
– Although, Chelsea did look good up front, controlling the game, for the most part, there was no denying that we were still vulnerable defensively.
A couple of set piece blunders could have seen us concede a goal to Maccabi, but fortunately, the visitors missed. I am sure a Premier League side would have punished us, just like they have every time this season.
Baba Rahman, for the most part, looked poor in his debut as he gave the ball away cheaply on more than few occasions.
So, Ivanovic set to start against Arsenal?
Hazard was another player who looked very, very ordinary for the Blues in the first half. A man short on confidence? Certainly looked like that!
– The Blues won the second penalty of the game in the extra time as Costa was brought down inside the box. This time, it was Oscar, who stepped up for the penalty and the Brazilian duly doubled the lead to make it 2-0.
The build-up to the second goal was a thing of beauty from the Blues as we claimed possession for more than 2 minutes inside the visitors half trying to break open the Maccabi defense. Fabregas eventually played a weighted pass to Costa who made a good run inside the box before being brought down by Ben Haim.
Oscar, then, duly buried the ball into the bottom corner to give us an unassailable lead.
– The first half ended with the scoreline of 2-0. The Blues still looked pretty shaky at the back, but the visitors weren’t equipped enough upfront, to cause us any significant problems.
Meanwhile, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, after collecting a booking in the 2nd minute of the game, looked like the real deal for the Blues as the Englishman performed well with and without the ball. Signs of the things to come?
Let’s find out what happened in the second half:
– There were no changes from Mourinho in the second half as Loftus-Cheek launched the first attack for the Blues, slipping in a very good pass to Costa who fluffed it up in the end.
Maccabi had a really good spell around the 55th minute mark and the visitors had a really good chance as Rikan nearly pulled one back for his side, but, fortunately, his effort only resulted in a corner.
– Diego Costa made it 3-0 for Chelsea in the 58th minute as the Spaniard scored his first goal for Chelsea in the European football!
It was a very good cross from Fabregas as Oscar pulled away a defender with his good run. Diego Costa, meanwhile, wasn’t going to miss this as the Spaniard’s first-time volley found the back of the visitors net. A much needed goal for Costa!
– Jose Mourinho subbed off an impressive Oscar at the 64th minute, maybe with the game against Arsenal looming in the weekend. It was Ramires who came on for Oscar as Ruben Loftus-Cheek, surprisingly, slotted in the CAM role.
If Loftus-Cheek did well in the first half, the Englishman looked even better in his advanced role in the second half. Maybe, after all, the kid is realizing his potential! He, along with Azpilicueta, was definitely the Man Of The Match for the Blues.
– Mourinho subbed off the very, very impressive Loftus-Cheek in the 77th minute in favor of Bertrand Traore.
With that kind of performance, the Englishman certainly deserve to be in the starting lineup against Arsenal!
– Chelsea broke away through a counter attack in the 78th minute as Fabregas slipped the ball in for Loic Remy whose shot was initially saved by the opposition Goalkeeper. The rebound, however, fell to an unmarked Fabregas who made no mistake making it 4-0. So much relief on Fabregas’ face, you could probably see that with his celebration!
– Chelsea had a few half chances to further increase their goal tally. Hazard, after a very poor first half, looked very lively while, Traore almost scored in his Chelsea debut. The visitors did threaten us with a consolation goal in the last few minutes, but we held on to our lead to keep a clean sheet after 9 games!
So, our Champions League campaign gets going with a win! The only English team to win a game in UCL so far, find the irony in that! Next stop, Arsenal!
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