Chelsea vs. Maccabi Tel-Aviv- Things We Learned.

As the curtains fell on Matchday-1 in the Champions League this season, the most overwhelming emotion felt amongst the Chelsea fans was certainly a relief. Relief that after what felt like months, Chelsea finally won a match. The fact that this was Chelsea’s first clean sheet this season also made the win more memorable. Let’s look at a few talking points after a successful 4-0 win by the Blues.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek is pushing for regular minutes- hard

Chelsea academy graduate, Ruben Loftus-Cheek came up with a lofty performance, offering the complete midfield package. A 93% pass percentage ratio, 2 chances created, 2 completed take-ons is definitely noteworthy. His runs from midfield were powerful and compact, his passes were accurate, and he made a couple of really good tackles as well. His positioning was also really good last night, an improvement from last season. With such a commanding display, we might as well see him against Arsenal on Saturday.

Traore and Baba also had a good outing

New signing Baba Rahman finally made his Chelsea debut, starting at left back after a 20 million pound move from FC Augsburg. His performance was good, although he looked a bit out of sync with the other players, which is obvious. He constantly made runs beyond Hazard and at one point he even managed to go past 6(!) Maccabi players showing his dribbling skills and offering the team some much-needed width.

Bertrand Traore also made his Chelsea debut, playing the last 15 minutes coming on as the substitute for Loftus-Cheek. The Burkinabe forward looked eager to impress, and even beautifully curled a shot, just beyond the post as Chelsea looked menacing towards the end.

Oscar’s return to fitness is a big boon for the Blues

If anyone wanted to know the importance of Oscar in Chelsea, last night was the perfect example. Barely 2 minutes into the game, Oscar was seen deep in the opposition third, pressing. Yes, pressing. Highly intense and continuous are the words one would use when describing Oscar’s work rate. At the same time, that’s not the only thing he brings into the team.

Oscar is a true follower of playing the game in a beautiful way, and at the same time entertains everyone. He was strutting his stuff as usual with back heels and fancy passes all over the pitch. That can only sound good for Chelsea as they gear up for a tough matchup against Arsenal.

Fabregas’ return to form is a big relief

Cesc Fabregas was probably selected in the lineup just because there weren’t any other good ball passers in the team, not because of his form that has been horrible. Gone was the Fabregas who’s Magic Hat drove Chelsea to a domestic double last season. Fortunately though, with a goal and an assist, Fabregas may well be finally starting the season. He again interlinked well with Costa, and this can only be good going forward.

Eden Hazard, meanwhile, looks a shadow of himself

Last season, Eden Hazard stole the show in England, winning 5 individual awards and getting two trophies for the club by doing things he does best. Unfortunately though it looks like he is still in his sabbatical as he hasn’t yet scored in this season, and skied a penalty miles above the crossbar against Maccabi.

In the second half, he was slightly better, but his decision-making in the final third is well below his world class standards, and his confidence also looks dented. In football, though, it’s all about the confidence. One goal and we might see Hazard back to his scintillating best.

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Edited By: Karan Dubey

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