It was the Champions League night and also our first meaningless game of this season which saw Jose Mourinho make a host of changes to the first eleven with only Gary Cahill, Cesar Azpilicueta, Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa retaining their spot from the weekend loss at St. James Park.
Meanwhile, the youngster Ruben Loftus Cheek got a spot on the bench while Petr Cech captained the Chelsea side.
Let’s get on with the initial reaction as to how the game panned out at the Stamford Bridge:
– Chelsea started the game in their usual 4-2-3-1 formation as Mikel sat alongside Matic in front of our back four while, Fabregas occupied the No.10 spot with Schurrle and Salah on the either wings and Costa uptop. It didn’t take long for Chelsea to draw first blood as Esgaio had a clumsy challenge on Filipe Luis inside the penalty box area conceding a silly penalty in the 7th minute. In the absence of Hazard and Drogba, it was Cesc Fabregas who stepped up to slot the ball comfortably in the middle netting, and put Chelsea 1-0 up inside 10 minutes.
– It didn’t take long for Chelsea to make it 2-0 in the 16th minute as Andre Schurrle turned on the edge of the box and fired a shot beyond goalkeeper Rui Patricio into the bottom corner of the net to mark his name on the goal sheet. This is what we have been expecting from the German winger. Brilliant stuff.
– 2-0 up, Chelsea took their foot a bit off the paddle as we knocked the ball around the middle of the park. We still managed to look dangerous at the counter attacks creating few chances through Schurrle and even John Obi Mikel looked to play those chips over the top and the attacking passes instead of his usual sideways passing.
– Although we were 2 goals up, Sporting weren’t that bad themselves, as they did manage to cause us a bit of trouble especially in the 36th minute and the 42nd minute when Blues were unable to deal with the cross in the box but eventually managed to come out unscathed.
– The first half ended with the Blues leading the fixture 2-0. It would be dishonest to say that Chelsea completely dominated the Portuguese side as Sporting did cause us some trouble on the attack. But it was a silly foul from Esgaio and an individual brilliance from Schurrle that separated these two sides at half-time. With a scoreline like this, Chelsea fans probably expected a first team debut for Ruben Loftus Cheek in the second half. Let’s see what second half had in store for us.
– The second half started with Jose Mourinho making no changes to the starting line-up. It was Sporting Lisbon who pulled one back in the 50th minute through Silva to make it 2-1. It was Carillo on the right who got past Filipe Luis quite easily laying it for Silva who chested the ball down, composed himself and fired beyond Petr Cech into the bottom left corner to make it 2-1 for the visitors. Mohammed Salah nearly scored the 3rd in a quick time but was denied with an excellent save from Rui Patricio.
– Oh man! Would you believe it? It was John Obi Mikel who scored the 3rd goal for the Blues in the 57th minutes from a Fabregas free kick. The Spaniard won a free kick outside the box whose cross was headed towards the goal by Cahill and the Nigerian just had to tap in the ball from close range to make it 3-1 for Chelsea. Probably game over for visitors.
– It would be fair to say that Filipe Luis had a brilliant time on the attacking front, but the Brazilian left a lot to be desired defensively. The fullback was frequently out of position, directly responsible for the cross that lead to the Sporting goal while caught out of position more than a few times at the left, most notably in the 63rd minute against Slimani who out jumped him quite comfortably to get his header on goal.
– Jose Mourinho made his first change in the 71st minute as Loic Remy was introduced in place of Mohamed Salah. Ramires came on for Schurrle in the 74th minute. The much awaited RLC debut came in the 83rd minute as Cesc Fabregas made way for the 18-year-old English midfielder.
– The final 10 minutes didn’t saw much action in either box as Chelsea managed a straight forward 3-1 win over the visitors to end their Champions League group adventure with another impressive win before moving on to the knock-out rounds.
Next stop, Hull City. Till then ktbffh lads!
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Edited By: Ankur Bhatt