Chelsea fell 1-0 to Steaua Bucharest in Romania. Steaua have won their 17th game out of 19 home games, so far. Chelsea have started the tie with a horrible start. The 2nd leg will be key if Chelsea want to progress. A lacklustre performance that saw a first half penalty take us down.
What We Learned :
1. Time ticking for Benayoun and Torres
2. Playing Lampard-Mikel in the double pivot is a horrendous decision
3. Ryan Bertrand is not yet ready for the big stage
4. Our inconsistency continues
1. Time ticking for Benayoun and Torres :
Yossi was another who struggled with his passing and ball retention, the Israeli looked short of match practice but did have a good shot pushed away by Steaua’s goalkeeper in the first half before he was replaced by Mata with just under half an hour left. And Torres led the line alone and had some small flashes of inspiration, but found himself increasingly isolated with little or no support as the Steaua defenders kept him very quiet. Typical Torres we’ve seen at Chelsea. The fact that him and Benayoun were so poor and anonymous at times (as before) makes me wonder if they’ll be at Chelsea next season.
2. Playing Lampard-Mikel in the double pivot is a horrendous decision :
Mikel was almost completely anonymous in the centre of midfield as the game seemed to largely pass him by and found himself unable to contribute anything of note. Lampard saw a number of his passes go astray as his usual accuracy deserted him, with his attempted long-balls to Torres being particularly unsuccessful. Like I’ve said before, they just can’t function properly together this season and constantly playing them together has been a big reason why we’ve lost many games due to our holding midfield not functioning.
3. Ryan Bertrand is not yet ready for the big stage :
Bertrand found defending difficult as he deputised for Ashley Cole, and was guilty of holding back Raul Rusescu to give away a penalty and earn a booking. He hasn’t been at his best at all this season and especially in Europe. After getting torn apart by Shakhtar earlier in the season, he struggled as well in this match. It’s not that he’s no fit as a replacement to Ashley Cole, it’s just that he’s not fit at this point in the season. The decision to resign Ashley Cole was a great decision as we have no fit replacement as of this moment.
4. Our inconsistency continues :
After impressive victories over Middlesbrough and West Brom, I was very confident of our chances to at least snatch a point or an away goal. However, that was not the case. There was no heart or passion from most Chelsea players except John Terry. It’s not down to Rafael Benitez, as he fielded the best side he possibly could with Sunday in mind. For me, the problem is beyond Benitez, but nonetheless… it was an absolutely miserable performance for Chelsea – the passing was off, the movement was off, everything was off. I really feel for all fans that put up with that, but especially the fans who went to Romania and saw it in person.
Other Points :
- Marko Marin deserves a start
- Juan Mata’s form has run out
- Chelsea’s chances of winning the EL are slowly diminishing